Check against delivery
The past decade has confirmed the importance of the decision ten years ago to launch the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. We face common problems and challenges – notably in relation to terrorism and migration. The answer to these challenges is reforms. Our Partnership should be the framework for such political, economic and cultural reforms.
The European project has been a huge success. It has essentially been about reforms and democratization. This should also be true for our joint Euro-Mediterranean project.
I see three common challenges. We need democratic and economic reforms. We need interreligious and intercultural dialogue. And we need to counter terrorism.
Today we confirm that we share a joint vision of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. I warmly welcome that. Freedom and democracy are fundamental values. And are key to positive economic development. The EU is ready to support partner countries that demonstrate a commitment to democracy and modernisation. Democracy based on a vibrant civil society, a free press and an inclusive political process that allows room to opposition.
Democratic development should go hand in hand with market economy. Investments are needed to stimulate further economic development. It is important to introduce legislation and ensure conditions that will allow a substantial increase in European investments.
Globalisation is bringing our countries and peoples closer together. Technology, communication, migration and tourism have made us more aware of developments in other countries and regions.
We need to enhance the dialogue between cultures and religions. It has become even more urgent. It must of course be based on mutual respect and understanding. We must counter prejudice and misconceptions through a frank and open dialogue. Only extremists will benefit from a distorted image of developments in foreign countries. Only extremists will benefit from discrimination, racism, anti-semitism and islamofobia.
We are all faced by the horrific threat from terrorism. We must unite behind the condemnation of all forms of terrorist acts. Our decisions today will allow us to deepen our co-operation in the fight against terrorists and their sponsors. We must deny them safe haven by sharing information and expertise on countering terrorism. And we must prevent and prohibit any incitement to terrorism.
In conclusion, I will stress the need for a permanent and just settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is absolutely fundamental. Important progress has been made, but more is needed in accordance with the Road Map. We face common challenges. And with the political will we can make progress now.