|Euro-Mediterranean Conference Crete, 26 & 27 may 2003 - Presidency Conclusions
|1. The mid-term Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers’ meeting took place at a crucial time for the development of the EU, for the EU’s relations with its Mediterranean partners and for the future of the Mediterranean region. The purpose of the meeting was twofold:
- to take stock of the progress made in the Partnership, particularly in the implementation of the Valencia Action plan; and
- to discuss its future development, notably in the light of the future enlargement of the Union. A substantial change occurred following enlargement since the membership of the partnership grew from 27 to 35.partners The Commission has proposed the establishment of a new EU neighbourhood framework as set out in its Communication on ‘Wider Europe – neighbourhood’ . The Ministers discussed the role of the Mediterranean partners on the basis of this proposal.
2. The Ministers expressed their deep sorrow, sincere sympathy and full support to the Algerian government and people alike for the unspeakable human and material losses caused by the last earthquake’s catastrophe. The Ministers expressed their full solidarity to the Algerian government and their governments’ readiness to assist the Algerian people in every possible manner. After the recent disasters in Turkey and Algeria, the partners should examine the possibilities for further cooperation in facing and reacting to earthquakes in the region, using inter alia the experience acquired through the Euromediterranean pilot project on the prevention and mitigation of natural and man-made disasters.
3. The Ministers also expressed their full solidarity with Morocco which was hit on May 16 by terrorist attacks. These abhorrent acts can only reinforce their will to strengthen international cooperation to fight against terrorism.
4. The Ministers discussed the recent developments in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Violence, destruction, suffering, human rights violations and bloodshed have continued in the region, reaching again an alarming level during the last weeks. They expressed their condemnation of terrorism, violence and deplored the loss of human lives and extended their deepest sympathy to the families of those killed and wounded.
5. They expressed also their concern and eagerness to confront violence and hatred by addressing the very causes of violence, terrorism and dehumanisation in Mediterranean societies. There is an urgent need to go further than condemning terrorism, violence and human rights violations and to promote all those initiatives, and programs, which can be premises of dialogue, conflict prevention and regional co-operation and development.
6. The Ministers unequivocally reiterated their support for peaceful means of conflict resolution in the region. Peace in the Middle East should be restored on the basis of UNSCR 242, 338 and 1397. The Peace Process should lead to the creation of a democratic, viable and independent State of Palestine, bringing to an end the occupation of 1967, and the right of Israel to live within secure and recognised boundaries, guaranteed by the commitment of the international community. The end of the conflict requires agreed solutions to all aspects of permanent status issues.
7. Comprehensive peace must also include Syria and Lebanon on the basis of the above mentioned UN Security Council Resolutions and the Arab Peace initiative.
8. The Road Map adopted by the Quartet is a great opportunity to bring back substantial peace negotiations, which should not be missed. It is now for the leaderships to shoulder their responsibilities towards their nations and towards the future of the region.
9. The Ministers warmly welcomed the decision of the Palestinian Authority and Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to adopt the Road Map. They were equally convinced that the Road Map serves the interest of the Israeli people to live in security and in this context, they welcomed the acceptance by Prime Minister Sharon and the Government of Israel on 25 May 2003. This was considered to be an important and positive step forward. The Ministers called on both parties to take advantage of this window of opportunity and proceed with the faithful and effective implementation of the Road Map without delay. Confidence building measures including a credible Quartet monitoring mechanism are a salient feature of the effort to rejuvenate the Peace Process.
10. It is most probable that extremist groups will target the Road Map trying to derail it and bring havoc to the region. Both parties must show ultimate restraint and refrain from actions that can inflame hatred and play into the hands of the extremists, jeopardising a most delicate process to open the horizon for a peaceful solution.
11. The Ministers called on the international community and the regional states to preserve, strengthen and assist the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to rebuild its infrastructure, security and governance capacity in order to fight terrorism and uproot poverty and deprivation.
12. The Ministers reiterated that the Middle East Peace Process and the Barcelona Process are complementary, and expressed their readiness to use fully the potential of the Barcelona Process to make a positive contribution to the stabilisation of the Mediterranean region. At the present juncture, a reinvigorated cooperation within the region and with Mediterranean partners should be sought.
