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Barcelona Declaration and Euro-Mediterranean partnership
This declaration is the founding act of a comprehensive partnership between the European Union (EU) and twelve countries in the Southern Mediterranean. This partnership aims to turn the Mediterranean into a common area of peace, stability and prosperity through the reinforcement of political dialogue, security, and economic, financial, social and cultural cooperation.
Final Declaration of the Barcelona Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference of 27 and 28 November 1995 and its work programme.
The European Union (EU) establishes a multilateral cooperation with the countries of the Mediterranean basin. This partnership represents a new phase in their relationship. For the first time it addresses economic, social, human, and cultural aspects and questions of common security.
This partnership became a reality with the adoption of the Barcelona Declaration by the EU Member States and the following 12 Mediterranean non-member countries (MNCs): Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. The League of Arab States and the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) (FR) were invited, as was Mauritania as a member of the UMA.
The partnership is based on a spirit of solidarity, with due regard for the characteristics specific to each of the participants. It supplements the other activities and initiatives undertaken in the interests of the peace, stability and development of the region.
Political and security partnership
The first objective of the partnership is to promote the emergence of a common area of peace and stability in the Mediterranean. This objective is to be achieved through multilateral political dialogue, in addition to the bilateral dialogues provided for by the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements. The partners therefore undertake to:
- respect human rights and fundamental principles by applying the principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international law, and and to exchange information in these areas;
- respect the principles of the rule of law and democracy, while recognising the right of each partner to choose and freely develop its own political, socio-cultural, economic and judicial system;
- respect the sovereignty of States, the equal rights of peoples and their right to self-determination;
- respect territorial integrity, the principles of non-intervention in internal affairs and the peaceful settlement of conflicts;
- combat terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking;
- promote regional security, eliminate weapons of mass destruction, and adhere to international and regional nuclear non-proliferation regimes, as well as arms control and disarmament agreements.
The partners support the fair, comprehensive and sustainable settlement of conflicts in the Middle East, founded specifically on the resolutions of the UN Security Council.
Economic and financial partnership
The sustainable and balanced socio-economic development of the MNCs should lead to the establishment of an area of shared prosperity in the Mediterranean.
The reforms should enable the creation of Free Trade Areas (FTAs) which involves the gradual elimination of customs barriers (taxation and non-taxation) to trade in manufactured products. The partners also envisage a gradual liberalisation of agricultural products and services.
The establishment of Euro-Mediterranean FTAs is included in the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements and the Free Trade Agreements between the MNCs. These agreements are concluded in accordance with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The partners define priorities for facilitating the establishment of the FTA:
- adopting a customs system of cumulation of origin of goods;
- adapting competition rules, the certification of economic operators and the protection of intellectual property rights;
- developing the market economy, the private sector, technology transfer, and the economic integration of the MNCs;
- modernising economic and social structures, and promoting programmes for the benefit of the neediest populations;
- promoting free trade, harmonising customs rules and procedures, and eliminating unwarranted technical barriers to trade in agricultural products.
In addition, the economic cooperation undertaken by the partners aims to:
- promote private savings and investments, including direct foreign investment;
- encourage regional cooperation between the MNCs;
- create a favourable environment for industry and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
- achieve sustainable management of the environment, energy, natural resources and fish stocks;
- promote the role of women in the economy;
- modernise agriculture.
The partners must also set cooperation priorities for transport infrastructures, the development of information technologies and the modernisation of telecommunications.
Lastly, the partners must increase their financial cooperation and the EU must increase its financial assistance, specifically in the form of loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Social, cultural and human partnership
The partners cooperate with the aim of developing human resources, and promoting understanding between cultures and exchanges between civil societies.
To this end, the Barcelona Declaration and its work programme emphasise:
- the importance of intercultural dialogue, and of dialogues between religions;
- the importance of the role the media can play in the reciprocal recognition and understanding of cultures;
- cultural exchanges, knowledge of other languages, implementation of educational and cultural programmes that respect cultural identities;
- the importance of health and social development and respect for fundamental social rights;
- the participation of civil society in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and strengthening cooperation between regional and local authorities;
- combating illegal immigration, terrorism, drug trafficking, international crime and corruption.
The Barcelona Declaration provides for periodic meetings of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Mediterranean partners and the EU. These Euro-Mediterranean Conferences are prepared by the Euro-Mediterranean Committee for the Barcelona process, which is also responsible for monitoring the process and the cooperation priorities.