German Chancellor Doubts French Leader′s Mediterranean Plan | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 05.12.2007
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German Chancellor Doubts French Leader's Mediterranean Plan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her skepticism about a proposal by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to create a Mediterranean Union of countries from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

A confident-looking French President Nicolas Sarkozy

Merkel has concerns about Sarkozy's plans, although he is unlikely to worry too much

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a conference in Berlin on Wednesday, Dec. 5, that she had her doubts about Sarzoky's suggestion because it could pose a threat to the European Union.

If such a separate group with access to EU funds were created, it could lead to "a corrosion of the EU in its core area," she said, according to DPA news agency.

"This could release explosive powers in the EU that I would rather not witness," the chancellor said.

Sarkozy unveiled his plan for a union of countries along the strategic Mediterranean rim before he was elected president in May.

Cooperation on energy and security

German Chancellor Merkel was chummy with former French President Jacques Chirac

German Chancellor Merkel was chummy with former French President Jacques Chirac

He said his vision included Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco forming a council and holding regular summit meetings under a rotating presidency. The EU also has a rotating presidency.

Sarkozy said his aim with such union is to facilitate regional cooperation in the areas of energy, security, counter-terrorism and immigration. He said he could also envision the creation of a Mediterranean Investment Bank to help grow the economies on the eastern and southern edges of the region.

"The time has come to build together a Mediterranean Union that will act as a bridge between Europe and Africa," Sarkozy said in his election victory speech, as cited by DPA.

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