13. The Ministers discussed also the issue of Iraq and expressed their concern to safeguard the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country and stability in the region. They called upon the international community and regional states to work closely with the UN to this end. It is also imperative that the Iraqi people decide their political future and manage the country’s natural resources for their own benefit.
14. In this framework the Ministers welcomed the UNSCR 1483/2003 on Iraq as a clear sign of a new spirit of co-operation within the international community. They also welcomed the Resolution’s provisions for a key UN role in the rebuilding effort in this country and the nomination of Sergio Vieira de Mello as the UN Special Representative for Iraq, with whom they look forward to working closely in order to address the immediate needs of the Iraqi people. It will also provide for a legitimate Iraqi interim administration and mobilize support of the international community, as it will enhance international co-ordination for rallying support for the political and economic reconstruction process.
15. The Valencia Action Plan, agreed unanimously by the participants at the Valencia meeting, contains a series of activities to reinforce all areas of the Partnership. The Ministers acknowledged that good progress has been made on many of them. Association Agreements are now in force with Tunisia, Morocco, Israel, and Jordan and on an interim basis with the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon.
16. The Association process remains at the core of the Partnership. The Ministers encouraged EU Member States to speed up the ratification process of Agreements not yet in force with Egypt, Algeria and Lebanon; the Ministers recognised that the conclusion of interim agreements and other measures to advance implementation of relevant commitments under the Agreements would be a welcome sign. The Ministers welcomed progress made in many areas on the implementation of the Agreements in force notably the regular holding of Association Councils and Committees as well as the setting up of sub-Committees such as under the Agreement with Morocco, which should serve, with any necessary adaptations, as a model for the other Agreements in force. They reaffirmed the importance of completing the grid of Euromediterranean Association Agreements by concluding the negotiations with Syria.
17. The EU Presidency welcomed the Libyan delegation to the Ministerial Conference. Taking into account Libya’s role in the Mediterranean region and the African continent, the EU Presidency believes that Libya could positively contribute to the strengthening of the Euromediterranean cooperation. The Presidency also welcomed the presence of other special guests of the Presidency: the Arab League, the UMA and Mauritania.
Political and Security Partnership
Political and security dialogue
18. The Ministers took note of the ongoing efforts to enhance the political and security dialogue and reiterated the importance of the Barcelona Process, underlined by SG/HR Solana who participated at a Senior Officials meeting on 3 February 2003. The Ministers restated the commitment of all to the aims and principles of the Partnership, and took note of work accomplished so far as regards the assessment of the state of play of the security and political dialogue ; they invited Senior Officials to continue focusing on the following:
- effective dialogue on security matters in particular the dialogue on ESDP, through the establishment of liaisons with the new structures developed by the Union,
- dialogue on root causes of instability,
- development of preventive diplomacy mechanisms exploring possibilities of cooperation on conflict prevention with a special emphasis on crisis management,
- continue to promote non proliferation of WMD and adherence to multilateral instruments on arms control,
- the fight against terrorism,
- improvement of the working methods i.a. through the holding of thematic meetings,
- pursue the effort to identify common ground for cooperation among all partners through subregional cooperation which should be particularly encouraged in order to allow for the gradual establishment of a common space of peace and stability while ensuring the consolidation of the commitments undertaken by all partners in this field. They specified that co-operation should be developed with those most willing, on a non-exclusive basis, with others welcome to join at a later stage.
Partnership building measures
19. The Ministers encouraged the consolidation of the existing PBMs and invited partners to submit new initiatives. The assessment of the pilot project on mitigation of natural or man-made disasters was recalled; the positive contribution of the Euromesco network of Foreign Policy Institutes was recalled. The positive role of the Malta seminars for bringing together diplomats of the region and deepening the partnership was acknowledged; The Ministers also welcomed ongoing efforts for the activation of the Register of treaties among partners and encouraged them to be further pursued.
20. With regard to the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Peace and Stability, the Ministers reconfirmed the mandate of the Senior Officials so that they can continue their work to enable the Charter to be adopted as soon as the political situation allows.
