Resolution on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership
Meeting of the Socialist International Mediterranean Committee, Tangier, 21-22 March 1997
The Socialist International Mediterranean Committee, meeting in Tangier on 21-22 March 1997:
Notes with satisfaction the persistence and development of the Euro-Mediterranean dynamic launched by the November 1995 Barcelona conference, and pursued through follow-up action based on a number of extremely vital questions and matters concerning the definition and promotion of new Euro-Mediterranean relations, on the basis of a new, balanced and equitable approach to cooperation.
In just over one year a series of Euro-Mediterranean meetings have taken place, covering a number of important subjects including political, technological and institutional matters as well as questions relating to infrastructure and security, etc.
Underlines the relevance of the appraisal made by the 20th SI congress in New York in September 1996 with regard to the work and declaration of the Barcelona conference, noting that the latter "represents a big step forward for the aspirations of the progressive sectors in the region and gave rise to legitimate hopes that inequalities and injustices could be corrected through mechanisms of cooperation freely entered into by the different countries attending this historic meeting".
Considers that this new phase of Mediterranean co-operation is not only possible but absolutely necessary, so much so that the stability, security and prosperity of the Mediterranean area undeniably rests upon it. It goes without saying that the establishment and maintenance of conditions of peace, security and prosperity on the northern shores of the Mediterranean are more than ever linked to the promotion of economic and social development in countries to the south and east of the Mediterranean.
Notes with regret the disparities which characterise the application of the spirit and principles of the Barcelona Declaration:
- Implementation of the "social, cultural and human" part is thus reduced to a security dimension and the orientation expressed by the Barcelona Declaration to encourage dialogue between cultures and promotes human, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges, is held back by the notable absence of a community policy on the matter. The Member States should clearly define a common policy on immigration and access to territory, and ask European Union and Mediterranean countries to come to an agreement which is satisfactory to both parties and which should include a charter on the rights of migrants.
Particularly shocked by several shipwrecks where boats have sunk in the Mediterranean resulting in several hundred victims, it is clear that they are victims of trafficking in people. Urgent measures are demanded to put a stop to this shameful trafficking and this should be included on the agenda at the Second Euro-Mediterranean Conference.
- Implementation of the financial part remains modest and the financial effort determined by the European summit at Cannes, taken up again in the Barcelona Declaration, is proving insufficient in response to the needs of sustained development.
Thus the amount of money allocated to the countries to the south and east of the Mediterranean is in fact equivalent to 0.4 per cent of the GDP of the Mediterranean countries. For a population estimated at around 224 million inhabitants this represents, in terms of aid per inhabitant per year, three times less than the amount destined for PECO.
- The weight of the foreign debt and its service still constitute a bottleneck for the countries to the south of the Mediterranean which considerably limits any room for manoeuvre, in terms of public and social investment as well as investment in infrastructure.
The urgent, indispensable need to deal with these problems cannot be ignored. Policies for restructuring and reducing the outstanding debts of the countries of the south are clearly and urgently required.
- The prospect of constructing a free-exchange zone by the year 2010, a zone of shared prosperity aimed at reducing gaps in development in the Mediterranean region, involves a voluntary undertaking by countries on the northern shores. The reduction of agricultural imports from the south of the Mediterranean is prejudicial to the developing countries.
Stresses that carrying out South-North integration in the Mediterranean, with a view to creating a stable and prosperous Mediterranean area requires the constituent parties on both sides of the sea to demonstrate a strong political will and a keen sense of voluntary involvement going beyond considerations of an economic nature, and to set out actions and initiatives for the integration process in a project for the future which will make the Mediterranean area a place of peace, stability and prosperity.
In order to do this, the Mediterranean committee,
- Expresses its desire that European integration in the framework of an enlarged, structured, and dynamic EU must go hand in hand with its overture of solidarity across the whole of the Mediterranean. It stresses the need to promote sub-regional groups between southern Mediterranean countries. The relaunch of the Maghreb project (UMA) is an absolute necessity in this matter if the North African countries are to confront together the difficulties resulting from the Mediterranean integration process and face up to the impact of the globalisation arising from the GATT/OMC agreements.
- Invites the EU and the countries to the south and east of the Mediterranean to define together an advanced statute for the Euro-Mediterranean area. This must not be constructed solely on market considerations, but must have its foundations in multiple networks of financial, technological and cultural solidarity.
- In this perspective, joint pursuit of an appropriate and definitive solution to the question of foreign debt, resolution of disagreements on agricultural exports, implementation of consistent programmes aimed at levelling the gaps between Mediterranean economies in readiness for 2010 and the pursuit of dialogue within an appropriate, balanced and constructive framework on the wrongs to be found in the Mediterranean area, such as drugs, fundamentalist extremism or clandestine immigration, in order to determine their root causes and find a remedy to their disastrous propagation; these matters constitute thereof joint concerns and urgent tasks to which the Euro-Mediterranean partners are committed on the road towards a radical modification of North-South relations.
- The Mediterranean Committee invites member countries of Euro-Mediterranean areas to establish political mechanisms for the prevention of conflict. It invites them to resolve existing conflicts by a dialogue based on the respect of human rights and the rights of nations. The Mediterranean Committee proposes that specific mechanisms be developed which allow economic and financial co-operation to become a favoured means of support for the processes of democratisation and the peaceful resolution of conflict.
- Deems it necessary to provide a democratic foundation for the Euro-Mediterranean partnership through the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum, whose role would be to institute democratic supervision of the Barcelona process.
- Welcomes the forthcoming Malta Ministerial Conference (April 1997) which will surely constitute a crucial stage in the integration dynamic set in motion by the Barcelona Declaration.
- The Mediterranean committee calls on the Euro-Mediterranean partners to use this historic occasion to energise, develop and rationalise the Euro-Mediterranean partnership by showing more voluntary good will and political determination.