memorandum by Mr Badré, rapporteur
1. The Mediterranean Basin, which forms the southern
maritime limit of the European continent, is a vast geographical
area extending from Portugal in the west to the Middle East and
Turkey in the east. However, it is more than just a geographical
concept: the Mediterranean is one of the cradles of human civilisation
and the starting place of the three main world religions.
2. Since antiquity, the southern and northern shores of Mare Nostrum have been linked together
at the heart of a unique uninterrupted group, united by this sea.
Traditionally, there have always been historical, religious and
cultural ties, trading links and migratory movements between the
European, African and Asian shores of the Mediterranean.
3. The shores of the Mediterranean are united by history and
geography and it should be no surprise that they are brought closer
together still by modern developments. In an increasingly open world,
problems and challenges no longer stop at geographical boundaries
or national borders. The Mediterranean is a highly telling example
of this. The northern and southern countries share more and more
problems such as pollution, insecurity, illegal immigration, trafficking
of all sorts and social conflicts. These problems are compounded
by the growing gap and inequalities between the North and the South.
4. The Council of Europe, which works to achieve greater unity
between its member states based on respect for the fundamental values
and principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, cannot
afford to ignore this new situation. Europe’s peace, stability and
security are increasingly bound up with those of its neighbouring
regions, in particular, around the Mediterranean.
5. For Europe’s stability it is essential for there to be increased
stability in the Mediterranean region. Yet, this stability cannot
be exported or, still less, imposed. It can only be brought about
by a long-term effort aimed at meeting the challenges and solving
the problems which the region currently faces. Since Europe has
such a major interest in the outcome of this process, it has a duty
to contribute to it, and the Council of Europe can help in the areas
in which it is competent.
6. These were the ideas which prompted me to table, in January
2008, a motion for a recommendation entitled “Euro-Mediterranean
region: call for a Council of Europe strategy”. I would like to
thank the members of the Parliamentary Assembly who supported me
7. On the sidelines of the Assembly sessions in Strasbourg, I
have repeatedly had occasion to meet fellow parliamentarians representing
the southern Mediterranean countries. In these contacts, I have
felt a sincere wish to learn more about the Council and take advantage
of the Council’s expertise to stimulate reforms and bring about
the modernisation of their countries. This open-mindedness and pursuit
of partnership means a lot to me and I would like to thank them
8. My aim is not for this report to be exhaustive. Relations
between Europe and the Mediterranean are so intense and dynamic
that 10 or more reports would be needed to cover all the aspects!
My goal is to give a brief overview of what is already being done
at European Union and Council of Europe level, and make a few suggestions
as to how the Council could be contributing more actively to the
Euro-Mediterranean partnership process.
of the situation at European Union level: the Barcelona Process
and the Union for the Mediterranean
9. The European Union began actively to devise a structured
joint policy vis-à-vis the Mediterranean region in the 1990s by
means of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, which was also known
as the “Barcelona Process”. Before that the European communities
had had co-operation agreements with countries around the Mediterranean
but it had not yet adopted a coherent strategy for the entire region.
10. In November 1995, the ministers for foreign affairs of the
15 member states of the European Union and 12 Mediterranean countries,
meeting in Barcelona, launched the new Euro-Mediterranean Partnership
(which was abbreviated as MAP or Euro-Med). Its aim was to foster
peace and stability in the region by establishing political dialogue
based on respect for the partners’ shared values such as democracy
and the rule of law, and to promote conflict prevention and settlement
and bring about prosperity, in particular through the creation of a
free trade area and the development of co-operation fields.
The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership united the member states
of the European Union and the Mediterranean countries involved around
a broad partnership programme, focusing on three areas of activity:
- political and security-related
dialogue aimed at creating a common area of peace and stability
based on respect for human rights and democracy;
- an economic and financial partnership and the gradual
establishment of a free-trade area to create a zone of shared prosperity
and support the economic transition of partner countries;
- a social, cultural and human partnership intended to foster
understanding between peoples and cultures and contacts between
civil society organisations.
12. Increased co-operation in the fields of justice, migration
and social integration was also a key part of the process. Initially,
implementation of the partnership was based on two approaches –
a bilateral approach and a regional one.
