OF FOREIGN MINISTERS
Stuttgart, 15-16 April 1999
1. The third Euro-Mediterranean Conference of
Foreign Ministers in Stuttgart has demonstrated that, three and
half years after the inaugural conference in Barcelona, the Euro-Mediterranean
Partnership has developed and strengthened considerably and has
given clear proof of its viability in sometimes delicate and difficult
2. The main aim of this conference has been achieved.
It has given additional impetus to the Partnership while clearly
confirming the goals set out in the Barcelona Declaration, i.e.
to turn the Mediterranean basin into an area of dialogue, exchange
and cooperation through the strengthening of democracy, respect
for human and basic social rights, the rule of law, good governance,
and sustainable and balanced economic and social development, the
fight against poverty and the promotion of greater understanding
between cultures. Ministers recalled the priority accorded in the
Partnership to the protection and promotion of human rights. Ministers
agreed to further concentrate activities in priority areas, to increase
the involvement of actors outside central government and to make
the Partnership more action-oriented and visible.
3. Ministers emphasised the fundamental importance
of intra-regional and sub-regional cooperation and integration in
all three chapters. They endorsed the guidelines of the Valencia
conference for both the priorities and methods of future regional
cooperation. They called for an improvement in regional cooperation
activities, especially for a systematic evaluation and concrete
follow-up. They confirmed the principle that regional cooperation
programmes are open to all partners, while consisting in many cases
of several inter-linked projects, each involving a group of partners.
Ministers asked the Commission to contribute a reflection paper
on the methodology for regional cooperation.
4. The discussions have shown that the Partnership
is solid and lasting. All members remain fully committed to all
its objectives and principles and have reaffirmed their resolve
to take forward the Partnership into the new millennium.
Contribution of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership to constructive
developments in the Mediterranean Region
5. Ministers had a full discussion of the relationship
between the Euro-Med Partnership and other initiatives and activities
undertaken in the interest of peace, stability and development in
the region, in particular the Middle East Peace Process. They confirmed
that the Barcelona Process was not intended to replace these initiatives
and activities, but to contribute to their success. The Barcelona
Declaration made clear that these processes should be regarded as
6. Ministers reiterated their firm commitment
to the realization of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in
the Middle East based on faithful implementation of UNSC resolutions
242 and 338 and the terms of reference of the Madrid Peace Conference
on the Middle East, including the principle of land for peace, the
Oslo Accords and the more recent Wye River Memorandum. They called
for the resumption of peace talks on all negotiating tracks accordingly.
They called for the immediate implementation of Security Council
Resolution No. 425.
7. Ministers expressed growing concern about the
stalemate in which the peace process currently finds itself and
strongly emphasized that the negotiations had to be resumed within
the context and timeframe of commitments freely entered into.
8. Many ministers welcome the recent declaration
of the Berlin European Council. Ministers encouraged the European
Union to continue increasing its role in support of the Middle East
Political and Security Partnership
9. Ministers agreed that stability in the Mediterranean
Region requires a comprehensive and balanced approach in order to
address common security concerns, strengthen cooperation and adopt
measures conducive to stability. By enhancing comprehensive stability
the Barcelona Process will furthermore contribute to the solution
of tensions and crises in the area.
10. A key factor to this end will be the elaboration
of a "Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Peace and Stability"
to which Ministers commit themselves. They expressed satisfaction
with the work of the Group of Senior Officials and the progress
achieved since the Palermo meeting.
