Mediterranean Union: New Name for Barcelona Agreements, Experts (Updated – New Comments by Bertrand Lemennicier)

Mediterranean Union: New Name for Barcelona Agreements, Experts (Updated – New Comments by Bertrand Lemennicier)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 16 July/ Trend , corr V. Zhavoronkova, U, Sadigova, S. Ilhamgizi/ The Mediterranean Union, initiated by the French President, does not give any new advantages to the Mediterranean Sea countries, it is nothing rather than the repetition of the current Barcelona agreement.

"Unfortunately, this initiative does not offer new advantages to the Mediterranean Sea countries, the system of integration is developed there on which the French want to build something additional, but it is not clear what they want to say in the long run," the European expert Dmitri Kochenov said.

The Mediterranean Union was established on 14 July in Paris in the summit of 43 countries from Europe, North Africa and Near East. The establishment of the union was initiated by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy. One of the key aims of a new organization which unites states with 750 million populations is to fight illegal migration and pollution of environment.

According to Kochenov, Europe has similar organizations, such as Barcelona system of relations between the European Union and the Mediterranean countries.

In 1995, a Euro-Mediterranean partnership conference was held in Barcelona which gave a go ahead to the multilateral cooperation called ' Barcelona process'. The conference was initiated by the European Union.

"The Mediterranean Union suggested by Sarkozy, imitates already existing system. It is new name for something that we already possess. It is imitated even twice: EU has Barcelona process which is a system of deepened relations with the Mediterranean countries and there is also neighborhood policy. The new initiative seems to be third storey built on them," Kochenov, doctor of the European law and docent of Groningen University said to Trend by telephone.

The Head of the Palestinian delegation to EU Adil Atey is doubtful whether this union will be able to change relations between Near East and Israel. " Israel tries to implement Barcelona agreement. There is no difference between the Mediterranean Union and Barcelona agreement," Atey said to Trend by telephone.

The Turkish expert Akif Emre does not believe the new union to have prospects. "There is no cooperation and agreement among the Mediterranean Sea countries, but ongoing conflicts," Emre said to Trend by telephone from Turkey.

According to expert, there are no diplomatic relations at all between Israel and Syria and Israel and Lebanon. Lebanon, Tunisia, Syria, Zaire and Libya do not recognize Israel who has diplomatic relations only with Egypt among the Mediterranean Sea countries. "As Israel joined this union, one should not expect cooperation and development of relations among the Mediterranean Sea countries," Emre said.

According to Kochenov, the future of the union depends on the further development of the events. "It does not add anything to what we already have. The negative side is that what it will mean from judicial and political point of view. On the other hand, the positive side may be that this name can acquire new addition. It is just a political initiative which lacks judicial base," expert said.

According to Atey, the Europeans have been attempting to establish relations with the East and they are looking forward for new ways out, one of which is the Mediterranean Sea. "They are sure that if they can eliminate economic disagreements, the relations can be established. But, the political disagreements must be addressed first of all. This is one of the reasons of disagreements between East and West. The Arab countries believe that it is important to establish political and then economic ties," expert said.

The French expert Bertrand Lemennicier believes that Sarkozy's initiative is an extension of Barcelona process.

"This offer deals with free trade policies, control of immigration and insecurity, pollution and energy policies," Lemennicier, director of laboratory of the Public Economy of Paris University said to Trend .

According to the French expert, the positive side of the agreement could be the control of  illegal immigration in Europe from Turkey for the German and from Algeria or Morocco for the French.

"In a way, the MU could do for Turkey what the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has done for Mexico," Lemennicier said.

As far as international public good exist, the control of pollution and as well as of terrorism from Islamic groups is also expected, he said.

"The MU will be a space to approach globally the peace process in the Levant between Syria Lebanon the Palestinian authority and Israel," expert said.

The correspondent can be contacted at - [email protected]

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