Ref. :  000022318
Date :  2005-11-21
Language :  English
Home Page / The whole website
fr / es / de / po / en

Speech by the President at the opening of the extraordinary session of the EMPA


Ladies and gentlemen, fellow parliamentarians,

I should like first of all to thank President Radi for his hospitality and for his invaluable help in enabling this extraordinary session to be held in Rabat.

Thanks to him, we shall be the only institution celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Barcelona Process in the South.

I should like to take this opportunity to welcome Mr Federico Mayor Zaragoza, the UN Secretary-General's personal representative for the 'Alliance of Civilisations' and a special guest at our meeting.

We in the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly are the children of the Barcelona Process. We are the parliamentary dimension of that process. By virtue of the nature of our duties, our debates can and must be more open, more transparent and more truthful.

So let us make use of our special status to play a more important role in the process now beginning, which I shall call 'Barcelona 2'.
I hope that our debates will be fruitful and enable us to send a clear message to the Heads of State and Government at the Barcelona Summit, which the EMPA has been invited to attend.

Ten years after Barcelona '95, the time has come to take stock. Let us take this opportunity to draw lessons from the past and apply them in the future.

At political level, unfortunately, conflicts persist and they are a barrier to development.

At economic level, the gap between the two shores of the Mediterranean is growing wider every day.

The Mediterranean marks a frontier of inequality in the world. Nowhere else can such vast disparities in income be found at such close quarters. During the decade from 1994 to 2004, the per capita GDP of the Fifteen more than doubled, and is now in excess of 30,000 dollars. During the same period, in the southern Mediterranean, per capita income increased from slightly less than 5000 dollars to slightly more than 5000 dollars. In the ten new Member States of the Union, it increased from 6000 to almost 15,000 dollars.

Nevertheless, there has been a substantial transfer of public funds from Europe. Around 3000 million euro per year is provided in assistance under the MEDA programme and in the form of EIB loans.

The problem is, however, that this public assistance has not been matched by private investment.

Why not? There are many reasons, but allow me to outline just two of them.

Firstly, there is the persistence of conflicts of different kinds, ranging from the situation in the Middle East, to the closure of the frontier between Morocco and Algeria.

Secondly, there is no proper framework for bringing investment in. This would require good governance, and good governance is linked to political reform and democracy.

We do not wish to tell people what to do. What we want to see is a Mediterranean region based on fair and efficient conditions in both the economic and political fields.

We are meeting here today to map out the future. It is vital to rethink and remodel the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Let me say a few words on this subject.

First of all, the Euro-Mediterranean partnership cannot continue to be a regional policy. It must become a global policy.

In fact, all the challenges facing the 20th century can be found concentrated in the Mediterranean: terrorism, immigration, the environment, access to knowledge, and so on.

We can and must overcome those challenges together. Many things unite us. The Mediterranean is a living reality.

Secondly, in order to fight terrorism we must consolidate democracy. Terrorism has struck on both sides of the Mediterranean. In Madrid, in London, in Casablanca, in Djerba, in Sharm El-Sheikh and now in Aman.

As it pursues its deadly aims, it is clear it cares nothing either for the religion or the skin colour of its victims.

This is yet another reason why we as parliamentarians must reject outright and once and for all the arguments of those who claim that this is a 'clash of civilisations'.

The use of special powers, restrictions on the free exercise of civil and political rights, the outlawing of political parties which have accepted democratic rules and the rule of law, attacks on individual freedoms - none of these is an adequate response.

We can only fight terrorism if we work together. At the Barcelona Summit, the Heads of State and Government are due to adopt a code of conduct on fighting terrorism along the lines proposed by our Committee on Political Affairs.

Thirdly, we must pay serious attention to migratory flows

The European dream may have stalled within the Union itself, but the EU continues to nourish the dreams of the millions who wish to emigrate there.

The Mediterranean countries are on the front line. The countries of the south have to cope with the fact that a part of their population wishes to emigrate. They also have to deal with the wave of migration from the populations of the sub-Saharan countries.

Europe must not - and cannot - be a fortress, as the European Union Culture Ministers affirmed in Budapest last Saturday. It would be contrary to its values and to its own interests.

