Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union : Introduction

DMAG: Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union 

The Delegation for Relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (DMAG) develops links with five neighbouring countries in North Africa - Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia - and with a regional group with significant potential - the Arab Maghreb Union.

These five countries have widely differing national contexts, and their bilateral relations with the EU are of different levels of intensity.

The integration of the Maghreb region is an objective that the DMAG delegation, like the EU in general, seeks to promote.

Composition

The DMAG delegation is currently chaired by Inés Ayala Sender, a Spanish member of the European Parliament's Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. She is supported by two vice-chairs: Tokia Saïfi and María Teresa Giménez Barbat.

The delegation counts 17 full members and an equal number of substitute members.

The chair and the vice-chair are elected by the other members of the delegation. All the members are drawn from the European Parliament's political groups, with the political makeup of the delegation mirroring that of Parliament as a whole.

Tunisia

During the current term, parliamentary relations with Tunisia significantly improved. A formal inter-parliamentary forum that brings together MEPs and Tunisian parliamentarians ­- the EU-Tunisia Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) - was created in 2016.

The DMAG delegation to this committee focuses its work on supporting both the Tunisia's process of democratic transition and its economic development, including through trade agreements under negotiations with the EU.

The most recent meeting of the EU-Tunisia Joint Parliamentary Committee took place in Tunis in September 2016.

Morocco

A formal inter-parliamentary forum has also been created to bring Moroccan elected representatives and MEPs together at regular intervals.

The EU-Morocco Joint Parliamentary Committee has adopted an original method of working "in pairs", in which one Moroccan parliamentarian and one MEP work together and produce a joint contribution on an aspect of the EU-Morocco partnership. Political relations, economic relations, social issues and the respect of human rights are all relevant topics. The result is then submitted to the Joint Parliamentary Committee at its annual meeting.

This working method has helped to forge strong interpersonal relationships among members.

In this way, the -Morocco Joint Parliamentary Committee reflects the advanced status that Morocco enjoys within the European Neighbourhood Policy.

The last meeting took place in Rabat in April 2017.

Algeria

The DMAG delegation visited Algeria in 2016.

There the delegation welcomed the country's social and constitutional reforms, and its increasing participation in the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Libya

Relations with Libya remain a priority for the DMAG delegation.

However, persistent political uncertainties, couples with the precarious security situation, have meant that the delegation has been unable to maintain a viable parliamentary dialogue with its Libyan counterpart.

Meetings scheduled with Libya's General National Congress have been postponed several times.

Nevertheless, improved circumstances may soon pave the way to a formal resumption of parliamentary meetings with Libya.

Mauritania

Mauritania is both a member of the Union for the Mediterranean and included in the cooperation between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries.

In recent years, the country has becoming a greater focus of the DMAG delegation, as demonstrated by the delegation's recent and successful visit to Nouakchott and Nouadibhou in February 2017.

In Mauritania, the Delegation has focused its work on regional stabilisation, social development and security.

Arab Maghreb Union

Meetings with delegations from the Arab Maghreb Union were held in the early 1990s. Since the sixth meeting in 1994, however, there have been limited official contacts.

General aims

The core of the DMAG delegation's activities include parliamentary diplomacy and efforts to promote the EU's founding values - the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.

The enhanced powers attributed to the European Parliament by the EU treaties, and particularly by the Treaty of Lisbon since 2009, have strengthened the European Parliament's role in international fora.

The DMAG delegation, along with other European Parliament delegations and joint parliamentary assemblies, pro-actively contribute to the success of the European Parliament's work in international affairs.