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Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Rome call for an Union of the Mediterranean

Convinced that the Mediterranean, melting pot of culture and civilization, must recover its role as an area of peace, prosperity, tolerance, the President of the French Republic, the President of the Council of Ministers of Italy and the President of the Government of Spain met in Rome on December 20, 2007 to think together about the main lines of the projected Union for the Mediterranean. The Union for the Mediterranean will aim at linking Europe and Africa around the countries on the Mediterranean and at creating a equal footing partnership between the countries of the Mediterranean basin.

The added value of the Union for the Mediterranean should lie initially in the political dash it should provide to the Mediterranean co-operation and in the mobilization of the civil society, the enterprises, the local communities, the associations and ONGs.

The Union for the Mediterranean is intended to become the heart and the engine of co-operation in the Mediterranean and for the Mediterranean. It should aim at making clearer and visible the actions that the various institutions develop in favour of the Mediterranean. The Union should be founded on the principle of co-operation and not on that of integration.

For this purpose, they agreed to invite the Heads of State and Government of the countries on the Mediterranean to meet with the European Union countries on July 14 in Paris to define their common vision. This summit will be preceded by a meeting of the bordering countries on July 13. It should define the principles and the organization of the Union for the Mediterranean with the objective of implementing an approach based on concrete projects and the recognition of a common destiny among all the bordering countries and with the European Union.

In the coming months and until the summit, France, Spain and Italy will start the preliminary work in close consultation with the countries invited to participate. The purpose of this work will be to identify the fields of priority co-operation, the most adapted projects, the study of their feasibility, the sources of funding and to consider the list of the stakeholders wishing to commit themselves in each concrete project.

The Union is not intended to replace the procedures of co-operation and dialogue already linking the countries of the Mediterranean, but to supplement them, and to give them an additional momentum, in a spirit of complementarity and co-operation with all the existing institutions.

Therefore, the Barcelona process and the European neighborhood policy will remain central in the partnership between the European Union as a whole and its partners of the Mediterranean. The Union for the Mediterranean will interfere neither in the process of stabilization and association for the countries concerned, nor in the process of negotiation in progress between the European Union and Croatia, on the one hand, between the European Union and Turkey, on the other hand.

SOURCE 20-12-2007 - EUROMED

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