Euro-Mediterranean Forum

The principle of a Euro-Mediterranean Forum – or Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Dialogue – was decided by the participants in the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Barcelona (November 1995). It is mentioned in the work programme of the Declaration adopted by this Conference: « the European Parliament is invited to take the initiative with other parliaments concerning the future Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Dialogue, which could enable the elected representatives of the partners to exchange ideas on a wide range of issues. »

Since then, the parliaments of a number of countries which took part in the Barcelona Conference coordinated between each other with a view to launch the Forum. The European Parliament was a catalyst in this respect and hosted in its Brussels’ premices the first Euro-Mediterranean Forum on 27 and 28 October 1998 (see Final Declaration). Lebanon and Syria did not send parliamentary delegations but were represented by diplomats. Libya (represented by its ambassador to the European institutions) participated as an observer together with the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU) and the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation (PAEAC).

In its IVth reunion (Bari, 2002) the Forum committed itself to promote the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly. This would assembly the parliaments of the EU member states’ and the Third Mediterranean partners as well as the European Parliament. A working group was et up in order to make preparations for this new body.

The Vth Euro-Mediterrarean Conference (Valencia, April 2002), (1) agreed to further develop the parliamentary dimension of the Partnership. The formal decision of providing the Partenership with a third institution is expected to be taken in Naples (November 2003) on the occasion of the VIth Euro-Mediterranean Conference.

The Vth Forum meeting, foreseen for March 2003 was postponed in the context of the Iraq war. This meeting is exepcted to take place the 23 and 24 of October in Crete.