Vth Euro-Mediterranean Conference
of Ministers for Foreign Affairs
VALENCIA ACTION PLAN
The partners of the Barcelona Process taking part in the Euro-Mediterranean Conference Barcelona V held in Valencia (Spain) the 22nd and 23rd of April 2002,
Stressing that the strategic importance of the Mediterranean and the prevailing political, economic and social circumstances call for a global response based on comprehensive co-operation and solidarity;
Expressing their conviction that the peace, stability and security of the Mediterranean region are a common asset which they pledge to promote and strengthen by all means at their disposal;
Reiterating the importance they attach to sustainable and balanced economic and social development with a view to achieving the objective of creating an area of shared prosperity;
Recognising that dialogue among cultures, civilisations and religions throughout the Mediterranean Region is more necessary than ever before in order to promote understanding among them;
Aware that the coming perspective of the European Union´s enlargement reinforces even more the relevance of the Barcelona Process;
Convinced that after six years of Partnership, the Barcelona Process should achieve new levels of Euro-Mediterranean integration thus generating new momentum in their relations and to foster a more balanced approach to the common objectives.
Agreeing that the sense of ownership of the Process by all partners must be reinforced;
Favouring an increased visibility of the Process by the public opinions of all partners;
Convinced that these objectives may be achieved within the framework and the development of the Barcelona Declaration adopted at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference held in Barcelona on the 27th and 28th of November, 1995;
Conscious that the incomplete implementation of the main objectives of the mentioned Declaration, despite the progress obtained since 1995, demands a global reassessment and a new commitment from all participants to build on the reactivation of the Process since Barcelona IV (Marseilles 2000);
Hereby agree to establish an Action Plan on reinforced political dialogue, further development of economic, commercial and financial co-operation and renewed emphasis on the social, cultural and human dimension.
This Action Plan will abide by all the Principles of the Barcelona Declaration, through regional, sub-regional and other multilateral actions. It is complementary to the bilateral co-operation implemented under the Association Agreements between the EU and its Mediterranean partners or between partners themselves.
The implementation of this Action Plan shall start immediately after the Barcelona V Conference and will be reviewed at Barcelona VI.
II. POLITICAL AND SECURITY PARTNERSHIP
1. The Conference agreed:
Referring to the deliberations of the ad hoc working group on terrorism, which met in Brussels on March 27th, the following axes of dialogue and cooperation in the domain of the terrorism have been retained:
a) That the Barcelona Process cannot remain indifferent to the phenomenon of Terrorism which should continue being examined from a global and multidisciplinary approach, and in a spirit of partnership and solidarity.
b) To recognize the central role of the UN in the fight against terrorism and to show strong support to the work of the UNSC Committee against terrorism.
c) Taking note of the progress of work at regional and inter-regional levels, to reiterate that all 27 Partners are committed to the implementation of relevant UN Resolutions, particularly 1373 and 1390 and, as appropriate, to International Conventions.
d) Taking into account that only a multilateral approach and practical measures can assure an effective fight against terrorism, to renew the mandate of the Ad hoc Group on Terrorism.
e) To pursue the activation of the Euro-Mediterranean network of contact points for the fight against terrorism.
3. Human Rights and Democracy
The Conference agreed to encourage the continuation of the political dialogue on human rights by means of national and regional presentations. They also mandated Senior Officials to study the setting of a more structured dialogue on this sensitive topic so as to increase its effectiveness and deepen the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership in this area.
4.Partnership Building Measures
The Conference confirmed the mandate to Senior Officials contained in the conclusions of Marseilles and Brussels Conferences, to consolidate partnership measures already in force, identify new ones and strengthen good-neighbourly relations on a regional or sub-regional basis.
Following a gradual approach, concrete proposals could, inter alia, go along the following lines:
a) Working towards a common language on defence and security issues. One of the major problems in the region is the absence of a common strategic language. It is essential to overcome prejudices and conceptual and terminological misunderstandings. An initial common basis could be found in International Conventions ratified by Countries from the North and South of the Mediterranean.
b) Developing preventive diplomacy mechanisms. The Mediterranean region requires bilateral and multilateral cooperation on conflict prevention with a special emphasis on crisis management. Presentations of national concepts of conflict prevention and related structures to manage crises. Med partners´ experiences in these areas can become a subject of exchange of views by Senior Officials.
c) Reactivation of the Bilateral and Multilateral Register of Treaties concluded by Partners.
Recognize the usefulness of some existing PBMs such as the Malta Seminars; EuroMeSCo contribution and the experience accumulated by the pilot project on mitigation of natural or manmade disasters and identify new partnership measures progressively while consolidating those already in force within the limits of existing budgetary constraints.
III. ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL PARTNERSHIP
5. Association Agreements
The Conference recalled the objective of creating a Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area by the target date of 2010 and in this context underlined the importance of completing the grid of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements by concluding negotiations with Syria, and accelerating the ratification processes and the implementation of the Agreements.
The Conference agreed on the following:
6. South-South trade integration
7. Developing of Free Trade in Services
To welcome the decisions of Ministers of Trade, namely:
8. Improving Market Access in Agriculture
To examine the prospects for greater reciprocal liberalisation of trade in agricultural products, in conformity with the provisions of the Association Agreements and the progress achieved in the multilateral context. The Conference asked the Commission to elaborate a study on the impact of such liberalisation on the European Union and the Mediterranean Partners.
