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Thursday, February 24, 2011

A new partnership with countries of the Southern Mediterranean?

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News On February 21st 2011, ministers of the twenty-seven Member States of the EU met at the Foreign Affairs Council. Expressing their support for people of the South Mediterranean, they discussed the possibility of establishing a new partnership and on how to deal with the events currently affecting the region.

The Council condemned the ongoing repression against demonstrators in Libya and encouraged all sides to start a "national Libyan-led dialogue", which would bring a constructive future for the country and for the people. The ministers welcomed the decision of Bahrain's authorities to "open a national dialogue" and urged the Yemeni authorities to do the same. They confirmed their solidarity with the Tunisian people and the EU's commitment to contributing to the country's socio-economic development and institution-building. The Council encouraged the transitional authorities of Egypt to set a clear timetable and steps for constitutional reform, that being a necessary precondition for free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections. Catherine Ashton declared that however, the future of the state lied firmly in the hands of the Egyptian people and Europe is not going to dictate the outcomes or impose any solutions. Support measures High Representative Ashton underlined that this is our neighbourhood. Europe needs to be ambitious, it needs to be effective and to be integrated. She has already launched a task force both within the EU's External Action Service and the Commission to adapt the EU's existing tools to help the region's countries. Catherine Ashton declared that her aim was a package of measures which would be comprehensive across all the fields of European engagement. And tailored to the specific needs of each country. After the meeting, High Representative Ashton left for Egypt, where she will meet representatives of the transitional authorities, the opposition and civil society to discuss how the EU can best assist the country.

Source :  Press room - Council of the European Union


More information  Press room - Council of the European Union

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