24 Jun 2015

Enhancing the Prospects of the EU’s Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas in the Mediterranean: Lessons from the Eastern Partnership

Guillaume Van der Loo

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In this CEPS Commentary, Guillaume Van der Loo echoes the same question posed by the European Commission and the High Representative in their recent Consultation paper on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP): Are the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTAs) “the right objective for all or should more tailor-made alternatives be developed, to reflect differing interests and ambitions of some partners”? Such ambitious but complex trade agreements have now finally been signed with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, but they are still on the table for several Mediterranean ENP countries. While acknowledging that these southern partners have a completely different political, economic and legal relationship with the EU, Van der Loo argues that some important lessons can be drawn from the ‘Eastern DCFTA experience’. In particular, he advises DCFTA negotiators to avoid overly-ambitious and ill-defined legislative approximation commitments and to develop a comprehensive implementation strategy.  

Guillaume Van der Loo is a Researcher in the Europe in the World research unit at CEPS.