The European Commission, in collaboration with the European Union (EU) organized under the presidency of Austria, a meeting for the Euro-Mediterranean conference on April, 4th, 2006 in the Belgian capital, Brussels. Representatives of NTRA attended the meeting, which is highly important as it addressed the following issues:
- Follow up WSIS outcomes
- Discuss the commission’s strategy on the Information Society
- Cooperate in the ICT sector, and within framework of the ENP, and the Barcelona Process
- Discuss the participation of the Mediterranean countries in European R&D programs
- Prepare for the upcoming Euro med ministerial conference
European-Mediterranean relations go back to the year 1995, when the EU launched a global Euro-Mediterranean Partnership at the Barcelona Conference. This partnership is also called the “Barcelona Process”, and includes both bilateral and multilateral social, political, and economic relations between the EU and over 12 Mediterranean countries.
The Barcelona Process is a unique initiative as it laid down a new regional relationship, and with the Barcelona Declaration, the objectives of the relation were specified:
“1. The definition of a common area of peace and stability through the reinforcement of political and security dialogue (Political and Security Chapter).
2. The construction of a zone of shared prosperity through an economic and financial partnership and the gradual establishment of a free-trade area (Economic and Financial Chapter).
3. The rapprochement between peoples through a social, cultural and human partnership aimed at encouraging understanding between cultures and exchanges between civil societies (Social, Cultural and Human Chapter)”
The Barcelona Conference emphasized the importance of finding commonalities between the Mediterranean countries, instead of looking for difference, where, at the same time, these differences should be respected.
The specific program designed for the development of the Information and Communication Technology is EUMEDIS, which aims at promoting the Euro-Mediterranean information society.