Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Union for the Mediterranean

Delivered in Plenary - 20th May 2010

Mr President

President Sarkozy’s proposal for a Union for the Mediterranean was the highpoint of the French Presidency of the EU. Since then, it appears to have lost some of its lustre. This may not be a bad thing, because the EU is itself developing a robust and successful southern dimension of its own Neighbourhood Policy. This follows almost two decades of the development of the Barcelona Process and its political apparatus.

Europe’s taxpayers rightly take a very dim view of duplication of effort and waste of resources, and there is some confusion about all these competing processes, but whatever the fate of the Union for the Mediterranean at the summit on 8 June, we must not allow the eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy to fall behind. Sadly, we have not developed the putative Euronest Assembly in the same way as the Euromed Assembly which has been active for so long. This is principally because of the problems relating to Belarus’ participation.

Lastly, my ECR Group fully supports Mr Albertini, as Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, to resile from leading the visit to the Middle East. This has been controversial and discussed this morning in the enlarged Bureau. Any vote of no confidence in the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs by the Socialist Group we will oppose.