Clean the sea, improve traffic flow and boost solar energy development. These are among the key pilot projects proposed by the European Commission for the Euro-Mediterranean Union to be ushered in with the start of the French EU presidency in July. Since it was President Nicolas Sarkozy’s idea to reinvigourate regional ties, he had wanted to be the new club’s first co-president, and base it in Tunis.
There are political or human rights reservations about that, but EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero Waldner said the differences in opinion would not be a problem: “It’s not a declaration of war! On the contrary. I believe in a possibility of fusion that would be a success, and would be the only possibility to make a success of this ‘Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean.’”
The Commission said the project should encompass all 27 EU members and 17 around the Mediterranean basin, but said the location of its headquarters should be decided by consensus. Infrastructure improvements are on the cards, as well as a new road to link the Maghreb Arab states.