EURO-MEDITERRANEAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE (STUTTGART, April 1999)
third Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Ministers in
Stuttgart has demonstrated that, three and half years after
the inaugural conference in Barcelona, the Euro-Mediterranean
Partnership has developed and strengthened considerably and
has given clear proof of its viability in sometimes delicate
and difficult circumstances.
main aim of this conference has been achieved. It has given
additional impetus to the Partnership while clearly confirming
the goals set out in the Barcelona Declaration, i.e. to turn
the Mediterranean basin into an area of dialogue, exchange and
cooperation through the strengthening of democracy, respect
for human and basic social rights, the rule of law, good governance,
and sustainable and balanced economic and social development,
the fight against poverty and the promotion of greater understanding
between cultures. Ministers recalled the priority accorded in
the Partnership to the protection and promotion of human rights.
Ministers agreed to further concentrate activities in priority
areas, to increase the involvement of actors outside central
government and to make the Partnership more action-oriented
emphasised the fundamental importance of intra-regional and
sub-regional cooperation and integration in all three chapters.
They endorsed the guidelines of the Valencia conference for
both the priorities and methods of future regional cooperation.
They called for an improvement in regional cooperation activities,
especially for a systematic evaluation and concrete follow-up.
They confirmed the principle that regional cooperation programmes
are open to all partners, while consisting in many cases of
several inter-linked projects, each involving a group of partners.
Ministers asked the Commission to contribute a reflection paper
on the methodology for regional cooperation.
discussions have shown that the Partnership is solid and lasting.
All members remain fully committed to all its objectives and
principles and have reaffirmed their resolve to take forward
the Partnership into the new millennium.
of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership to constructive developments
in the Mediterranean Region
had a full discussion of the relationship between the Euro-Med
Partnership and other initiatives and activities undertaken
in the interest of peace, stability and development in the region,
in particular the Middle East Peace Process. They confirmed
that the Barcelona Process was not intended to replace these
initiatives and activities, but to contribute to their success.
The Barcelona Declaration made clear that these processes should
be regarded as complementary.
reiterated their firm commitment to the realization of a just,
comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East based on
faithful implementation of UNSC resolutions 242 and 338 and
the terms of reference of the Madrid Peace Conference on the
Middle East, including the principle of land for peace, the
Oslo Accords and the more recent Wye River Memorandum. They
called for the resumption of peace talks on all negotiating
tracks accordingly. They called for the immediate implementation
of Security Council Resolution No. 425.
expressed growing concern about the stalemate in which the peace
process currently finds itself and strongly emphasized that
the negotiations had to be resumed within the context and timeframe
of commitments freely entered into.
Ministers welcomed the recent declaration of the Berlin European
Council. Ministers encouraged the European Union to continue
increasing its role in support of the Middle East Peace Process.
and Security Partnership
agreed that stability in the Mediterranean Region requires a
comprehensive and balanced approach in order to address common
security concerns, strengthen cooperation and adopt measures
conductive to stability. By enhancing comprehensive stability
the Barcelona Process will furthermore contribute to the solution
of tensions and crises in the area.
key factor to this end will be the elaboration of a "Euro-Mediterranean
Charter for Peace an Stability" to which Ministers commit
themselves. They expressed satisfaction with the work of the
group of Senior Officials and the progress achieved since the
welcomed the "Guidelines for Elaborating a Euro-Mediterranean
Charter" submitted to them and annexed for convenience
to these conclusions as an informal working document. According
to the Guidelines, the Charter will serve as an instrument for
the implementation of the principles of the Barcelona Declaration
where issues of peace and stability are concerned. For this
purpose the Charter will provide for an enhanced political dialogue
as well as the evolutionary and progressive development of partnership-building
measures, good-neighbourly relations, regional cooperation and
preventive diplomacy. The primary function of the enhanced political
dialogue will be to prevent tensions and crises and to maintain
peace and stability by means of cooperative security. The Charter
will be endowed with the appropriate decision-making mechanisms
reinforcing the existing institutional framework. Ministers
and Senior Officials will meet at regular intervals or whenever
special situations or events warrant. All decisions will be
taken by consensus.
felt that the "Guidelines" were a major step forward
and decided that they will provide the basis for the future
work of Senior Officials. Additional suggestions to enrich the
text further may be submitted within the next three months.
Ministers tasked the Group of Senior Officials to work out a
comprehensive schedule and to convene additional ad hoc meetings
in order to complete the elaboration of the Charter with the
assistance of experts where necessary by the next Ministerial
conference. In the interim period a progress report will be
prepared for the consideration of Ministers. The Charter will
be approved formally by Ministers as soon as political circumstances
reviewed and noted the progress so far achieved in developing
partnership-building measures, including the project of establishing
a Euro-Med system of disaster prevention, mitigation and management.
