• 28 February 2014



The representatives of the Greek and Turkish parts of Cyprus, after two years of stop, have agreed to resume negotiations for the reunification of the island.

Cyprus , which is currently divided into two state entities , composed of a Greek Cypriot population and the other citizens of Turkish origin. It’s from 1974 , when the Turkish invasion of one third of the island was the result of the coup pro- Greek , that a green line marks the border between the Greek side, which covers the 59 % of the island and the Turkish one , which calls itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus , covering about 36% of the surface.

The negotiations between the parties conducted for almost 40 years under the auspices of the UN, started and stopped several times , without success. The “new” Cyprus should emerge with agreement reached, expected to be “a federation bi- communal and bi- zonal ” , under which the country will be ” unified legal entity on the international and with a single sovereignty . ” The agreement will then be subjected to two simultaneous referendums in the two communities .

A diplomatic push, came from Washington, urged the two leaders to break the deadlock and jump-start negotiations immediately . As a consequence USA declared in a note sent by the White House spokesman: “The United States appreciates the role played by Greece and Turkey : the division of Cyprus lasted for too long” . “Through this agreement both communities can realize their full potential by enhancing stability and economic growth for all citizens of the island . ”

The U.S. attitude seems influenced by the recent discovery of huge deposits of subsea hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean , particularly in the stretch of sea between the shores Israeli and Cypriot ones. So peace, stability and cooperation among the countries of the region are fundamental to exploit this deposit.

An agreement on the Cyprus issue undoubtedly will contribute to the pacification of the area and pave the way for a fruitful collaboration between Cyprus , Turkey and Israel.

The White House has stated: ” We support the exercise of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus to search and extract resources from its offshore areas . But we continue to believe that oil and natural gas on the island, as all resources are to be divided equally between both communities . ”

However, the Turkish ambassador in Italy , Hakk Akil said: ” The greatest risk for the failure of negotiations between the community and the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot is a lack of joint exploitation of energy resources discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean .”

Exploitation , in fact, is tempting to many countries , not just those directly affected – Egypt , Turkey, Cyprus , Israel and Lebanon – but also to Europe and the United States.

“The exploitation of the continental shelf of Cyprus – said Akil – is important not only for the island , but also for the energy security of the EU. But it serves fairness in the use of energy resources”.





The difficult situation in Libya

  • 21 February 2014


More than 2 years ago there was the fall of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi , but Libya has entered a phase of several observers define as real civil war. The country falls prey to militias and armed groups that have not yet been subjected to the weak state security and military institutions , while the central government in Tripoli has serious difficulty in controlling the vast territory of Libya.


In addition, the oil crisis – and therefore economical – due to the suspension , since last July , oil exports in most of the ports of Cyrenaica , controlled by Ibrahim al- Jadran , former head of the Guard of oil rigs and now leader of the separatist movement called the ” Executive Office of Barqa ” , the Arabic name of Cyrenaica .


It is a crisis that threatens to expose the country to a real bankruptcy , as reported to the pan-Arab daily Asharq al- Awsat, an official of the Ministry of Finance of Libya, who preferred to remain anonymous . ” Should the situation remain as it is today , with the government that is unable to pay wages , the state could declare bankruptcy within the next month of May ,” said the source.


To clearly understand the internal dynamics of this crisis, we need to analyze something that happened a few weeks ago, went unnoticed in the international press and the Italian one. On January 13 , the Libyan state news agency , Wool, spread the news of the release of Muhammad al- Thani , the only son , male, Defense Minister Abdallah al – Thani , who was kidnapped four months ago in Tripoli. His release has certainly raised the Minister from all the pressures and threats that had to suffer in recent months .


This abduction , which involved one of the leading figures of the Libyan state (nominated by some as the next prime minister, after Ali Zeidan ) , reveals the reason why the country is now on the brink of a civil war : the struggle for power and control of national resources. A struggle which shows how the enemies of the Libyan government to sit on the inside : the battle for control of economic power between those who manage the oil and how affix signatures to approve any expense .


