Magazine article Europe-East

Union for the Mediterranean : France Puts Brave Face on Commission's Med Union Plans

Magazine article Europe-East

Union for the Mediterranean : France Puts Brave Face on Commission's Med Union Plans

Article excerpt

France is ready to compromise with the European Commission in order to launch a scaled-down version of its Union for the Mediterranean (UM) initiative during a summit in Paris, on 13 July. Paris has put a brave face on the proposals made by Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the commissioner for external relations, on 20 May in Strasbourg, although they limit the original plan of President Nicolas Sarkozy. "We welcome the Commission proposals," said a statement from the Elysee Palace, which underlines the convergence of views with Ferrero-Waldner.

The French authorities have praised the communication adopted by the Commission, which stresses the importance giving a new impetus to the relations between the EU and the Mediterranean region. The Commission acknowledges the need to upgrade the political level of the relationship, to rebalance it through further co-ownership. It also wants to make these relations more visible and relevant for the citizens of the region. This vision is in accordance with Sarkozy's ambitions. But divergences become clear when it comes to the details of the institutional setup of the UM.

While France wants to give a central role to a new body, the UM Secretariat, the Commission has proposed to keep it under a tight control and to limit as much as possible its political influence. Ferrero-Waldner wants to create a new joint permanent committee in Brussels that would supervise the work of the Secretariat. Moreover, while France is planning to hold the co-presidency of the UM for two years, the Commission stresses that this role should be held by the EU when the Lisbon Treaty enters into force. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.