Italy, France, Spain in Mediterranean cooperation

Leaders of Italy, France and Spain make a planned "Mediterranean Union" the core for regional cooperation in various fields, Italian media reported.

Italy, France, Spain in Mediterranean cooperation
Leaders of Italy, France and Spain on Thursday pledged joint efforts to promote cooperation in the Mediterranean region and make a planned "Mediterranean Union" the core for regional cooperation in various fields, Italian media reported.

In a joint statement, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the union will be set up on the basis of mutual cooperation, instead of integration.

"Convinced that the Mediterranean, crucible of culture and civilisation, should resume its role as a zone of peace, prosperity and tolerance," the three leaders had met to "think about the broad outlines of a planned union for the Mediterranean," the statement said.

The union "would have a mission to reunite Europe and Africa around the countries along the Mediterranean rim and to set up a partnership on an equal footing between the countries north and south of the sea," it said.

"The added value of the Mediterranean Union should reside first in the political boost it should give to cooperation around the Mediterranean and the mobilization of civil societies, businesses, local communities, associations and NGOs (non-governmental organizations)," said the statement.

The three leaders announced that a summit of the countries bordering the sea would be held in Paris on July 13, one day before a European Union (EU) summit scheduled in Brussels.

At a joint news conference following a meeting of the three leaders, Zapatero said problems such as immigration and the environment would be central to the focus of the new bloc.

"A Mediterranean Union needs to bring about a change in relations between the two sides of the Mediterranean Sea, for a new form of development and for peace," he said.

The Spanish prime minister added that any initiative should "start with the EU."

The project of the union, which is supposedly composed of 16 Mediterranean countries, was put forward by Sarkozy when he was running for the French presidency. He has made the Mediterranean region one of his diplomatic priorities since he became president in May this year.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Aralık 2007, 00:07
YORUM EKLE