Il notiziario online EUbusiness pubblica un'interessante analisi sulla nascita dell'Unione per il Mediterraneo inaugurata dal Presidente francese e presidente di turno della UE, al Grand Palais di Parigi con una Dichiarazione solenne di fronte a 43 capi di stato e di governo europei e della costa Sud. E, sempre il sito, ricorda le recenti posizioni espresse dal ministro degli esteri britannico, David Miliband, favorevoli all'idea di Sarkozy e distanti dallo scetticismo (un po' filo-bruxellista) dei tedeschi, ma che vuole anche la Turchia. Li riproponiamo integralmente.
(PARIS) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy and 42 leaders on Sunday launch a union between Europe and its Mediterranean neighbours but tensions among Middle East countries could undermine the grand plan.
Heads of state and government from the 27 EU nations and an arc of countries from north Africa to the Balkans -- representing some 756 million people -- will inaugurate the new forum at the Grand Palais on Paris' Champs Elysees.
"A dream is about to come true," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told counterparts ahead of the Paris summit.
The new union is "a collective project of economic development, of peace, of rule of law and solidarity."
The summit will see Syrian President Bashir al-Assad return to the international stage, but while he will sit at the same table as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert no talks between them are planned.
It is also providing a venue for France to step up its Middle East diplomacy, with Sarkozy hosting Israeli-Palestinian talks at the Elysee following a landmark Syrian-Lebanese meeting on Saturday.
While Kouchner recognized that the region was fraught with tensions and economic disparities, he nevertheless hailed "a time of hope" for Middle East peace.
"A new wind of dialogue is blowing around the Mediterranean."
Libyan President Moamer Kadhafi is boycotting the meeting, while Jordan's King Abdullah II and King Mohammed IV of Morocco are sending senior representatives.
Ahead of the summit, Sarkozy met Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who agreed to attend despite Ankara's reservations about the union in the face of Sarkozy opposition to Turkey's EU membership.
Through his energetic lobbying, Sarkozy scored a major coup by getting almost everyone to the venue, although their attendance will not be enshrined in any family photograph, due to objections.
To sidestep differences between Israel and its Arab neighbours, the new forum will concentrate on a series of modest regional projects such as cleaning up pollution in the Mediterranean sea or developing solar energy.
The union aims to build on the EU's 13-year-old Barcelona process, which was plagued by disputes between Israel and its Arab neighbours.
Drawing up a final declaration has proved difficult, with references in the draft to Middle East peace moves and the fight against terrorism, extremism and weapons of mass destruction likely to be chopped out.
"It looks fairly close, but there are some of the usual things outstanding, that belongs to things that normally happen," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said early Sunday when asked about progress on the text.
On the eve of the summit, signs emerged that regional differences could rear their heads, with the Arab League saying the new forum must not ignore the plight of the Palestinians.
Some partners are reluctant to take part in projects with Israel.
Respect for human rights also remains an issue, with the draft text saying the new union considers it an "ambition", but not a condition for greater cooperation.
Indeed most of the emphasis is on raising the public profile of the forum, by setting up a joint presidency -- with France and Egypt set to take the first turn -- and organising summits every two years.
A secretariat will also be created to supervise the projects, but its location was set to remain under discussion until the last minute.
The summit, starting at 1330 GMT, will be held at the glass-domed Grand Palais that was built for the Paris Exhibition in 1900.
Britain says Mediterranean Union no 'alternative' to EU enlargement
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(ANKARA) - British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Wednesday that French plans to create a Mediterranean Union could not replace the enlargement of the European Union.
"The Mediterranean Union can and should be a beneficial project for the European Union but it is not, repeat not, an alternative to enlargement of the EU to include Turkey," Miliband told a joint press conference here with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan.
The EU should pursue Turkey's accession process "with full speed," he said.
The Mediterranean project, approved by EU leaders in March, aims to improve trade, transport and energy links between southern European countries and nations around the Mediterranea...