Fight against terrorism
21. The Ministers reiterated their will, once more, to continue and step up the fight against terrorism in full respect of international law, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. They stressed that the fight against terrorism should be a regular subject in the political dialogue between partners. They underlined the need to combat the scourge of terrorism as a global challenge in all its forms whatever its motives or aims and reconfirmed the intention to intensify cooperation in all competent international fora. In that framework a proposal to convene an International Conference was recalled. Differences regarding the definition of terrorism should not prevent partners from identifying areas where they can cooperate. The Ministers welcomed the contribution of regional efforts to combat terrorism and underlined the importance of a regional response to this challenge. Such efforts were welcomed as particularly useful in the context of the UN discussions aiming at a Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism.
22. The Ministers welcomed the possibility of Senior Officials holding a further Ad hoc meeting on this issue before the next Ministerial to be held in Naples, in order to enhance cooperation on this important subject.
Human rights and democracy
23. The Ministers recognised the necessity of allowing for an open discussion of issues related to human rights and democracy. They welcomed the effort to identify areas of common ground for co-operation in legislative and regulatory reform as well as implementation of such reforms and establish a jointly agreed course of action in line with the Communication on ‘Wider Europe’. They took note of a presentation by the Commission of its Communication “Reinvigorating EU actions on Human rights with Mediterranean partners” and agreed on the need to examine the issues outlined in the Communication in the framework of the Euromediterranean Partnership’s structures.
24. The Ministers recognised the need for improvement of the dialogue on this subject and invited Senior Officials to look for complementary ways in order to improve co-operation in these fields.
Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly
25. The Ministers agreed to include the envisaged Parliamentary Assembly, of a consultative capacity, in the framework of the Barcelona Process once the European Parliament and Euromediterranean national Parliaments will have reached agreement on its creation. In that respect they expressed their hope that the European Parliament and the Euro-Mediterranean national parliaments will reach this agreement. Ministers also agreed that the transformation of the Euromed Parliamentary forum to a Euromed Parliamentary Assembly would be a positive development that will strengthen the parliamentary dimension of the Euromed Partnership and the Barcelona Process.
Economic and Financial Partnership
26. The Ministers recognised that while there are a number of positive elements in the overall macro-economic situation of the countries of the region (stabilisation of inflation, fiscal deficits, balance of payments), the economic growth performance has proved to be insufficient to accommodate a rapidly expanding labour force and raise living standards. They noted the conclusions of the seminar on economic transition, which was held on 23-24 April in Brussels. The Association Agreements with the EU can provide an "anchor" that reinforces the commitment to reforms and enhances the credibility and prospects of the reform process. They acknowledged that the establishment of a Free Trade Area through import tariff dismantling generates an impulse to enhance competitiveness in partners’ industries through "mise à niveau" programmes for individual enterprises as well as general reforms at the level of public policies and institutions. Efforts to improve the qualifications of the labour force are necessary to boost productivity.
27. The Ministers recognised that tariff dismantling is proceeding in accordance with commitments and is now having a significant impact in countries where it is affecting tariffs that protect domestic industries. They acknowledged that this reinforces the need for economic reforms, and recognised that there remains unexploited potential in the Association Agreements and in MEDA co-operation to accompany this process.
28. They stressed that all opportunities should be taken to further promote relations between the Mediterranean partners and the acceding countries to ensure that, upon enlargement of the EU, the Euro-Mediterranean partnership will be reinforced by this expansion.
South-South trade and Integration
29. As regards South-South trade and integration the Ministers welcomed the initialling of the Agadir Agreement providing for free trade between Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt by 2006 and for the implementation of which the Commission will provide technical support. They underlined the importance they attach to the development of sub-regional integration. The issue should be studied jointly with a view to reach operational conclusions at the earliest, inter alia on enhancing cooperation in the Maghreb, the Mashrek, or on any other basis. They recognised significant progress made on the implementation of pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation of origin following the objectives set by the Euromed Trade Ministers in Toledo in 2002. They welcomed proposals on trade facilitation discussed by the working group on regional integration. On one hand, these concern simplification, harmonisation and computerisation of customs procedures and on the other approximation of standards and technical Regulations: The Ministers underlined the importance of further liberalisation in the services sector. They welcomed the implementation of the Euro-Med Market programme permitting closer regulatory and legislative approximation of the Mediterranean partners to the EU’s Internal Market. They also underlined the importance of the forthcoming Euromediterranean Ministerial Conference on Trade in Palermo.
