| ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL PARTNERSHIP:
CREATING AN AREA
OF SHARED PROSPERITY
The participants emphasize, the importance they attach to sustainable and balanced economic and social development with a view to achieving their objective of creating an area of shared prosperity.
The partners acknowledge the difficulties that the question of debt can create for the economic development of the countries of the Mediterranean region. They agree, in view of the importance of their relations, to continue the dialogue in order to achieve progress in the competent fora.
Noting that the partners have to take up common challenges, albeit to varying degrees, the participants set themselves the following long-term objectives:
- acceleration of the pace of sustainable socio-economic development;
- improvement of the living conditions of their populations, increase in the employment level and reduction in the development gap in the Euro-Mediterranean region;
- encouragement of regional cooperation and integration.
With a view to achieving these objectives, the participants agree to establish an economic and financial; partnership which, taking into account the different degrees of development, will be based on:
- the progressive establishment of a free-trade area;
- the implementation of appropriate economic cooperation and concerted action in the relevant areas;
- a substancial increase in the European Union's financial assistance to its partners.
a) Free-trade area
The free-trade area will be established through the new Euro-Mediterranean Agreements and free-trade agreements between partners of the European Union. The parties have set 2010 as the target date for the gradual establishment of this area which will cover most trade with due observance of the obligations resulting from the WTO.
With a view to developing gradual free trade in this area: tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in manufactured products will be progressively eliminated in accordance with timetables to be negotiated between the partners; taking as a starting point traditional trade flows, and as far as the various agricultural policies allow and with due respect to the results achieved within the GATT negotiations, trade in agricultural products will be progressively liberalized through reciprocal preferential access among the parties; trade in services including right of establishment will be progressively liberalized having due regard to the GATS agreement. The participants decide to facilitate the progressive establishment of this free-trade area through the adoption of suitable measures as regard rules of origin, certification, protection of intellectual and industrial property rights and competition;
- the pursuit and the development of policies based on the principles of market economy and the integration of their economies taking into account their respective needs and levels of development;
- the adjustment and modernization of economic and social structures, giving priority to the promotion and development of the private sector, to the upgrading of the productive sector and to the establishment of an appropriate institutional and regulatory framework for a market economy. They will likewise endeavour to mitigate the negative social consequences which may result from this adjustment, by promoting programmes for the benefit of the neediest populations;
- the promotion of mechanisms to foster transfers of technology.
b) Economic cooperation and concerted action
Cooperation will be developed in particular in the areas listed below and in this respect the participants:
-acknowledge that economic development must be supported both by internal savings, the basis of investment, and by direct foreign investment. They stress the importance of creating an environment conducive to investment, in particular by the progressive elimination of obstacles to such investment which could lead to the transfer of technology and increase production and exports;
- affirm that regional cooperation on a voluntary basis, particularly with a view to developing trade between the partners themselves, is a key factor in promoting the creation of a free-trade area;
- encourage enterprises to enter into agreements with each other and undertake to promote such cooperation and industrial modernization by providing a favourable environment and regulatory framework. They consider it necessary to adopt and to implement a technical support programme for SMEs;
- emphasize their interdependence with regard to the environment, which necessitates a regional approach and increased cooperation, as well as better coordination of existing multilateral programmes, while confirming their attachment to the Barcelona Convention and the Mediterranean Action Plan. They recognize the importance of reconciling economic development with environmental protection, of integrating environmental concerns into the relevant aspects of economic policy and of mitigating the negative environmental consequences which might result. They undertake to establish a short and medium-term priority action programme, including in connection with combating desertification, and to concentrate appropriate technical and financial support on those actions;
-recognize the key role of women in development and undertake to promote their active participation in economic and social life and in the creation of employment;
-stress the importance of the conservation and rational management of fish stocks and of the improvement of cooperation on research into stocks, including aquaculture, and undertake to facilitate scientific training and research and to envisage creating joint instruments;
-acknowledge the pivotal role of the energy sector in the economic Euro-Mediterranean partnership and decide to strengthen cooperation and intensify dialogue in the field of energy policies. They also decide to create the appropriate framework conditions for investments and the activities of energy companies, cooperating in creating the conditions enabling such companies to extend energy networks and promote link-ups;
-recognize that water supply together with suitable management and development of resources are priority issues for all Mediterranean partners and that cooperation should be developed in these areas;
-agree to cooperate in modernizing and restructuring agriculture and in promoting integrated rural development. This cooperation will focus in particular on technical assistance and training, on support for policies implemented by the partners to diversify production, on the reduction of food dependency and on the promotion of environment-friendly agriculture. They also agree to cooperate in the eradication of illicit crops and the development of any regions affected.
The participants also agree to cooperate in other areas and, to that effect:
-stress the importance of developing and improving infrastructures, including through the establishment of an efficient transport system, the development information technologies and the modernization of telecommunications. They agree to draw up a programme of priorities for that purpose;
-undertake to respect the principles of international maritime law, in particular freedom to provide services in international transport and free access to international cargoes. The results of the ongoing multilateral trade negotiation on maritime transport services being conducted within the WTO will be taken into account when agreed;
-undertake to encourage cooperation between local authorities and in support regional planning;
-recognizing that science and technology have a significant influence on socio-economic development, agree to strengthen scientific research capacity and development, contribute to the training of scientific and technical staff a promote participation in joint research projects based on the creation of scientific networks;
-agree to promote cooperation on statistics in order to harmonize methods an exchange data.
c) Financial cooperation
The participants consider that the creation of a free-trade area and the success the Euro-Mediterranean partnership require a substantial increase in financial assistance, which must above all encourage sustainable indigenous development and the mobilization of local economic operators. They note in this connection that:
-the Cannes European Council agreed to set aside ECU 4 685 million for this financial assistance in the form of available Community budget funds for the period 1995-1999. This will be supplemented by EIB assistance in the form of increased loans and the bilateral financial contributions from the Member States;
-effective financial; cooperation managed in the framework of a multiannual programme, taking into account the special characteristics of each of the partners is necessary;
-sound macro-economic management is of fundamental importance in ensuring the success of the partnership. To this end they agree to promote dialogue on their respective economic policies and on the method of optimizing financial cooperation.