Foreign Minister welcomes Euro-Mediterranean dialogue
Union for the Mediterranean/Euro-Mediterranean ministerial meeting – Press briefing by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development
Barcelona, 13 April 2015
This meeting in Barcelona is the follow-up to what’s called the “Barcelona Process”, which was launched a very long time ago now. It’s a meeting of the 28 European Union countries and a number of countries from the southern neighbourhood too.
The first observation that must be made is that we have to work together more, because we can actually see our destinies are linked when it comes to development, security and migration. All my colleagues and I myself have pointed out that, basically, we don’t meet often enough. I also suggested that this meeting should take place annually and that the Secretary General of the UfM – who works very well – should help us work towards this. So the first observation is that this meeting is useful, it enables us to exchange views and it should take place annually.
Second observation: between us, the so-called Northern countries – well, at any rate, the EU countries – and the Southern countries, there must be a genuine partnership. There aren’t some people who decide and others to whom the decisions apply. We must really work hand in hand. Our projects must be capable of being adapted, differentiated, and when there’s funding it must arrive quickly. I’ve taken the example of Tunisia. It’s a country which we must support, which we do support, but it’s often better to provide less funding and provide it very quickly than to provide funding which is theoretically greater but arrives too late. That’s a very important aspect.
Thirdly, there’s a new feeling that exists within the EU. Previously, the countries towards the east of Europe focused on the Eastern Partnership and the countries towards the south of Europe focused more on the Southern countries. That’s changed. Everyone can see that we’re affected by everything that happens, particularly in terms of security, terrorism and economic development. So we all focus on the whole, and that’s a very good thing. It makes this type of format even more significant.
Those are a few points. As usual, we’ve been very warmly welcomed by our Spanish friends here in Barcelona. I think it’s a useful meeting, and I very much congratulate my colleague, Mr García-Margallo, on it. (…)./.