EU foreign minister sets up task force for the Southern Mediterranean

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Commission Vice President, today established a new Task Force for the Southern Mediterranean.

The Task Force will bring together expertise from the European External Action Service, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other international financial institutions to act as a focal point for assistance to countries in North Africa which are going through political transformation.

“Europe will be judged by how it responds to the momentous events going on in our neighbourhood,” Catherine Ashton said.

“I want the Task Force to ensure that we make good on the proposals we made in our recent review of the European Neighbourhood Policy and to keep a clear view of the strategy we have defined for the whole Southern Mediterranean region. It will improve the coherence of our assistance to civil society, to democracy-building and to economic reconstruction through funds from the EU, the EIB and the EBRD.”

Its proposal establishes a new relationship between the EU and its neighbours based on mutual accountability, and increases EU financial support by €1.24 billion between 2011 and 2013, in addition to increased funding from the EIB and EBRD.

The European Union said it had responded quickly to the events of the Arab Spring, providing financial assistance and political support to countries like Tunisia and Egypt which are seeking to establish new deep democracies.

The EU is also working with its international partners, including the United Nations, the Arab League, the African Union and the Gulf countries Council, to apply political and economic pressure to regimes, like those in Libya, Syria and Yemen, which are seeking to repress the democratic will of the people for change.

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The European Union is fast losing out to the new regional power in the Mediterranean - Erdogan's Turkey with the biggest army and the fastest growing economy this side of the world. Should Turkey decide to eschew Eu membership and concentrate on forging a new economic and political region out of the countries bordering the Mediterranean the world might just become a slightly more interesting place.
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I had the opportunity of being on may tasks force in my lifetime and made many recommendations. Task force are just that without any results. So this new task force is really a waste of time and resources if the northern EU countries do not participate and adhere to proposed rules and guidelines