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Euro-Mediterranean mid-term meeting of Foreign Affairs (Dublin, 5-6 may 2004) - Presidency Conclusions

Consult the complete report (.doc - 117 ko)


1. The Dublin Mid-Term meeting of Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers took place as a reaffirmation of the Partners’ continuing commitment to the Barcelona process. It confirmed the importance of partnership and co-ownership as essential elements of the process.

2. The meeting took place against the background of a number of initiatives concerning the countries of the Mediterranean region and beyond. The Union has proposed to include Mediterranean partners in the Neighbourhood policy. In addition, on the basis of mandates from the December 2003 European Council, an Interim Report on “An EU Strategic Partnership with the Mediterranean and the Middle East” was welcomed by the European Council in March 2004. On the basis of this Interim Report, work is now in progress to develop for the European Council in June an agreed view on relations with the area which extends from Mauritania to Iran - the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

3. Ministers unreservedly condemned terrorist attacks including those at Casablanca, Istanbul and Riyadh, as well as the appalling terrorist attack in Madrid on 11 March, and expressed solidarity with the victims. These events reinforced the relevance of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership as the framework for solidarity and co-operation between the EU and its Mediterranean partners in tackling common security threats. It should stimulate the partners to reinforce all their joint activities, in particular in the fight against terrorism in all its forms, co-operation on justice and home affairs, and the inter-cultural dialogue.

4. Ministers therefore confirmed their attachment and commitment to the Barcelona Process as the main framework for a coherent set of privileged relations within the Euro-Mediterranean neighbourhood. They acknowledged the solid and substantial range of co-operation activities which has been established in a spirit of partnership on issues ranging from political and security questions, including human rights, political reform and good governance, through trade liberalisation, economic reform and infrastructure networks to culture, education and the movement of people. They therefore firmly committed themselves to implementing the Naples agenda in order to reinvigorate the Barcelona Process while seeking ways of improving the sense of co-ownership of the process.

5. The meeting also recognised the potential of the European Neighbourhood Policy to build on the Barcelona Process and to further it on the basis of jointly agreed Action Plans, as well as the opportunities and benefits offered to the Mediterranean partner countries through this policy. Within a differentiated approach, the EU can offer a more intensive political dialogue and greater access to EU programmes and policies, including their gradual participation in the four freedoms particularly the Single Market, as well as reinforced co-operation on justice and home affairs. Such close and co-operative relations will depend on a better mutual understanding of security concerns and the strengthening of commitments to common values and common principles, such as promoting human rights, combating terrorism, and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The level of EU support to the implementation of reforms should be related on a mutually agreed basis in a spirit of co-ownership, to the intensity of the efforts of the partners assessed under the framework of agreed evaluation instruments. Articulation of MEDA and EIB credits should be further reinforced, as well as co-ordination within the EU and with other donors.

6. Against this background, Ministers took stock of progress in implementing the Valencia Action Plan and the conclusions of the Ministerial meeting in Naples. In the perspective of the Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers meetings to be held under the Dutch and Luxemburg Presidencies as well as the 10th anniversary next year of the launching of the Barcelona Process. Ministers requested the Euro-Mediterranean Committee to draw up firm proposals and guidelines for moving forward. They acknowledged that progress on the implementation of the Valencia Action Plan had been insufficient and needed to be speeded up. There should be more focus on deliverable achievements rather than on process. Final decisions were taken on the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue of Cultures which will ensure its establishment in line with the agreed timetable.

7. At Naples, Foreign Ministers mandated senior officials to examine the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership’s working methods. The Presidency has carried this work forward and, following an extensive consultation process with Partners, published its Working Paper on the Improvement of the Working Methods of the Partnership. This has met with the approval of the Senior Officials of the 35 partner countries. Ministers welcomed agreement on improving the working methods of the partnership, which includes the setting up of ad-hoc groups to prepare discussion, proposals to increase the sense of co-ownership by giving a greater role to the Mediterranean partners, and certain technical improvements. In addition, arising from this paper, two ad-hoc thematic groups have been set up and had their initial meetings on 5th and 7th April respectively, with a view to preparing work-plans on Partnership-Building Measures and the European Neighbourhood Policy. These draft work-plans were welcomed by the Ministerial Meeting.

8. Good progress has been made within the association process which lies at the core of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Association Agreements are now in force with Morocco, Tunisia, Israel and Jordan and on an interim basis with the Palestinian Authority. There are interim agreements in place with Egypt and Lebanon as well. The ratification of the agreement concluded with Egypt is now finalised and the first meeting of the EU-Egypt Association Council is scheduled for June 2004. The ratification processes of the agreements with Lebanon and Algeria are also well underway. All partners were again encouraged to expedite the ratification process of those Association Agreements not yet in force. The EU is also encouraged by the progress made towards concluding an Association Agreement with Syria, and is hopeful that the few outstanding points will be resolved soon, allowing Syria to join the group of Euro-Mediterranean countries which have signed Association or Interim Agreements with the Union, thus completing the network of Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements. These are important developments for the fulfilment of the objectives of the Barcelona Declaration and for the reinforcement of South-South cooperation.

9. Ministers drew attention to the priority they attach to the promotion of gender equality and the promotion of the role of women in society, in the framework of pursuing the objectives of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Ministers acknowledged the important contribution of women in all sectors, including: education, the public service, the administration of justice, business, agriculture and rural development. They adopted the promotion of the role of women in society, north and south of the Mediterranean, as one of the major ambitions in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

Consult the complete report (.doc - 117 ko)

Brussels,05 10 2004
European Union
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