The EU and the Mediterranean

This is the best rundown of the demise of Nicolas Sarkozy’s Mediterranean Union that I’ve read so far. A Fistful of Euro’s Alex Harrowell argues that the announcement of a Brussels-centric Union for the Mediterranean is good news for Angela Merkel (demonstrating the degree of her EU influence), good news for the Mediterranean (which gains a more solid footing in future EU relations), and good news for the EU (which avoids the complications of potentially competing institutional agendas).

The big loser is Nicolas Sarkozy, who had proposed the M.U. during last year’s presidential campaign in part as a way to soften his appropriation of extreme-right themes of immigration reform and national identity. More concretely, the smaller scale of Sarkozy’s M.U. would have increased French influence within it, as well as create another multi-lateral leverage point that France could have used to hedge its Mediterranean bets.

As usual when he comes out the loser, Sarkozy quickly declared victory and moved on.