EU: Merkel, Sarkozy resolve differences on Mediterranean Union

12th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Germany and France have resolved their differences over a new political body for nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea, a government spokesman said in Berlin Tuesday.

12 March 2008

BERLIN - Germany and France have resolved their differences over a new political body for nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea, a government spokesman said in Berlin Tuesday.

Chancellor and Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy will jointly present a proposal for the so-called Mediterranean Union at the EU summit beginning in Brussels on Thursday, the spokesman said.

Merkel would also travel to Paris for the ceremony launching the Mediterranean Union on 13 July, the spokesman added.

Sarkozy's unilateral plans to form the new club have met with concern and consternation by other EU members, particularly Germany, which insists that it must be carried out within the framework of the Union.

The differences had threatened to cast a shadow over the two-day EU summit.

German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said the new proposal calls for an equal partnership of all 27 EU members with the Mediterranean states that join the new organisation.

He said Merkel and Sarkozy had also agreed on details of a rotating presidency for the new body, which will continue the work of the EU diplomatic initiative known as the Barcelona Process.

The two leaders reached basic agreement on a common approach to the EU's Mediterranean policies at a meeting in the German city of Hanover on 3 March, but left it to experts to work out the details.

The French president has planned to make the Mediterranean Union one of the key elements of his programme when Paris takes over the rotating six-month EU presidency on 1 July.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

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