State visit to Morocco – Speech by M. Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic (excerpts)

Tangiers, 23 October 2007

(…) I have come in the name of France to extend greetings to Morocco and tell the Moroccan people again of the French people’s unwavering friendship for them. (…)

It’s here [in Tangiers] where Morocco publicly displays her determination first of all to be a Mediterranean power,

Here, in this port, which Morocco wants to make one of the largest and most active in the whole Mediterranean region,

Here that I wanted to issue to all the Mediterranean peoples the urgent, solemn appeal to unite around the finest and greatest of human ideals. (…)

To all Mediterraneans (…) I want to say that the time has come to move from dialogue to politics, that the moment has come to stop discussing and start building. (…)

I want to say that the time has come to put all their energies and their whole hearts into building the Mediterranean Union, since this region is absolutely crucial for world balance. (...)

It is Mediterraneans who will decide whether or not the civilizations and religions will wage the most terrible of wars. Mediterraneans who will decide whether or not the North and South are going to clash, Mediterraneans who will decide whether or not terrorism and fundamentalism will succeed in imposing on the world their violence and intolerance. It’s here that everything will be won or everything lost.

Here will be taken a vital decision on the future of Europe and the future of Africa.

Since Europe’s future – I have no hesitation in saying – is in the South. By turning its back on the Mediterranean, Europe would cut itself off not only from its intellectual, moral and spiritual sources, but also from its future. Since it’s in the Mediterranean that Europe will secure its prosperity, ensure its security, that it will regain the momentum given it by its founding fathers.

(…) While Europe’s future is in the South, Africa’s is in the North.

I call on all those who can do so to join the Mediterranean Union because it will be the linchpin of Eurafrica, the great dream capable of enthusing the world.

The Mediterranean Union is a challenge, a challenge for all of us, Mediterranean peoples.

It involves us all making an effort at home to overcome the hatred and resentment children have for generations inherited from their fathers taught to detest the Other, the neighbour, those who are different. (…)

Just after the Second World War (…) after so many murders, so much loss of blood, so many centuries of great violence and barbarity, Europe set off on the path of peace and fraternity.

France calls on all the Mediterranean peoples to do the same thing, with the same goal and the same method.

We won’t build the Mediterranean Union on the premise that sons atone for the sins of their fathers. We won’t build the Mediterranean Union on the premise of repentance, just as Europe wasn’t built on that of atonement and repentance. Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman didn’t say to the Germans: "atone first, then we’ll see". They told them: "let’s together build a common future". (…)

We will build the Mediterranean Union, as Europe’s union was built, on the basis of a political determination stronger than the memory of the suffering, on the basis of the conviction that the future counts for more than the past. (…)

Wanting the Mediterranean Union doesn’t mean wanting to erase history, doesn’t mean starting off again from scratch. It means taking history from the point it’s reached and continuing it, instead of forever going back over it. (…)

Let’s do what Europe’s founding fathers did. Let’s forge between us ever-closer practical solidarity on pragmatic projects which involve all our peoples’ vital interests. (…)

We won’t be modelling the Mediterranean Union straightaway on the European Union, with its institutions, administrations, and high degree of political, legal and economic integration. Just as the European Union hasn’t ended up resembling any previous attempt to unite peoples, the Mediterranean Union probably won’t, in the end, resemble the European Union and what it has become, but will too, at the end of the day, be original and unique.

It’s we, our generation, who must launch this original unique experiment and create the conditions for its success, it’s our generation who must make the Mediterranean Union project irreversible. (…)

It’s not only our political, but our moral responsibility to take up this challenge which so many people, even a short time ago, still deemed impossible, unreasonable, and which so many people around the Mediterranean are now ready to commit to. (…)

This is what the Mediterranean Union is: a break with the past. A break with attitudes, ways of thinking, playing safe, a state of mind opposed to audacity and courage. (…)

The courageous, bold break with the past, changing everything, would be for the Mediterranean peoples at last to decide to take control of their destiny, write their future themselves, shoulder collectively a responsibility, forge a solidarity which their long history and their geography impose on them, and no longer ever let anyone decide in our place. (…)

The Mediterranean Union must be pragmatic: it will be a union embracing variable geometry, with members joining together on projects as and when they wish.

Just as Europe began with coal and steel and atomic energy, the Mediterranean Union will start with sustainable development, energy, transport and water.

But, unlike Europe which long neglected them in favour of economic issues, the Mediterranean Union’s priorities will from the start include culture, education, health and human capital. Among its priorities will be the fight against inequality and for justice without which no peace is possible.

The Mediterranean Union will first of all be a project-based union. But with a single goal: to make the Mediterranean the world’s largest testing ground for co-development where development is decided on together and managed together, where freedom of movement of people is built together and managed together, and where security is organized together and guaranteed together.

For France, the Mediterranean Union’s remit is not to take the place of all the already existing initiatives and projects, but to give them fresh impetus, a new lease of life. It is to gear them all to a single goal, to pool all the ideas, all the energies, and all the resources.

To begin with, the Mediterranean Union will – as Europe did at the start – express a political will. This must be reflected in action, strategies and common objectives.

It must be articulated in a commitment by the Heads of State and government.

In the name of France who has decided to commit herself wholeheartedly to this project, in the name of all the Mediterranean peoples whose destinies are interlinked, and in the name of our children, who, one day, will ask us to account for what we have done, I invite all the heads of State and government of the Mediterranean rim countries to meet in France in June 2008 to lay the foundations of a political, economic and cultural union founded on the principle of strict equality between the nations bordering the same sea: the Mediterranean Union.

I invite all States which don’t border the Mediterranean but are concerned by what is happening to it, to participate, as observers, in this first summit and contribute to its success.

For France, the Mediterranean Union is quite different from the Euro-Mediterranean process; it will not be built to the detriment of either Africa or Europe. It will be built with them, with Europe and with Africa.

I shall propose that from the outset the European Commission be fully involved in the work of the Mediterranean Union, participating in everything it does so that their relationship is one of partnership and their actions complement each other, so that the two unions support and strengthen one another and, progressively, forge a single destiny.

Over the next few months I shall consult all the Mediterranean countries on the agenda of the forthcoming summit. I shall ask them to work on 10 or so concrete projects which could form the basis of future cooperation.

This Mediterranean Union won’t be France’s project. It will be everyone’s project. Developed by everyone. It will succeed only if everyone commits to it and makes their own individual contribution. Already, many are resolutely pledging to do so.

We will build the Mediterranean Union if we want to.

France wants to.

Morocco wants to.

I know that in their hearts all the Mediterranean peoples want to. (…)./.

Published on 30/10/2007

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