SP cannot support 'Barcelona Process'

24 February 2009

SP cannot support 'Barcelona Process'

The EU wants to strengthen the economies of the Middle East and to further sustainability. This could be achieved via a Union for the Mediterranean. A union which would include countries which are not member states. The European Parliament discussed attempts to create such a union, part of a process known in the Brussels jargon as the 'Barcelona process', in Brussels on 19th February.

Mediterranean states

Erik MeijerSpeaking for the SP, Erik Meijer explained why he could not support the proposal before the parliament. "The Mediterranean Sea is the EU's southern frontier. For many years the EU has attempted to establish close cooperation with those of its coastal states which don't belong to the Union and which in most cases will never do so. This cooperation is considered important in the south of Europe but in the rest of the continent has a great deal less significance. Despite this there are far-reaching differences of opinion over the matter, because nobody wants to say no to good relations with countries bordering the Union."

The aim

Responding to the report from Italian social democrat Pasqualina Napoletano, Erik Meijer said: "Recently we have seen, from the French, an intensification of this cooperation, including through exceptionally permanent structures. The question here is what is the point of such structures. Is this an attempt at reconciliation with the dictatorships in Syria and Libya, countries guilty of persistent human rights abuses? Is it an attempt to find an alternative to the full EU membership promised to the coastal states of Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Turkey? Is it a means to rein Israel further in, despite the fact that as a result of the election result of 10th February, no further cooperation with or from Israel can expected for the next four years when it comes to the creation of a Palestinian state with rights equal to its neighbours? In the meantime, I cannot support this proposal."

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