Slovenia is working on European Mediterranean policy, as the host of preparatory discussions – a meeting of the European People’s Party (EPP)conservative political grouping, in Portoroz, on Slovenia’s 45-kilometer-long Mediterranean coast. Other non-Med EU members were angry that the original French proposal left them out of the Mediterranean policy revamp, but although the idea was watered down, Germany got everone on board.
On the margins of the EPP conference, Polish Euro-MP Jacek Sryusz-Wolski said several member states’ desire to do more for neighbourhood development to the east of the bloc is only fair: “The question is that Mediterranean policy is older. It is better equipped with policies – although still unsatisfactory – while the eastern dimension and the eastern policy of the neighbourhood policy is younger, it is not yet so well equipped, and we have to work on it.”
Existing programmes have committed billions of euros to development in Mediterranean countries, including European Investment Bank lnding from 1974. EU neighbours to the east have only been getting help recently. European Commissioner Jan Figel said what could be done for education with the Mediterranean partners:
“Strengthen and multiply opportunities, for example for the mobility of students, professors, researchers, for maybe specific window for the whole region for the programme called Erasmus Mundus… I can imagine specific actions in the cultural field.”