& Training Seminar for Diplomats
28th September - 5th October, 1996
EURO-MEDITERRANEAN PARLIAMENTARY FORUM AND
Hon ANTON TABONE, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Malta
like to firstly thank you for your invitation to speak to you about
the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum and its perspective on
the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Process.
2nd session of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum (EMPF)
was held in Brussels on 8 and 9 February 2001 and was attended by
parliamentarians representing the parliaments of the Mediterranean
countries participating in the Barcelona process, the national parliaments
of the Member States of the European Union and the European Parliament.
participating members welcomed the fact that this second session
was being held at a time when the need for dialogue and cooperation
in every area of the partnership is greater than ever, because of
the various conflicts and crises affecting the process initiated
at Barcelona in 1995.
participants agreed that the Euro-Mediterranean Forum will now meet
annually and will constitute a genuine forum for exchanges of views
between parliamentarians of the European Union and of the Mediterranean
countries, with a view to giving fresh impetus to, and developing,
the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. This is why we decided to set
up a permanent body consisting of Members of the European Parliament,
of the national parliaments of the Member States and of the parliaments
of the Mediterranean partner countries to enable work to continue
the Forum we focused on the three chapters of the partnership and
the need to make progress with them in a dynamic, balanced and complementary
of the discussion at the second session of the Forum also concerned
Euro-Mediterranean initiatives and documents presented last year
by the various European institutions and, in particular, the Common
Strategy on the Mediterranean adopted by the European Council at
Feira on 19 June 2000, the Commission's communication, 'Reinvigorating
the Barcelona process' and the conclusions of the 4th Conference
of Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers held in Marseilles on 15
and 16 November 2000.
contributions presented by us various Mediterranean partners and
the recommendations and positions adopted by the various parliaments
were also presented and taken into account, including the Final
Declaration of the 1st session of the Euro-Mediterranean Forum held
on 27 and 28 October 1998 in Brussels.
second session of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum focused
on four main themes: the need for a new vision of the future for
the Euro-Mediterranean region, the new common strategy of the European
Union for the region, the need to impart fresh impetus to the Barcelona
Process, and the Middle East conflict and peace process and their
impact on the Barcelona Process.
need for a new vision of the future for the Euro-Mediterranean region
EMPF is in favour of establishing a comprehensive partnership based
on the approach adopted in the Barcelona Declaration, taking account,
in every case, of the mutual interests of the parties and setting
out a genuine strategic perspective for the whole of the region.
reminds the States which are partners in the Barcelona Process of
the need to establish an external policy for the region which accords
it the importance it deserves and which takes account of its geopolitical
significance and of the ties created by geography and by a long
the eve of the enlargement of the European Union, the Forum points
out the need for Europe to turn to the countries of the southern
Mediterranean and to strengthen their mutual cooperation in the
context of the partnership;
new common strategy of the European Union for the region
EMPF noted the adoption at Feira on 19 June 2000 of the new common
strategy for the Mediterranean region, but regrets that the partner
States were not much more closely involved in drafting this common
EMPF considers that the new strategy must lead to the establishment
of an area of peace and stability based on political partnership
and economic and commercial cooperation and the human and cultural
dimension; it must also lead to the formation of a region of shared
prosperity by means of the gradual establishment of a free-trade
area between the European Union and its partners and among the partners
themselves, and to better understanding between the peoples of the
region and the emergence of a more active civil society.
The need to impart fresh impetus to the Barcelona Process
EMPF reaffirmed that strict respect for human rights, individual
liberties and democratic principles as fundamental elements in the
creation of an area of peace, stability and sustainable economic
development in the Euro-Mediterranean region is essential to the
EMPF gave its support to the strengthening of a Euro-Mediterranean
partnership in which solidarity should play a far greater role and
which should be far more effective than at present. This partnership
should also be based on respect for national sovereignty and on
justice, mutual trust and democratic parliamentary dialogue; in
this context the Parliamentary Forum intends to play a much more
active role in order to counteract the excessively intergovernmental
approach of the current process and to integrate to a greater extent
the views of public opinion in the process.
Forum takes the view that the progress made in the text of the Euro-Mediterranean
association remains insufficient and calls on all the governments
of the States which are parties to the Barcelona Process and on
the institutions concerned to step up their efforts to improve financial
and technical assistance, to impart fresh impetus to political cooperation
and to do everything in their power to make full use of all the
opportunities offered by the new MEDA II programme.
EMPF also calls for the revised Barcelona Process not to establish
any hierarchy among the three current fields for action and for
the qualitative importance of social, cultural and immigration aspects
to be equivalent to that assigned to economic and political aspects.
The Middle East conflict and peace process and their impact on the
Forum unanimously deplores the loss of human life and the material
damage caused by the Middle East conflict. It unreservedly supports
the efforts to negotiate a comprehensive, just peace in the Middle
East on the basis of strict compliance with all relevant UN resolutions
concerning the problems of refugees, security, borders, settlements
and Jerusalem, on the basis of the principles of the Madrid Conference
and the subsequent agreements concluded between the conflicting
EMPF unanimously calls for a much more active political role to
be played by the European Union with a view to securing progress
in the Middle East peace process. The EMPF also calls for the unconditional
lifting of all restrictions on the free movement of persons and
goods within, to and from the Palestinian territories, in accordance
with the Oslo agreements.