The Minister of Defense , which is perceived in the West as a ” man of action ” , he had to hold his friends to save his only son . There is talk of a deal that , upon payment of a ransom , led to the immediate release of the young man and put an end to the dilemma . Local sources , who preferred to remain anonymous , reported all’Ogmo ( Observatory geopolitical Middle East ) that this incident is linked to a fight inside the Libyan Defense Ministry . Serious hypothesis is confirmed in several statements made by leaders and Libyan officials over the past few months , and that explains the reasons for the recent outbreak of a real war in the south of the country.


On the sidelines of this situation, the Libyan Islamist party Justice and construction, political expression of the Muslim Brotherhood , has threatened to withdraw its ministers in the Government 5 umpteenth attempt to topple the government . ” Zeidan has failed to carry out his duty, which is to ensure security and stability to the country ,” said Nizar Kawan , a member of the Justice and construction .


In the shadow of political clashes , which saw opposing liberal and Islamist , militia and military , revolutionary and veterans of the old regime , it settles the great conflict that is tearing the Libyan state : that between parliament and the government demonstrated , to name just two episodes from seizure flash of Zeidan , a few months ago, and the recent release of the son of the Minister of Defense.


As is apparent from a survey published last January 25 the Turkish news agency Anadolu , several Libyan experts warn against the risk of a new civil war after the armed conflicts that have devastated the western and southern regions of Libya , prompting the government to ask for the support of local militias in the fighting against groups linked to the old regime and declare a state of alert across the country .


The former judge Muhammad al- Mansuri said that the conflict between the government and the parliament found in the bogeyman of the “return of the followers of Gaddafi ” a pretext to extend for another year the mandate of the parliament and prevent the government is discouraged . ” Until now , neither the security situation in Benghazi or discontinuation of production of oil fields have prompted the authorities to declare a state of alert in the country. The fact that they did today shows that the adverse parties exploit the internal situation , playing on the tensions and the various clashes as political weapons , “said al- Mansuri , outlining a critical scenario that the newborn Libyan state can groped to heal only by initiating a true national dialogue , reconciliation is accepted by all the souls of the country and the integration of the militias in the armed forces .


Currently are not recognized reversals able to give an answer to the security problems and political instability , chronic now . On the contrary, the expiry of the mandate of the National Assembly general , February 7 , highlighted the country’s inability to proceed with the necessary normalization phase of democratic institutions . While the prime minister juggles in an attempt to create a government reshuffle , many deputies , in sharp contrast to broad sectors of public opinion , refuse to leave office ; others, regardless of the directives of the party and in protest , have instead resigned .


On 14 February , in a climate of mutual mistrust and tensions , took the form of a coup attempt by a former Chief of Staff , General Khalifa Haftar , which is believed he had the support of about 10 000 rebels. In the frantic hours later , there was almost unanimous condemnation by the entire political spectrum , with the parliament speaker , Humaydan , which gave to the imminent arrest of the same Haftar .


The need for a profound change is now perceived at all levels, to respond primarily to the increasing demand for security and stability. This is not only to recover the oil ports in Cyrenaica or stop the long series of bombings , assassinations and attacks for months bloodshed in Benghazi , Derna and Tripoli also the south of Libya is now in chaos because of the deeper re-emergence of groups armed loyal to the deposed regime they have sown death and destruction in Sebha .


In addition, we must consider the growing threat from jihadist training or openly Qaedist . Especially the latter Emergency worries neighboring countries, including Niger, which on several occasions has called for an international military intervention led by France and the United States. In this respect, has aroused enormous hype ( and subsequent controversy ) a report of the French daily Le Figaro reports that members of the unit of elite U.S. Delta Force would operate for a long time in the south of Libya against al Qaeda . A news promptly denied that a lot from Paris to Tripoli.


In this context, it is particularly important to vote for the “Committee of the sixty ” which are participating at this time also the Libyans living abroad. This committee will have the difficult task of drafting a new constitution, but above all to transmit a signal of political stability and – from a historical perspective – in line with the guiding principles of the Revolution of February 17.