There are those who believe that a new wall - the Mediterranean wall - will protect them. They are completely mistaken. 'If Europe will not go to the South, the South will come, illegally or clandestinely, to Europe'.

The problems of Lampedusa, Ceuta and Melilla are not Italian, Spanish or Moroccan problems. They are Euro-Mediterranean problems. Also and above all they are the human dramas produced by a neglected Africa.

Our response must be a collective one. It must be based on respect for all. And the burden of the cost must not fall on those who are closest to the problem.

The draft resolutions drawn up by our Committee on Culture and by the Barcelona Summit are a step in the right direction and we should support their main points: partnership with countries of origin and transit in the field of illegal immigration; a European strategy on legal immigration; eradication of the main causes of illegal immigration, which are for the most part economic; and respect for international obligations.

A European immigration policy can only be effective if it goes hand in hand with a series of national policies to help immigrants to integrate.

Europe must welcome immigrants. It must welcome them and help them to integrate by offering them the means move up the 'social ladder'.

This debate is an integral part of the general debate on the European social model. To deny this is to refuse to see the facts.

Fourthly, protecting the environment is another of the major objectives of our partnership.

The Mediterranean has 191 UNESCO world heritage sites, yet a diagnosis of the regions environmental situation is truly alarming.

One of the most urgent problems is the shortage of water. The excessive growth in water consumption will in future give rise to still more serious crises: in 2000, 45 million people were faced with extreme water shortages, while by 2025 that number will have risen to 63 million. By the same year, one in three Mediterranean countries will be using up more than 50% of the annual volume of renewable natural resources available to it.

Our Committee on Culture has also drawn attention to this situation. The Barcelona Summit will set the target of clearing up pollution in the Mediterranean by 2020. This is just as well, given that - to mention but one figure - 60% of urban waste water is discharged into the sea without any prior treatment.

Fifthly, access to knowledge is a basic necessity.

Without access to education, there can be no development, no social justice, no equal opportunities and no gender equality.

Over the last ten year, little progress has been made, precisely at a time when when new information technologies have been emerging all around us.

The Barcelona Summit will make this one of its priorities. The aim is to achieve the Millennium Goals. The summit will put forward deadlines, particularly for literacy and access to education.

As things stand, unfortunately, we have a lot of ground to make up, as is illustrated by two examples:

Firstly, unless considerable efforts are made, 5.7 million children will still not be in school in Arab countries by 2015. The target is zero.

Secondly, in 2005 49% of women in Arab countries are illiterate, as against 27% of men.

Our desire to establish a genuine University of the Mediterranean and a Euro-Mediterranean Scientific Research Fund is a step in the right direction.

These initiatives would help to prevent the brain drain from going any further.

From North to North (Europe to North America) and East to West (from our eastern neighbours to the EU) the brain drain has changed course and is now flowing from South to North (from Africa to Europe).

So how should we react if we are to revitalise the Barcelona Process?

The first and most important way of doing so is to restore a proper balance to North-South trade.

The statistics speak for themselves.

Trade relations are still extremely one-sided. Trade with the Mediterranean countries accounts for less than 7% of EU external trade; trade with the EU for close to 50% of the Mediterranean countries' external trade.

Disregarding the oil-producing countries, the Union has a large trade surplus with the Mediterranean countries. The trade deficit of those countries stood at 15.621 billion dollars in 1990 and had risen to 29.080 billion dollars by 2003.

With a view to rectifying these imbalances, a 'road-map' enabling the free trade area to be brought into being by 2010 is a good idea.

This is what the Barcelona Summit is calling for in its declaration, with the support of our Committee on Economic Affairs, namely the liberalisation of trade in agricultural products, the liberalisation of services and the creation of a Euro-Med energy market, with the possible conversion of the FEMIP into a Euro-Mediterranean Development Bank.

Secondly, by promoting South-South trade.

We all know that trade between the southern Mediterranean countries is all but non-existent, standing at no more than 4.4% in 1995 and 5% in 2003.

Why is this so?

Because of the persistence of regional conflicts, as I said at the start of this address.

In the Middle East, a singificant step forward has been taken with the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. But a long road strewn with obstacles still lies ahead.

There have been other encouraging signs over recent days. In Rafah the border with Egypt is to be opened under the Palestinian-Israeli agreement. This is an extremely important development.

