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- 05-13-2007, 06:23 PM #1
Sarkozy making waves with proposal to form Mediterranean Uni
Sarkozy making waves with proposal to form Mediterranean Union
By Katrin Bennhold, International Herald Tribune | May 13, 2007
PARIS -- A proposal by Nicolas Sarkozy to gather the European, Middle Eastern, and North African countries of the strategic Mediterranean rim into an economic community along the lines of the early European Union has begun making waves even before the French president-elect takes office.
Breaking News Alerts The initiative, outlined by Sarkozy in a campaign speech in February, went largely unnoticed until he repeated it in his electoral victory address last Sunday evening. Plans are still being drawn up, Sarkozy's aides said Thursday, but even at this early stage the proposal has cascading implications for the region.
Such a union, even if primarily economic, would necessarily involve the member countries in discussions of controversial issues such as Turkey's membership in the EU and illegal immigration via North Africa.
It would bring Israel and its Arab neighbors into a new assembly that Sarkozy apparently hopes could tackle the intractable problem of Middle East peace.
Initial reactions have ranged from enthusiasm in Spain to cautious approval in Israel to outrage in Turkey, which sees the proposal as a ploy to keep it out of the EU.
"This cannot be an alternative to Turkish membership in the EU," Egeman Bagis , the chief foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, said in a telephone interview.
The "Turkish problem" is clearly in Sarkozy's sights. He campaigned on a platform of keeping Turkey out of the EU, maintaining that the large Muslim nation is part of Asia Minor, not Europe.
The notion of regional cooperation in the Mediterranean is ambitious but more timely than ever, diplomats and observers said. North Africa is a key transit route for illegal immigrants heading for Europe. The site of resurgent Islamic terrorism, it is home to substantial natural gas reserves.
Sarkozy, who takes office next week, has said that he wants the countries ringing the Mediterranean -- Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco -- to form a council and hold regular summit meetings.
He wants to anchor regional cooperation in the fields of energy, security, counter terrorism, and immigration on a trade agreement, and create a Mediterranean Investment Bank, modeled on the European Investment Bank, that would help develop the economies on the eastern and southern edge of the region. He has offered French expertise on nuclear energy in return for access to North Africa's gas reserves.
A Mediterranean Union would work closely with the European Union and might eventually form joint institutions with the 27-nation bloc. But it would be a separate organization, Sarkozy said in the Toulon speech.
In Spain, Juan Prat , ambassador at large for Mediterranean affairs, praised the proposal as a way to deal more effectively with new risks such as immigration, terrorism, and climate change.
In Israel, where Sarkozy's Toulon speech was circulated in diplomatic circles, the reaction was also positive. When Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres called Sarkozy last Monday to congratulate him on his election victory, he said that the idea of a Mediterranean Union was "very important" and that he was interested in discussing it further, diplomatic sources said.
A senior Israeli diplomat, who declined to be identified, said: "My feeling is that there is every reason to believe that Israel would be interested in this because it gives us another opportunity to have a dialogue with countries that we sometimes have difficulties holding a dialogue with."
http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe ... ean_union/
Yeah, they are forming bloc governments. This is the plan for North Africa, also the western Middle east. I expect GCC or SARCC with Asean to form a eastern Asian bloc. I don't understand why Spain and France are joining this since they are EU. But I guest these bloc's will work together. Like the EU is merging with our north American union. There will be a world government to over see this.<div>DEFEAT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA THE COMMIE FOR FREEDOM!!!!</div>