15 September 1994

Doc. 7153

1403-14/9/94-1-E

REPORT

on co-operation in the Mediterranean basin

(Rapporteur: Mr PARISI,

Italy, Group of the European People's Party)


Summary

      The Assembly considers that the time has come to consider the Mediterranean basin in comprehensive terms and review its relations with Europe, and particularly the Council of Europe. Politically and economically unstable, this region is in fact of great strategic, political and cultural importance for Europe.

      The Assembly wishes to contribute to stability in the Mediterranean basin and feels that the Council of Europe, relying on the principles which it defends — democracy, human rights and the rule of law — should play a leading role in this. It advocates the development of co-operation with and between the Mediterranean states at parliamentary, local authority and intergovernmental levels.

      It therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers adopt a Mediterranean policy for the Council of Europe and introduce activities aimed at promoting greater co-operation within the Mediterranean basin.

I. Draft recommendation

1.       The Mediterranean, situated at the centre of trade and cultural exchanges, tensions and political dialogue, and a crossing point between east and west, north and south and the numerous peoples and regions of Europe, Africa and Asia, has always been a reference point for Europe and an area of special relations among its coastal states.

2.       Today the Mediterranean region is characterised in particular by wide disparities in wealth among the coastal states. The food situation in the countries to the south and east of the Mediterranean basin is continually deteriorating, partly as a result of development policies being concentrated on industrialisation and limiting the role of agriculture to production for export purposes.

3.       Furthermore, the region is at the centre of the biggest migration flows in Europe, resulting inter alia from the demographic and economic imbalances between the countries on the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean.

4.       While pursuing its efforts aimed at the Council of Europe's enlargement and co-operation with the central and east European countries — which it considers as a priority — the Assembly believes that the Mediterranean basin is a region of paramount importance for Europe; and particularly as it is today experiencing significant political instability resulting from the democratic deficit and the socio-economic imbalances in a number of Mediterranean countries.

5.       Consequently, the Assembly, in order to contribute to the political stability of the Mediterranean region which it has already sought to foster through its stances on earlier occasions, would like to see the Council of Europe (which comprises other bodies such as the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) or the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, also concerned with Mediterranean co-operation) devote greater attention to this frontier region.

6.       At parliamentary level, the Assembly fully supports and wishes to continue its involvement with the Inter-Parliamentary Union's initiative to institute a Mediterranean co-operation process by organising interparliamentary conferences on security and co-operation in the Mediterranean along the lines of the conference held in Malaga (15-20 June 1992).

7.       It has also noted the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 6 May 1994 to set up a Mediterranean assembly which, as an organ of political dialogue, would bring together representatives of the parliaments of the European Union and of the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean; in this respect, the Assembly intends to monitor any action taken on this resolution and, if necessary, to make concrete proposals.

8.       The Assembly notes, moreover, that the foreign ministers of the Mediterranean countries met in Alexandria on 4 July 1994 at the invitation of the Egyptian President Mr Hosni Mubarak, expressed their support for developing a "Forum for Mediterranean dialogue and co-operation" and decided to set up working parties in various fields (political, cultural, economic and social) of relevance to the Council of Europe's own sphere of activity with a view to preparing for the next ministerial meeting.

9.       The Assembly stresses the importance of protecting the environment and natural resources (water, energy, soil, forests) as well as the coastline and the sea by long-term management and in accordance with the principle of sustainable development. Local and regional authorities have a role to play in this field, in particular the regions directly concerned with the multiple aspects of Mediterranean co-operation.

