Select Committee on European Union Ninth Report


Common Strategy of the European Union on the Mediterranean Region

The European Council,

Having regard to the Treaty on European Union, in particular Article 13 thereof,

Has Adopted This Common Strategy:



1. The Mediterranean region is of strategic importance to the EU. A prosperous, democratic, stable and secure region, with an open perspective towards Europe, is in the best interests of the EU and Europe as a whole.

2. The Mediterranean region continues to be faced with political, economic, judicial, ecological and social challenges. If these complex and diverse challenges are to be overcome, the EU and the Mediterranean Partners must work together with a common vision, sensitivity and mutual respect.

3. The EU's Mediterranean policy is guided by the principle of partnership, a partnership which should be actively supported by both sides. The EU will work with its Mediterranean Partners to: develop good neighbourly relations; improve prosperity; eliminate poverty; promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy, good governance and the rule of law; promote cultural and religious tolerance; and develop co-operation with civil society, including NGOs. It will do so by supporting the efforts of the Mediterranean Partners to attain the goals set out by the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, by using its bilateral relations to pursue these objectives, and by contributing to the creation of a peaceful environment in the Middle East.

4. The Common Strategy builds on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership established by the Barcelona Declaration and its subsequent acquis, the Berlin Declaration and the European Union's long-standing policy towards the Mediterranean with its bilateral and regional components.

5. The EU is convinced that the successful conclusion of the Middle East Peace Process on all its tracks, and the resolution of other conflicts in the region, are important prerequisites for peace and stability in the Mediterranean. Given its interests in the region and its close and long-standing ties with its constituent countries, the Union aspires to play its full part in bringing about stability and development in the Middle East. The co-operation that has already been initiated in the framework of the Barcelona Process is a determining factor in laying the foundations for after peace has been achieved. The Union will therefore support the efforts of the parties to implement the peace agreements. In this regard the adoption of the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Peace and Stability, an objective which predates the adoption of this strategy, should be a deciding factor in the post-conflict process in the Mediterranean.

6. Bearing in mind the vital importance of the Mediterranean region to the EU, and with a view to further strengthening its Mediterranean dimension, the European Council adopts this Common Strategy. It covers all the EU's relations with all its partners in the Barcelona Process, and with Libya. But it does not include the EU's bilateral relations with those Mediterranean countries which are candidates for EU membership, since those relations are covered by the Accession Process. While the European Union will continue to play its full role in the Middle East Peace Process according to its acquis including the Berlin Declaration, this Common Strategy will cover the EU's contribution to the consolidation of peace in the Middle East once a comprehensive peace settlement has been achieved.



7. The European Union has the following goals in its policy towards the Mediterranean region:

·  to make significant and measurable progress towards achieving the objectives of the Barcelona Declaration and its subsequent acquis, i.e.:

¨  to establish a common area of peace and stability through a political and security partnership,

¨  to create and area of share prosperity through an economic and financial partnership,

¨  to establish a partnership in social, cultural and human affairs: developing human resources, promoting understanding between cultures and exchanges between civil societies;

·  to promote the core values embraced by the EU and its Member States—including human rights, democracy, good governance, transparency and the rule of law;

·  to encourage and assist Mediterranean partners with the process of achieving free trade with the EU and among themselves in the terms of the Barcelona Declaration, economic transition and attracting increased investment to the region;

·  to strengthen co-operation in the field of Justice and Home Affairs, as outlined by the Tampere European Council;

·  to pursue, in order to fight intolerance, racism and xenophobia, the dialogue between cultures and civilisations.

8. As far as security matters are concerned, the EU intends to make use of the evolving common European policy on security and defence to consider how to strengthen, together with its Mediterranean Partners, co-operative security in the region.

9. The Union has already played an active role in the past in the efforts to establish a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East and to bring about stability and development in the region. It regards the co-operation that has already been initiated in the framework of the Barcelona Process as a determining factor in providing a foundation on which to build once peace has been achieved. Within the framework of this common strategy, and taking its paragraph 6 into account, the European Union sets itself as objectives:

·  to promote conditions which will help the parties implement agreements concluded among themselves;

·  to develop the basis for normal good-neighbourly relations and encourage the parties to engage in regional co-operation;

·  to contribute to the consolidation of peace in the region, including economic integration and mutual understanding between civil societies.

10. To increase the effectiveness, impact and visibility of EU actions and initiatives in the region, the following general objectives will be pursued:

·  to enhance co-ordination, coherence and complementarity and ensure synergies between the different existing regional and subregional activities, instruments and interventions of the EU and its Member States;

·  to ensure complementarity of the EU's Mediterranean policy with EU policies concerning other partners.



