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EU Common Strategy for the Mediterranean

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This Strategy, which builds on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Barcelona process), pursues cooperation between the EU, the Mediterranean region and Libya in a vast range of areas including security, democracy, justice and the economy. The objective is promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region. It was initially planned to run for four years up to 2004 but has been extended to January 2006.

ACTS

Common Strategy 2000/458/CFSP of the European Council of 19 June 2000 on the Mediterranean region [See amending acts]

SUMMARY

The Strategy covers all the EU's relations with all it partners in the Barcelona process and with Libya. It was initially adopted for four years (expiring on 23 July 2004) but was extended by the European Council on 5 November 2004 until 23 January 2006.

In view of the Mediterranean region's strategic importance for the European Union and the challenges it faces, the EU considers the two sides must work together as partners with a common vision and mutual respect. The principle of partnership implies active support by both sides to develop good neighbourly relations, improve prosperity, eliminate poverty, promote and protect fundamental freedoms, encourage cultural and religious tolerance, and develop cooperation with civil society including NGOs. The European Union will do so by supporting the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and contributing to the consolidation of peace in the Middle East.

Objectives

The European Union's goal is to help secure peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Its objectives also include promotion of core values such as human rights, democracy, good governance, transparency and the rule of law. Social, cultural and human affairs also play a role in promoting mutual understanding. Free trade, closer cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs, greater security through cooperation to promote peace and dialogue to combat intolerance, racism and xenophobia are further objectives.

Efforts will also be undertaken to enhance coordination, coherent and complementarity between the EU and its Member States and between its Mediterranean policy and policies for other partners.

Areas of action

On the political and security front, the Union will strengthen dialogue at all levels through cooperation and exchange of information in order to establish a common area of peace and stability. Conflict prevention and other issues such as anti-personnel mines are other central issues of concern. The EU also attaches great importance to the signature and ratification of non-proliferation instruments and the establishment of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass-destruction and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

On democracy, human rights and the rule of law, it is essential to strengthen democratic institutions and to promote good governance and accession to international human rights instruments. In more concrete terms the Union would like to see the death penalty abolished in the region.

In the economic and financial field implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements to promote the progressive liberalisation of trade is the principal objective in strengthening the private sector and making the region more attractive to investors. Appropriate trade policies, accession by partners to the World Trade Organisation on the right terms, support for subregional cooperation and greater South-South trade are also goals. The Union will not neglect the need for interconnection of infrastructure, improved water management strategies and the creation of a market economy with a social dimension.

The impact of financial cooperation under the MEDA Regulation will be maximised through coordination of national and Community strategies, enhanced economic dialogue and coherent use of all the resources available.

Environmental concerns will also be taken into account to ensure sustainable economic development.

The core social issues are participation by civil society and NGOs in the partnership, cooperation to promote equal opportunities for men and women and dialogue. On the cultural side, the aim is to improve education and vocational training particularly for young people and women.

There are a number of issues in the justice and home affairs area. Migration is one of them. The EU intends to simplify visa issue procedures, combat illegal migration networks, ensure more effective border control, reduce the causes of migration and help ensure the integration into society of all persons residing legally in the Community and prevent their double taxation. There must be a review of the legal systems, and in particular civil law problems relating to the laws of succession and family law, including divorce, to make them more transparent and predictable. Refugees and measures to combat crime are two other European concerns in this area. Compliance with the Geneva Convention and accession to the United Nations Convention are also desirable.

Instruments and means

The Council and the Commission ensure the consistency, unity and effectiveness of the Union's action. The Council and its Presidency are assisted by the Secretary-General of the Council/High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Member States make appropriate and coordinated use of the instruments and means at their disposal.

The programmes, instruments and policies have to be reviewed by the Council, the Commission and Member States to maintain consistency. They must also make full and appropriate use of the instruments and means available and make greater efforts to coordinate and cooperate particularly within regional and international organisations.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Common Strategy 2000/458/CFSP22.07.2000-OJ L 183 of 22.07.2000

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 2004/763/CFSP13.11.2004-OJ L 337 of 13.11.2004

RELATED ACTS

Final Declarationby the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference in Barcelona on 27 and 28 November 1995 and its work programme.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 6 September 2000 to prepare the fourth meeting of Euro-Mediterranean foreign ministers " reinvigorating the Barcelona process" [COM(2000) 497 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 13 February 2002 to prepare the meeting of Euro-Mediterranean foreign ministers in Valence on 22 and 23 April 2002 [SEC(2002) 159 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 21 May 2003, "Reinvigorating EU actions on human rights and democratisation with Mediterranean partners - Strategic guidelines" [COM(2003) 294 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 18.11.2005
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