11. Ministers welcomed the "Guidelines for
Elaborating a Euro-Mediterranean Charter" submitted to them
and annexed for convenience to these conclusions as an informal
working document. According to the Guidelines, the Charter will
serve as an instrument for the implementation of the principles
of the Barcelona Declaration where issues of peace and stability
are concerned. For this purpose the Charter will provide for an
enhanced political dialogue as well as the evolutionary and progressive
development of partnership-building measures, good-neighbourly relations,
regional cooperation and preventive diplomacy. The primary function
of the enhanced political dialogue will be to prevent tensions and
crises and to maintain peace and stability by means of cooperative
security. The Charter will be endowed with the appropriate decision-making
mechanisms reinforcing the existing institutional framework. Ministers
and Senior Officials will meet at regular intervals or whenever
special situations or events warrant. All decisions will be taken
12. Ministers felt that the "Guidelines"
were a major step forward and decided that they will provide the
basis for the future work of Senior Officials. Additional suggestions
to enrich the text further may be submitted within the next three
months. Ministers tasked the Group of Senior Officials to work out
a comprehensive schedule and to convene additional ad hoc meetings
in order to complete the elaboration of the Charter with the assistance
of experts where necessary by the next Ministerial conference. In
the interim period a progress report will be prepared for the consideration
of Ministers. The Charter will be approved formally by Ministers
as soon as political circumstances allow.
13. Ministers reviewed and noted the progress
so far achieved in developing partnership-building measures, including
the project of establishing a Euro-Med system of disaster prevention,
mitigation and management. They welcomed the continuing initiatives
relating to the exchange of information on the signature/ratification
of international instruments in the fields of disarmament and arms
control, terrorism, human rights, and international humanitarian
law; they noted the successful holding of Euro-Mediterranean information
and training seminars for diplomats aiming at the shaping of a culture
of dialogue and cooperation through informal exchange and open discussions
between practitioners involved in the implementation of the Partnership.
14. Ministers acknowledged the difficulties which
prevail and agreed to sustain and develop these measures as well
as identify and explore new areas of cooperation; in that respect
they noted the holding of the informal EuroMeSCo-Senior Officials
seminar on "Euro-Mediterranean Security Dialogue" in Bonn
on 20 March 1999 which aimed at enhancing dialogue and an exchange
of ideas between academics and government officials from both sides
of the Mediterranean.
15. Ministers agreed to reinforce the political
dialogue in areas of cooperation relating to the Political and Security
Partnership such as terrorism; in that regard they noted with satisfaction
the positive outcome of the informal Ad Hoc Meeting on Terrorism
on 23 November 1998. They recognised the serious threat that terrorism
poses to the objectives of the Partnership. Ministers expressed
their determination to counter this threat by strengthening cooperation.
To this end they instructed Senior Officials to convene another
ad hoc Euro-Med joint meeting with terrorism experts during the
second half of this year. Ministers called upon the Senior Officials
to continue the political dialogue on other issues mentioned in
the first chapter of the Barcelona Declaration such as organized
crime and illicit drug trafficking with a view to identifying appropriate
measures for joint action.
European Union Financial Cooperation with Mediterranean
16. Ministers confirmed that financial cooperation
continues to be a key component of the Partnership. All participants
noted with satisfaction that, by the end of 1999, Community financial
assistance is expected to be in line with the EUR 4.685 billion
of commitments referred to in the Barcelona Declaration for the
period 1995-1999, and that for the same period, the European Investment
Bank's lending could reach EUR 4.8 billion, illustrating the importance
of the EIB's role in the infrastructural development of the region
as well as its contribution to the growth of the private sector.
17. Ministers acknowledged the importance of these
contributions as a catalyst for reforms in partner countries. In
this context, Ministers urged maximum coherence between European
Union assistance programmes, EIB lending and the activities of international
18. The European Union confirmed that its assistance
for the period 2000-2006 will again reflect the high priority that
it attaches to relations with its Mediterranean Partners in the
context of its overall external commitments. Ministers agreed on
the need to strengthen the social, environmental and economic analysis
underpinning programming, especially in the case of the National
Indicative Programmes. They requested the Commission to submit proposals
to simplify and make more efficient methods and procedures of the
cooperation as soon as possible.
