According to the official Algerian News Agency APS, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini will visit Algeria this week for bilateral consultations that are to include the European New Policy (ENP), and promote a new dynamic in the bilateral relations, likely to reflect effectively the strategic links between both parties through mutual concrete and balanced interests. Thus the ENP reinforces the notion of the role of Algeria, a major player for the stability of the Euro-Mediterranean and North Africa. The ongoing negotiations on the free trade agreement, according to information gathered from the EU, insist on a win / win partnership for shared prosperity,and subject to Europe no longer considering Algeria as a market and Algeria deepening its structural reforms, the agreement framework would likely be the same. (1)
It would be for Algeria, as guarantor of stability in the region, to encourage the development of freedoms in all areas, political, economic, social and cultural therefore set up mechanisms of the rule of law and democratization at the internal level in order to achieve sustainable development for its people.
On the international political situation, Algeria is invited by the Union European to become a member of the Conventions open to third countries, encouraging it to begin a dialogue on legal migration and mobility, traffic of migrants, readmission, voluntary return, regional cooperation for border management, the treatment of the mixed migrant flows and international protection of those in need and improvement of the contribution of Europe domiciled Algerian citizens to the development of Algeria.
On climate change, purpose of the international COP21 conference held in Paris in December 2015, the EU notes with satisfaction that the Algerian party submitted its national plan on climate, demonstrating its readiness to accompany the Paris Agreement. It is in this context that confronted with the depletion of its resources but commanding significant potential, the mini-meeting of the Council of Ministers of February 22nd, 2016 held that the development of renewable energy would be a strategic objective.
As far as the cooperation in security and judicial fields is concerned, this is deemed “essential” by the EU that wants to establish a “targeted and comprehensive dialogue” with Algeria, after positively noting its commitment in the process of revision of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and takes note of the informal document (‘non-paper’) developed in Algiers, whilst following with interest the dialogues that Algeria is also having with NATO and the OSCE.
It welcomed the constructive role for peace and security of Algeria within the African Union’s and supports and encourages the involvement of Algeria in instances such as the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue, including the 5 + 5 dialogue with the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA). Sharing Algeria’s concerns about the threats facing the region including the Sahel, the EU wishes to fully acknowledge whilst endorsing the mediation of Algeria and supporting its efforts to find a solution to the crisis in Mali, through development in the region as well as international cooperation in the areas covered by the new regional plan of action for the Sahel.
The same applies in the case of Libya where the EU welcomed the diplomatic initiatives undertaken by Algeria. On the Western Sahara issue, the EU supports the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and of his Personal Envoy seeking to achieve a just political solution that is lasting and mutually acceptable to all and in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council.
Recalling that the last review of the ENP dates back to 2011 and so in view of the changes experienced by the countries in the neighbourhood since that date, it was decided to conduct a comprehensive review of the assumptions that underpin this policy, as well as its scope of application and how to use its instruments, according to a press release of the Commission. For this purpose, the EU launched a consultation on the future of the ENP on March 5th, 2015.
For Algeria, Europe must take into account, in its neighbourhood policy, its assets including that managed actively by Algeria in its fight against terrorism, regional security against organized crime and the pacification of the Sahel-Sahara southern edge through various mediation, but also of its economic assets including through the supply of Europe in gas for decades and on a strictly commercial basis.
In the Algerian context, the promotion of the movement of people, ideas, and the protection of third countries legally established Nationals in the EU, must be taken into account in the new ENP in order to contribute to the achievement of Algerian priorities with respect to the economic diversification of export promotion of non-hydrocarbon, to food security, the strengthening of human capacities institutional and political, economic and social governance.
Both vertical and horizontal Algeria/Europe cooperation must be based on a win-win partnership for shared prosperity far from any spirit of domination. Algeria in its cooperation with Europe has three main comparative advantages, namely: its effective contribution on equity on the process complex and costly peacekeeping and security in the Sahel-Sahara strip that would benefit the European neighbours in terms of fight against terrorism, organized crime and illegal migration, not to mention the economic impacts.
It is within this framework that Algeria has decided to participate in the ENP, initiated in 2004, and revised in 2009 with concrete proposals in which it has contributed with proposals in the “Green Book” of the European commission on March 4th, 2015, such as the principles of flexibility and ownership, as the basis for the new ENP. Algeria is well underway as part of cooperation offered by the revised neighbourhood policy (Europe 11443) since the latter requires more to establish a plan of action, deemed binding in Algiers, in addition to the lifting of all political conditionalities.
So Algeria is a key player in the region and any destabilization would have a negative impact on the entire Mediterranean and African region (see our interviews to the American Herald Tribune and French daily La Tribune.fr en December 2016.
The Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the US State Department, Justin Siberell recently announced that Algeria is a key partner of the United States in the area of security by referring to a new era of cooperation between the two countries.
Also, facing a world in perpetual motion, both in terms of foreign policy, in economy as well as in defence, related actions with the latest happenings in the Sahel, on the borders of Algeria, with what is happening in the Middle East, in Libya, the urgency of the strategies of adaptation and international and regional coordination would be introduced, in order to act effectively on major events. These new challenges for Algeria exceed in importance the challenges it has ever faced so far.
Called upon and solicited, Algeria legitimately queries its role, and the place or the interest of such option or this frame would hold whether it is in the Mediterranean dialogue of NATO or of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, whether in its economic or security dimensions. Adaptation is the key to survival and pragmatism a highly appreciated modern management tool in relationships with others, Algeria whose future is in undoubtedly in the Euro-Mediterranean and African space must do with what reason and its interests command.
In summary, the future strategy of Algeria would in order to ensure its safety be to quickly lay down with a reorientation of its economic policy, as a diversified economy in the context of international values, away from the illusion of hydrocarbons eternal earnings and to carefully ponder the recent statement of the Italian Economic Development Minister, Carlo Calenda.
This last announcement, that the gas supply through pipeline contract signed between Algeria and Italy that expires in 2019 will not be renewed, giving “a deficit of 14 billion cubic meters for Italy by 2019-2020 and Italy’s gas supply will be by a long-term contract with the Netherlands by 2020, then with Norway in 2026, not to mention Russia, Iran’s re- entrance, and shortly Libya competitor of Algeria not forgetting the recent agreement of Europe – Israel for the procurement of large volumes of gas through the construction of a new pipeline.
And what will become of the future supply contracts of Algeria, all expiring between 2018 and 2019 at the time when the increase in spot markets, knowing that more than 33% of all revenues of Algeria are from natural gas making it unable to compete with Qatar, Iran and Russia, not to mention the American Shale oil/gas
(1) study of Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul, published in the International (IFRI Paris, France) titled “Maghreb-Europe cooperation the geostrategic challenges” , November 2011 – chapter III – “The strategy of the European Union and NATO in the face of the geo-strategic tensions in the Mediterranean”.