They welcomed the continuing initiatives relating to the exchange
of information on the signature/ratification of international
instruments in the fields of disarmament and arms control, terrorism,
human rights, and international humanitarian law; they noted
the successful holding of Euro-Mediterranean information and
training seminars for diplomats aiming at the shaping of a culture
of dialogue and cooperation through informal exchange and open
discussions between practitioners involved in the implementation
of the Partnership.
acknowledged the difficulties which prevail and agreed to sustain
and develop these measures as well as identify and explore new
areas of cooperation; in that respect they noted the holding
of the informal EuroMeSCo-Senior Officials seminar on the "Euro-Mediterranean
Security Dialogue" in Bonn on 20 March 1999 which aimed
at enhancing dialogue and an exchange of ideas between academics
and government officials from both sides of the Mediterranean.
agreed to reinforce the political dialogue in areas of cooperation
relating to the Political and Security Partnership such as terrorism;
in that regard they noted with satisfaction the positive outcome
of the informal Ad Hoc Meeting on Terrorism on 23 November 1998.
They recognised the serious threat that terrorism poses to the
objectives of the Partnership. Ministers expressed their determination
to counter this threat by strengthening cooperation. To this
end they instructed Senior Officials to convene another ad hoc
Euro-Med joint meeting with terrorism experts during the second
half of this year. Ministers called upon the Senior Officials
to continue the political dialogue on other issues mentioned
in the first chapter of the Barcelona Declaration such as organized
crime and illicit drug trafficking with view to identifying
appropriate measures for joint action.
Union Financial Cooperation with Mediterranean Partners
confirmed that financial cooperation continues to be a key component
of the Partnership. All participants noted with satisfaction
that, by the end of 1999, Community financial assistance is
expected to be in line with the EUR 4.685 billion of commitments
referred to in the Barcelona Declaration for the period 1995-1999,
and that for the same period, the European Investment Banks
lending could reach EUR 4.8 billion, illustrating the importance
of the EIBs role in the infrastructural development of
the region as well as its contribution to the growth of the
acknowledged the importance of these contributions as a catalyst
for reforms in partner countries. In this context, Ministers
urged maximum coherence between European Union assistance programmes,
EIB lending and the activities of international financial institutions.
European Union confirmed that its assistance for the period
2000-2006 will again reflect the high priority that it attaches
to relations with its Mediterranean Partners in the context
of its overall external commitments. Ministers agreed on the
need to strengthen the social, environmental and economic analysis
underpinning programming, especially in the case of the National
Indicative Programmes. They requested the Commission to submit
proposals to simplify and make more efficient methods and procedures
of the cooperation as soon as possible.
and Financial Partnership
reaffirmed the pivotal importance of the establishment of a
"Euro-Mediterranean free trade area" by the year 2010,
of the process of economic transition and of investment and
in particular foreign direct investment, for achieving an area
of shared prosperity an objective that remains at the
heart of the Partnership. In response to a request made by the
Malta conference, a survey on Free Trade and Economic Transition
in the Mediterranean submitted by the Commission was discussed
and its findings welcomed.
confirmed their commitment to complete the network of Association
Agreements between the EU and its Partners, which are characterised
by certain common features and which aim at mutual benefits
on the basis of reciprocity. Ministers agreed that the review
provisions in these agreements should aim at further exchanges
of agricultural concessions on a reciprocal basis.
stressed that free trade agreements among Mediterranean Partners
are essential for the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean free
trade area. Progress achieved by Partners in this respect was
welcomed and Partners were strongly encouraged to follow this
road and reinforce South-South cooperation in general. In particular,
Ministers encouraged work on increasing compatibility in customs
cooperation, free movement of goods, public procurement, harmonisation
and certification of standards, intellectual property rights,
taxation, data protection, competition rules, accounting and
auditing. Ministers endorsed the invitation of the Valencia
conference to draw on experience gained in the establishment
of the EUs internal market. They welcomed the work already
started in this area and urged that it be taken forward speedily.
stressed the central role that cumulation of origin has to play
in enhancing effective economic integration in the region. They
called for all necessary measures to be taken to ensure that
a system with identical rules of origin opens the way to full
cumulation throughout the Euro-Mediterranean area as soon as
welcome progress in economic transition and stressed that this
process required further efforts, particularly with regard to
the regulatory and administrative environment, entrepreneurial
culture and reforms of taxation systems.
acknowledged that economic transition must pay due recognition
to the fact that Partners face major social challenges. They
reaffirmed the need to make determined efforts to improve the
standard of living of less-favoured groups through well-targeted
interventions to avoid increasing unemployment and to improve
the social situation. Participants agreed that a broad consensus,
including civil society, on the need for reform programmes had
to be built up.
was also agreement on the fundamental importance of increasing
private investment, including foreign direct investment, and
in this respect, on the need for further joint efforts to create
a positive climate for investment in order to increase the attractiveness
of the region to investors. Ministers welcomed the offer by
Portugal to host an investment conference in the first half
of 2000 and underlined that this conference, drawing on previous
experience, should make recommendations on how best to mobilise
external resources from the private sector and financial institutions.
order to strengthen infrastructures in the region which contribute
to economic and market integration, the need for the formulation
of proper legal, regulatory and financial sectoral frameworks
was underlined. Transports, maritime transport, energy and telecommunications
already provide a solid basis for regional cooperation. Ministers
stressed that participants should pursue policies and intensified
concerted action to foster greater involvement by the private
sector as well as by international and regional financial institutions.