10.       Consequently, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

i.       include the Council of Europe's Mediterranean policy on the agenda of its next ministerial meeting and ask the Ministers' Deputies:

      a.       to devote a special meeting to discussing the role and activities of the Council of Europe in the Mediterranean region;

      b.       to set up an ad hoc working party of the Ministers' Deputies responsible for monitoring and implementing proposals regarding the Council of Europe's Mediterranean policy;

      c.       to identify the existing activities with regard to the Mediterranean in the various fields of the work programme, and propose new activities touching on the issues of prime importance for this region, such as the environment and regional planning, democracy and local self-government, tolerance, demography and migration, youth or the historical and cultural heritage;

ii.       implement Recommendation 1221 (1993) on the peace process in the Middle East and call upon the governments of member states to help create a climate of confidence in the region;

iii.       ensure Council of Europe involvement in ongoing discussions regarding the Mediterranean region, particularly within the European Union, the CSCE, the working parties set up by the "Forum for Mediterranean dialogue and co-operation" (which will be meeting in Portugal at the end of 1994) and the next ministerial meeting to be held in France in 1995;

iv.       grant observer status to the Mediterranean states which request it and undertake to comply with the conditions and principles laid down in Statutory Resolution (93) 26 on observer status;

v.       consider the drafting of a partial agreement on Mediterranean co-operation open to Mediterranean non-member states of the Council of Europe;

vi.       encourage, in areas of interest to both the Council of Europe and the Mediterranean non-member states, the signature by the latter of open conventions (such as the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats or the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage) and, if appropriate, arrange to open up other conventions which might pave the way for Mediterranean co-operation;

vii.       back the proposal of the Sicily region to integrate a foundation for Mediterranean migration (as set out in the Final Declaration of the 3rd Conference of Mediterranean Regions) into the "demography" activities in the intergovernmental programme, particularly under Project III.1 concerning demographic imbalances between the countries of the Mediterranean basin;

viii.       give its full support to the organisation of an international conference on demographic problems in the Mediterranean basin, proposed by the European Population Committee (CDPO), to be held in Spain in 1996;

ix.       encourage co-operation between local and regional authorities in the Mediterranean basin, follow up in this connection the proposal set out in CLRAE and backed by the Assembly to adopt a European convention on interterritorial co-operation and support the meeting of Mediterranean cities to be held in Barcelona in March 1995;

x.       pursue the proposal made at the International Symposium on Trans-Mediterranean Interdependence and Partnership (Rome 17-19 January 1994) to incorporate a Mediterranean element in the programme of the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity;

xi.       invite the governments of member states, and in particular those of the Mediterranean countries:

      a.       to intensify and co-ordinate their co-operation with the Mediterranean countries, whether or not they are members of the Council of Europe, in order to contribute to the sustainable democratic, social and economic development of the region, compatible with respect for its environment;

      b.       to co-ordinate their immigration policies and grant lawful immigrants the same social and economic rights as enjoyed by nationals and indeed certain political rights, in accordance with the European Convention on the participation of foreigners in public life at local level;

      c.       to stimulate co-operation between research centres and universities and, in particular, support the European "danger sciences: risk management" training programme, one of the activities of the Council of Europe's EUR-OPA Major Hazards Partial Agreement, for which a pilot training module in the Mediterranean will be co-ordinated by the UNIMED Mediterranean universities network, a member of the European Federation of Scientific Networks.

II. Explanatory memorandum

by Mr PARISI

Contents

Page

1.       Introduction        5

2.       The Council of Europe and the Mediterranean        6

3.       Initiatives of other international organisations        12

4.       Conclusion        15

1. Introduction

      For thousands of years, the Mediterranean basin has been a crossroads of civilisations, and our own civilisation is a result of this intermingling. The Mediterranean offered favourable conditions for the development of maritime transport, trade between peoples and the circulation of ideas and goods. It facilitated colonisation and several of its civilisations were thalassocracies. At the time of the Roman Empire, the Mediterranean was regarded virtually as an inland sea (Mare nostrum).

      However, with the advent of the great voyages of discovery and the opening up of other major maritime trade routes, the role of the Mediterranean fell into decline. The Mediterranean regained some of its earlier importance in the nineteenth century when it again became a strategic region following the opening of the Suez Canal.

