"European Neighbourhood Policy as a key to democracy, stability and economic prosperity as well as a sign of an open and cooperative Europe"
Ferrero-Waldner at the sixth "Forum Formentor" in Majorca
Vienna/Formentor, 8 October 2004 - Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner will participate in the sixth "Forum Formentor" this weekend, which this time will be held under the theme "A new concept of neighbourhood". The forum constitutes an important platform for discussion within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.
Apart from the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, the Moroccan Prime Minister Driss Jettou, the Foreign Ministers of Spain and Morocco, Miguel Ángel Moratinos and Mohamed Benaissa, PASOK President George Papandreou as well as the former Knesset President Avraham Burg and the President of the Institute for European Studies at San Pablo CEU University, Marcelino Oreja, among others, will attend the renowned Forum Formentor.
Before departing for Majorca, Ferrero-Waldner underlined the great importance of the Euro-Med Partnership, which was founded nine years ago: "By establishing this partnership, the European Union and the countries of the Mediterranean region chose the concept of neighbourly cooperation at regional level as the most target-oriented and forward-looking option. It is all about recognising common capacities, common interests and shared possibilities. With the Barcelona Process of 1995 as an institutional framework for the EU’s Mediterranean policy, the European Union and its southern neighbours, two of which have meanwhile become EU Member States themselves, have delivered a convincing example of how common goals can give a new and positive dynamic to the development of political relationships."
Ferrero-Waldner pointed out that both quality and density of the Euro-Mediterranean relationships have increased in the course of the past few years in a visible and transparent manner. In addition, she expects the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) to add a further quality to the Barcelona Process, since this even more flexible form of cooperation takes greater account of the individual partners' framework conditions and starting prerequisites. "The ENP is appropriately differentiated in order to accommodate the particularities of each of our partners. This gives us a tailor-made tool for intensified cooperation and we can build on the Barcelona Process as a platform", said the Foreign Minister.
In this context, Ferrero-Waldner emphasised the key objectives and advantages of the ENP, which was designed in 2003 and has been further developed in 2004: "The ENP is a clear message to our neighbours that we will let them have a share in the advantages of the EU Enlargement without implying any EU membership. It provides better possibilities and more target-oriented policies for cross-border cooperation and thus prevents the emergence of new dividing lines. In addition, it contains the prospect of a much more comprehensive economic integration and political cooperation than before. I am convinced that the ENP as a form of deepened partnership will contribute to attaining more stability, security and growing wealth in the neighbourhood of the EU. I am therefore particularly glad about the very positive responses to the ENP on the part of the Mediterranean countries, which have welcomed this form of cooperation as a valuable support for them on their path toward reform."
As another example of "particularly successful neighbourly cooperation", the Minister for Foreign Affairs mentioned the Regional Partnership that has been brought into being - on her initiative - by Austria and its Eastern Central European partners: "By creating the Regional Partnership we have set new standards for the concept of neighbourly cooperation in the regional framework, too.
Referring to the area of the EU's southern neighbours, Ferrero-Waldner added that the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict not only represents a major impediment to peace and stability in the region as well as on a global scale, but also affects the regional cooperation in the Mediterranean area and the Euro-Med Process. "That is why it is of utmost priority for the EU to contribute to finding a solution to this conflict. This would have a most positive effect on the reform process in the whole region, too", said Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner, who will also meet Yossi Beilin, the former Israeli Minister of Justice, in Formentor. Ferrero-Waldner will conduct talks on the situation in the Middle East with Beilin, who was a co-initiator of the Oslo Peace Process and the Geneva Initiative.