EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle held talks with Secretary General of the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA) Mr Habib Ben Yahia in Brussels yesterday, to discuss how the EU can further support cooperation and integration in the Maghreb.
At the end of last year, the European Commission adopted a Joint Communication on Supporting Closer Cooperation and Regional Integration in the Maghreb, as part of the EU’s wider response to developments in the Southern Mediterranean.
The Communication expressed the EU’s willingness and determination to take a more proactive stance in support of the integration of the Maghreb, and presented practical suggestions for ways in which the EU could accompany initiatives for closer cooperation between the Maghreb countries.
“I was glad to hear from Mr Ben Yahia that Maghreb foreign ministers discussed the Communication at their meeting last May,” said the Commissioner, adding: “Mr Ben Yahia indicated that the Communication has received a positive welcome and UMA countries have started a joint reflection on how some of the ideas contained in the Communication could be implemented, in areas like rule of law, security, energy, private sector development, employment, transport, rural development and developing stronger links with the civil society.”
The EU Commissioner and the UMA Secretary General discussed how the EU and the Maghreb Union could cooperate more closely in the area of security, in the light of the events that took place earlier this year in the Sahel region and also in light of the continuing insecurity linked to the growing illicit traffics in the region.
They also agreed on the need to establish a more regular dialogue between the Maghreb and the European Union.
“I look forward to continuing this process of finding practical actions to advance the integration in the region and the cooperation between the EU and Arab Maghreb Union. Indeed, events in the Maghreb have an important bearing on the EU security,” said Füle.
(Source: EU Neighbourhood Info)