The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) will be striving to give Libya full membership in the coming months following the uprising in Tripoli and the ousting of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
According to Youssef Amrani, the UfM’s Secretary General, Libya must gain its full integration in the Euro-Med process as one of the pillars in the region.
The UfM – which in 2008 took over the EU’s Barcelona process — is meant to bring together countries from the Mediterranean basin to work together on various projects. However, its work has been stalled particularly due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which divides the region.
France, the main promoter of this new EU-Mediterranean partnership, has already indicated that the UfM should be revived, particularly in the context of the Arab Spring, and should be submitting concrete re-launch proposals in the coming weeks. Malta, which has actively participated in the development of Euro-Med relations, is also pushing for a revival of the UfM.
Foreign Ministry sources said Tonio Borg was actively lobbying for an official re-launch with his colleagues during visits he is conducting in European capitals and is fully supportive of the idea of having the new Libya on board as a fully-fledged member.
Over the past few years, Libya’s relations with the Euro-Med process have been bumpy, with the country settling for an “observer” status while Colonel Gaddafi accused the EU of wanting to divide the Arabs from Africans through this political process.
However, Libya’s road is now expected to be clearer with Colonel Gaddafi out of the picture.
Speaking in Brussels, the UfM’s Secretary General said the time had come to transform the status of Libya by making it a full member.
“The full integration of Libya into the whole of the Mediterranean region is a natural requirement because of the country’s privileged geographical position in the Maghreb, being to the south and in the centre of the Mediterranean,” he said.
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