MEDA and the EIB will continue to play their supporting role.
confirmed that the six priority sectors for cooperation
environment, water policy, industry, energy, transport and the
information society will be maintained and urged that
activities be concentrated on these priority sectors. Cooperation
in research and development in these sectors should also be
encouraged. In all sectors of cooperation special attention
should be given to the environmental aspects. Participants stressed
the crucial importance of water policy for the Mediterranean
region and welcomed the holding of a second Euro-Mediterranean
ministerial conference on local water management in Turin in
the second half of 1999 which should lead to recommendations
for further operational activities at the regional level. Ministers
made clear that new priority areas of cooperation could be established
in the light of further discussions on a new methodology for
regional cooperation activities. In this respect the results
of the industry ministers meeting held on 4 October 1998
in Klagenfurt were welcomed.
conference took note of a number of important recent activities
to implement regional cooperation: the EUMEDIS initiative for
the information society, a series of projects in the environment
and energy fields. Ongoing activities include economic cooperation
networks, initiatives to support contacts among SMEs and statistical
cooperation under MEDSTAT.
in the Social, Cultural and Human Affairs
reaffirmed the importance of the cultural, social and human
dimension to the Partnerships success and to the attainment
of its overall goals. It was noted that activities in the third
chapter of the Barcelona Process mainly cover good governance
and human rights, education, youth, health, womens participation,
migration and human exchanges, culture, dialogue between cultures
and civilisations, dialogue between civil societies, fighting
international crime, particularly drugs and terrorism, and the
fight against racism and xenophobia. Ministers referred to the
results of the Valencia conference and urged that the various
activities in this chapter be further concentrated on priority
areas, notably through the updated Regional Indicative Programme.
agreed that in order to broaden the basis of the Euro-Mediterranean
Partnership, the involvement of a wide circle of actors outside
central government must be encouraged. They welcomed the European
Parliaments contribution to the development of a parliamentary
dimension of the Barcelona Process and particularly welcomed
the first meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum
in Brussels in October 1998, as well as the meeting of the Presidents
of the Parliaments held in Palma de Mallorca on 7-8 March 1999,
as important manifestations of interest of elected representatives
in the Partnership. They stressed that regional and local authorities
should be more closely associated, as should the economic and
social partners, the business community and the non-governmental
organisations. Ministers welcomed the holding of several Civil
Fora in Stuttgart in parallel with the conference and noted
that these Fora had made recommendations for future activities
concerning human rights, the environment and the setting up
of a Euro-Med Forum of trade unions. They called for a strengthening
of the dialogue between governments and civil society.
strongly called for a new impetus to be given to decentralised
cooperation. The particular importance of this cooperation which
also contributes to highlighting the value of the Partnership
to the widest possible public, was emphasised and Ministers,
while recognizing the need for careful and prudent implementation,
urged the Commission to relaunch these programmes as speedily
welcomed the fact that a second ministerial meeting on culture
had taken place in Rhodes in September 1998. They also welcomed
the good progress made in the implementation of cooperation
under the Euro-Med Heritage programme and the fact the Euro-Med
Audio-visual programme had been launched in 1998, with concrete
projects ready for selection and implementation in the course
of this year. They also took note that the Euro-Med Human Sciences
programme was about to be launched. They expressed satisfaction
at the launch of the Euro-Med Youth programme to encourage exchanges
in that field.
welcomed the meeting on migration and human exchanges held in
The Hague on 1-2 March 1999 which provided an opportunity for
a frank discussion on this important and delicate issue. It
was agreed that work should be pursued in this area which could
lead to the holding of a high-level meeting.
also noted that dialogue has been opened in the field of health
and social welfare including infectious diseases, childhood
development and primary health care. They welcomed the holding
of a ministerial meeting on health in Montpellier in the second
half of 1999 and expressed the wish that this meeting would
lead to the launching of operational regional cooperation.
agreed to pay tribute to the legacy of the late King Hussein.
To commemorate this contribution to peace in the region, they
approved the idea of cultural events in the year 2000, aimed
at enhancing harmony and mutual respect among the peoples of
the Euro-Mediterranean area. They welcomed the interest shown
by the Expo 2000 to be held in Hannover to host some of such
reaffirmed the role of the Euro-Mediterranean Committee for
the Barcelona Process as the central forum for providing impetus,
monitoring and follow-up and evaluation of actions and initiatives
in the Barcelona Process as a whole. They welcomed the measures
taken to improve the functioning of the Committee and encouraged
the Committee to pursue its efforts especially with a view to
focusing its work on policy issues and to ensuring that activities
are concentrated on priority sectors. They recommended that
meetings be held more frequently in order to take into account
the steady intensification of work in the Partnership.
agreed that Libya, which participated as guest of the Presidency,
will become a full member of the Barcelona Process as soon as
the UN Security Council sanctions have been lifted and Libya
has accepted the whole Barcelona acquis.
welcomed the Franco-Portuguese proposal to hold the fourth Euro-Mediterranean
Conference of Foreign Ministers during the French EU Presidency,
preceded by a think-tank meeting of Foreign Ministers plus one
collaborator, during the Portuguese Presidency.