Economic and Financial Partnership
19. Ministers reaffirmed the pivotal importance
of the establishment of a "Euro-Mediterranean free trade area"
by the year 2010, of the process of economic transition, and of
investment and in particular foreign direct investment, for achieving
an area of shared prosperity - an objective that remains at the
heart of the Partnership. In response to a request made by the Malta
conference, a survey on Free Trade and Economic Transition in the
Mediterranean submitted by the Commission was discussed and its
20. Ministers confirmed their commitment to complete
the network of Association Agreements between the EU and its Partners,
which are characterised by certain common features and which aim
at mutual benefits on the basis of reciprocity. Ministers agreed
that the review provisions in these Agreements should aim at further
exchanges of agricultural concessions on a reciprocal basis.
21. Ministers stressed that free trade agreements
among Mediterranean Partners are essential for the creation of the
Euro-Mediterranean free trade area. Progress achieved by Partners
in this respect was welcomed and Partners were strongly encouraged
to follow this road and reinforce South-South cooperation in general.
In particular, ministers encouraged work on increasing compatibility
in customs cooperation, free movement of goods, public procurement,
harmonisation and certification of standards, intellectual property
rights, taxation, data protection, competition rules, accounting
and auditing. Ministers endorsed the invitation of the Valencia
conference to draw on experience gained in the establishment of
the EU's internal market. They welcomed the work already started
in this area and urged that it be taken forward speedily.
22. Ministers stressed the central role that cumulation
of origin has to play in enhancing effective economic integration
in the region. They called for all necessary measures to be taken
to ensure that a system with identical rules of origin opens the
way to full cumulation throughout the Euro-Mediterranean area as
soon as possible.
23. Ministers welcomed progress in economic transition
and stressed that this process required further efforts, particularly
with regard to the regulatory and administrative environment, entrepreneurial
culture and reforms of taxation systems.
24. Ministers acknowledged that economic transition
must pay due recognition to the fact that Partners face major social
challenges. They reaffirmed the need to make determined efforts
to improve the standard of living of less-favoured groups through
well-targetted interventions to avoid increasing unemployment and
to improve the social situation. Participants agreed that a broad
consensus, including civil society, on the need for reform programmes
had to be built up.
25. There was also agreement on the fundamental
importance of increasing private investment, including foreign direct
investment, and in this respect, on the need for further joint efforts
to create a positive climate for investment in order to increase
the attractiveness of the region to investors. Ministers welcomed
the offer by Portugal to host an investment conference in the first
half of 2000 and underlined that this conference, drawing on previous
experience, should make recommendations on how best to mobilise
external resources from the private sector and financial institutions.
26. In order to strengthen infrastructures in
the region which contribute to economic and market integration,
the need for the formulation of proper legal, regulatory and financial
sectoral frameworks was underlined. Transports, maritime transport,
energy and telecommunications already provide a solid basis for
regional cooperation. Ministers stressed that participants should
pursue policies and intensified concerted action to foster greater
involvement by the private sector as well as by international and
regional financial institutions. MEDA and the EIB will continue
to play their supporting role.
27. Ministers confirmed that the six priority
sectors for cooperation - environment, water policy, industry, energy,
transport and the information society - will be maintained and urged
that activities be concentrated on these priority sectors. Cooperation
in research and development in these sectors should also be encouraged.
In all sectors of cooperation special attention should be given
to the environmental aspects. Participants stressed the crucial
importance of water policy for the Mediterranean region and welcomed
the holding of a second Euro-Mediterranean ministerial conference
on local water management in Turin in the second half of 1999 which
should lead to recommendations for further operational activities
at the regional level. Ministers made clear that new priority areas
of cooperation could be established in the light of further discussions
on a new methodology for regional cooperation activities. In this
respect the results of the industry ministers' meeting held on 4
October 1998 in Klagenfurt were welcomed.
28. The conference took note of a number of important
recent activities to implement regional cooperation: the EUMEDIS
initiative for the information society, a series of projects in
the environment and energy fields. Ongoing activities include economic
cooperation networks, initiatives to support contacts among SMEs
and statistical cooperation under MEDSTAT.
Partnership in the Social, Cultural and Human Affairs
29. Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the
cultural, social and human dimension to the Partnership's success
and to the attainment of its overall goals. It was noted that activities
in the third chapter of the Barcelona Process mainly cover good
governance and human rights, education, youth, health, women's participation,
migration and human exchanges, culture, dialogue between cultures
and civilisations, dialogue between civil societies, fighting international
crime, particularly drugs and terrorism, and the fight against racism
and xenophobia. Ministers referred to the results of the Valencia
conference and urged that the various activities in this chapter
be further concentrated on priority areas, notably through the updated
Regional Indicative Programme.
30. Ministers agreed that in order to broaden
the basis of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the involvement
of a wide circle of actors outside central government must be encouraged.
They welcomed the European Parliament's contribution to the development
of a parliamentary dimension of the Barcelona Process and particularly
welcomed the first meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary
Forum in Brussels in October 1998, as well as the meeting of the
Presidents of the Parliaments held in Palma de Mallorca on 7-8 March
1999, as important manifestations of the interest of elected representatives
in the Partnership. They stressed that regional and local authorities
should be more closely associated, as should the economic and social
partners, the business community and the non-governmental organisations.
Ministers welcomed the holding of several Civil Fora in Stuttgart
in parallel with the conference and noted that these Fora had made
recommendations for future activities concerning human rights, the
environment and the setting up of a Euro-Med Forum of trades unions.
They called for a strengthening of the dialogue between governments
and civil society.
31. Ministers strongly called for a new impetus
to be given to decentralised cooperation. The particular importance
of this cooperation which also contributes to highlighting the value
of the Partnership to the widest possible public, was emphasised
and Ministers, while recognizing the need for careful and prudent
implementation, urged the Commission to relaunch these programmes
as speedily as possible.
32. Ministers welcomed the fact that a second
ministerial meeting on culture had taken place in Rhodes in September
1998. They also welcomed the good progress made in the implementation
of cooperation under the Euro-Med Heritage programme and the fact
the Euro-Med Audio-visual programme had been launched in 1998, with
concrete projects ready for selection and implementation in the
course of this year. They also took note that the Euro-Med Human
Sciences programme was about to be launched. They expressed satisfaction
at the launch of the Euro-Med Youth programme to encourage exchanges
in that field.
33. Ministers welcomed the meeting on migration
and human exchanges held in The Hague on 1-2 March 1999 which provided
an opportunity for a frank discussion on this important and delicate
issue. It was agreed that work should be pursued in this area which
could lead to the holding of a high-level meeting.
34. Ministers also noted that dialogue has been
opened in the field of health and social welfare including infectious
diseases, childhood development and primary health care. They welcomed
the holding of a ministerial meeting on health in Montpellier in
the second half of 1999 and expressed the wish that this meeting
would lead to the launching of operational regional cooperation.
35. Ministers agreed to pay tribute to the legacy
of the late King Hussein. To commemorate his contribution to peace
in the region, they approved the idea of cultural events in the
year 2000, aimed at enhancing harmony and mutual respect among the
peoples of the Euro-Mediterranean area. They welcomed the interest
shown by the Expo 2000 to be held in Hannover to host some of such
36. Ministers reaffirmed the role of the Euro-Mediterranean
Committee for the Barcelona Process as the central forum for providing
impetus, monitoring and follow-up and evaluation of actions and
initiatives in the Barcelona Process as a whole. They welcomed the
measures taken to improve the functioning of the Committee and encouraged
the Committee to pursue its efforts especially with a view to focussing
its work on policy issues and to ensuring that activities are concentrated
on priority sectors. They recommended that meetings be held more
frequently in order to take into account the steady intensification
of work in the Partnership.
37. Ministers agreed that Libya, which participated
as guest of the Presidency, will become a full member of the Barcelona
Process as soon as the UN Security Council sanctions have been lifted
and Libya has accepted the whole Barcelona acquis.
38. Ministers welcomed the Franco-Portuguese proposal
to hold the fourth Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Ministers
during the French EU Presidency, preceded by a think-tank meeting
of Foreign Ministers plus one collaborator, during the Portuguese