||The predominant M(2) tide in the Mediterranean Sea is examined using the linearized Laplace tidal equations including the astronomical gravitational potential, the Atlantic tide entering through the Strait of Gibraltar, the Earth tide, the effects of the Earth deformation due to the ocean tide load and bottom friction. The model solution is based on a decomposition of the primitive variables in terms of basis functions associated to the Helmholtz-Proudman potentials. The net tidal power input into the basin is 1.63 10(8) W. Bottom friction dissipation accounts for -0.94 10(8) W. The work done by the bottom deformation due to global (-0.62 10(8) W) and local (-0.07 10(8) W) tide load effects extract energy from the system. The net energy flux into the basin through the Strait of Gibraltar (6.52 10(8) W) is four times larger than the net power input, but the astronomical tidal body forces operating over the interior of the basin do work in opposition, implying a net power extraction of -4.89 10(8) W. In addition to the Helmholtz mode with a period of 5.3 days, the normal modes contributing to the M(2) tide have periods between 8 h and 32 h. These modes are associated to regional sea level and transport structures in the Gulf of Gabes (8.2 h), the Adriatic and Aegean Seas (12.0 h) and basin-wide features in the Eastern and Western basins (1.3 d). Sixty tide-gauge stations inside the Mediterranean Sea, together with transport measurements through the Strait of Gibraltar, are used to calibrate the model. Comparison of the data and the unconstrained dynamic model sea-surface height shows a rms difference of 4.5 cm. Allowing for errors in the model and the observations and selecting the magnitude of the error in the model (32 %), a robust estimate of the basin response yields a rms difference of 2.5 cm with the observations.