      Meanwhile the Mediterranean basin has continued to be a region of trade between the states bordering on it and is still today the crossroads of civilisations it always has been. It is still the meeting point of three continents and a region where the three major monotheistic religions exist side by side. It is also a region where certain current social problems (demography, migration, environment, fundamentalism) are particularly acute.

      An unfortunate consequence of some of its features is that the Mediterranean today is a region of conflicts of interests and ethnic, social, economic, religious and cultural tensions, which in certain cases have turned into armed confrontations feeding on age-old hatreds. One need only think of the Middle East or the former Yugoslavia.

      Today, one of the undisputed features of the Mediterranean is demography. The population of the northern Mediterranean, which in 1950 accounted for two-thirds of the total population of the Mediterranean basin, will fall to one-third by 2025, whereas on the southern side of the basin, the growth rate is increasing very quickly. The major consequence of these trends will be colossal demand for employment. Such demand will be one of the most serious problems facing the southern Mediterranean. Because the conditions for internal development are not in place, the only available solution will be migration — inevitably in the direction of the more prosperous northern regions.

      Furthermore, the prospects for balanced social and economic development of the region are complicated by other factors. Amongst these, political instability and a lack of democracy in a number of countries discourage potential investors and reduce the opportunities for economic growth. As a consequence, around the Mediterranean we find a number of countries which remain very poor while others are amongst the richest in the world. This creates another significant imbalance.

      At present, even though the old international order has disappeared once and for all, it has not yet been replaced by new structures and ways of establishing a system of international relations founded on stronger and more efficient international or European institutions. It is nonetheless important to devise new approaches and put in place new structures and instruments which will help foster relations and trade and resolve the actual or potential sources of conflict.

2. The Council of Europe and the Mediterranean

      The first of the European institutions to have set its sights on uniting Europe in order to promote social and economic progress, the Council of Europe has sought to defend peace by basing its action on justice and international co-operation. Such action has largely been focused on promoting human rights, democracy and law.

      These principles and this action, which have just been extended to the central and east European countries, could also play their part in the development of the Mediterranean basin, a new frontier for the Council of Europe, enabling the people living on the Mediterranean shores to experience peace and social and economic development.

      Admittedly, the Council of Europe has already, through a number of unconnected activities, made some attempts at working more closely with the Mediterranean countries and encouraging closer co-operation between these states. However, practice has shown the need for an overall approach to the specific problems of the Mediterranean basin. The Organisation has not yet developed such an approach.

      The Council of Europe has also acknowledged that local and regional authorities have a major role to play in co-operation. Certainly, they should not take the place of states, but they can make their own contribution, namely an intimate knowledge of the area, a better understanding of the citizen's views, a sense of community, neighbourly relations and speed of action.

2.1.       The Conferences of Mediterranean Regions

      (Marseilles 1985, Malaga 1987, Taormina 1993)

      The proposal to hold a conference of the regions of the Mediterranean basin was put forward at the Aachen Congress organised by the CLRAE in 1979. The final declaration called for the organisation of a "meeting of the regions of the Mediterranean basin, preferably inviting the participation of non-European Mediterranean coastal countries ... in order to discuss ... the main problems arising ... in relation to environmental protection". Accordingly, a joint working party was set up in April 1980, comprising representatives of the CLRAE and the Parliamentary Assembly, to prepare such a conference.

      Three conferences of this kind have been organised.

      The first Conference of Regions of the Mediterranean Basin, held in Marseilles from 27 to 29 March 1985, brought together over 300 participants from sixteen Mediterranean countries to discuss problems relating to the environment and planning in the Mediterranean basin.

      The final declaration adopted on this occasion took stock of international co-operation and called for a better distribution of roles and powers between the state and local and regional authorities, and for increased interregional consultation. It made a number of proposals (dissemination of international agreements relating to environmental protection to the local and regional authorities; establishment of a permanent dialogue, etc.).

      The second conference, held in Malaga from 16 to 18 September 1987, had three major themes: tourism in the Mediterranean basin, transport and communications in the area, and ways of strengthening interregional co-operation.

