Tuesday 4 November 2008

The Union for the Mediterranean to be seated in Barcelona

The Union for the Mediterranean, a project that already started with low expectations, seemed to be in great difficulties until yesterday.

The foreigh ministers of the countries participating in the Union met in Marseille to discuss several issues. The International Harald Tribune told that
the Union for the Mediterranean is deadlocked over where to base its headquarters, who should attend meetings and who should get the top jobs.
It seemed as if the prestige project of French EU-Council president Sarkozy had been shipwrecked by different expections and national selfishness.

However, overnight, there has been at least the agreement to seat the Union in Barcelona. And although this might be seen as a blow to those non-EU countries participating in this Union and interested in having the seat (like Tunesia), as a follow-up to the Barcelona Process, Barcelona seems to be a quite natural host city.

Yet, this is again just a technical agreement - the form is as so often more important than the content. And so far, there seem to be many unresolved issues between EU countries, and the countries from northern Africa and western Asia.

So I do not see any success, I just see the name of a city, and a lot of money wasted for new premises (although the building will be provided by Barcelona, if I understand correctly) and for a lot of new staff that will spend most of their time on form - and not on substance...

For me, it looks as it looked several month ago: Let's keep expectations low!