Transport and Energy
30. Infrastructure interconnection is similarly an important part of regional co-operation. Trans-Euro-Mediterranean networks need to be developed in energy, transport and telecommunications starting on a sub-regional basis. The Ministers should welcome the effective start of the Euromed Transport Project and the resuming of working group activities in the perspective of the forthcoming Ministerial Conference in Rome in December 2003. The application of the Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System to both energy and transport systems to the Mediterranean is being promoted. New regional programmes on transport and energy are due to be approved in the regional financing plan for 2004, which will be a further step in developing regional and sub-regional transport and energy strategies and concrete actions for the partners.
31. The Ministers welcomed the outcome of the 3rd Conference of Energy Ministers (Athens, 20-21 May). They expressed satisfaction with the Presidency’s intention to apply the principle of co-chairmanship foreseen in the Valencia Action Plan during this Conference. They welcomed the Declaration adopted by the Conference, which recalls the central role of the Energy sector in the achievement of the objectives of the Barcelona Process and outlines the priorities of the relevant regional cooperation between 2003 and 2006. These priorities focus on the promotion and development of the Trans–Euro-Mediterranean Energy Networks, the security of supply, the promotion of renewable sources of Energy as well as the safety, security and financing of energy infrastructures.. On the basis of these results and the subsequent work, they strongly encouraged the regional and sub-regional development of energy infrastructure inter-connection (gas, electricity and oil), energy policy reforms and the emergence of a Maghreb electricity market, through co-operation between MEDA, the EIB, the IFIs and the Mediterranean Partners and Member States’ national programmes. They welcomed the important initiative of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to cooperate in the framework of a Technical Working Group open to other Mediterranean Partners with a view to identifying and promoting inter-connexion projects of common interest to be integrated into the framework of the Euromediterranean partnership.
FEMIP and Investment
32. The Ministers welcomed the setting up of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), launched in Barcelona in October 2002. They noted the results of the meeting of the Policy Dialogue and Coordination Committee (PDCC) that took place in Istanbul on 3 April 2003. They recalled that an evaluation of the functioning of FEMIP will be submitted, on the basis of which a decision should be taken later this year to determine the future course of action on the Facility and on the incorporation of an EIB majority owned subsidiary dedicated to the Mediterranean Partner Countries.
33. The EIB has committed the necessary staff and financial resources to translate commitments into action, most of them operational as of the end of 2002, including in particular a focus on private sector development. A new regional office is due to be opened in Cairo by July 2003 and the opening of further offices in the region is foreseen later in 2003. The Bank’s activities stood at around € 1.5 billion in 2002 and should reach an annual total of some € 2 billion by 2006.
34. The Ministers recognised that while the major effort to improve the region’s attractiveness to investors needs to come from the partners themselves, the EU should explore how it could further encourage partner countries in this endeavour. Development of support from FEMIP for private sector development will be very important. Other measures should be introduced to attract investment to the region: the Commission is prepared to arrange a meeting of a Round Table of Industrialists to focus on investment opportunities in the region. Central Bank Governors could meet to discuss a potential enhancement of monetary and exchange rate policies and the implications of the euro for the Mediterranean region.
35. The Ministers welcomed the substantial improvement which has now been shown in the implementation of financial co-operation. For 2002, commitments under MEDA, Turkey having separate legal bases, amounted to € 611 million and payments to € 451 million representing a payments/commitments ratio for the year of 72%, compared to 53 % for 2001 and 26% for the period of MEDA I (1995-99). Taking all relevant budget lines together the commitments amounted to € 762 million and the payments to € 684 million, i.e. a payments/commitments ratio of 90%. These improvements reflect inter alia the fact that the reform of the Commission’s External Aid system came fully on stream during 2002 and EuropeAid became fully operational. Moreover devolution of the implementation of projects to EU delegations in the Mediterranean partners is practically complete, leading to both quantitative and qualitative improvements in the delivery of aid. The new commitments continue to be principally focussed on programmes either directly or indirectly linked to the implementation of the Association Agreements, economic reforms and good governance. The Ministers encouraged the Commission to continue its efforts to strengthen, in cooperation with Member States and Partner countries, the coordination of programmes financed by MEDA, Member States, EIB and international organisations.
36. EIB loans signed in 2002 amounted to € 1.6 billion with nearly one third in favour of the private sector and 1 billion euros were disbursed that same year. In the public sector the main sectors of intervention were in transport and energy, often with an intra-regional interest, as well as support for the health and education sectors.
