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Yesterday it became known about a new conflict between France and Germany. Speaking at a press conference before flying to France, German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized President Sarkozy’s plans to create the Mediterranean Union – an interstate union that could include a number of EU countries, the Middle East and North Africa. According to the head of the German government, the formation of the MU can cause a serious blow to the viability of the European Union, which has already been faced with a lot of difficulties lately.
“In the long run, the creation and functioning of the Mediterranean Union would jeopardize the very existence of the EU core, and I would not want that to happen,” Ms Merkel told reporters. According to her, the creation of a structure parallel to the European Union, which could have access to European financial funds, “would cause corrosion of the current reality.” It is worth recalling that the creation of the MU, which could include Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, was one of the election slogans of the current French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Within the framework of the new regional alliance, Mr. Sarkozy intended to pursue a unified energy policy, as well as jointly combat illegal immigration, terrorism and poverty. Moreover, the head of France declared the need to create a Mediterranean investment bank, whose task would be to finance joint projects. However, now the initiative of Paris is strongly opposed by the largest EU country – Germany.
“Berlin, one of the main ideologists of European integration in its current form, is very wary of all alternative projects on the continent, believing that the overly active use of the concepts of“ Europe at different speeds ”and“ Europe-supermarket ”does not contribute to strengthening the EU’s position on the world stage . According to the Germans, foreign policy should be monopolized by EU structures. The Mediterranean Union, obviously, duplicates the common neighborhood policy in the region, especially since it is supposed to find part of the funds for its financing from European funds. Supporters of the enlargement also fear that the project might be used as an alternative to Turkey’s accession to the EU. The alleged member countries of the Mediterranean Union, in turn, are afraid that the integration agenda will be extremely negative: terrorism, immigration and the like, ”said Elena Novikova, an independent expert on European integration.
Sarkozy’s integration plans in Brussels are also agreeable in Brussels. “France doesn’t invest so much in EU funds to give Europeans money left and right. There are fears that MU can turn into a feeding trough for Arab and African countries, which in turn will bring Sarkozy the support of voters from among labor migrants. However, Paris should not solve its domestic political problems at the expense of the general budget, ”the source said.
Thus, the split in the European Union is gaining more and more real features – friction on the creation of parallel structures has been added to the disagreements around Iran, Kosovo and the deployment of US missile defense elements. And if we recall the heated debate on the topic of additional rights for labor migrants, which ended unsuccessfully in Brussels yesterday, it becomes clear – despite the external prosperity, the Old World is in a deep crisis, perhaps the most serious since the founding of the European Union.