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IP/07/1639

Brussels, 31 October 2007

Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: advancing regional co-operation to support peace, progress and inter-cultural dialogue

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner will attend a ministerial meeting of Euro-Mediterranean Partners in Lisbon on 4/5 November. The meeting will review progress on the implementation of the 5-Year work programme agreed at the Barcelona Summit in 2005 and outline the priorities for 2008. The Foreign Ministers will discuss how to pursue this reform agenda, to bring concrete results, suggest further activities for the Code of Conduct on countering terrorism and discuss the Middle East Peace Process and situation in the region. During the meeting in Lisbon the Commissioner will participate in separate Troikas meetings with the Israeli delegation and the Arab group and take part in bilateral meetings with Euro-Mediterranean partners.

The European Commission has proposed in a Communication[1] issued on October 17 priorities for implementation of the work programme, in fields such as political and security dialogue, implementation of the code of conduct on countering terrorism, civil protection, free trade, energy, transport, environment, education, strengthening the role of women in society, inter-cultural dialogue and migration and looks forward to seeing these adopted by the Ministerial meeting.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: "The Five-Year Action Plan agreed at the Barcelona Summit draws the operational map for our common endeavours. After 12 years of progressive co-operation, we need to mobilise political will, courage and determination, to make a reality of the goals we set ourselves in 2005 and to achieve our joint objectives of peace, prosperity and security for the region. Partnerships are principally about people. That is why we will be discussing work in areas in which we need to make progress for the benefit of the people in the region."

Activities in 2008 are expected to include

  • joint work on the fight against terrorism including implementation of the Code of Conduct agreed in 2005 with a particular focus on technical issues such as reinforcing international cooperation on criminal matters and combating the use of internet for terrorism purposes;
  • liberalisation of trade in services and the right of establishment, establishment of a dispute settlement mechanism, regulatory convergence and enhanced investment to further deepen economic integration:
  • launching the first year of Euro-Mediterranean Inter-Cultural Dialogue;
  • Ministerial conferences on the Information Society, Industry, Trade, Tourism and Employment:
  • further co-operation between North and South partners to help the latter with low-lying coastal areas endangered by climate change in fields such as: early warning, technology transfer and capacity building;
  • further implementation of the action plan agreed by the first ministerial meeting on strengthening the role of women in society in Istanbul in 2006.

Background

The Barcelona Process, launched by Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers in November 1995, formed an innovative alliance based on the principles of joint ownership, dialogue and co-operation. The Partnership has been driven since by a common political will to build together a space of peace, security and shared prosperity. It has been successful in creating long-term political and institutional links between Europe and its Mediterranean partners, in establishing the foundations for free trade and in engaging Mediterranean partners in the path of reforms. The priority of the Barcelona Process is to develop the regional dimension of the Partnership between Europe and the Sothern Mediterranean. With the European Neighbourhood policy working to complement and reinforce the Barcelona Process, through action plans agreed with the Partner countries, an added impetus has been given to bringing about a qualitative change in Euro-Mediterranean relations
More information at:
http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/euromed/index.htm


[1] Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the preparation of the Lisbon Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Affairs Conference (5-6 November 2007). The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: Advancing Regional Cooperation to support peace, progress and inter-cultural dialogue
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/com/2007/com2007_0598en01.pdf


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