37. The Ministers also welcomed the outcome of the Ministerial Conference on the Environment that took place in Athens in July 2002. By adopting the Athens Declaration the 27 participants to the Conference provided a significant impetus to the mainstreaming of sustainability in all activities of the Partnership. A Sustainability Impact Assessment of the free trade area is to be launched this year fulfilling the commitment agreed at Valencia. Besides, the contribution of the Ministerial Conference on the Environment in Helsinki in 1997 on cooperation between the Mediterranean and the Baltic and the launching in Athens of the cooperation initiative on sustainable development between the Mediterranean and the Baltic, enable the two regions to benefit from each other's experience.
38. The Ministers recognised that work should continue with a view to identifying what more can be done to enhance the sustainability of the Partnership and to assist the partners in raising the standards of norms of environmental protection.
39. The Ministers noted with interest the initiatives undertaken by the Greek Presidency on the issue of sustainable development such as the convening of the International Conference on Sustainable Development and Lasting Peace (Athens, 6/7 May 2003), co-hosted by the World Bank, as well as the presentation by the Presidency of the EU Water Initiative.
Social, Cultural and Human Partnership
Justice, fight against organised crime, migration and movement of people
40. The Ministers recognised that agreement on the regional programme on justice, combating drugs, organised crime and terrorism and the social integration of migrants, migration and the movement of people was a significant achievement of Valencia which not only allows the regional programme to be launched in June 2003 on a basis that meets the interests of all partners, but also provides a framework for action at the bilateral level, serving as an example They had an exchange of views on developing co-operation regarding in particular practical implementation. The Ministerial meeting on migration and the social integration of migrants scheduled for later in the year will represent one opportunity to develop further a global and balanced approach to the management of migratory flows and the integration of migrants. This will also have to be done for judicial co-operation and the fight against organised crime including terrorism. The Ministers encouraged the promotion, as far as possible, of bilateral readmission agreements between the European Union and the Mediterranean Partners and between the Partners themselves as well as with key source countries, for people in irregular situations, in accordance with the provisions of public international law, and, where applicable, with the obligations contained in the Association Agreements and bilateral Agreements between the Euro-Mediterranean partners. In this context, they welcomed the recent start of official negotiations with Morocco.
41. The EU recalled that the necessary steps had been taken in order to facilitate the issuing of visas to Mediterranean representatives attending bilateral and multilateral meetings as part of the Barcelona Process. Some Mediterranean Partners complained about their inclusion in the list of countries for which a consultation (up to 14 days) is required for the issuance of Schengen visas.
Dialogue between cultures and civilisations
42. Agreement at Valencia on the Action programme for the dialogue of cultures and civilisations focusing i.a. on Youth, Education and Media has been accompanied by a number of actions in this area. The Ministers underlined the importance of targeting, whenever appropriate, the younger generations who are the citizens and decision makers of tomorrow in the activities undertaken in that framework. They welcomed ongoing activities on the cultural heritage, audio-visual co-operation and youth exchanges. Following the agreement last year on the opening of the TEMPUS programme to the Mediterranean partners, inter-university co-operation projects and individual mobility grants for teachers and university staff will be financed for the academic year starting in the autumn of 2003.
43. The Ministers recognised that the dialogue of cultures and civilisations instituted by the Barcelona Process is one of the major contributions to bring peoples closer and promote understanding and improve mutual perceptions. They agreed on guiding principles between cultures and civilisations annexed to these conclusions.
44. The Ministers also made progress towards agreement on the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the dialogue of cultures and civilisations. They agreed on its goals, objectives, activities and establishment, annexed to these conclusions. They invited the Senior Officials to continue work on issues related to its structure, functioning as well as financing with a view to agreement at Barcelona V?. They agreed to take into account the input of the High Level Group set up by the President of the Commission, to establish the Foundation.
Role of women
45. The Ministers welcomed the efforts undertaken in the framework of the Partnership since the Brussels Ministerial Conference with a view to promote equal opportunities between women and men. They recalled the need to pursue the efforts to promote this issue adequately and reinforce the role of women in the economic life. They welcomed ongoing efforts in view of the launching of the regional programme on the role of women in economic life.