      The Malaga declaration recommended that the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers study the possibility of concluding a partial agreement among the interested member states, open to accession by non-member Mediterranean states, whose aim would be to promote interregional co-operation in the Mediterranean basin by co-ordinating the efforts of the various organisations, institutions or associations.

      The third conference, held in Taormina from 5 to 7 April 1993, largely dealt with the protection and enhancement of the Mediterranean coastline and the prospects for development in the region. It also touched on the question of migration and interregional co-operation in the Mediterranean basin.

      The final declaration recommended that the Committee of Ministers quickly adopt the draft European Convention on Inter-territorial Co-operation and put in place a Mediterranean co-operation programme at all levels. At the initiative of the Sicily region, the conference also expressed its support for the setting up of a foundation for Mediterranean migration and a "Mediterranean council".

2.2.       The European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity

      The European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (North-South Centre) was set up in Lisbon in 1990 in the wake of the European Public Campaign on North-South Interdependence and Solidarity, organised by the Council of Europe in 1988.

      The Council of Europe, whose mission is to protect human rights and pluralist democracy in Europe, has been very responsive to the changes which have taken place in recent years and has consequently sought, by setting up the North-South Centre, to raise awareness in Europe of the close interdependence between this continent and the others.

      One of the areas where this interdependence is most clearly seen is without doubt the Mediterranean region, where many of the contradictions characterising today's world are in evidence.

      Among the numerous issues addressed by the Centre, trans-Mediterranean co-operation has aroused keen interest among the member countries. The fact is that all the major political, economic, cultural and social questions which characterise North-South relations are to be found concentrated in the Mediterranean basin.

      It was in the framework of this activity that the Centre organised the "International Symposium on Trans-Mediterranean Interdependence and Partnership" held from 17 to 19 January 1994 in Rome.

      The main themes of the conference were political and economic co-operation, intercultural understanding, religious tolerance and migration.

      In view of the high degree of interdependence found in the Mediterranean region, the participants felt that trans-Mediterranean co-operation should not be restricted to the initiatives and actions of the different players in the Mediterranean countries, but that each member of the international organisations — in particular the Council of Europe — should strive to ensure that the Mediterranean dimension was adequately taken into account.

      The North-South Centre is particularly interested in the problems of the Mediterranean basin and seeks, in harmony with other initiatives, to develop concrete responses to the opening up of a political dialogue among the countries which have recognised the importance of the "Mediterranean" question.

2.3.       The Open Partial Agreement on Major Natural and Technological Disasters

      The Open Partial Agreement on the Prevention of, Protection against, and Organisation of Relief in Major Natural and Technological Disasters was set up in 1987 (Resolution (87) 2 of the Committee of Ministers) following a proposal from the Parliamentary Assembly (Recommendation 1036 (1986)).

      This partial agreement is of particular importance to the Mediterranean basin because of its relevance to a large number of Mediterranean states and the number of states which are parties to it, twenty-one to date, including eight Mediterranean states out of the eleven which are members of the Council of Europe.

      Given that the countries of southern Europe located on the Mediterranean seismic belt were faced with inevitable natural hazards, the Assembly had come to the conclusion that there was an absolute necessity to set up an international legal instrument which would enable these states to co-operate among themselves on this matter, particularly in the event of a natural disaster.

      The aim of this partial agreement is therefore to look at European co-operation from a multidisciplinary point of view. Activities are based on co-operation programmes relating to the organisation of relief, training and research, and are carried out by specialised centres working together in networks.

2.4.       The Documentation and Information Centre for the Environment and Nature (NATUROPA Centre)

      The Naturopa Centre organised an information and awareness campaign on the Mediterranean coasts and the protection of the environment. The campaign ran from 1988 to 1991 and involved four international colloquies. Its purpose was to examine how the various countries protect their coastlines and to promote relevant conservation activities.