11. The EU will, together with its Mediterranean Partners, undertake a comprehensive review of the Barcelona Process with the aim of reinvigorating the Process and making it more action-orientated and results-driven.

12. The European Union will endeavour to pursue the following specific initiatives, without precluding possible new initiatives, which could, where appropriate, take account of the specific situations and needs of the countries, regions or sub-regions concerned.

Political and Security

13. The EU will strengthen the political and security-related dialogue with its Mediterranean partners at all levels: bilaterally with individual Mediterranean partners; in the Barcelona framework, including the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Peace and Stability after its entry into force; and in other multilateral contexts to:

·  identify common ground on security issues aiming at establishing a common area of peace and stability;

·  elaborate partnership-building measures, notably by promoting regular consultations and exchanges of information with its Mediterranean Partners;

·  provide timely and appropriate information on initiatives that could be of concern to other Mediterranean Partners;

·  reinforce co-operation against global challenges to security, such as terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking;

·  co-operate on possible arrangements for conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation including the encouragement of the peaceful settlement of conflicts and disputes, including by judicial means;

·  explore possibilities to address problems of anti-personnel landmines in the Mediterranean region through co-operation in mine action, including mine clearance, mine awareness and victim assistance, with a view to promoting the objectives of the Ottawa Convention;

·  promote the signature and ratification by Mediterranean Partners of all non-proliferation instruments, including the NPT, CWC, BWC and CTBT;

·  pursue a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of weapons of mass-destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems.

In this context, the EU will take into account further developments of the Common European Security and Defence Policy.

Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

14. In the framework of the Barcelona Process and in its bilateral relations with Mediterranean Partners, the EU will:

·  actively promote the strengthening of democratic institutions and the rule of law, in particular through political dialogue and support for judicial reform, institution building, and freedom of expression, notably through the strengthening of the independent media;

·  support and encourage efforts to promote good governance;

·  stress the importance of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms for all including by support for governmental and non-governmental actors in the region through human rights training, monitoring, advocacy and awareness-raising;

·  in the context of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, urge accession to international human rights instruments including full implementation of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion;

·  take measures to persuade all Mediterranean Partners to abolish the death penalty in accordance with agreed EU guidelines.

Peace in The Middle East

15. The EU will, taking paragraph 6 of this Common Strategy into account,

·  provide its expertise, submit ideas and make available its good offices and assistance to the core parties of the Peace Process in order to facilitate the conclusion of peace agreements and help prepare the "post peace era" in the Middle East;

·  actively promote progress on the multilateral track of the Peace Process drawing also on synergies with the Barcelona Process. With regard to central issues such as water and refugees, the EU will offer its expertise whenever requested;

·  in the context of a comprehensive settlement, and upon request by the core parties, give consideration to the participation of Member States in the implementation of security arrangements on the ground;

·  contribute to the international commitment needed to implement and consolidate peace in the Middle East, notably through support to regional economic co-operation and integration and the expansion of trade flows;

·  work towards strengthening stability in the Middle East by means of co-operation security through its contributions to the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Peace and Stability once it is adopted and has entered into force.

Economic and Financial

16. The EU will:

·  actively work on the implementation of Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements, notably by further promoting the progressive liberalisation of trade in all areas relevant to the Partners in the terms of the Barcelona Declaration;

·  make every effort to speed up the conclusion and implementation of the remaining Association Agreements;

·  support measures to increase the attractiveness of the region to investors, particularly through the creation of a larger market, encouraging the alignment of policies relating to the EU Single Market, improving the regulatory framework, ensuring fair and equitable treatment of investors and raising awareness in the EU of investment opportunities in the region;

·  encourage and support sub-regional co-operation, such as within the Arab Maghreb Union, within a framework leading to wider regional co-operation;

·  encourage and support efforts by Mediterranean Partners to increase South-South trade, particularly through South-South trade agreements and the progressive harmonisation of rules of origin;

·  assist Mediterranean Partners in strengthening their capacity to formulate appropriate trade policies and to participate actively in trade negotiations, in particular with regard to the development of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area and future negotiations in the WTO;

·  encourage the liberalisation of current account payments with a view to full liberalisation of capital movements as soon as possible. It will also promote the euro as the contract and settlement currency for Mediterranean trade;

·  support the interconnection of infrastructure between Mediterranean Partners, and between them and the EU, drawing on the experience of Trans-European Networks (TENs) in transport, energy and telecommunications;

·  encourage policies enhancing the role of the private sector and the promotion of small and medium enterprises in Mediterranean partner countries, notably export-oriented SMEs, as one of the most effective means of wider job creation;

·  ensure that appropriate consideration is given to the objective of creating a market economy with a social dimension, including core labour standards and the promotion of gender equality.

