Mediterranean Union will change the world: Sarkozy

April 30th, 2008 - 6:40 pm ICT by admin  

Tunis, April 30 (DPA) The proposed Union for the Mediterranean will create prosperity and peace for everyone involved in it, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told Tunisian students Wednesday. “If it becomes reality, the Union for the Mediterranean will change the world,” Sarkozy said in a speech at the National Institute of Applied Science and Technology in the Tunisian capital Tunis.

The union, which is intended to bring together the 27 member nations of the European Union with the countries situated along the Mediterranean rim, will be formally established at a summit meeting in Paris on July 13.

Speaking on the third and final day of his state visit to Tunisia, Sarkozy said that the summit would name the first co-presidents of the Union, with one president coming from a northern nation and the other taken from the South.

Earlier this year, French officials suggested Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak for the post.

In addition, the site of the union’s permanent secretariat will also be decided at the summit, as well as a number of concrete projects, Sarkozy said.

The French president said these could include a project regarding water management, the de-pollution of the Mediterranean - which he called “the biggest challenge for the Mediterranean Union” - a plan to transfer nuclear energy technology and knowhow, and a joint programme for managing immigration.

The Union for the Mediterranean would be based on “strict equality between the North and the South,” Sarkozy declared.

He also told the students that the union will bring economic growth and help lower unemployment both in France and Tunisia.

It remained unclear how many North African and Middle Eastern nations eligible to join the union will actually take part, particularly if Israel participates.

Sarkozy did not shy away from the issue. The union should be established “not despite (the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), but because of it,” he said.

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