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News France, Italy, Spain Announce Mediterranean Union Summit

France, Italy and Spain united behind a planned Mediterranean Union on last December 20th, announcing a July summit in Paris of the countries bordering the sea.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the July 13 summit at a joint news conference in Rome with the Italian and Spanish prime ministers, Romano Prodi and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
The three leaders earlier discussed the plan to establish an E.U.-type union of the zone in talks in the Italian capital.

"Convinced that the Mediterranean, crucible of culture and civilization, should resume its role as a zone of peace, prosperity and tolerance," the three leaders said they had met to "think about the broad outlines of a planned union for the Mediterranean."

The bloc "would have a mission to reunite Europe and Africa around the countries along the Mediterranean rim and to set up a partnership on an equal footing between the countries" north and south of the sea, they said.

"The added value of the Mediterranean Union should reside first in the political boost it should give to cooperation around the Mediterranean and the mobilization of civil societies, businesses, local communities, associations and NGOs (non-governmental organizations)," the statement said.
The Paris summit will precede by a day an E.U. summit on July 14 in Brussels.

The Mediterranean Union will focus on "peace, development and respect for the environment," Sarkozy said separately. "It's a great dream, a great vision, which I'm sure can be realized. We three have decided that this will be a united Mediterranean, a war against despair."

Sarkozy advocates the grouping partly as an alternative to Turkish membership of the European Union. Italy favors Ankara's entry into the E.U.

The plan also comes against the backdrop of attacks in Algeria, and other north African states on the Mediterranean, by the group calling itself al-Qaida's Branch in the Islamic Maghreb.

Contact information Dowjones Business News
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information - ROME (AFP)/ Dowjones Business News
Keyword(s) Mediterranean-Union
Relation initiatives/mediterranean-union/snews587442
Geographical coverage France, Italy, Spain
News date 14/01/2008
Working language(s) ENGLISH