13. In 2003, the European Union set up a European Neighbourhood
Policy, the aim of which was to establish special links with neighbouring
countries that did not have any prospect of joining the European
Union, including the Mediterranean ones. It was established with
a view to sharing the benefits of enlargement with these countries
and avoiding the emergence of new divisions, and was intended to
complement and strengthen the Barcelona Process at a bilateral level.
It has become the main model for bilateral relations between the European
Union and its Mediterranean partners.
14. The special relations formed in the context of the Neighbourhood
Policy are shaped by a mutual interest in respecting the common
values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights, good governance,
the market economy and sustainable development.
15. However, it has to be said that the results of the Barcelona
Process and the Neighbourhood Policy have been mixed, and fallen
well short of the participating countries’ expectations. It was
as a result of this that the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy,
had the idea of setting up a “Mediterranean Union”.
16. In July 2008, at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean organised
by the French presidency of the European Union, the Union for the
Mediterranean was officially created. It now comprises the 27 member states
of the European Union and 16 partner countries from the southern
Mediterranean region and the Middle East.
17. The aim of this new framework is to give fresh impetus to
the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and enhance the political nature
of relations between the European Union and its neighbours in the
Mediterranean Basin. The Union for the Mediterranean aims to preserve
the achievements of the Barcelona Process while offering more balanced
governance and public accountability together with a commitment
to carry out tangible regional and transnational projects.
18. Among the more important new features of the Union for the
Mediterranean are a rotating co-presidency with one European Union
president and one president representing the Mediterranean partners,
and a secretariat based in Barcelona that is responsible for identifying
and promoting projects of regional, sub-regional and transnational
value across different sectors.
19. The Union for the Mediterranean has identified six priority
projects, which will be at the heart of its activities, namely the
depollution of the Mediterranean Sea, the establishment of maritime
and land highways, civil protection initiatives to combat natural
and man-made disasters, a Mediterranean solar energy plan, the inauguration
of the Euro-Mediterranean University in Slovenia and the Mediterranean
Business Development Initiative focusing on micro, small and medium-sized
20. However, although the new project positions itself as the
successor to the Barcelona Process, there are areas in which it
seems less ambitious and among these are its plans in the spheres
of democracy and human rights.
21. While the Joint Declaration of the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean
refers to the shared political will of the participants to stabilise
the Mediterranean into an area of peace, democracy, co-operation
and prosperity (paragraph 1 of the Preamble), it is noticeable that
none of the six priority action areas refers to this goal.
22. The Council of Europe’s areas of expertise do not therefore
seem to be part of the Union for the Mediterranean’s priorities,
at least for the time being. The question is whether this was an
oversight or an abdication of responsibility. In truth, the sustainable
stability and prosperity which are announced as the aims of the
new organisation will only be possible in the long run if there
is genuine respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law
in the region. As rapporteur, I prefer to see this as potential
leeway for complementary activities and an opportunity to establish
co-operation between the Union for the Mediterranean and the Council of
23. It should also be recalled that, since the very beginning,
the new body has encountered a series of political obstacles, which
do not augur well for its future. The war in Gaza in December 2008
brought the new body to an almost complete halt and this situation
is likely to continue for as long as there is no settlement to the
Middle East conflict.
3 The Council of
the Europe and the Mediterranean countries – Existing co-operation
24. The Council of Europe’s role in co-operating with
Mediterranean countries may be less prominent than that of the European
Union but it is no less important. Several Council authorities and
bodies have established co-operation projects over the years with
a wide range of partners in the southern and eastern Mediterranean regions.
25. At the political level, the Assembly has taken a constant
interest in Mediterranean issues right across the board and in establishing
contacts and dialogue with parliamentarians from the region’s countries.
26. In this connection, a mention should be made of the reports
prepared by the Political Affairs Committee on “Strengthening co-operation
with the Maghreb countries” (Mrs Durrieu) and the “Situation in
Western Sahara” (Mr Puche).In
addition, the recent report on the “Establishment of a ‘partner
for democracy’ status with the Parliamentary Assembly” (Mr Van den
Brande) has made it possible to set up a new form of advanced partnership
between the Parliamentary Assembly and the region’s parliaments.