Visibility of the Partnership
46. The Ministers welcomed the implementation of the regional programme on information and communication, which will raise through specific actions the visibility of the Partnership. The “Euromed Dialogue” by using television and radio to encourage a dialogue to raise public awareness of news of actions under the Partnership will also have an important role to play in improving mutual perceptions between Europe and the partners.
Social consequences of economic transition
47. The Ministers considered ways of addressing the social consequences of economic transition. The preparation of the regional programme on “education and training for employment” should be completed this year, as well as that for enhancing “the role of women in economic life”. The proposals of the UNDP Arab Human Development Report for co-operation in this chapter of the Partnership were emphasised. They underlined the importance of the fight against poverty as a means of addressing instability.
48. The Ministers welcomed the recent convening of a Civil Forum focusing on the dialogue of cultures and civilisations in Crete (May 1-4) whose outcome was presented to them by a representative of the Forum. The Ministers also encouraged the efforts undertaken to provide continuity between Civil Fora and to better organise a more structured input from civil society to the official institutions of the partnership with a view to the Civil Forum to be held prior to the Naples Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. They agreed that these efforts should however preserve the autonomy of the actors involved including the organisers and avoid institutionalisation of the role of participating organisations.
49. The Ministers discussed the application, in a concerted manner, of the policy guidelines proposed in the Commission Communication on Wider Europe to the Mediterranean partners. The enlargement of the Union offers new opportunities for partnership and co-operation. They agreed that the proposed new Neighbourhood Policy sets out a means to reinforce the Barcelona Process, and to develop closer co-operation based on the mutual recognition of common interests. The Ministers invited the Commission to explore how, within the existing MEDA framework, a more substantial involvement of the Mediterranean partners in the relevant EU programmes could be achieved. In this respect, regional and sub-regional cooperation needs specific attention. The Ministers explored how the approach proposed by the Wider Europe Communication could be used in order to improve co-operation with the Mediterranean partners, bilaterally through the Association Agreements and multilaterally through the Euro-Mediterranean Committee and the Senior Officials’ Meeting. They underlined the need to continue a common reflexion on these issues.
50. The Ministers noted that the Commission’s recent policy proposals on a "Wider Europe" new neighbourhood policy are intended to promote this process. This will encourage regulatory reform, especially in the services sector, that can give a strong boost to economic growth and competitiveness. The economic impact of EU Enlargement on the partners should thus not only be considered in terms of direct trade, investment and other macro-economic effects but also, and perhaps even more importantly, in terms of focusing attention on further economic policy reforms that constitute the driving force behind economic growth performance.
Guiding Principles for the dialogue between cultures and civilisations
The Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership countries, meeting in Crete, on 26th and 27th May 2003,
1. recalling the very significant contribution which, throughout history, peoples of the Mediterranean basin have made to the mutual enrichment of cultures and civilisations;
2. underlining the importance of the Dialogue between cultures and civilisations, as well as its role as an instrument to promote a culture of peace and to achieve mutual understanding, bring peoples closer, remove the threats to peace and strengthen exchanges among civilisations;
3. underlining their willingness to deepen the Dialogue between cultures and civilisations and convinced that the forthcoming enlargement of the European Union will enrich this Dialogue;
4. reiterating their commitment to the main principles established by the Barcelona Declaration and in particular, those regarding the cultural and human dimension of the Euro-Mediterranean process which constitute a condition for an authentic and balanced partnership, as was underlined by the Conferences of the Ministers of Culture of Bologna (April 1996) and of Rhodes(September 1998)and by the Stockholm Workshop(April 1998) including the need for a better understanding and for mutual respect between cultures and civilisations;
5. reaffirming the importance stressed by the Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Valencia of promoting dialogue and cooperation between cultures and civilisations among all members of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership considering that the Mediterranean region is the birth place of several great civilisations of the history of the world in which originated the three monotheistic religions;
6. considering that the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership provides for an essential dialogue, comprising all the major challenges, of political, economic, social, cultural and human nature, which affect the destiny of the peoples of the region;
7. reaffirming the principles that should govern the dialogue as contained in the Action Programme for the Dialogue between Cultures and Civilisations, adopted in Valencia:
- respect for pluralism, diversity and cultural specificities;
- equality and mutual respect;
- avoidance and reduction of prejudices and stereotypes ;
- the Dialogue should aim to achieve, not only a better understanding of "the other", but also solutions for persistent problems;
