Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 12/2009

Report of the Conference "Is Regional Cooperation in the Maghreb Possible? Implications for the Region and External Actors"

Silvia Colombo

May 2009

Istituto Affari Internazionali


The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), in cooperation with the International Affairs Institute (IAI) of Rome, held the second seminar of the Mediterranean Strategy Group in Genoa on May 10-12 2009 under the title “Is Regional Cooperation in the Maghreb Possible? Implications for the Region and External Actors”. The meeting is part of a multi-year project of dialogue and analysis exploring critical Mediterranean issues in a transatlantic context. The Mediterranean Strategy Group is conducted with the support of the Compagnia di San Paolo, ENEL, OCP Group, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and the Luso-American Foundation. The decision to convene the meeting in Genoa was in keeping with the city’s identity and role as a “gateway to the Mediterranean,” and the discussion benefited from both the setting and the assistance of the municipality. Our roundtable discussion brought together some forty experts from the public and private sectors from North Africa, Europe and the United States, and was conducted under Chatham House Rules (i.e., on a not-for-attribution basis). An agenda and list of participants is included at the end of this report. Sessions were designed to provoke discussion on the general theme of the politicaleconomic and geostrategic challenges posed by underdeveloped south-south ties – the “costs of a non-Magreb” – and policy implications for regi onal and extra-regional actors.  The meeting also explored possible lessons from other regions where historic impediments to cooperation and integration have been overcome.