27. Reference should also be made to the Assembly’s commitment
to promoting peace in the Middle East. Our contacts with the parliamentary
delegations of the Knesset and the Palestinian Legislative Council
give us an opportunity to contribute to the dialogue between these
bodies and take part in the quest for a fair solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. The Tripartite Forum set up by the Political Affairs Committee
plays a leading role in this.
28. The Assembly has dealt with other issues and problems affecting
the Mediterranean region such as demographic imbalances, illegal
migration, environment and sustainable development, Mediterranean agriculture,
cultural co-operation, the situation of women and many others.
29. The Israeli Knesset has observer status with the Assembly,
and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the parliaments
of the Maghreb countries are systematically invited to Assembly
sessions, Assembly committee meetings and various other activities
organised by the Assembly.
30. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council
of Europe fosters dialogue with local elected representatives from
the southern Mediterranean countries, and among its observers are
the Union of Local Authorities in Israel, the Association of Palestinian
Local Authorities, the Arab Towns Organisation, the Standing Committee
for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership of Local and Regional Authorities
and the Amphictyony (Union) of Twinned Cities and Areas in the Mediterranean.
31. Imposing common standards is one of the strong points of the
Council of Europe’s activities. Of the 200 or so treaties drawn
up under the Council’s auspices, over 150 are open for signature
by non-European non-member states. However, this opportunity for
co-operation has still only been explored somewhat tentatively by
our Mediterranean partners. Israel has acceded to 10 conventions,
Tunisia has adhered to four and Morocco is a party to just one.
Extra efforts are required to promote the Council’s legal instruments
among the Mediterranean countries.
32. A special place in legal co-operation between the Council
of Europe and the Mediterranean countries is occupied by the European
Commission for Democracy through Law, more commonly referred to
as the Venice Commission. This authority, which is the Council of
Europe’s advisory body on constitutional issues, contributes to
the dissemination of Europe’s constitutional heritage and the fundamental
rules on which it is based. Currently, Algeria, Israel, Morocco
and Tunisia are full members of the Venice Commission and the Palestinian
Authority has a special co-operation status.
33. However, the chief contributor to the development of co-operation
between the Council of Europe and the Mediterranean countries is
undoubtedly the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (more
commonly known as the “North-South Centre”), which was founded in
November 1989 and has just celebrated its 20th anniversary.
34. The North-South Centre’s twofold task is to provide a framework
for co-operation designed to heighten public awareness of global
interdependence issues, and to promote policies of solidarity in
accordance with the Council of Europe’s aims and principles, namely
with due regard for human rights, democracy and social cohesion.
Under the North-South Centre’s statute, it must engage in
the following activities:
a European dimension to multilateral co-operation initiatives for
sustainable development and serving as a framework for their implementation;
- improving education and information on global interdependence
- strengthening ties between non-governmental organisations
in the North and the South;
- developing working relations with all international organisations
concerned with global interdependence;
- acting as an interface between Europe and the South.
36. The North-South Centre is often described as the Council of
Europe’s window on the world, as its purpose is to assert the validity
of the values it upholds outside Europe. This means that it offers
an ideal forum for establishing contacts and creating the conditions
for raising awareness, identifying needs and transferring knowledge
between various Council of Europe bodies and potential partners
in co-operation activities.
37. Currently, 21 states are members of the North-South Centre
and 19 of these are Council of Europe member states. Morocco was
recently the first non-European state to join. Some Mediterranean
countries take part in projects run by the North-South Centre but
have not yet formally joined. There should be a campaign to promote
membership both among the Council of Europe member states and among
the southern Mediterranean countries.
38. The European Union takes part in the activities of the centre
by sending representatives of the European Commission and the European
Parliament to sit on its Executive Council, but it has not yet joined
in its own right. The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty should
make it possible for the European Union to join if there is a political
desire to do so.
39. Among the other Council of Europe mechanisms which provide
a framework for co-operation with its Mediterranean partners are
the Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
in Drugs (the Pompidou Group) and the European and Mediterranean
Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA).
