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Paris Summit will launch “Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean”

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en julio 11, 2008

Paris Summit will launch “Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean”

This Sunday 13 July will see the launch of the “Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean” at a summit hosted by the French EU Presidency and uniting Heads of State and Government from the EU and the Mediterranean as well as the European Commission.  This ambitious initiative aims at giving new depth and direction to Euro-Mediterranean relations while maintaining and reiterating the original ambitions of the Barcelona Declaration concerning the creation of an area of peace, security and prosperity,

President Barroso said: “The launch of the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean is a landmark in the relations between Europe and our Mediterranean friends. It underlines the EU’s continued commitment and political will to realise the ambitions of the Barcelona Declaration, to build an area of stability, shared prosperity and security in the Mediterranean region. And it reassures all that this is a shared ambition, a shared determination and a shared journey. Together we are stronger, and I am confident that today’s agreement will accelerate progress towards our shared destination. Stronger involvement of the private sector will add an important ingredient to our joint endeavour.”  

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner added: “We have come a long way since the launching of the Barcelona process. We have developed a true partnership in a wide array of areas including political dialogue, civil society, education and media through the creation of numerous well functioning Euro-Mediterranean networks. Despite certain obstacles and setbacks, our desire and drive have not been diluted. We now want to consolidate the progress made and build on them and take our partnership to new levels of viability, vitality and visibility for all our citizens. With the Paris summit we are charting out a map for our joint ambitions.”

The Summit is expected to adopt positions with regard to shared ownership, joint governance and on projects that will bring tangible improvements to people’s lives and livelihoods. Building on the foundations and structures of the Barcelona Process it is hoped to inspire a qualitative change in relations between Europe and its Mediterranean partners.

While the European Neighbourhood Policy continues to drive bilateral relations in the region with a differentiated approach the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean will complement this policy by strengthening regional cooperation.


The upgraded political relationship foresees biennial summits of Heads of Government, and the establishment of a co-Presidency to manage these summits as well as the annual Foreign Affairs Ministerial meetings, sectoral Ministerial meetings and senior officials’ meetings. A joint secretariat will be established to manage projects, while the creation of a permanent committee of Euro-Mediterranean representatives will provide support to the new institutional and administrative structures.

Projects should strive to promote growth, employment, regional cohesion and socio-economic integration in areas like energy and energy security, environment, civil protection, transport and education.

Additional funding, outside the traditional existing budget allocations, will be necessary for the implementation of such projects. These funds are expected to come from the private sector, international financial institutions and bilateral cooperation as well as contributions from EU member States and Mediterranean Partners.

Background

Since its launch in 1995, the Barcelona Process has been the central instrument for Euro-Mediterranean relations, representing a partnership of 39 governments and over 750 million people. It has been the engine for movement towards peace, security and shared prosperity in a region where long-running conflicts and tenuous reform efforts have often impeded progress.

The European Commission has supported the Barcelona Process with the provision of over €16 billion since 1995. Successes of the cooperation under the Barcelona process are the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, the setup of the Euro-Mediterranean Facility for Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) providing over €2 billion in loans to Mediterranean partners and the establishment of the Anna Lindh Foundation for the dialogue between cultures which is the first Euromed common institution financed by all partners as well as the European Commission. Today, the Anna Lindh Foundation has a network of over 1500 civil society organisations covering all partnership countries.

Euro-Med trade relations are healthy: liberalisation since the inception of the Barcelona Process has boosted trade. Exports from Mediterranean countries to the EU27 have grown by an average 10% a year between 2000 and 2006. At the same time imports from the EU27 have grown by an average 4%. Total Euromed trade with the EU (excluding Turkey) reached €120 billion in 2006, (more than 5% of total EU external trade).

More information at: http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/euromed/index.htm

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