- the ultimate goal of Dialogue, should not be to change "the other" but, rather, to live peacefully with "the other";
8. considering that each people has its own values, customs, languages and beliefs that make it unique;
9. stressing that the plurality and diversity of cultures is one of the most precious assets of the Mediterranean region to be safeguarded and preserved, as well as all those that constitute the common heritage of humanity;
10. conscious that the values of dialogue, tolerance and respect for the Other, which are common to all religions, constitute an important factor in bringing closer together cultures and civilisations;
11. taking into consideration and acting at all times in accordance with:
- the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which are, inter alia, to settle disputes by peaceful means and to develop friendly relations among nations, based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples;
- the UN resolution entitled "United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilisations", and the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (November 2001) as well as the guidelines on the cultural and historical heritage as defined by the Bologna conference in April 1996;
- the conclusions of the Second Euro-Mediterranean Conference of the Ministers of Culture, held in Rhodes on 25-26 September 1998, which endorsed the conclusions of the 1998 Stockholm workshop, providing general guidelines and principles for the Dialogue between cultures and civilisations;
12. underlining that also regional and local authorities, as well as other relevant national institutions, can make valuable contributions to the dialogue between cultures and civilisations through decentralised cooperation and twinning and need to be closely involved in this work, which is an essential part of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership;
13. acknowledging the contribution of the regional programmes (Euro-med Heritage, Euro-med Audio-visual, Euro-med Youth, Euro-med Tempus) to the Dialogue between cultures and civilisations;
14. sharing the Olympic ideal of building a peaceful and better world by educating the youth of the world, through sport, which requires mutual understanding, promoted by friendship, solidarity and fair play, and re-affirming the idea of the Olympic Truce;
15. The Dialogue between cultures and civilisations is an appropriate instrument to achieve constructive interaction and effective cooperation among nations; it contributes to mutual understanding; it enriches our common values; it is an efficient means of conflict prevention and requires the active participation of civil society, both by institutions and individuals distinguished in the fields of thought, culture and society.
16. This Dialogue is part of our daily lives and should become an important instrument to fight fanaticism of any kind, extremism, racism and xenophobia.
17. The Dialogue between cultures and civilisations promotes understanding of other models of society, of ways of thinking and ways of acting and to co-exist, and favour interaction in a harmonious framework.
18. The Dialogue between cultures and civilisations is a basis for understanding our common history and opening current avenues of cooperation, so that freedom, peace and justice may prevail.
19. It is for our states and peoples to engage themselves in an authentic dialogue between cultures and civilisations that will foster mutual respect, understanding and trust; efforts to ensure a rapid economic development of the region should be pursued.
20. To promote knowledge, recognition and mutual respect between the cultures, traditions and values which prevail in the partners.
21. To help create, in their respective countries, the respect for each other in a world based on tolerance and acceptance of differences.
22. To encourage, in their respective countries, all relevant institutions to contribute to the Dialogue between cultures and civilisations and in particular to support cooperation, inter alia, in the field of Youth, Education and the Media.
23. To encourage initiatives which aim at promoting dialogue between religions in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
24. To promote at the same time the human dimension of the partnership as well as the consolidation of the rule of law and of basic freedoms in accordance with the guidelines of the regional cooperation programme which was also adopted in this field by the Valencia Conference (April 2002).
25. To underline the decisive role in the implementation of the above mentioned actions of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue of Cultures and Civilisations, the principle of which was agreed in Valencia and whose goals, objectives, and fields of activity were adopted in Crete, while the modalities of its establishment will be submitted at the next Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Naples in December 2003 (Barcelona VI).
26. To underline the vital importance of ensuring that all partners encourage the development and deepening of the cultural and human dimension of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership in all its aspects and its various components at bilateral or multilateral level.
Euro-mediterranean foundation on a dialogue of cultures
a) The 1995 Barcelona Declaration states the need, in chapter III, to develop a dialogue of cultures and civilisations within the framework of the Mediterranean societies. The Action Plan adopted at the most recent ministerial meeting at Valencia includes a mandate for the setting up of a Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for a dialogue of cultures and civilisations.
b) The establishment of this new intergovernmental instrument within the framework of the Barcelona Process is a priority, for the following reasons:
- in the first place, on account of the need, in this essential sphere, for a dynamic structure, which should contribute decisively to the development of a true sense of joint ownership of the Barcelona Process by its members.