40. The Co-operation group to combat drug abuse and illicit trafficking
in drugs (Pompidou Group) organises co-operation with neighbouring
Mediterranean countries. In 2006, the MedNET Mediterranean Network
for Co-operation on Drugs and Addictions (including alcohol and
tobacco) was set up to promote co-operation, exchange and the two-way
transfer of knowledge between southern Mediterranean and European
countries which are members of the Pompidou Group. Algeria, Lebanon,
Morocco and Tunisia are already members. Jordan and Egypt were recently
invited to join.
41. The EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement is a forum for co-operation
in the field of major hazards involving European and southern Mediterranean
countries. Its remit covers major natural and technological disasters,
including knowledge, prevention, risk management, post-crisis analysis
and rehabilitation. Its main objectives are to reinforce and to
promote co-operation between member states in a multidisciplinary
context to ensure better prevention, protection against risks and
better preparation in the event of major natural or technological
disasters. Current members include Algeria, Lebanon and Morocco.
42. Lastly, some of the Council of Europe’s areas of activity
which may also be of interest to its Mediterranean partners are
culture, education and teaching, migration and many others. In all
of these areas, the Council of Europe’s experience and expertise
are well known and appreciated.
4 New prospects opened
up by “partner for democracy” status
43. As mentioned above, the Parliamentary Assembly recently
adopted a new status for parliaments in Europe’s neighbouring regions
which wish to keep up structured, institutionalised relations with
it, known as “partner for democracy” status. In Bern, in November
2009, the Standing Committee made the necessary amendments to the
Assembly’s Rules of Procedure and the new status will come into
effect in January 2010.
44. It should be pointed out that the new status places most emphasis
on promoting the Council of Europe’s core values of democracy, human
rights and the rule of law, which are also the stated goals of several
southern Mediterranean countries.
45. The new status enables parliamentarians from non-member states
to take an active part in the work of the Assembly and its committees,
to make their desires and concerns known and to take initiatives.
46. It provides a common framework in which “tailor-made” co-operation
can be developed on a country-by-country basis in accordance with
the needs identified.
47. This new status should now be the main means of promoting
Council of Europe values at parliamentary level. This should be
of interest, in particular, for the countries of the Mediterranean
48. At the same time, it is contacts in parliament who are in
the best position to gain an overview of our partners’ interests
and co-operation needs on the one hand and what it is possible for
the Council of Europe to do on the other. Parliamentary activities
have often played a pioneering role in the development of new forms of
co-operation at the Council of Europe.
49. I therefore strongly urge parliamentarians in the Mediterranean
countries to take advantage of the prospects that have now been
opened up by “partner for democracy” status.
50. The Euro-Mediterranean partnership is now a fait accompli. It has existed since
the launch of the Barcelona Process and is now continuing in the
form of the Union for the Mediterranean. Whether it is successful
or not and achieves its goals is another question. However, the
Council of Europe does not participate in it, at least on any kind
of formal basis.
51. The Council of Europe has already been making great efforts
at bilateral level to establish a partnership and practical co-operation
with the southern Mediterranean countries.
52. The question is whether the possibility of combining the two
activities might be contemplated or, if not, whether the Council
should launch a parallel scheme.
53. I am convinced that peace and stability in the Mediterranean
can only be secured in the long term on the basis of democracy,
human rights and the rule of law, as has been demonstrated by the
progress of European integration, both within the European Union,
which is founded on these principles, and within the Council of Europe,
whose statutory task it is to promote, protect and foster these
values and principles.
54. For this reason, I believe that the Council of Europe has
a part to play in the Mediterranean region, which should be based
on our values and our principles.
55. However, it would be senseless to try to compete with the
European Union and add to the existing profusion of structures.
Instead the emphasis should be on ensuring that those that already
exist can carry out the tasks they are entrusted with efficiently.
I therefore propose that we take a twofold approach, which
is reflected in the draft resolution and the draft recommendation:
- at the bilateral level, we should
continue to offer our partners the Council of Europe’s experience
and expertise on a “tailor-made” basis, in areas which interest
them in particular and using the existing structures and mechanisms;
- on the multilateral front, we should be attempting to
complement and participate in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership
process and the Union for the Mediterranean so that the areas in
which the Council of Europe is regarded as a leader, namely democracy,
human rights and the rule of law, can be incorporated into them.
