|An essential feature of the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership has been the negotiation of Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements between the European Union and nine of its Mediterranean Partners to replace the 1970s Cooperation Agreements. With the conclusion of negotiations with Syria (October 2004), the grid of Association Agreements with Mediterranean Partners has been completed. Association Agreements are in force between the EU and Tunisia (since 1998), Israel (2000), Morocco (2000), Jordan (2002), Egypt (2004) Algeria (2005) Lebanon (2006) and on an interim basis with the Palestinian Authority (1997).
The provisions of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements governing bilateral relations vary from one Mediterranean Partner to the other; as time has gone on more areas of cooperation have been included. However they have certain aspects in common:
Respect for human rights and democracy;
Establishment of WTO-compatible free trade over a transitional period of up to 12 years;
Provisions relating to intellectual property, services, public procurement, competition rules, state aids and monopolies;
Economic cooperation in a wide range of sectors;
Cooperation relating to social affairs and migration (including re-admission of illegal immigrants);
For the implementation of Association Agreements two common institutions are created: the Association Council (Ministerial) and the Association Committee (Senior Official level).
As the Agreements are of a "mixed" type (drawing on both European Community and Member States' competences - the latter concerning the second and third EU pillar), after signature they have to undergo a lengthy ratification process by the national parliaments of the EU Member States.