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EU-MENA Trade Relations After COVID-19: State of Play and Scenarios for Modernising the EU-MENA Free Trade Areas

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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.

(Photo credit: Alexandre Goncalves da Rocha,Pixabay)