      The first colloquy, which launched the campaign, was held in Messina (24-25 November 1988). It looked at the experiences of the Conservatoire français du littoral in France and the "National Trust" in the United Kingdom as regards the purchasing of land as a means of conserving coastlines.

      Further colloquies were held in Izmir (19-20 October 1989) on the contribution regional planning can make to the conservation of coastlines, in La Escala (6-8 November 1990) on the technique of protected areas and in Bastia (30 May-1 June 1991) on marine parks.

2.5.       Other initiatives

2.5.1.       The draft Open Partial Agreement on Interregional Co-operation in the Mediterranean Basin

      The 2nd Conference on Mediterranean Regions (Malaga, 1987) adopted in its final declaration a recommendation that the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers conclude a partial agreement, along the lines of the one relating to major natural and technological disasters, among interested member states, open to accession by non-member Mediterranean states, whose aim would be to promote interregional co-operation in the Mediterranean basin.

      The Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE), in Resolution 200 (1989), also adopted such a recommendation to the Committee of Ministers, and this request was given the backing of the Parliamentary Assembly in its Opinion No. 148 (1989).

      At the request of the Ministers' Deputies, a preliminary feasibility study was undertaken by the Secretariat, who considered the current situation regarding co-operation in the Mediterranean basin and the prospects for possible action by the Council of Europe in a political framework and in co-operation with other international organisations.

      Such co-operation could have resulted in the setting up of a body, within the Council of Europe, whose purpose would have been to establish contacts between the Mediterranean countries. A partial agreement would have the advantage of enabling this co-operation to be limited to the coastal states directly concerned, whether or not they were members of the Council of Europe, while at the same time establishing the necessary links between the Mediterranean states and the other member states of the Council of Europe.

      At present, the limited energies and resources of the Council of Europe are quite justifiably being concentrated on the extension of the Organisation to central and eastern Europe. However, the Council of Europe should not neglect its southern frontier which, in the current political circumstances, could turn out to be a potential source of instability.

      It is quite probable therefore that the conclusion of a partial agreement would go some way towards solving the problem.

2.5.2.       The draft European Convention on Inter-territorial Co-operation

      In its Resolution 248 (1993), the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) recommended that the Committee of Ministers adopt a convention on inter-territorial co-operation (between local and regional authorities not situated in a border area) to cater for situations not covered by the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities (Madrid, 1980).

      This resolution refers to the increasing co-operation between local and regional authorities in the different states, either in the fulfilment of their own powers or for the implementation of initiatives and programmes of international organisations, and in particular the European Communities and the Council of Europe.

      The Parliamentary Assembly supported this proposal in its Opinion No. 173 (1993). At the initiative of the Ministers' Deputies, the draft convention presented is currently under consideration by the governmental experts of the Council of Europe.

      A legal instrument of this kind would doubtless be extremely useful for facilitating and fostering co-operation between Mediterranean local and regional authorities. This objective has been expressed at the three conferences of Mediterranean regions.

2.6.       The role of the Parliamentary Assembly

2.6.1.       For a long time the Assembly has been concerned with the Mediterranean region as such as well as with specific questions (policy, environment, migration, culture, agriculture, etc.) relating to the Mediterranean basin or the states bordering on the Mediterranean.

      However, the Assembly has never thought in overall terms about the Mediterranean basin and its relationship with the continent of Europe and in particular the Council of Europe, or about the latter's role. Neither has it expressed its opinion, from an overall, forward-looking point of view, on the strategic importance for Europe of a politically and economically stable and balanced Mediterranean region, which as such would not present any threat to European democratic security, not to mention the advantages which the stability and development of the coastal states would represent for the neighbouring regions (Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa).

      The Council of Europe is in the process of enlargement to take in central and eastern Europe in the wake of the events of 1989, which have provided an opportunity to work towards total European unification and eliminate the main obstacle to security on the continent.

      Even before this enlargement is completed, there is a need to reflect on the next milestones and challenges, not least of which is ensuring a stable future for the Mediterranean basin, Europe's other sensitive frontier.

