The aim of this seminar is to bring together experts and researchers from the agriculture and food sectors to debate over methodological and empirical issues regarding relationships among Euro-Mediterranean countries on topics such as food policy, trade and marketing.
This seminar will also focus on the topics of food security and agriculture in the Med and the role that the European Union (EU) can play in fostering regional cooperation in the field. Methodological, empirical, as well as theoretical papers are invited for a comprehensive analysis of the aforementioned issues. The outcome will be the setting of an agenda with the necessary actions and regulatory measures to enhance sustainable food systems in the Mediterranean basin, from an individual and a social point of view.
The dramatic rise in food prices in 2007-2008 highlighted the risks of the overdependence of many countries, including those in the Middle East and North Africa (Med), on imports for their food security and, consequently, the need to find a balance between dependency on global markets and home production.
The EU has opted to restrict agricultural imports from the South Mediterranean in order to preserve the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) fearing possible competition from the other shores of the Mediterranean. Over the last decade, EU policies seem to have accentuated Med countries’ foodstuff trade dependence on Europe and this is likely to put greater stress on the fragile agricultural environment along the Southern shore.
The seminar will focus on Euro-Med food relations including sustainability, marketing, trade and policy issues. In this respect, it is critical to examine the sustainability of food sector policies under the perspective of the scarcity of natural resources. Moreover, the degree of freedom and possible obstacles regarding trade activities between Euro-Med countries is another crucial issue, taking also into consideration the role of marketing. Proper methods will offer crucial insights into how to build up powerful tools for decision making, particularly today that agriculture and the economy alike are affected by a volatile political, social and economic environment and forced to undergo severe structural changes.
Euro-Med relationships, and particularly food relations, have a long history, though intense and diverse, contributing always to establishing more relations among countries and cultures. The goal of the Barcelona convention in 1995 for establishing a fully free trade area among Mediterranean countries until 2010 has been changed into bilateral agreements between Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries.
The increase in food prices since 2007 and the world food crisis had severe adverse effects in several countries, causing macro-economic problems (inflation, trade deficits, and fiscal pressure), increased poverty and political instability. Policymakers have acknowledged food relations as a key strategic area for Mediterranean countries, which needs to be placed at the core of Euro-Mediterranean regional cooperation.
Trade liberalization has been a critical objective and a main tool for multilateral collaboration. But actual liberalization has been limited and many argue that the emphasis on liberalization has been counterproductive. Yet, a strong cooperation among Euro-Mediterranean countries would help these countries to carry out projects and pursue active policies towards the improvement of the food sector. The adaptation of marketing principles can improve the exports of less developed Mediterranean countries and increase the life status and income of its citizens.
- Euro-Mediterranean partnership and cooperation
- EU policies to enhance food production and trade in the Mediterranean basin
- Development of sustainable agriculture and food systems
- Political economy of Euro-Med food policies
- Current trends and policies in the food sector
- Quantitative modeling addressing the impacts of agricultural trade liberalization in the Euro-Mediterranean region
- Marketing tools for Mediterranean products in the international market
- Natural resources management and food security nexus
- Food security and agricultural challenges in the Euro-Mediterranean Region
- Key elements in food marketing and logistics
- Socio-economic aspects of food and rural policies
- Coastal-rural food interaction
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