- the importance of having an instrument that would disseminate the goals of the Barcelona Process and its development amongst the European and Mediterranean societies. Therefore, the implementation of Chapter III of the Barcelona Process requires actions whose objective is to reach the greatest possible number of citizens, while aspiring to overcome barriers in the way of access to information and to achieve a greater level of mutual knowledge between them;
- the need to set up an institution that, in the cultural field, is able to promote the coherent identification and execution of projects that are relevant to the dialogue of cultures and increased cultural co-operation;
- the need to set up an institution that catalyses and provides an inventory of co-operation between the existing networks of foundations, NGOs and other institutions of civil society, whether public or private, national or international, which operate in the Euro-Mediterranean area.
1. Goals and Objectives
The objectives shall be established as set out in the statutes of the Foundation which will be proposed to the institutions of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. The main objectives are:
- to identify, develop and promote areas of cultural convergence between the countries and peoples of the Mediterranean, with the aim in particular of avoiding stereotypes,
- to hold a close and regular dialogue between cultural circles often kept outside the main diplomatic and cultural exchanges,
- to serve as a catalyst for promoting exchanges, co-operation and mobility between people at all levels, targeting in particular the young and activities relevant to young people.
In the framework of these main objectives the activities of the Foundation should take into account existing achievements within and beyond the Euro-Mediterranen Partnership, thus avoiding any duplication of effort. The activities should also be in line with the non governmental nature of the Foundation.
The areas of heritage, audio-visual information technology, professional training, to name but a few, are to a large extent already covered by the Euro-Mediterranean regional programmes (Euromed Heritage, Euromed Audiovisuel, Eumedis, Euromed Jeunesse, etc).
Similarly, many government and non-governmental agencies (Associations, Foundations, Cultural Centres, Festivals, etc) are already active in the cultural field. Existing activities or entities should not be duplicated or financed ; instead the Foundation should bring its own added value to activities. In that respect lessons should be learned from the old decentralised co-operation programmes (Med Media, Med Campus, etc) and existing regional programmes (Euromed Heritage, Euromed Audiovisuel).
In this framework the following types of activities should be agreed for the Foundation :
- exchanges between cultural and intellectual circles in the wider sense,
- promoting a continuous cultural debate using in particular multi-media techniques (television, radio, periodical magazine, Internet) in co-operation with important existing media and with the participation of people from both shores including journalists and the young ,
- patronage of important events which symbolise mutual understanding (for example, a limited number of concerts, exhibitions, etc on relevant themes), co-financed by large media groups and/or festivals and institutions already active in these areas,
- promoting the activities of the Barcelona Process including through means of the Foundation itself (periodical magazine, Internet site).
In this spirit, an indicative list of possible activities is annexed hereto. It is to be noted that the discussion on the objectives and activities of the Foundation should also take into account the results of the work of the High Level Advisory Group set up by Commission President Romano Prodi.
a) The Foundation will be created through a step by step procedure. At least in the initial stage, it will function as a network of networks. There will be a light independent administrative structure which will be responsible for the coordination of the network of national networks.
b) Each country will identify appropriate institutions and organisms that at national level are working to develop a dialogue of cultures and civilisations within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean societies and will select the institution/organism that will play the role of head of the national network;
c) The Foundation would play a pivotal role in mobilising the relevant networks existing within the EU and in its Mediterranean partners dealing with the dialogue of cultures and civilisations. It would assist members of the network in securing access to funding, bring people and organisations together, spreading knowledge and sharing best practice with the aim of furthering the dialogue on cultures and civilisations.
d) Since linkage of the Foundation to the Barcelona Process is essential, the following evolutionary model could be considered:
i. The Board of Governors will at an initial stage be the Euromed Committee itself; the Board could be assisted for its decisions by highly qualified personalities.
ii. The Director(s) of the Foundation (that is the Director (s) of the co-ordinating body/ bodies) will report to the Euromed Committee at regular intervals.
e) In general terms the funding of the Foundation should be devoted to promoting in the most effective manner possible concrete projects; expenditure on administration and institutional aspects should be kept to an absolute minimum.
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