Across the different sectors, relations between the EU and MENA countries range from loose cooperation to the adoption of EU rules in specific sectors by a third country. The following aspects of cooperation were considered:
- The legal framework: Constituting the basis of cooperation, the legal dimension comprises framework agreements (such as the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement) but also specific agreements and arrangements. Examples of the latter include agreements stipulating cooperation of a MENA country with an EU regulatory agency, which expresses a rather high degree of convergence. Specific agreements may also be limited to one sector, such as agreements on the exchange of information as far the field of security is concerned, agreements related to readmission in the field of migration, or free trade agreements and related protocols.
- Activities: Activities range from the participation of single MENA countries in the EU’s CSDP missions to a variety of cooperation programmes and projects in different fields. Most of these programmes aim at expanding EU rules and practices by mainly providing training and technical assistance to the partner countries. Examples include EuroMed cooperation programmes, training programmes that are coordinated through EuropeAid and may involve different national and international agencies, TAIEX activities, and different training activities in a sub-regional or international framework.
- Other relevant agreements and activities: Some agreements and activities may not take place within the EU framework, but must be considered because of their relevance for EU-MENA cooperation in specific sectors. Participation in NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue or in NATO’s ‘Operation Active Endeavour’ patrolling the Mediterranean Sea serves as examples here, with NATO being indispensable for EU security.