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French Version

IVth Meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum

Bari (Italy), 17 and 18 June 2002
FINAL DECLARATION


A. The fourth meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum was held in Bari (Italy)on 17 and 18 June 2002 and was attended by members representing the parliaments of the Mediterranean countries participating in the Barcelona Process, the national parliaments of the Member States of the European Union (EU) and the European Parliament.

B. The participants in the Forum express their regret and concern at the absence of the Palestinian delegation. The Euro-Mediterranean Forum is an area of dialogue and mutual respect.
In this connection, the participants restate the democratic right of all members of the Forum to attend its meetings.

C. The participants discussed the revitalisation of the Barcelona Process following the Valencia Ministerial Conference of 22 and 23 April 2002 and the issue of migration and exchanges between people and cultures in the Euro-Mediterranean area.

D. Political developments in several European, North African and Middle-Eastern countries show that, even more so than in the past, there is an urgent need to strengthen the Barcelona Process and place it on a more formal footing, and for a clear and firm political will to address the serious problems arising in the Mediterranean area.

E. In this context, the participants recommend that summits of heads of state or government be held on a regular basis to give a political impetus at the highest level to the Euro-Mediterranean partnership process.


The Forum:

1. Reaffirms the special nature of the Mediterranean, which is a vast geographical and cultural area in which peace, prosperity and social progress can only be achieved through sincere efforts to acknowledge the values, interests, issues, threats and challenges that are shared by all or specific to one or other of the parties involved. A careful analysis needs to be made of migratory flows. The participants' conclusions on this matter are set out in a separate resolution.

2. Takes the view that all the countries participating in the Barcelona Process should work to promote democracy and respect for human rights; believes that all these countries should also be involved in developing and implementing all the economic, social, cultural and political aspects of the partnership on which the Barcelona Process is based.

3. Endorses the action plan adopted by the Valencia Ministerial Conference and calls on the European Commission and the Council of the EU to do everything within their power to ensure that the recommendations give rise to genuine operational measures.

4. Notes that the conflict in the Middle East is becoming ever more serious. The international community must make a decisive commitment to ensuring that the indiscriminate violence is brought to an end, the law is enforced, international agreements are complied with and the humanitarian operations already in progress may continue without hindrance. With this in mind, gives its backing to the convening of an international conference aimed at restoring the political dimension in the conflict while taking due account of the various peace initiatives.

5. Considers that there can be no military solution to the Middle-East conflict. Peace founded on the existence of two secure, democratic and viable states with clearly demarcated borders - namely Israel and Palestine - is the only option. There is therefore an urgent need to continue to work towards, and step up international efforts aimed at securing a swift resumption of dialogue and negotiations between all the parties involved, with a view to creating the necessary conditions for a definitive peace agreement.

6. Regrets the lack of progress in the ongoing bicommunal talks in Cyprus; reiterates its conviction of the need to find a solution to the problem of Cyprus which complies with the UN resolutions and appreciates the efforts made by the UN Secretary-General to find a solution to the Cypriot problem.

7. Takes the view that the revitalisation of the Barcelona Process also calls for effective cooperation - which goes beyond mere rhetoric - in combating international terrorism, together with the establishment of a genuine Euro-Mediterranean political and security partnership. This should be done with due regard for human rights, individual freedoms and democratic principles, which have become essential components of the association agreements signed between the EU and the Mediterranean partners.

8. Condemns all forms of terrorism, gives its backing to the convening by the UN of an international conference on the issue and hopes that all the Euro-Mediterranean partners will adopt a joint approach to the drafting of a general convention on terrorism. Similarly, it is essential for the countries participating in the Barcelona Process to sign, ratify and comply with all international treaties on combating terrorism and organised crime. The establishment of a Euro-Mediterranean contact network to facilitate the exchange of information and cooperation in the fight against this scourge is also essential, as is the drafting of a common code of conduct.

9. Welcomes, in connection with the establishment of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area, the signing of the association agreements between the EU and Egypt, Algeria and Lebanon, and hopes that there will be no further delays in the negotiations with Syria; believes that assessments need to be made in order to gauge the economic, social, cultural and environmental impact of the economic measures to be implemented in connection with the free trade area; warmly welcomes the Agadir Declaration concerning the creation of a free trade area between Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, and hopes that further moves towards integration between Southern partners will follow in the near future.

10. Considers that the development of regional integration schemes remains one of the key components of the process of building closer relations within the Mediterranean area; welcomes, in this connection, the meeting of 19 January 2002 between the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Arab Maghreb Union and the decision taken by the AMU heads of state to meet in Algiers in the near future, as well as the resumption of the activities of the AMU Consultative Council.

11. Considers that the proposals made by the Barcelona European Council of 15 and 16 March 2002 and the decision taken by the Ecofin Council do not run counter to the prospect of setting up a Euro-Mediterranean development bank at a later stage; considers, in this connection, the decision to introduce an enhanced Euro-Mediterranean investment mechanism within the EIB and to set up two EIB offices in the region to be an initial positive step in this direction, capable of encouraging investment flows in the near future; takes the view that it should give its opinion on this matter and calls on the European Commission to submit a new specific communication at the earliest opportunity, covering financial needs, existing financing flows and the most appropriate institutional financial structure.

12. Calls for full use to be made of the opportunities afforded by MEDA II and demands that the European Commission and the beneficiaries of the funds improve the management and implementation of this important cooperation instrument. Bureaucratic requirements should be relaxed and adjustments should be made to MEDA Democracy.

13. As part of a sustainable development policy, considers that scientific and entrepreneurial initiatives aimed at making better use of natural and historical resources should be promoted. Environment-friendly schemes that show due respect for cultural diversity could be adopted with a view to putting these precious resources to the best possible use.

14. In connection with relations between peoples, welcomes the fact that the Valencia Ministerial Conference agreed to the principle of setting up a Euro-Mediterranean Foundation to promote a dialogue of cultures and civilisations and calls for this Foundation to be set up at the earliest opportunity.

15. In order to enhance the visibility of the Barcelona Process through cultural and social exchanges, considers that the Foundation should be allocated adequate budgetary resources in accordance with the proposals submitted by the European Commission. The main players in the Foundation should be the governmental and parliamentary institutions of the partnership countries, together with public and private bodies.

16. Supports the development of the representative dimension of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and commits itself to promoting the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly as soon as possible, in accordance with the Valencia Conference conclusions, convinced that the experience of the regular Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum will thus achieve its fulfilment. The Assembly will equally make the most of the contribution of the EP, that of the national parliaments of the Member States and that of the Mediterranean partner countries. To this end, the Forum shall set up a working party to make preparations for this new body.

17. Thanks the Italian Parliament for agreeing to host the Forum for the first time in a Mediterranean coastal town, and accepts the invitation from the Hellenic Parliament. The Fifth Forum will therefore meet in the first half of 2003 in Greece.

18. Instructs its Co-Presidents to forward this Declaration and the resolution on migration to the presidents of the parliaments of the states participating in the Barcelona Process, the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the governments of the Barcelona Process countries and, for information, to the parliaments and governments of the Balkan countries.

Bruxelles,06 24 2002
info
European union
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