      The Council of Europe has a duty to give some serious thought to this matter and the Parliamentary Assembly can take the initiative in this field, on the basis of the work already carried out. The debate on this report, to which seven Assembly committees will contribute, clearly demonstrates the Assembly's interest in the Mediterranean and this could mark the beginning of serious discussions which may lead to the drawing up of a Parliamentary Assembly, if not Council of Europe, "Mediterranean strategy".

2.6.2.       Work of the Committee on the Environment, Regional Planning and Local Authorities

      For several years, the committee has tackled various problems which concern the Mediterranean either directly (Mediterranean environment, natural hazards in the Mediterranean basin) or indirectly (marine pollution, forest fires, water resources).

      It has adopted positions both in its own reports and in connection with those of other Assembly committees, on some of which it has given opinions on matters within its field. It has also expressed views on texts adopted by other bodies such as the Standing Conference (now Congress) of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE). In addition, it has organised campaigns, conferences and colloquies on themes concerning the Mediterranean.

      The most recent texts include Recommendation 1015 (1985) on protection of the Mediterranean environment, following on from the 1st Conference of Mediterranean Regions (Marseilles, 1985), in which the Assembly recommended, inter alia, that the Committee of Ministers "define ... a common Mediterranean policy".

      In its Opinion No. 126 (1986) on the texts adopted at the 20th Session of the CLRAE, it also supported the calls made by the CLRAE in its Resolution 162 (1985) on the 1st Conference of Mediterranean Regions.

      Recommendation 1036 (1986) concerned preventive action and protection against natural hazards in the Mediterranean basin. In the text, the Assembly recommended the drafting of a partial agreement on mutual assistance between the countries of southern Europe in the event of natural disasters. In 1987, the Committee of Ministers established the Partial Agreement on Major Natural and Technological Disasters.

      Recommendation 1045 (1986) on combating forest fires in Europe recalled the gravity of the problem in southern Europe and proposed various measures for preventing and combating forest fires. Other measures were set out in Recommendation 1060 (1987) on protecting forests. In Opinion No. 138 on the texts adopted at the 22nd and 23rd Sessions of the CLRAE, the Assembly also endorsed the recommendations contained in CLRAE Resolution 193 (1988) on forest fires.

      In Opinion No. 148 (1989) on the texts of the 24th Session of the CLRAE, in particular Resolution 200 (1989) on the 2nd Conference of Mediterranean Regions (Malaga, 1987), the Assembly supported the proposal to conclude a partial agreement to promote inter-regional co-operation in the Mediterranean basin.

      Recommendations 1157 (1991) and 1224 (1993) on preservation and management of freshwater resources in Europe drew attention to the problems posed as regards both the quality and the quantity of freshwater resources, particularly in the Mediterranean basin. A wide range of measures were proposed following the "Freshwater Europe" campaign organised by the committee. In addition, in its Opinion No. 164 on the texts of the 27th Session of the CLRAE, the Assembly supported Resolutions 238 (1992) on regional planning and the protection of water resources and 239 (1992) on the quantity and quality of drinking water in Europe.

      In its Opinion No. 181 (1994) on the texts adopted by the CLRAE, the Assembly referred, in particular, to Resolution 256 (1994) on the 3rd Conference of Mediterranean Regions (Taormina, 1993).

      Other activities worth emphasising include the three conferences of Mediterranean regions, already mentioned above, which were organised jointly by the Parliamentary Assembly and the CLRAE. The "Freshwater Europe" campaign was a further major initiative. It was launched by the committee as part of its activities concerning water resources and took the form of an information and awareness campaign on water-related issues.

3. Initiatives of other international organisations

      At intergovernmental level:

      International organisations are engaging increasingly in standard-setting activities and practical schemes aimed at preserving and enhancing the Mediterranean basin. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Community (Union) have all adopted texts as well as programmes and plans of action with regard to the Mediterranean.

