Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/mediterranean : Euromed Partners Show Solidarity in Tampere

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/mediterranean : Euromed Partners Show Solidarity in Tampere

Article excerpt

For once, countries from the north and south of the Mediterranean, members of the Barcelona Process, appeared united. EU foreign ministers and their colleagues from the south Mediterranean agreed unanimously on the conclusion texts of the 8th Euromed conference on 27 and 28 November in Tampere, Finland. This success was welcomed by Erkki Tuomioja, the Finnish Minister in charge of the EU Presidency: "It's only the second time that ministers have unanimously adopted the conclusions," he announced. He complimented participants, in particular those from the Arab countries, for their positive attitudes, without which, in his opinion, a compromise text would never have been reached.

The Tampere Conclusions managed to define a common position on the sensitive question of the situation in the Middle East and to take steps towards the concrete relaunch of the struggling Euro-Mediterranean partnership. The latest cease fire between Israelis and Palestinians helped to create an atmosphere which was conducive to debate. "We had a very good and constructive discussion on the Middle East peace process with all parties around the same table. There was a very positive atmosphere and parties made commitments which now need to be converted into concrete actions," said Tuomioja at the end of the meeting.

Political meetings under the Euromed Partnership are generally hindered by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which tends to dominate the debates. In this context, Europeans often try to agree on a common position, as was the case at the summit of heads of state in November 2005. …

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