20th Jun 2019

France and Germany unveil Middle East plan

France and Germany have come to an agreement on a Middle East plan, which will offer an alternative to the US 'Wider Middle East' project and will be presented to EU leaders at the European Summit on 25 March.

According to a report in Le Monde, the document - "a strategic partnership for a common future with the Middle East", will propose a "sincere partnership, a co-operation and a common vision".

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Although the joint initiative will differ from the US scheme, French and German leaders have to take into account the proposals that the American authorities want to adopt at a G8 meeting in June.

But the proposals underline that "any initiative for the Middle East needs to respond to the needs and the aspirations of the region", which is seen as a swipe at the US, whose ideas have been seen by many Arabs as a US-imposed "model" for the region.

According to the Franco-German plan, Europe "needs to define a different approach which complements the US approach and works by using its own institutions and instuments".

Take each country as it comes

Paris and Berlin emphasise the importance of working individually with each country concerned in the region, rather than imposing a blanket solution - "we will work with all countries, responding as far as possible to their own demands and working with the individual countries as much as possible".

They intend to involve not just governments, but civil society as well, while always keeping in mind that "we need to take into account the national sentiment and the identity of each country".

The document is intended to feed into the thinking of the Irish presidency which will draw up a report on the Middle East at the Spring European Summit in Brussels on 25-26 March.

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