A meeting of leaders from the 25 EU nations and their counterparts bordering the Mediterranean has begun in Barcelona. The proceedings were kicked off with a ceremonial dinner, hosted by King Juan Carlos of Spain. The two-day summit is being chaired by the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
But many top Arab leaders are absent. The Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are the only ones present.Cooperation on combating the spread of terrorism and controlling illegal immigration are likely to dominate the discussions.
Delegates at the talks are expected to agree a common agenda on several key issues by the end of the day.
Several thousand people gathered to demonstrate peacefully in the centre of Barcelona as the summit got underway.