17. The EU will encourage WTO membership by all partners on the appropriate terms.

18. The EU will maximise the impact of financial co-operation through the EU budget, notably MEDA, and the EIB, by the following measures:

·  the European Community and the Member States will co-ordinate their respective financial and development co-operation strategies, programmes and actions in favour of the Mediterranean Partners, and will also work with other donors, to ensure coherence, complementarity and, where appropriate, co-financing;

·  the European Union will enhance economic dialogue with Mediterranean Partners, notably in the context of programming of financial assistance, with a view to promoting speedier economic transition, sound fiscal and monetary policies and structural reform;

·  the Commission will ensure that other resources from the community budget available to benefit the Mediterranean partners are used coherently. Improved co-ordination will be sought with other relevant EU programmes (Fifth R&D Framework Programme confirming the international role of Community research with partners, SYNERGY, LIFE, INTERREG III).

19. The EU will promote better integrated water strategies and water management policies in the Mediterranean region.


20. The EU will ensure that account is taken of the need to promote better integration of environmental concerns with a view to the sustainability of economic development.

Social and Cultural

21. In addition to co-operation with the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the EU will:

·  take all necessary measures to facilitate and encourage the involvement of civil society as well as the further development of human exchanges between the EU and the Mediterranean partners. NGOs will be encouraged to participate in co-operation at bilateral and regional levels. Particular attention will be paid to the media and universities;

·  support efforts towards promoting co-operation in social matters, including the promotion of equal opportunities for men and women, and towards strengthening social dialogue;

·  encourage efforts to improve education and vocational training, in particular for youth and women with the objective of enhancing their integration into the labour markets. In this context, regional co-operation will be improved through the exchange of best practices, transfer of know how and capacity-building.

Justice and Home Affairs

22. Building on the acquis of the Barcelona Process and further to the Conclusions of the European Council in Tampere, the EU will:

·  act in accordance with the Geneva Refugee convention and other relevant instruments, and promote full compliance by the Mediterranean partners;

·  study the simplification and acceleration of visa issue procedures;

·  promote the identification of correspondences between legal systems of different inspirations in order to resolve civil law problems relating to individuals: laws of succession and family law, including divorce;

·  promote transparency and greater predictability of legal systems in the partners in order to encourage foreign investment, and to encourage lawful migrants to pursue activities in favour of co-development with their countries of origin;

·  ensure that the rules of transfer of profits are liberalised and find solutions avoiding double taxation, particularly for lawful migrants and those with dual nationality;

·  develop effective co-operation mechanisms to fight against illegal immigration networks, including trafficking in human beings, inter alia through the establishment of readmission arrangements relating to own and third country nationals as well as persons without nationality;

·  enter into dialogues with a view to setting up modern and effective border control systems, offering inter alia access to training programmes and exchanges of officials;

·  work with Mediterranean Partners to address the question of migration, taking into full consideration the economic, social and cultural realities faced by Partner countries. Such an approach would require combating poverty, improving living conditions and job opportunities, preventing conflicts, consolidating democratic states and ensuring respect for Human Rights;

·  develop a common approach to ensure the integration into society of Mediterranean partners' nationals who have been lawfully resident in a Member State for a certain period of time and hold a long-term residence permit, aiming at approximating their legal status in that Member State to that enjoyed by EU citizens;

·  exchange information and statistics with the Mediterranean partners on migration flows.

23. The EU will develop further its co-operation with Mediterranean partners to combat organised crime, including drug trafficking and money laundering, in particular through:

·  assistance in training for members of the judiciary and law enforcement authorities with an emphasis on information on the Union's acquis in the field of organised crime;

·  offering collaboration with Mediterranean Partners to develop the necessary legal, institutional and judicial framework for the effective prosecution of these offences, and to develop co-operation mechanisms to combat cross-border crime.

The EU will continue to encourage Mediterranean Partners to adhere to the UN's international conventions on terrorism, and to follow the principle that the fight against terrorism must be firmly based on the principles of International Law and the respect for Human Rights.



General Provisions

24. This Common Strategy shall be implemented by the EU institutions and bodies, each acting within the powers attributed to them by the Treaties, and in accordance with the applicable procedures under those Treaties.