As has been acknowledged by both sides, the EU has played a positive role in this process. The Union will now deploy a border assistance mission, starting next week.

It is clear, however, that we need to go further. For the road-map to regain its full meaning, both parties need to prove that there is a genuine political will to move forward.

Is this possible when our Assembly was not even able to meet in Ramallah owing to a lack of the necessary political will on both sides?

Our role as parliamentarians includes promoting all civil society iniatives aimed at bring the parties together. There is no lack of such initiatives. A large number of men and women have made a firm commitment to such action. I take this opportunity to acknowledge the work carried out by Mr Radi as chair of the Working Party on the Middle East, whose conclusions should be submitted to us at our next meeting.

Economic confidence can only take hold if political confidence is restored.

Thirdly, with a view to reinvigorating the Barcelona Process, good use should also be made of the opportunities offered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).

Ten years ago, the ENP did not even exist. It now covers 16 neighbours, including nine Mediterranean countries.

These figures are a reflection of the new structures being developed around the EU and of the Union's power of attraction.


Some see the ENP as a development that will water down the Mediterranean partnership. I take the opposite view, believing that it can help us make this new approach more specifically Mediterranean.

The consolidation of bilateral aspects within the framework of the ENP should enable us to strengthen our multilateral framework.

Lastly, we must play to the full our role as a parliamentary assembly and make really practical use of all the opportunities to give a political impetus to Euro-Mediterranean relations that present themselves.

We must now lay the arrangements for dialogue between our assembly and the Ministerial Conference. The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership needs to be given political structures and democtratic legitimacy.

The EMPA is intended to be a discussion forum, which is as it should be, but it must be a forum in which the real problems are discussed in an open manner, without any of the reserve and secrecy that characterise diplomatic conferences. Our open approach to dialogue will prove that ours is a mature project.

As a general rule, calls for reform are first voiced and given substance within parliamentary assemblies. This places us one step ahead of governments, and we should take good advantage of this situation.

At the same time, our assembly should be able to carry out election observation missions within the framework of a revitalised partnership.

This would enable it to provide support to countries attempting to consolidate their governmental systems.

The task facing us is a major one, and I hope that I can count on each and every one of you to contribute fully to meeting our objectives.

Many thanks and best wishes for the work that lies ahead.


Rate this content
 
 
 