Reporting committee: Political
Reference to committee: Doc. 11507, Reference
3420 of 14 April 2008
Draft resolution and draft recommendation unanimously
adopted by the committee on 15 December 2009
Members of the committee : Mr Göran Lindblad (Chairman),
Mr David Wilshire (Vice-Chairman),
Mr Björn Von Sydow (Vice-Chairman) (alternate: Mrs Kerstin Lundgren), Mrs Fátima Aburto Baselga,
Mr Francis Agius (alternate: Mr Joseph Debono
Grech), Mr Alexander Babakov (alternate: Mr Sergey Markov), Mr Viorel Badea, Mr Denis Badré, Mr Andris Bērzinš, Mr Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Mr Lorenzo Cesa, Mr
Titus Corlăţean, Ms Anna Čurdová, Mr Rick Daems, Mrs Maria Damanaki (alternate:
Mr Konstantinos Vrettos),
Mr Dumitru Diacov, Mr Pol van den Driessche, Ms Josette Durrieu,
Mr Frank Fahey, Mr Piero Fassino,
Mr György Frunda, Mr Jean-Charles
Gardetto, Mr Marco Gatti, Mr Andreas Gross,
Mr Michael Hancock, Mr Davit Harutyunyan, Mr Norbert Haupert, Mr Joachim Hörster, Mrs
Sinikka Hurskainen, Mr Tadeusz Iwiński, Mr Bakir Izetbegović (alternate:
Mr Mladen Ivanić), Mr Michael
Aastrup Jensen, Mr Miloš
Jevtić, Mrs Birgen Keleş,
Mr Victor Kolesnikov (alternate: Mrs Olha Herasym’yuk),
Mr Konstantin Kosachev, Mr Jean-Pierre Kucheida,
Ms Darja Lavtižar-Bebler, Mr René van der Linden, Mr Dariusz Lipiński,
Mr Gennaro Malgieri, Mr Dick Marty,
Mr Frano Matušić, Mr Silver Meikar,
Mr Evangelos Meimarakis,
Mr Dragoljub Mićunović, Mr Jean-Claude Mignon, Mr Aydin Mirzazada,
Mr Juan Moscoso del Prado Hernández, Ms Lilja Mósesdóttir, Mr João
Bosco Mota Amaral, Mrs Olga
Nachtmannová, Mr Gebhard Negele, Mrs Miroslava Nemcová, Mr Zsolt Németh, Mr Fritz Neugebauer
(alternate: Mr Franz Eduard Kühnel),
Mr Aleksandar Nikoloski, Mr Hryhoriy Omelchenko,
Mr Maciej Orzechowski, Mr Ivan Popescu,
Mr Christos Pourgourides, Mr John Prescott (alternate: Mr John Austin), Mr Gabino Puche, Mr Amadeu Rossell Tarradellas,
Mr Ilir Rusmali, Mr Ingo Schmitt (alternate: Mr Eduard Lintner), Mr Predrag Sekulić, Mr
Samad Seyidov, Mr Leonid Slutsky,
Mr Rainder Steenblock, Mr Zoltán Szabó (alternate: Mr Mátyás Eörsi), Mr Mehmet Tekelioğlu, Mr Han Ten Broeke,
Mr Zhivko Todorov, Lord Tomlinson (alternate: Mr Rudi Vis), Mr Latchezar Toshev, Mr Petré Tsiskarishvili, Mr Mihai Tudose,
Mr Ilyas Umakhanov, Mr José Vera Jardim, Mr Luigi Vitali, Mr Wolfgang
Wodarg, Mrs Karin S. Woldseth, Ms Gisela Wurm,
Mr Emanuelis Zingeris
Ex-officio: Mr Tiny
NB: The names of the members who took part in the meeting
are printed in bold
Secretariat of the committee:
Mrs Nachilo, Mr Chevtchenko, Mrs Sirtori-Milner