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The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: Time to Deliver


Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner will attend a ministerial meeting of Euro-Mediterranean Partners in Tampere on 27/28 November. The meeting will review progress on the implementation of the 5-Year work programme agreed at last year’s Barcelona Summit and outline the priorities for 2007. The Foreign Ministers will discuss how to pursue this reform agenda, to bring concrete results, and discuss the Middle East Peace Process and situation in the region at a working dinner. During the meeting in Tampere, the Commissioner will participate in separate Troikas meetings with the Israeli delegation and the Arab group.

Before her departure for Tampere Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner remarked: “When times are difficult, as they have been with this year’s conflicts and political upheavals, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership assumes even greater importance. Regional co-operation through the Barcelona process, in tandem with the European Neighbourhood Policy, gives us our best chance to attain our joint objectives. We need to mobilise political will and determination, to make a reality of the goals we set ourselves last year. . We will be discussing common agendas, and most important, work in areas in which we need to make progress for the benefit of the people in the region. I am committed to continue working with partners to translate commitments into facts It is time to deliver”.

The European Commission has proposed in a Communication priorities for implementation of the work programme in 2007[1], in fields such as political and security dialogue, implementation of the code of conduct on countering terrorism, free trade, energy, transport, environment, education, women’s rights, cultural dialogue and migration and looks forward to seeing these adopted by the Ministerial meeting.

Activities in 2007 are expected to include

  • joint work on the fight against terrorism including implementation of the Code of Conduct agreed last year, with a particular focus on the role of the media in preventing incitement and ensuring human rights in the fight against terrorism
  • liberalisation of trade in services and the right of establishment, negotiations on deeper agricultural liberalisation, regulatory convergence and enhanced investment to further deepen economic integration.
  • a ministerial conference on energy, with the aim of agreeing on priorities for co-operation to secure security of supply between Euro-Mediterranean partners, promote energy efficiency and conservation.  
  • a ministerial conference on migration, which will focus on legal migration, migration and development, and illegal migration.
  • implementing the Horizon 2020 initiative for the depollution of the Mediterranean sea
  • the launch by the Commission of a scholarship scheme for university students from the region and the holding of a ministerial conference on higher education,
  • start 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 cooperation. 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 Southern Mediterranean. With the European Neighbourhood policy working in complementarity and reinforcing 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