“EU-MENA Trade Relations After COVID-19: State of Play and Scenarios for Modernising the EU-MENA Free Trade Areas”, Guillaume Van Der Loo (Egmont, Belgium)

The economies of both the European Union (EU) and the countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have been severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Whereas the European Commission (EC)’s 2020 Spring Economic Forecast projected that the pandemic would cause the EU economy to contract by 7.4% in 2020 and global trade by between 10% and 16% (EC, 2020b), the combination of a COVID-19 pandemic and a collapse in oil prices would contract the economies of the MENA countries by 5.2% in 2020 (World Bank, 2020). This unprecedented health crisis has also forced the EU and MENA countries to take exceptional trade-related measures such as export restrictions with regard to essential goods – in particular medical supplies and personal protective equipment. Moreover, the COVID-19 crisis disrupted regional and global supply chains.

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