Mediterranean trade and food: overview of European positions

  • 15 February 2014




The Mediterranean Sea has been, since ancient times, a place of battles and encounters, defilements and exchanges , and intense movement and circulation , where live today a plurality of civilization and identity strong , very different from each other on the cultural , political and economic aspects .

This area since the past has fuelled a growing interest on the part of different geo-economic areas and also the European Union ( EU) ; the EU , in particular, has made the Mediterranean a major player in its foreign policy , generating with countries that face a situation of interdependence of varied nature. The agricultural issue has always been one of the major topics of discussion in the reports, especially bilateral , between the EU and the countries of the region the Middle East or North Africa. Agriculture plays , in fact, a significant role in many of the Mediterranean partners both on a social level , due to the large population density in rural areas and the population actively engaged in agriculture , and economic, for the contribution that agriculture makes to the This growth in part justifies the strong structure of trade protection adopted by both parties with the imposition , for several agricultural commodities , tariff and non-tariff barriers , which constitute the main obstacle to the ambitious project to create a free exchange.

The European Union since its inception and as part of its foreign policy, has woven a dense network of relations on a multilateral level , within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO ) , bilateral or regional level and , finally, unilateral , part of a generalized system of preferences . The size of bilateral or regional agreements , while requiring a greater effort by the EU , has been , especially in recent years , a street almost obligatory , partly resulting in the stalling of multilateral negotiations within the WTO . In particular, the EU has adopted a policy strategy is increasingly oriented towards open regionalism , free -trade , likely to lead to gains in terms of competitiveness , achieve economies of scale , reduce transaction costs; regionalism which, however, is very close to what the WTO accepts as a springboard towards a multilateral free trade .

In the rich context of EU external relations, the euro -Mediterranean cooperation project is more ambitious than turning to a region where conflict and divisions have always prevailed on the principle of integration. The Mediterranean has always been an area of strategic interest to the European Economic Community (EEC) , first, and for the EU, then , not only for the physical proximity between the countries of the area, but also for trade ties colonial and between EU Member States and the former colonies .

In the last fifty years , the political and economic relations euro -Mediterranean have undergone a profound evolution characterized by a strongly fluctuating trend marked by sometimes contradictory actions away from the interests of this important geopolitical area , highlighting a disjointed approach , complex and chaotic policy in the European Region from a bilateral approach that had characterized relations with Mediterranean partners of the then EEC in the 70s and 80s in the context of global Mediterranean policy ( Pmg ) and the Mediterranean Policy ( PMR ), it goes , with the signing of Barcelona ( 1995) , a partnership of regional type , which accompanies the integration project for about a decade in order to create an area of shared prosperity . The European Neighbourhood Policy ( ENP ) , in contrast, re- introduces a high degree of bilateralism favoring the North-South relations on a bilateral differentiated . The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) , launched at the Paris Summit of 2008 at the urging of the French presidency , is the latest development in the history of the euro -Mediterranean relations , but also a further step towards bilateralism , resulting in a further deterioration of the regional dimension . This proliferation of policies was also accompanied by profound changes in the configuration geopolitical area, with a progressive loss of the centrality of the countries of North Africa and the Near East , thereby generating a strong heterogeneity in the interests of the sometimes converging , which could hinder , as happened in the past , the process of integration of euro -Mediterranean partnership.

The reasons for these changes are due , on the one hand , the policy failures of the past, due to disputes in transactions, especially in the context of the liberalization of trade, but also on technical issues and on the other to the changing configuration of the area resulting in the gradual enlargement of the EU .

In the current framework of EU relations with the countries of the UfM , you must treat separately the relations with Mediterranean partners (Algeria , Egypt, Israel , Jordan, Lebanon , Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory , Syria, Tunisia ), and those with the Western Balkan countries , candidate countries ( Croatia , Montenegro, Turkey) and potential candidate countries ( Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Relations with the Mediterranean countries have developed and consolidated over the years through a system of co-operation agreements before , and association, then . In particular, there has been a change in the objectives of these agreements , initially aimed at ensuring the economic and social development in partner countries through technical cooperation and financial assistance, and then aimed at promoting an ongoing dialogue on issues of politics, security , trade, social, cultural and human , in order to forge deeper ties with partners in the area. With regard to the aspects of a commercial nature and the ambitious project of creating a single market in the Mediterranean, best known as an area of ​​free trade agreements negotiations were characterized by a strong heterogeneity , providing for the gradual liberalization only for industrial products and a regime preferential access with the introduction of mutual concessions, for those foods.