9. Financial co-operation
10. Improvement of the Meda programme management
The Conference took note of the tangible improvements recently achieved in the management of Meda, through the reform of external assistance, the creation of Europe-Aid and the gradual devolution of Programme management to the delegations of the Commission. It asked the Commission to continue its efforts to ensure rapid and efficient delivery of financial assistance under Meda programme.
11. Infrastructure investments and interconnection
The Conference decided:
To ask the Commission to draw up a strategy aimed at identifying the priority needs of the Mediterranean partners in this field and to make proposals to facilitate the integrations of telecommunications infrastructures on both shores of the Mediterranean.
d) Investment provisions
To encourage private sector and financial institutions, including the EIB and the Word Bank, to actively participate in the development of these regional strategies with a view to financing their implementation.
12. From the Free Trade Area to the Internal Market Harmonisation of policies and regulations
13. Fostering innovation and access to technologies
To endorse the decisions of Ministers of Industry, namely the launching of the Regional Programme on Innovation, Technology and Quality with its focus on the upgrading of Innovation and Technological centres, and to ask the Commission:
a) To develop synergies with EU financed co-operation in the area of research and technological development, as well as with EUREKA.
b) To encourage participation of Mediterranean Partners in the VI Framework Research Programme.
c) To give special consideration to cross-sectoral issues such as development of electronic commerce, taking into account the results achieved in the framework of the EUMEDIS Programme.
14. Reinforcing the role of the private sector
15. Ensuring sustainable development with a high degree of environmental protection
The Conference asked the Commission to look at ways of helping partners to take account of the impact of tourism in other policy areas so as to ensure the sustainable development of the sector.
17. Reinforcing Economic Dialogue
The Conference welcomed the establishment of an institutional dialogue in the financial and economic chapter and took note that the second meeting of the strengthened economic dialogue will concentrate on growth and employment.
The Conference agreed that the Reinforced Economic Dialogue should in future meetings also take into consideration issues such as the implications of the Euro, the enlargement of the European Union and the social and economic impact of September 11, on the basis of the report presented by the Commission.
IV.- SOCIAL, CULTURAL AND HUMAN PARTNERSHIP
The Conference reiterated the importance of the third Chapter of the Declaration of Barcelona and mandated the Euromed Committee to study ways and means to develop further its contents.
18. Cooperation in the field of Justice, in combating drugs, organised crime and terrorism as well as cooperation in the treatment of issues relating to the social integration of migrants, migration and movements of people.
The Conference endorsed the Framework Document and asked the Commission to implement it with partners, notably through a regional cooperation programme including concrete measures on the above mentioned issues in a balanced, reciprocal and co-ordinated manner.
19. Migration and Human Exchanges
20. Dialogues between cultures and civilisations
The Conference underlined the importance of promoting co-operation in the field of culture, involving the general population with a view to furthering mutual understanding and combating misconceptions and stereotypes.
The Conference agreed to the principle of creating a Euro-Mediterranean Foundation to promote a dialogue of cultures and civilisations and to increase the visibility of the Barcelona Process through intellectual, cultural and civil society exchanges. The Foundation should be based on the principle of co-ownership and work in close coordination with other similar institutions including private sector entities. The modalities concerning the organization, the activities and the financing of this Foundation will be studied further.
The Conference endorsed the Action Programme on Dialogue between Cultures and Civilisations aiming at Youth, Education and the Media which will be regularly updated and welcomed the Commission’s Proposals:
The Conference underlined the importance of pursuing and enhancing the existing programmes on intercultural dialogue (Euromed Heritage and Euromed Audio-visual) as well as launching, when budgetary conditions allow, a regional programme on human sciences and exploring the possibilities of further use of current programmes Culture 2000 and Media Plus.
21. Social dimension
The Conference asked the Commission to continue its activities with a view to launching a regional vocational training programme including arrangements for the setting up of a Euro-Mediterranean Observatory on Employment and Training; the programme will aim at promoting employment opportunities, in particular for the young, and in the field of new technologies.
The Conference took note with satisfaction of the preparatory work undertaken by the Commission with a view to launching, as soon as possible, a programme aiming at increasing opportunities for women in economic life.
A dialogue will be conducted on the implications for all partners resulting from demographic evolution.
The Conference welcomed the recommendations of the Euro-Mediterranean meeting of Economic and Social Consultative Bodies held in Athens.
22. Co-operation between local entities
The Conference welcomed the Declaration of the Meeting of Euro-Mediterranean cities held in Barcelona last February. It also agreed that the Euromed Pact proposal presented by Eurocities merited further study.
23. Civil Forum
The Conference welcomed the holding of the Civil Forum in Valencia and agreed to define the best way to support and develop further the involvement of civil society in the Partnership at the earliest possible stage.
V. INSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS
The Conference agreed on the following:
The Conference also agreed that in view of changes that the partnership will undergo in the near future, it is necessary to further examine the different proposals made, that are intended to give the partner countries more responsibility, involving them more directly in the elaboration and preparation of actions, programmes and initiatives, through a permanent and better structured dialogue.
This Action Plan will be the object of a first evaluation at the next formal Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Barcelona VI).
The Conference mandated the Euro-Mediterranean Committee to examine adequate follow-up and implementation mechanisms for this Action Plan.