Homeland Security


EU, Muslim Countries Agree to Cooperate on Terrorism

28 November 2005

European Union countries and their Mediterranean neighbors agreed on a code of conduct to combat terrorism at the first Euro-Mediterranean summit in Barcelona. But at the end of two days of talks, the 35 nations failed to agree on a common definition of terrorism.

The 35 nations attending the first Euro-Mediterranean conference in Barcelona condemned terrorism in all its forms and called for an exchange of information about terrorist networks. But after two days of talks, they failed to agree on what terrorism actually is.

EU leaders had wanted the summit to state that self-determination is no justification for terrorism, while Arab delegates had insisted on recognizing the right to resist occupation.

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara said most Arab states are unwilling to condemn violence by Palestinian or Lebanese militants against Israel.

Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini, said that the summit has produced positive results, but objective difficulties remain.

The final compromise omitted both the EU's insistence that self-determination could not be used to justify terrorism and Arab demands to include a right to resist foreign occupation.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who co-chaired the conference with Spain, announced a five-year work program to revitalize the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.

Members of the partnership reaffirmed their aim to create a free trade area by 2010. They also committed the EU to progressively open its markets to agricultural produce and services from Mediterranean countries.

Almost all EU leaders attended the summit but only two Mediterranean partners: Turkey and the Palestinian Authority. Most Middle Eastern and North African countries said their leaders were either detained by domestic matters or too sick to attend and sent lower-level delegations to the summit.

Mr. Blair conceded that it was not ideal to have held the summit without heads of state from all the Muslim Euro-Mediterranean nations, but, he said that there were good reasons for the no-shows.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list