The marked sensitivity of the agricultural food production to the impact of the free trade area , linked to the importance that the sector plays in the economies of many Mediterranean countries on the economic and employment has led , in fact, both the EU and the Mediterranean partners , to erect a protectionist articulated structure that , to date, has been a barrier to the creation of a common agricultural market . The system of concessions negotiated between the parties is , in fact, restricted to certain products “typical” obtained in the region and, in particular , fruit and vegetables , wheat and meat. In particular, the EU provides for the application to products originating in the Mediterranean partners of ad valorem and specific duties , which vary for certain products depending on the period , consistent with the trend of intra-European productions . For certain products , in addition, the mast of the rights

varies according to the specific import price according to a system of entry prices , which is just fresh fruit and vegetables . Under the agreements were negotiated , depending on the product , the total elimination of tariffs, the elimination of the ad valorem part only for products for which there is a system of entry prices , such as certain fruit and vegetables that fall within the list of sensitive products. These tariff concessions are also subject to a number of seasonal constraints of a quantitative nature and that overall EU agricultural preferences make it very similar to those that characterized the agreements of the 70s. On the southern front , the level of protection on imports of food products from the EU continues to remain high especially in Egypt , Jordan, Morocco , Syria and Turkey ; in addition, there are non-tariff barriers which ad valorem equivalents reach even 40% , which, when added to the standard tariff protection , provide a level of protection that achieves , in some cases , even 60% . The negotiations concluded led to a total elimination of customs duties or their reduction within tariff quotas and only some products , while still keeping a high level of protection for products defined as ” continental” . The recent agreement on agri-food trade agreement signed with Morocco in February 2012, was an important step in the process of profound transformation of the southern Mediterranean countries . This agreement , which was signed despite the strong disapproval expressed by the producers of Spanish, French and Italian , provides for the elimination of 55.0% of tariffs on agricultural and fishery products originating in Morocco and 70% of those in the EU , in a period of 10 years. An agreement that in some ways tends to limit the distortions in the European market by setting quotas for seasonal but also especially requiring compliance with the health standards for food products of Moroccan origin .

The analysis of the agri-food trade between the countries of the object of study , in relation to the three five-year periods examined, has allowed us to highlight both the major trading partners of the Mediterranean countries of the EU, both the changes in the structure of trade during the reporting period .

The analysis of the agri-food trade shows in an overall positive trend with an increase in the volume of trade which stood at 6.1 % per annum , linked to the positive trend in exports ( +4.8%) and imports ( +7 , 9 % ) . France is the main partner of the absorbing on average in the period 2006-10 , an amount equal to 44.5 % of trading volumes ; following , in order of importance , Italy ( 25.2%), Spain ( 20.0% ) and Greece (6.4%) . Very modest is the weight of Cyprus, Malta and Slovenia which intercept in complex with the remaining 3.9% of the volume of agri-food trade .

Serbia and the EU accession talks

  • 12 February 2014


On January 21 , 2014, with the first EU-Serbia Intergovernmental Conference , held in Brussels , began negotiations for the accession of the Balkan country to the European Union. This act is the consequence of the Commission approval in October 2013 and of the EU Council in December of the same year.

For the Socialist Prime Minister Ivica Dacic , the start of negotiations with the EU for Serbia will mark the opening of a “new political era .” The country will continue the reform agenda and is committed to “building a democratic society based on the rule of law, to develop human rights and freedoms according to European standards .”