The European Union

      The Mediterranean basin is of particular importance to the European Union. It has a very long Mediterranean seaboard and it enjoys a special relationship with the majority of states in the region, with which it has concluded co-operation or association agreements. Moreover, it has initiated a number of specific aid programmes to the Mediterranean regions of member states, the Integrated Mediterranean Programmes (IMPs), not to mention the regional and structural funds which, being intended to benefit the least developed regions, are particularly directed towards the Mediterranean regions. The European Council has recently called for a change of emphasis in Community Mediterranean policy, towards partnership with non-member countries (in particular the Maghreb).

      In addition, the European Union is a Contracting Party to the 1976 Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean against Pollution and actively participates work carried out under the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP).

      Community action programmes on the environment have always laid particular emphasis on the "Mediterranean dimension" (see the Strategy and Plan of Action for the Protection of the Environment in the Mediterranean (MEDSPA)).

OECD

      This organisation works in a more sector-based way, but has carried out much work concerning the environment and pollution. In the past, its Environment Committee set up a Mediterranean pilot group to study the fight against environmental deterioration and pollution as a result of coastal development. The group carried out a number of studies and a final report was published by the General Directorate.

The United Nations

      The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is particularly concerned with the Mediterranean. In this context, mention should be made of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), which was adopted in 1979 and whose aims are the planning of development and resource management in the Mediterranean basin, a co-ordinated programme of research and information exchange, and conventions for the protection of the Mediterranean.

      To facilitate the drawing up and implementation of this plan of action, two main instruments were devised:

      —th       e Blue Plan, a programme of forward-looking experts' reports and studies aimed at setting in motion a permanent process of concerted co-operation between the Mediterranean coastal states.—

      —th       e Priority Action Programme (PAP), whose aim is to institute permanent co-operation between the Mediterranean states with a view to adopting practical measures for progressive intersectoral planning.FA

FAO, Unesco

      As far as activities affecting man and the environment are concerned, FAO programmes are more often than not drawn up in very close liaison with Unesco, in particular with regard to the Mediterranean. There have been numerous studies and research projects in three main areas: fishing, forest fires, erosion and protection of catchment basins.

CSCE

      The Helsinki Final Act, adopted in 1975, contained one provision specific to the Mediterranean and had a section devoted to "Questions relating to security and co-operation in the Mediterranean". This declaration on the Mediterranean expressed the concern for the region felt by the participating states, as well as their determination to develop their economic and political relations with the states on the southern shores. These questions were once again addressed in several conferences (Valletta 1979, Madrid 1983, Palma de Mallorca 1990).

      More recently (May 1993), the CSCE organised a seminar on the Mediterranean in Valletta which looked at the environment, demographic trends and co-operation between Mediterranean states.

      It should be noted that in a context of preventive diplomacy and co-operation, the idea of a "Mediterranean Council" has been put forward in an attempt to find a solution to Mediterranean problems. This new proposal follows on from a previous unsuccessful initiative aimed at establishing a Conference on Security and Co-operation in the Mediterranean (CSCM).

      At interparliamentary level:

Inter-Parliamentary Union

      In June 1992 in Malaga the Inter-Parliamentary Union held an interparliamentary conference on security and co-operation in the Mediterranean. To some extent, this initiative mirrored the concerns of the CSCE with regard to the Mediterranean region.

      The final document of the conference referred to the various Mediterranean conflicts and considered a number of questions concerning regional stability, co-development and partnership, dialogue between peoples and human rights. The participants expressed their desire to see a permanent dialogue established at both parliamentary and intergovernmental level.

European Parliament

      Following a number of initiatives concerning the Mediterranean region, in particular within its Mediterranean intergroup, the European Parliament has just prepared a report on the setting up of a Mediterranean assembly.

      This report considers the paucity of Euro-Mediterranean relations and recommends the setting up of a Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly as a forum for political dialogue bringing together representatives of the parliaments of the European Union and the other coastal states.

