Spanish PM backs plan for 'Mediterranean Union'

1st June 2007, Comments 0 comments

MADRID, May 31, 2007 (AFP) - Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Thursday that he backed a French proposal to set up a "Mediterranean Union" comprising nations from its northern and southern flank.

MADRID, May 31, 2007 (AFP) - Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Thursday that he backed a French proposal to set up a "Mediterranean Union" comprising nations from its northern and southern flank.

"The reception (to the idea) was very favourable on my part," he told a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Madrid.

"We are ready to cast our gaze towards the Mediterranean for cooperation, security and problems related to immigration," he added.

Sarkozy, who took office earlier this month, has proposed the creation of the loose grouping of African and European Mediterranean countries.

He has suggested that Turkey could play a key role in the new body instead of joining the European Union, an idea that has been rejected by Ankara.

"We must do to the Mediterranean what the Europeans did 60 years ago with Europe," Sarkozy said in Madrid.

Eight European Mediterranean countries will meet soon to prepare a proposal to African Mediterranean countries, he added.

The eight countries which are expected take part in the meeting are Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Slovenia.

Separately in Lisbon, Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado also expressed support for the initiative.

"We have not yet had the opportunity to discuss the content of this initiative but we feel it is very opportune," he told the Lusa news agency.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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