EMPF also requested that negotiations resume in the immediate future,
on the basis of the progress made during the latest negotiations,
and reaffirms that renunciation of the excessive use of force and
of all forms of violence is an essential condition to be respected,
as required by the relevant international conventions.
EMPF stressed the need to ensure that the spirit of partnership
is maintained by more frequent parliamentary meeting and recognises
that a favourable development of the Middle East peace process constitutes
the basis for reinforcing and reinvigorating the Euro-Mediterranean
The EMPF also examined other issues of interest to the partnership
included calling for the lifting of the economic embargo on Iraq
for humanitarian reasons and for compliance with the United Nations
resolutions. It also called for the obstacles linked to the embargo
on Libya to be removed, in accordance with the United Nations resolutions,
so that Libya can take a full part in the Barcelona Process.
EMPF reiterated its call for Mauritana to be able to participate
as a full member in the political dialogue of the Barcelona Process.
It also expressed its conviction of the need to find a solution
to the problem of Cyprus which complies with the UN resolutions,
and appreciates the efforts made by the Secretary-General to find
a solution to the Cypriot problem.
EMPF dedicated a large part of its proceedings to developments within
the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. The topics that are assessed
in more detail in the Final Declaration of the Second Euro-Mediterranean
Parliamentary Forum included: The political and security partnership;
the desirability of a new Euro-Mediterranean political and security
association to promote stability in the region, the role of civil
society in the revised Barcelona Process, and Economic and trade
aspects of the Barcelona Process and the establishment of a free
EMPF regrets that it was not possible to adopt the Euro-Mediterranean
Charter for Peace and Stability at the 4th Euro-Mediterranean Conference
in Marseilles and hopes that it will be adopted as soon as possible
and that this Charter will develop politically and will genuinely
be able to contribute to the implementation of the principles stated
in the Barcelona Declaration as regards all aspects of peace and
stability in the region.
Forum also agrees on the need to broaden the agenda for political
dialogue in the region to include a number of other topics relating
to security, arms control, terrorism, migration, respect for human
rights and the principle of the rule of law, as well as issues relating
to the environment, the safety of maritime transport and combating
EMPF expressed its agreement with the creation of a free trade area
by 2010, which should involve the creation of a genuine 'common
market' for all goods, capital and services. In this connection
a regulatory framework and a timetable for harmonisation measures
in certain priority sectors could already be established between
now and 2002.
Forum noted that foreign direct investment in the region is inadequate
and encourages all the partner States and institutions concerned
to increase investment constantly.
EMPF called for regional cooperation projects to be brought into
line with environmental requirements and sustainable development.
Partner countries are also asked to take the necessary measures
with regard to integrated management of water resources, waste disposal,
critical points (polluted areas and biodiversity risks) integrated
management of coastal areas and measures to combat desertification,
making use of the European Union's know-how and experience.
EMPF supports the strengthening of Euro-Mediterranean association
in the social, cultural and human spheres which bring it closer
to the people of the region and particularly regrets that this aspect
had not been sufficiently developed in relation to the political
and economic aspects of the Barcelona Process, In particular it
call for account to be taken of the social impact of economic transition
in the various national programmes.
EMPF supports a new approach to issues concerning immigration and
the free movement of persons. It recommends that the partner States
and the European Union introduce harmonised legislation on migration
flow organisation and the fight against illegal immigration, lay
down temporary immigration policies, create specific visas for Euro-Mediterranean
operators, assist immigrants with their projects in their country
of origin and adopt a policy of integration in host countries for
lawfully resident immigrants.
EMPF stressed the vital importance of much greater and more effective
financial cooperation for the implementation of the three aspects
of the Barcelona Process and, accordingly, regards the € 5.350
bn MEDA II budget adopted by the Council of the European Union for
the period 2000-2006 as extremely inadequate.
also called for better management of the MEDA programme and much
more decentralised cooperation with regard to financial aid, which
should be aimed at achieving progress as regards democracy, good
governance, the rule of law and sustainable development.
most importantly, the EMPF adopted by consensus the decision to
meet annually in future and to set up a Group to follow up the conclusions
of the previous Forum, comprising one member of each parliament
of the countries party to the Barcelona Process plus appropriate
European Parliament representation, to operate between sessions.
The EMPF also decided to accept the invitation from the Italian
Parliament; the Third Forum will therefore meet in the first half
of 2002 in Italy.
would also like to underline that our main objective is to analyse
developments in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership process and suggest
recommendations to improve the Process. This will show our people
that through our National assemblies, we can play a salient role
in the process of building and consolidating Mediterranean dialogue,
primarily through the furthering of associations of Euro-Mediterranean
Parliaments, thus expressing the sovereign will of peoples of these
institutionalising Euro-Mediterranean inter-parliamentary dialogue
we must bear in mind our responsibilities to the people we represent
in democratising the parliamentary process and moreover the action
that is necessary to promote an effective working relationship with
social agents, non-governmental organisations and equally with youth
organisations and initiatives, such as this Seminar, where our nation's
future leaders receive their formation.
my very best wishes to your proceedings here in Malta and thank
the organisers of this meeting, the European Commission and the
Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, for providing me with
this opportunity to share the EMPF's viewpoint with you.