Average of 166 ratings 
Rating 2.60 / 4 MoyenMoyenMoyenMoyen
Same author:
 flecheEuropean Parliament resolution of 17 May 2017 on the situation in Hungary
 flecheConflict minerals: the bloody truth behind your smartphone
 flecheGender balance: five areas for improvement
 flecheRobots and artificial intelligence: MEPs call for EU-wide liability rules
 flecheTerrorism: members to vote on new measures against foreign fighters
 flecheVAT reform: how MEPs intend to tackle the €50 billion a year fraud
 flecheAfter CETA: the EU trade agreements that are in the pipeline
 flecheRussia is no longer a strategic partner of the EU, say MEPs
 flecheParliament urges EU member states to gear up for new security challenges now
 flecheAn ocean of plastic to eradicate
 flecheEP this week: €315 billion investment plan, robots and consumer safety
 flecheArmenian genocide centenary: MEPs urge Turkey and Armenia to normalize relations
 flecheAlbania and Bosnia & Herzegovina: political commitment is key to path towards EU
 flecheEU counter-terrorism coordinator: “Jail is a major incubator of radicalisation”
 flecheInter-religious dialogue: the way to defeat extremism
 flechePassenger Name Record and data protection talks should go hand in hand, MEPs say
 flecheEuropean Parliament backs EU-Moldova association deal
 flecheEnvironment Committee backs flexibility for EU countries to ban GMO crops
 flecheAnother record-breaking year for Erasmus
 flecheThe EU's energy dependence: facts and figures
 flecheMEPs urge EU to help 5.3 million young people find decent jobs
 flecheEuropean Parliament gives go-ahead for Lithuania to join the euro
 flecheMartin Schulz re-elected President of the European Parliament
 flecheParliament starts its new term with seven political groups
 flecheElection of new EP President, 14 Vice-Presidents and five Quaestors
 flecheConference of Presidents: the backbone of the European Parliament
 flecheData Protection: The dangers of the web
 flecheLithuania: how the euro could be gaining currency
 flecheEP committees: at the heart of European politics
 flecheResults of the 2014 European elections
 flecheForsmark: how Sweden alerted the world about the danger of the Chernobyl disaster
 fleche2014 European elections: latest projections of seats in the Parliament
 flecheOverview of Parliament and the 2014 elections
 flecheNet neutrality: Industry MEPs want stricter rules against blocking rival services
 flecheParliament maintains €3.5 billion in aid for the most deprived from 2014 to 2020
 flecheMigrants: MEPs endorse search and rescue rules to prevent further deaths at sea
 flecheThe Troika: How Europe's bailout power broker works
 flecheCentral African Republic: How can the EU help?
 flecheReport on the EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity
 flechePublic health MEPs to vote on final deal for tobacco products
 flecheCO2 emissions: cleaner vans by 2020
 flecheEU's long-term budget: how it all adds up
 flecheAung San Suu Kyi receives Sakharov Prize awarded in 1990
 flecheEU-China: the trade partnership worth €1 billion a day
 flecheMalala Yousafzai - winner of the Sakharov Prize 2013
 flecheEmployment MEPs approve plans to help more young people to work or training
 flecheEU drugs report: vigilance needed to tackle fast moving markets
 flecheAgriculture committee calls for EU-wide action to save bees
 flecheDid the WikiLeaks incidents create more or less democracy in the world?
 flecheCulture MEPs call on EU for more European online conversation
 flecheDevelopment aid: strong EU commitment needed to get MDGs back on track
 flecheLes films en 3D à l'épreuve de la saison d'été du cinéma américain
 flecheAnnée européenne du volontariat
 flecheMEPs mull over merits of an EU tax on financial transactions
 flecheGlobal warming: less meat = less heat
 flecheMore EU support for volunteering
 flecheG20: avoid placing too big a burden on future generations
 flecheExtending the scope of the Globalisation Adjustment Fund to respond to the crisis
 flecheUN's business and human rights envoy John Ruggie interviewed
 flecheSecurity and fundamental freedoms on the Internet
 flecheWater – 71% of the Earth's surface, but still scarce
 fleche"People like to participate in politics....on their computers!"
 flecheAmid economic crisis, roundtable debates 10 years of the euro
 flecheHuman rights remain key to EU-China trade relations
 flecheMEPs' diagnosis on economy ahead of Washington G20
 flecheMEPs and MPs debate CAP's future and world food security role
 flecheMEPs back new Erasmus Mundus Programme for student mobility and university exchanges
 flecheEurope struggles to influence UN human rights agenda
 flecheFuture of European cohesion policy debated with regions and cities
 flecheMember States to fulfil their ODA volumes, warn MEPs
 flecheImmigration: MEPs and national MPs reject "fortress Europe"
 flecheCan EU funds be put to use to help food crisis?
 flecheSarkozy to the European Parliament: "Europe can not be condemned to inaction"

