S&Ds in dialogue with diplomats on Euro-Mediterranean cooperation
The S&D Group held an internal workshop with the Ambassadors of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, to openly and frankly discuss about the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, migration, the prevention of radicalisation and terrorism, and regional integration. Following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Egypt, the workshop gave the opportunity to discuss about how to address root causes of radicalisation and terrorism, and how cooperation between the EU and North African countries can help prevention and the fight against the terrorist threat.
S&D MEP and vice-president for foreign affairs, Victor Boştinaru, who chaired the workshop, said:
"This workshop was extremely important and productive, but also very timely. Yesterday High Representative Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn presented the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy; migration is daily on our agenda as a top priority, the terrorist attacks in Paris, Egypt and other countries show that the whole of Europe and its neighbourhood are confronted with a fragile security situation. Cooperation must be the driving force in our relations with our Southern Neighbourhood, but also between the regional actors of North Africa. This was true when we decided to organise this event to have a frank exchange of views with the Ambassadors, but it is even truer today in light of the recent developments. We had the opportunity to specifically discuss important topics such as the situation in Libya, the radicalisation of Islam and the possible solutions, the exchange of information at the level of our intelligences, and the ways to foster growth, development, and stability in the region. I want to thank the Ambassadors for sharing their views with us, this was an excellent exercise and we hope it can be followed by real increased cooperation on the ground. The message coming from all sides was clear, if we want to be effective in addressing our many common challenges, starting from terrorism and migration, the only way is to be united and cooperative. The S&D Group will continue with its efforts to drive Europe in this direction."
Richard Howitt MEP, S&D Group's foreign affairs coordinator, said:
"We need to work together more. Across the European Union, across the Mediterranean, there is no question, no problem, and no opportunity that we can address alone. We need cooperation and we need partnership to face all the threats we are facing in these difficult times. We need to work with all the actors on the region, on the basis of equal partnership, and with a full appreciation of our political relations. Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, migration, prevention of radicalisation, democracy-building, combating terrorism and promoting regional integration are common challenges but also opportunities. For the S&D Group it is crucial that human rights be respected and to avoid any misuse of antiterrorist legislation which could violate fundamental principles and freedoms."
S&D MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, chair of the Maghreb Delegation in the European Parliament, said:
"The dramatic events in Paris and the ones in Egypt, but also the attacks in Tunisia and in Libya, clearly show that all countries in Europe, in the neighbourhood and all regions are confronted with a complex security situation. In this context the reviewed European Neighbourhood Policy can play a fundamental role. For the S&D Group, socio-economic development and the building of a safer environment are closely interlinked. We need to support the growth of the poorest areas and invest in social protection, education and training. It is also crucial that the process of economic and social reforms be accelerated in the countries of our neighbourhood."