Terrorism and immigration are the themes dominating the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership conference taking place in Barcelona today and tomorrow. The partnership was launched ten years ago with the aim of furthering cooperation on areas of mutual interest between EU states and southern Mediterranean nations. Another goal is the creation of a free trade zone in the region by 2010.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said: “We have a few common problems, problems that go from political development, economic development and also fundamental control, which is mutual. We are talking about security, we have to talk about terrorism and cooperation in that field which is fundamental.”
The increased police presence around the conference centre underlined the importance of the issue of security. There are some notable absentees from the gathering. Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak is not attending and his Algerian counterpart Abdeliziz Boutiflika is undergoing medical tests in Paris. Other Arab leaders are also absent.