Dublin, 6 May 2004 - At the conference of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) in Dublin today, Minister for Foreign Affairs Benita Ferrero-Waldner said that the EU as well as the states of North Africa and the Middle East have to view the fight against terrorism as a joint task. "Today, 10 years after the launch of the Barcelona Process, the ideas underlying the Process are still valid. However, in view of the growing threat of terrorism, we need to give them a new impetus in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. After all, terrorism affects both sides of the Mediterranean. Terrorist attacks happen without warning in Madrid, Istanbul or Casablanca and in doing so they demonstrate that terrorism is a global phenomenon", stated Ferrero-Waldner.
In the Foreign Minister's view, combating this common threat also requires a joint, partnership-based approach. In this context Ferrero-Waldner advocated an intensified cooperation between the relevant authorities in all EU member states and the neighbouring countries around the Mediterranean, stressing that in her opinion cooperation should not be limited to the law enforcement agencies but that it should be intensified by extending it to judicial and civil protection authorities. Better use should also be made of Europe-wide information systems such as databases.
"What we need is an institutionalised dialogue on security. To this end we could learn from the experiences made by the OSCE and apply these within the framework of the EUROMED Process. At the same time we have to join forces to strike terrorism at its roots, by fighting against poverty, backwardness in the area of education and social marginalisation. If we as the EU give out 1.2 billion euros in financial aid for the Mediterranean region, then we are also entitled to expect a commensurate security dividend from the Mediterranean states in return. After all, our joint aim within the EUROMED Process is to create a peaceful and progressive Mediterranean region", Ferrero-Waldner declared.
The Foreign Minister went on to highlight the role of the media in terms of improving the dialogue between cultures and religions. "Above and beyond their purely informative work, the media in today's globally linked world have a responsible role to play in promoting mutual understanding. We have to provide the media with pro-active support in fulfilling this task. Austria is willing to contribute her experience in this area within the framework of the Euromed Foundation", concluded Ferrero-Waldner.