25. For the aspects of the Strategy falling within the CFSP of the Union, the Secretary General of the Council/High Representative for the CFSP, supported by the Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process, shall assist the Council and the Presidency in its implementation and in the implementation of the acts adopted on its basis. Without prejudice to its powers under the TEC, the Commission shall be fully associated in accordance with Articles 18 and 27 TEU.

26. The Council and the Commission shall, in accordance with Article 3 TEU, ensure the consistency, unity and effectiveness of the Union's action. The effectiveness of this Common Strategy will be optimised by ensuring the greatest possible coherence between the various instruments and areas of activity undertaken by the Union, and between the activities of the Union and those of the Member States. The Union will ensure complementarity between its Mediterranean policy and other policies.

27. Member States shall contribute to the objectives of the Common Strategy by making appropriate and co-ordinated use of all relevant instruments and means available to them. Current arrangements by which Member States recognise states, decide on a state's membership of international organisations, or decide on the maintenance and conduct of bilateral diplomatic and other (such as political, sporting and cultural bilateral relations) will not be affected by this Common Strategy.

The Council, The Commission and Member States

28. The Council, the Commission and Member States shall:

·  review, according to their competencies and capacities, existing actions, programmes, instruments, and policies outside the Barcelona Declaration and acts implementing it, to ensure their consistency with this Strategy; and, where there are inconsistencies, to make the necessary adjustments at the earliest review date;

·  make full and appropriate use of existing instruments and means as well as all relevant EU and Member States' programmes, and to develop and maintain to this end an indicative inventory of the resources of the Union, the Community and Member States through which the Common Strategy will be implemented.


29. Member States shall make additional efforts to co-ordinate their actions vis-à-vis the Mediterranean region, including within regional and international organisations such as the Council of Europe, the UN, the OSCE, and the IFIs; such co-ordination shall take due account of Community competence.

30. Member States participating in other fora, engaging either as their principal objective, or as a collateral activity in activities related to the Mediterranean, shall do so in a way consistent with the objectives of this Common Strategy.

31. The Representatives of the member States and the Commission in the Mediterranean partners shall take full account of this Common Strategy when co-ordinating their activities on the ground.

32. The Council, the Commission and Member States shall work towards more effective co-operation with regional and international organisations, and will seek with other like-minded countries to achieve the objectives of the Strategy.

Implementation and Review

33. The European Council requests the Council:

·  to ensure that each incoming Presidency presents to the Council, in the framework of its general programme, priorities for implementation of this Common Strategy, based on the objectives in part II and taking due account of the areas of action in Part III;

·  to review and evaluate the Union's action under this Strategy and to report to the European Council on progress towards its objectives not less than annually;

·  to review the situation in the Mediterranean region and the state of Mediterranean partners' co-operation in the implementation of this Strategy, and make an assessment in its report to the European Council;

·  where necessary, to submit recommendations for amendments to Parts II and III of this Strategy to the European Council.

34. The Commission shall contribute to the above within its competence.

Co-operation with the Mediterranean Partners

35. The European Union and its Members States shall work closely together with the Mediterranean partners when implementing this Common Strategy, in particular through the Association Agreements and through the Euro-Mediterranean Committee for the Barcelona Process, including by considering recommendations and concerns expressed by Mediterranean Partners.



36. This Common Strategy shall apply from the date of its publication for an initial period of four years. It may be prolonged, reviewed and, if necessary, adapted by the European Council on the recommendation of the Council.


37. This Common Strategy shall be published in the Official Journal.

European Council Declaration on the Common Strategy on the Mediterranean Region

The Council acts by qualified majority when adopting joint actions, common positions or any other decisions within the scope of Title V of the Treaty on European Union (Common Foreign and Security Policy), on the basis of the Common Strategy.

Acts adopted outside the scope of Title V of the Treaty on European Union shall continue to be adopted according to the appropriate decision-making procedures provided by the relevant provisions of the Treaties, including the Treaty establishing the European Community and Title VI of the Treaty on European Union.

On the occasion of the adoption of the European Union's Common Strategy on the Mediterranean region, the European Council confirms that the European Union will continue to support the efforts of the parties to conclude, and subsequently implement, the peace agreements. In doing so, the European Union will base itself on the principles set out in the Declaration made by the European Council in Berlin, March 1999.

It invites the Council, assisted by the Secretary-General/High Representative for the CFSP with the help of the EU Special Envoy for the Peace Process, and the Commission to consider what support the Barcelona Process can lend to stability in the Middle East, to work on enhancing the visibility of the Union and to put forward concrete initiatives for promoting regional development in the "post-conflict" framework. A report on these issues will be submitted to the European Council.

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