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A Mediterranean-Black Sea Union
by Rene Wadlow
2007-05-14 07:35:04
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Nicolas Sarkozy, the newly elected President of France, in his election night speech in which he stressed his aims repeated his opposition to the entry of Turkey into the European Union. He suggested that Turkey play a key role in creating a Mediterranean Union. The proposal can be considered as a somewhat elegant way of closing the door on the current, very slow, negotiations between the executive body of the European Union — the European Commission — and Turkish representatives.

There is among some European Union members a reluctance to add more states after the entry of the Central European countries. The states of former Yugoslavia are waiting to join — their joining is considered necessary for political stability rather than for economic reasons

The idea of Turkey joining the European Union creates fears among some European Union political leaders as well as in the broader population. Turkey is large, populated, relatively poor, rural, with a majority of Muslims. Each characteristic is considered a handicap by some, although the religious element is mentioned in code words rather than directly

Sarkozy’s proposal for a Mediterranean Union can be considered as a consolation prize to the Turks and a nod of recognition to the chauvinists, xenophobic and racists who voted for him. However, in his speech he stressed that France would play a role in the creation of a Mediterranean Union. Thus the idea merits looking at in greater depth.

Today, we see the growing cooperation among States and peoples of the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions. There has been increasing discussion of a Conference on Security and Co-operation in the Mediterranean drawing inspiration from the spirit, procedures and principles of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Such a Conference on Security and Co-operation in the Mediterranean would be global in its composition to include all countries with influence and interests in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions. Such a conference would be comprehensive in its mandate in order to integrate all the relevant problems into an interdependent whole.

While it is true that at the level of governments, progress on such a Mediterranean union has been slow and uneven, there is a wide recognition of the need to deal in a cooperative way with the problems of human security on a Mediterranean and Black Sea regional basis. Common problems of poverty, social tensions and environmental degradation call for common strategies.

Enlightened leadership, understanding these common interests of all the peoples of the Mediterranean and Black Sea area is required as well as a multitude of cooperative initiatives among the peoples of the area. Work on common tasks will deepen the cultural foundations upon which Mediterranean and Black Sea integration will be built.

The proposals concerning a Mediterranean-Black Sea Union require serious study. These are areas which now have little formal cooperation but which represent important natural, multicultural areas. Cooperation can be developed using important cultural and historic foundations. We will see how Sarkozy’s proposals are met and if he will help provide the leadership needed.

Rene Wadlow is the Editor of www.transnational-perspectives.org and the Representative to the United Nations, Geneva, of the Association of World Citizens.

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Jack2007-05-18 00:27:41
You make an excellent point. The Black Sea- Medit. alliance would make for a much easier and thus more stable process of coalating the different commercial, political, and cultural philosiphies. Not to mention limiting logistical concerns. However, stretch this from one continent to the other makes coming to mutuale agreements much more difficult.

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