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Marseille set to host 'Sarkozy's brainchild'

Marseille set to host 'Sarkozy's brainchild'
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The southern French city of Marseille is hosting a Union for the Mediterranean summit this weekend.

The speakers – from parliaments across the region – are discussing deepening ties.

One analyst said European politicians must find a way to cooperate with new emerging forces in North Africa and the Middle East.

“How can European MPs work with parties based on political Islam and how can these parties strike any agreements with their European counterparts? That’s the real question,” said François Foret, a political scientist from the ULB in Brussels.

The Union for the Mediterranean was the brainchild of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Launched in 2008, all EU countries are members, along with 16 Mediterranean partners. They include Syria, the Palestinian Authority and Tunisia.

“Analysis shows that foreign policy and notably the policy carried out by international institutions has little impact, so we shouldn’t expect any major results from such meetings,” said Foret.

And that is the big battle for Martin Schulz, the speaker of the European Parliament, who has taken up Sarkozy’s mantle- making this Union relevant, especially in a time of economic crisis.

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