The Sarkozy–Mubarak Mediterranean Union is Dead: What About a New One?

In July, 2008, a sumptuous dinner was held in the Grand Palais in Paris, attended by delegates from twenty-seven E.U. members and sixteen Mediterranean countries. The dinner was said to have cost a million euros. It launched a new association, in a close relationship with the E.U., built on the common interests of southern European, Middle Eastern and North African countries around the Mediterranean Sea, including Israel and the PLO. Its masterminds were two presidents: Nicolas Sarkozy and Hosni Mubarak.

It had these key initiatives on its agenda:

  • the de-pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, including coastal and protected marine areas;
  • the establishment of maritime and land highways that connect ports and improve rail connections so as to facilitate movement of people and goods;
  • a joint civil protection program on prevention, preparation and response to natural and man-made disasters;
  • a Mediterranean solar energy plan that explores opportunities for developing alternative energy sources in the region;
  • a Euro-Mediterranean University, inaugurated in Slovenia in June 2008;
  • the Mediterranean Business Development Initiative, which supports small businesses operating in the region by first assessing their needs and then providing technical assistance and access to finance.

The organization never took off and is now in shambles. Voices have been raised demanding a new approach that is “to be built on the ground and not in palaces.”

Last Monday, Mehdie Houa, the new Tunisian Minister of Trade, demanded that the E.U. has “to treat us as equals. That is more important than money.”

Source: Die Zeit, February 19

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3 responses to “The Sarkozy–Mubarak Mediterranean Union is Dead: What About a New One?

  1. If this wonderful plan is to be resurrected, one more item needs to be added to the agenda, somewhere near the top: the thorny issue of politically- and economically-driven human migration among these countries: immigration policies and All That.

    • This may be business as you conduct it in Moffat, Ont, but we in Rosedale only sell arms to one side.

    • This has to work both ways. Libya has to grant asylum to Berlusconi and his harem. After all, the Italians should feel at home there. They had occupied the country from 1934 to 1943.