Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for
External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy said:
‘Ahead of the 10th
anniversary I want to take an honest look at the achievements and the
shortcomings of the Barcelona Process, with a view to presenting some
concrete new ideas next spring. The Barcelona Process is central to our
relationship with our neighbours to the South and the Neighbourhood
Policy gives us an opportunity to progress towards even closer
relationships with them. Offering these partners a closer political and
economic relationship with the EU under the Neighbourhood policy will be
one of my top priorities in my new role as European Commissioner.’
Mediterranean Partnership commonly referred to as the ‘Barcelona Process’,
was founded at the Conference of European Union and Mediterranean Foreign
Ministers in Barcelona in November 1995. It provides the framework for
intensifying political, economic, and social co-operation between the Member
States of the European Union and Partners of the Southern Mediterranean.
In November 2005,
this project will be celebrating 10 years of existence and as all
anniversaries, it is time for self-evaluation, time to look back and see
whether the results achieved came along with the objectives already announced.
Some of us may glorify those results while others would pull them down.
Whether you are optimistic or pessimistic, no body should ignore the huge
effort provided and the serious and constant work done with commitment and
conviction from both shores of the Mediterranean willing and hoping to achieve
the gaols already set up a decade ago.
No matter how
harsh the criticism can be to the Barcelona process on the name of evaluation,
we should nevertheless celebrate this 10 years anniversary for the one reason
that this process does still exist and is still going on enhancing the hopes of a lot
of people in building a Mediterranean area of prosperity, stability and