 fleche1968-2008: 4 decades of customs union
 flecheErasmus Mundus: "be curious and don't hesitate"
 flecheAsma Jahangir : « Donner la parole à l’immense majorité qui veut vivre dans la diversité »
 flecheTrade in raw materials and commodities- MEPs concerned about supply
 flecheParliament and climate change: Carbon Capture and Storage
 flecheEuropean Parliament calls for more transparency on lobbying
 flecheUN advisor Professor Jeffrey Sachs on soaring food prices
 flecheInternational agreement cannot wait, warn climate change MEPs in Washington
 flecheMEPs to debate calls for more open WTO Wednesday
 flecheMEPs call for sharper focus on jobs and growth potential of cultural industries
 flecheBurma: EU needs "coherent strategy" ahead of military's poll
 flecheHearing told of high levels of child poverty in Europe
 flecheEuropean Parliament at 50 - images from half a century
 flecheWill Europe take in Guantánamo Bay prisoners?
 flecheLiverpool and Stavanger – European Capitals of Culture 2008
 flecheSuper Tuesday in America: can Europe learn lessons?
 flecheAre your details caught in the World Wide Web?
 flecheGrand Mufti of Syria: a single civilisation unites us all
 flecheIs immigration the cure for a declining working population?
 fleche2007 Sakharov winner Salih Mahmoud Osman warns of "atmosphere on impunity" in Darfur - Interview
 flecheEuropean Parliament approves the Charter of Fundamental Rights and urges UK and Poland to apply it
 flecheACP-EU: workshop looks at "Justice on the grass" Rwanda's victims
 flecheGlobalisation: MEPs debate the challenges and opportunities
 flecheChina committed to fighting climate change, but not yet to quantitative targets, says EP delegation
 flecheSeat distribution up for discussion in Parliament
 flecheHow different are parliamentarians from either side of the Atlantic?
 flecheEU regional policy stakeholders debate global economic challenges
 flecheEuromed Assembly in Tunis focuses on intercultural dialogue
 flecheEuropean Year of Intercultural Dialogue should focus on religion
 flecheEurope's cultural heritage only a click away?
 flecheParliament adopts priorities on legal and illegal immigration policies
 flecheHighlights: MEPs to discuss energy, immigration, rail, toys in 2nd September Plenary
 flecheEnvironment MEPs back compulsory CO2 cap on cars
 flecheNatural disasters, EU solidarity fund needed without delay and European reaction force
 flecheAs Erasmus turns 20 some MEPs share their memories
 flecheEurope's cultural heritage only a click away?
 flecheBrazil's President Lula on trade, agriculture, poverty and biofuels
 flechePortugal's EU Presidency: MEPs on their expectations
 flecheLes attentes du monde arabe à l’égard de l’Union européenne : L’espérance déçue d’une alternative aux États-Unis ?
 flecheMEPs give green light to new European Globalisation Fund
 flecheLe Parlement européen remet le Prix Sakharov 2006 à Alexandre Milinkevitch
 fleche2006 report: the drugs problem in Europe
 flecheDrugs in Europe cheaper than ever says report
 flecheDer EU-Beitritt Bulgariens und Rumäniens
 flecheThe EU must define how far it can expand with new member states
 flecheFair Trade and Development - call for the Commission to act
 flecheRapport sur le commerce équitable et le développement
 flecheL'Union européenne devrait bientôt s'exprimer d'une seule voix à l'UNESCO
 flecheEuromed: much achieved, much still to be done
 fleche Discours du Président Borrell devant la première Assemblée Parlementaire Euroméditerranéenne
 flecheParliament calls for a constructive WTO meeting in Hong Kong
 flecheREACH, the chemistry behind a colossal project
 flecheEl Houdaïgui, Rachid
 flecheParliament gives green light to Romania and Bulgaria
 flecheFerrero-Waldner, Benita
 flecheA clear "yes" to the Constitution
 flecheBudget 2005: MEPs urge more money for EU's key policy areas
 flecheBorell, Josep
 flecheMEPs call for EU seat on Security Council
 flecheIGC - need to move on - not a time for recriminations
 flecheCommission President Prodi unveils action plan as a result of Eurostat affair
 flecheEnlargement: EU should promote decision on Kosovo final status within two years
 flecheExternal Relations: Urgent call on both Israel and Palestinians not to declare the peace process dead
 flecheSecurity and Defence: Financing and priorities for EU foreign and security policy
 flecheUrgent call to both Israel and Palestinians not to declare the peace process dead
 flecheCommissioner Verheugen gives foretaste of monitoring reports on accession countries
 flecheEurostat: a chronology of events
 flecheEtendre Erasmus au monde entier
 flechePour une politique volontaire de lutte contre les maladies liées à la pauvreté
 flecheLe directeur général de l'OMC promet des efforts pour associer plus intensément la société civile aux négociations de Doha
 flecheSustainable development: towards a global partnership. Greens/EFA Report Accepted by the Commission
 flecheNicole Fontaine: "une Convention porteuse d'espoir pour l'avenir de l'Union"
13
SEARCH
Keywords   go
in 
Translate this page Traduire par Google Translate
Share

Share on Facebook
FACEBOOK
Partager sur Twitter
TWITTER
Share on Google+Google + Share on LinkedInLinkedIn
Partager sur MessengerMessenger Partager sur BloggerBlogger
Other items
where is published this article: