The Euro-Mediterranean dialogue has been relaunched from Rome, spurred by Italy, in a meeting of the 5+5 dialogue forum. The Forum groups together Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Malta from the northern Mediterranean and Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania from the south. It met in the afternoon session with Egypt, Greece and Turkey in enlarged FOROMED format. Regional security, migration flows, energy, environmental protection and development were the issues addressed by foreign ministers.
To facilitate the transition under way in the Arab spring countries, according to Terzi, “long-term concrete strategies need to be enacted rapidly”. Italy intends to play a front-line role in this complex system of interrelations: a priority is the Mediterranean, a traditional leitmotif of Italian foreign policy that is climbing higher and higher in the agenda.
The 5+5 dialogue between the countries of the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean, underscored Terzi, has become a “Dialogue of 10”, given the spirit of renewed unity and common intent shared by the countries involved.
The 10 expressed “support for the democratic institutions and economic revitalisation” of the region. At the end of the “frank and informal discussion” Minister Terzi underscored the importance of expanding the European Union’s partnership policies towards the southern Mediterranean countries, so that an overall “rebalancing” can be achieved.
During the press conference in Villa Madama at the end of the meeting, Terzi also focused on immigration and related problems. An issue, said Terzi, that is longer solely a North-South matter but also one that concerns the South-South dimension, and which must be addressed in the stronger partnerships established by the countries of the 5+5 Dialogue.
The problem of migration, continued Terzi, is “a key issue that is just as relevant for our five Mediterranean partner countries, in resolving the social problems being tackled by our southern neighbours. In this respect, the partnership between the European countries and those of the southern shore is a sincere aspiration on both sides”. Terzi also reiterated the need to strengthen the linkages between the northern and southern Mediterranean, not least to meet the expectations of economic and democratic growth that have emerged with the Arab Spring.
These issues were also the focus of Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem, who said in his speech that “We need more flexible relations between the two shores”. That flexibility should also encompass visas, he continued. Easier application and issuing procedures are needed, especially to enable young people to travel and gain access to university education.
Minister Terzi’s bilateral discussions
16.40-EURO-MEDITERRANEAN DIALOGUE FORUM: Strengthen the link between the two shores of the Mediterranean, says Abdessalem
Minister Terzi’s meeting with the Cooperation Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco, Saad-Eddline El Othmani, closed a day of intense diplomatic activity, with the 9th Conference of 5+5 Foreign Ministers taking place in Villa Madama.
Political dialogue, economic cooperation and close bilateral relations were the focus of their discussion. The head of Italian diplomacy focused on the main areas of bilateral cooperation, most notably migration and the energy sector. Terzi noted that Morocco is the non-European country with the highest number of residents in Italy, residents who have achieved a high degree of social and economic integration.
On the subject of energy, Minister Terzi underscored the Italian business community’s strong interest in Morocco’s renewables sector. Lastly, he invited his Moroccan counterpart to visit Italy in the coming months to discuss key bilateral questions. Such a visit would also help to promote Italian-Moroccan economic and commercial relations, for example through road shows in the two countries.
Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi also met the Algerian Foreign Minister, Mourad Medelci. The two ministers agreed on their firm determination to revitalise the Italian-Algerian partnership on a concrete, operational basis, including through a bilateral summit in Algiers in the second half of 2012.
Minister Terzi and Minister Medelci both hope to promote stronger cooperation in the energy sector, especially renewable energy, given the deep interdependence binding the two countries. In more general terms, Minister Terzi expressed his firm determination to support investment opportunities in Algeria, which is Italy’s third global market for small and medium-sized enterprises in the major works sector. To this end, he spoke of organising road shows in their two countries.
Speaking to the Greek Foreign Minister, Stavros Dimas, Terzi confirmed Italy’s “Support and continuing Italian solidarity for Athens” within the European Union. The two foreign ministers also discussed economic governance and the EU’s long-term financial framework.
16.00 – Terzi, su immigrazione rafforzare asse due sponde
Il fenomeno delle migrazioni non riguarda più unicamente la dimensione Sud-Nord ma riguarda anche la dimensione Sud-Sud, in questa direzione deve muoversi il rafforzamento della partnership tra i Paesi del Dialogo 5+5 . Lo ha ricordato il ministro Giulio Terzi, nel corso della conferenza stampa che si è tenuta a villa Madama, al termine della Nona Conferenza dei ministri degli Esteri del Dialogo nel Mediterraneo Occidentale, 5+5. Il problema delle migrazioni, ha proseguito Terzi, rappresenta una “chiave che è altrettanto rilevante per i cinque Paesi del Mediterraneo nostri partner, per risolvere i loro problemi sociali che affrontano i Paesi della sponda Sud”. “In questo senso – ha detto Terzi – c’é un partenariato sincero e molto voluto tra Paesi europei e della sponda Sud”.
14.30 – Halt the violence in Syria, says Terzi
Our diplomatic efforts are aimed at “halting the violence, stopping the massacres, and establishing new stability for the great country of Syria, which will have to respect the rights of all”. This was Minister Giulio Terzi’s comment coming out of the 5+5 meeting at Villa Madama. “We support the Arab League plan”, Terzi underscored, explaining that “we are acting in concert with our EU partners”. Friday’s meeting in Tunis of the Friends of Syria will be a “diplomatic initiative” of major importance, the head of Italian diplomacy asserted.
13.30 – Terzi, “now a 10-way dialogue”
The 5+5 dialogue between the countries of the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean has now become a “10-way dialogue”, said Minister Giulio Terzi in the course of a press conference at Villa Madama at the end of the 5+5 meeting, signifying a renewed unity and community of intent. These 10 countries, Terzi reported, have offered “support for democratic institutions and economic revival” of the region.
Euro-Mediterranean dialogue resumes – Meetings in Rome of the “5 + 5” and FOROMED
The Euro-Mediterranean dialogue sets off again from Rome, spurred by Italy, in a meeting of the 5+5, the dialogue forum that groups together Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Malta with Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania; and that will meet in the afternoon session with Egypt, Greece and Turkey in enlarged FOROMED format. Regional security, migration flows, energy, environmental protection and development are the themes that the foreign ministers will be addressing.
As Minister Giulio Terzi has often reiterated, the 5+5 approach must, first and foremost, have a “concrete and operational nature”. To facilitate the transition under way in the Arab spring countries, according to Terzi, “long-term concrete strategies need to be enacted rapidly”. Italy intends to play a front line role in this complex system of interrelations: a priority is the Mediterranean, which is a traditional leit motif of its foreign policy but which is now receiving additional impetus. “We have noted”, Terzi said, “increasing demand for Italy, for our country’s presence: this is the need expressed by political leaders and business persons alike, because we are seen as the nation that can better focus the EU’s attention on this common house that is the Mediterranean”.
The Dialogue Forum meeting today in Rome is the most flexible and appropriate body by which to manage those areas “forced” by geography and history to co-exist and to design a possible future for them. Beginning with the need to shift more European funds southward, a goal that finds the Italian foreign minister on the front line. The head of diplomacy considers “significant” the increase in funds earmarked by the European Commission for the Mediterranean Neighbourhood Policy, but wants to go beyond the two-thirds goal. Indeed, in the absence of development it is going to be difficult to stabilise the countries of the southern Mediterranean, some of which are oscillating dangerously between economic crisis and a desire for democracy.