“Today is the beginning of an entirely new chapter in EU-Serbia relations , and a significant success , – said the president of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. – I praise Serbia for its reforms , efforts and progress made in recent years. Serbian citizens have strong European aspirations , and we will continue to support Serbia to continue to make progress, step by step , in its European path . ”

The international image of Serbia has changed dramatically in recent years. This result was made ​​possible by the undeniable progress made by the Balkan country in the process of democratization and modernization of its state structures , which enabled Serbia to leave behind a heavy past marked by bloody wars that have enacted dramatically the end of the old Yugoslavia socialist .

Belgrade has finally closed the painful chapter of the armed conflicts of the nineties, delivering to the Criminal Court in The Hague ( ICTY ) the last war criminals demanded by international justice. Between 2008 and 2011, were in fact captured Radovan Karadzic , Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic. The new pro-European leadership provided programs necessary reforms to bring Serbia closer to Europe, pledging to fight seriously corruption and crime, and agreed to normalize relations with Pristina in April and concluded a historic agreement on Kosovo with the mediation of the EU.

The negotiations for accession of Serbia and the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo will proceed in parallel. For its part , Kosovo is negotiating with the EU on a Stabilization and Association Agreement which may also lead to the liberalization of the visa regime . The European Commission will continue to monitor the implementation of the agreements of April 2013 on the normalization of relations during the negotiation process , as well as the implementation of the Association Agreement EU – Serbia and Belgrade ‘s commitment to regional cooperation.

The process that Serbia has to face is long and complex . The negotiations , in fact, are based on the discussion between the European Commission ( EC) and the Government of Serbia about the 35 chapters of the Acquis Communitaire . The closure of all chapters of the Acquis , as required by the EC , it is crucial to get a date of accession for membership but not the final step. The complex process of accession also provides that the EC declares a favourable position with regard to the level of preparedness of the country and the final ratification by the current EU members.

The status of candidate country brings with it a number of opportunities , tasks and challenges to Serbia.

Among the opportunities that the country can take advantage of in the process of accession to the EU , there is access to European funds for Pre-Accession ( Instrument for Pre -Accession Assistance IPA ) in five areas of intervention (before the application could access only to the first two areas ) :

– Reform of the institutions;

– Cross-border cooperation ;

– Regional Development

– Development of Human Resources

– Rural Development

The crucial point for the process of enlargement is the accreditation of a decentralized system of management of EU funds , to which Serbia is working to ensure transparent management of funds.


















The phenomenon of the Moroccan agricultural cooperatives

  • 5 February 2014


The growth of agricultural cooperatives in Morocco is now a reality, as shown by 2013 data, announced by the Office of Development Cooperation ( OCDO ) .

“During the 2013- in fact – were set up 1,406 new cooperatives and the contribution of capital is increased for that period up to 15.82 million dirhams .”

The OCDO recently said that in 2013 ” the new cooperatives are established each month an average of 117 . This is the result of two campaigns to raise awareness and to spread this activity among thousands of small producers, artisan, young graduates and the joint efforts of all operators in the framework of the State program. The growth tax of cooperatives has rapidly increased fivefold.” The number of cooperatives in general went from 4,827 to 12,022 .

One of the reasons behind this phenomenon is the possibility that cooperatives have to create new jobs. The beneficiaries are especially the inhabitants of rural areas and the surrounding areas. According to data provided by OCDO, in these areas there are 440 thousand individuals who adhere to the cooperatives .

Another reason behind the success of the cooperative phenomenon is the significant financial contribution “in 2014 cooperatives have generated a gross capital amounted to 6.43 billion dirhams.”

The agricultural sector, because of the strong results achieved in the last year, have the largest number of cooperatives ( with 982 entities formed ), while the craft is at the second place ( with 270 newly created cooperatives ). At the third place are placed foodstuffs , where the number of cooperatives arrives just at 25 units during 2013 .

Among the major benefits that the creation of cooperatives has led there is the enhancement of the role of women. Indeed, both in the city as in the country, they were able to generate income to sustain their families.

Women have proved crucial to the development of this phenomenon (245 cooperatives were established by women in 2013 ) and , currently , they constitute an active part of cooperatives . The total number of women involved in cooperatives gets to 2863 and most of them come from rural areas.