      At the level of local and regional authorities:

      In the Council of Europe, the Congress (formerly the Standing Conference) of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) has for a long time been concerned with Mediterranean questions. Together with the Parliamentary Assembly, it has initiated a number of conferences with the particular aim of fostering co-operation between the local and regional authorities in the Mediterranean basin. The fourth of these conferences is due to be held in Cyprus in 1995 (the previous ones were held in Marseilles in 1985, in Malaga in 1987, and in Taormina in 1993).

      Many other questions concerning largely Mediterranean problems have been dealt with, such as marine pollution, forest fires, water resources, regional planning, tourism, etc.

      The various European organisations of local and regional authorities also promote Mediterranean co-operation at their own level. Of note in this field is the work carried out by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), the Assembly of European Regions (AER) and the Conference on the Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR), which has even set up an inter-Mediterranean committee.

4. Conclusion

      The Mediterranean, with its specific problems, is a priority area for Europe, an area which, given its particular features, requires comprehensive and integrated action. Making the most of the region's potential obviously calls for closer co-operation between the Mediterranean countries and between the latter and Europe. For reasons of proximity, priority should no doubt be given to co-operation between the Mediterranean states, both European and non-European. But co-operation should not be restricted to these states alone; there is also a need to co-ordinate the co-operation of these coastal states, and particularly the non-European ones, with Europe and its institutions, and the Council of Europe in particular. Hence the importance of defining a genuine Mediterranean policy for the Council of Europe.

      Human rights and democracy are priority areas for the Council. But there are many other areas of activity which could be included in a policy of co-operation with the Mediterranean basin, and in particular the non-member Mediterranean countries. Such a policy could be based on existing organs and bodies (Parliamentary Assembly, CLRAE, Social Development Fund, European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, etc.), using the instruments already available: open conventions, enlarged partial agreements, observer status, etc.

      Furthermore, it is not enough to have an economic and financial policy without having, in tandem, an environmental, social and cultural policy. The only way of overcoming the differences between these countries is therefore to find a common dimension enabling the organisations involved (European Union, Council of Europe, WEU, CSCE, IPU, etc.) to work in a complementary and co-ordinated way among themselves and vis-à-vis the Mediterranean regions.

      The necessity for peace, security and democracy in the Mediterranean basin does not stop at our frontiers since all the countries which share these principles are dependent on each other. The future of Mediterranean co-operation therefore depends on respect for each country's freedom of choice together with recognition of the common values and the need for open dialogue between countries which are equals and which are aware that they have shared responsibilities.

      Reporting committee: Committee on the Environment, Regional Planning and Local Authorities.

      Budgetary implications for the Assembly: none.

      Reference to committee: Doc. 6894 and Reference No. 1891 of 3 September 1993.

      Draft recommendation adopted by the committee on 5 September 1994.

      Members of the committee: Mr Parisi (Chairman), Mr Ruffy, Lord Newall (Vice-Chairmen), MM. Alemyr, Bachna, Bernardini, Bianchi, Mr Gudmundur Bjarnason, Mrs Blunck, MM. Bonrepaux, Brennan, Briane, Büchel, Mrs Ciemniak, MM. Demiralp, Dimmer, Mrs Dromberg, MM. Eversdijk, Feldmann, Frunda, Mrs Graenitz, MM. Granstedt, Grau, Hadjidemetriou, Hardy, Jung, Mrs Kaliska, MM. Korakas, Koulouris (Alternate: Sophoulis), Kukk, Lanner, Lie, Lotz, Mrs Melandri, MM. Mészáros, Monfils, Motiu, Mozetič, Pinto, Požéla, Redmond, Reis Leite, Mrs Robert, Mrs Sanchez de Miguel, Mr Sarens, Mrs Severinsen, MM. Špaček, Szymański, Talay, Toshev, Tummers, Vella, Zierer.

      N.B.       The names of those who took part in the vote are printed in italics.

      Secretaries to the committee: Mrs Cagnolati-Staveris and Mr Sixto.