President Sarkosy’s Legacy – Recruiting the Southern Mediterranean Countries to the EU Cause
Oct 2007: In a major speech near to the start of his term of office President Sarkosy proposed the setting up of a “Union of the Mediterranean” mirroring the EU but including only states with the Mediterranean as a common border. The group would be led by France.
Although not rejected immediately the proposal was recognised as having the potential to create major difficulties.
If taken forward it would replace the 1995 Barcelona Process & Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and place at risk many of the major policy initiatives implemented from that date.
Turkey, whose application to join the EC was well advanced, rejected the proposal claiming it to be a subterfuge designed to deny Turkey it’s place within Europe.
Chancellor Merkel, who had not been consulted on the matter said the idea was non-starter so far as Germany was concerned since it would force Germany to turn to Eastern Europe for expansion of markets and France would be drawn to the Mediterranean for the same purpose. Effectively bring the EU to an end
Other members of the EU also rejected the concept on the basis that the change would result in a massive expansion of the number of administrative institutions and associated costs.
The outcome of prolonged discussions was to remit the Sarkosy idea to the 1995 Barcelona Process & Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) group for development within that structure.
The group’s initial response was that the absence of any tangible moves towards democracy in the states to the south of the Mediterranean precluded any significant expansion of the existing agreement but every effort would be made to develop the policy.
Jul 2008: Major Progress on EU & Mediterranean Cooperation
The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) was created by 43 Euro-Mediterranean Heads of State and Government on 13 July 2008 at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean.
The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, based in Barcelona and the first permanent structure dedicated to the intergovernmental Mediterranean partnership, is the operational institution that empowers this regional dialogue between the UfM Member States and stakeholders, fostering synergies among them and promoting cooperation projects and initiatives with a direct impact on the lives of people.
The UfM constitutes a framework for political, economic and social relations between the European Union and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries and is inspired by the goals set out in the Barcelona Declaration, namely working towards the creation of an area of peace, stability, security and shared economic prosperity, as well as full respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms and promotion of understanding between cultures and civilizations in the Euro-Mediterranean region. http://ufmsecretariat.org/who-we-are/
Will the UK be Excluded From Membership after Brexit Bites??
The EU has invested in excess of 20billion Euro’s in the partnership since 1995 and there is tangible evidence of a positive outcome in the future.
But the UK will play no part in it. An negative is the loss of financial investment, to date and in the future.