The scale of the threat depends on where you are
Wednesday 08 February 1995
Underlying the shift is a fear of the deteriorating security situation just across the water from Europe and, in particular, of Islamic fundamentalism. The EU plans a summit in Barcelona in November to address the issue.
There are obstacles: one is that different countries see different things when they look at the Arab world. Britain and the other northern European states see mainly the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East peace process and oil. Europe's southern states see the Maghreb, Islamic fundamentalism, the threat of conflict and refugee flows. France has fought a long battle to get British and German intelligence to prioritise Algeria - a battle that it is now winning. The US, for its part, still sees things through the prism of Israel and the Gulf.
The problems of the south did not loom large on the EU agenda when Denmark, Britain, Belgium and Germany held the EU presidency, and though Greece tried to put the subject under the spotlight, it lacked the political clout. The presidency is now held by France, to be followed by Spain and Italy. No wonder things are changing.
The sticking point may be cash. Spain's Manuel Marin, the ambitious EU commissioner for Mediterranean affairs, wants 5.5bn ecus for North Africa and the Middle East as part of a radical new policy thrust. But the funds of the EU are far from inexhaustible, and the main net contributors to the budget are Germany, Britain, France and the Netherlands; only Paris is truly agitated about the situation in the Mediterranean.
The EU is already negotiating "Euro-Med" agreements with Morocco, Tunisia, Israel and Egypt, and hopes to start soon with Jordan. It also has economic and political accords with Israel and Syria.
The Commission hopes that the new approach will go further than this rather fragmented, bilateral approach and treat the Mediterranean region as a whole. The problem is that there is little agreement on what the region is, let alone what its problems areand how to solve them.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...