Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-157"

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"Madam President, in an interview in in 1992, the then President of the European Commission, Mr Delors, said that we should not forget that in the year 2000 we shall be more than 12, maybe a little more than 20. There is a country that one forgets but it is very important as a symbol: Malta. We must not displace Europe too much towards the north whilst forgetting the south. That would risk losing our sensitivity to the Mediterranean world, which is our world. And we should contemplate the dangers in the future for all of us. Mr Delors' statement made 12 years ago is still pertinent today insofar as the Mediterranean confronts dangers that face us all. It is about this Mediterranean world, in particular its southern and eastern perimeter, that I would like to share my thoughts with this assembly today. I believe it is an accepted fact that a major cause of strife in the Middle East is that so far no solution has been found to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. For the Arab world Palestine is not just another issue affecting some Arabs. It is an issue affecting an Arab people. Through the centuries we have witnessed, and sometimes caused, the sufferings of the people of Israel. It would be a major political mistake on our part were we to ignore this reality, but it would be equally tragic if we were not also to bear in mind the plight of the Palestinian people living as refugees in their own country, walled up in their own territory. The European Union has a shared responsibility to bringing about in the region the change from an economy of strife to an economy of peace. It is here that strong political and diplomatic presence in the Middle East on the part of the European Union can give positive results to our neighbourhood policy. By promoting peace, prosperity and stability in the region, the European Union will not only be contributing to the welfare and security of the region but also to its own security. Insofar as North Africa is concerned, things are moving ahead. The Libya which is now emerging can be a very positive element for the central Mediterranean. Relations between the EU and the Maghreb are also slowly but surely moving ahead positively. The Agadir Agreement can be a fundamental link, bringing us closer to our joint objective of a Euro-Med free-trade area by the year 2010. However, in the Mediterranean we are facing an important choice and the necessity of taking certain decisions. There are some who look at the future and see the region as an area where a clash of civilisations is bound to take place. Indeed, some may be moving towards self-fulfilling prophecies. The choice, if it can be called choice, is between a policy leading to a clash of civilisations and one promoting a dialogue of civilisations. We cannot afford to have in the Mediterranean a great divide between the north and south. It would be geographically unnatural; it would economically harmful; it would be politically disastrous. If we are to realise peace in the Mediterranean we need to start thinking Mediterranean. For if this Mediterranean of ours is to overcome its present divisive element, we have to build on our commonalities: common interests, common concerns, a common heritage. It is the new Mediterranean where the EU can contribute towards removing those dangers for the future of us all."@en1
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"De Marco (PPE-DE )."1

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