Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector
International portal

HTML Document The Barcelona Declaration, 1995

Released 03/03/2006

Declaration of Barcelona

The Council of the European Union, represented by its President, Mr Javier SOLANA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain,

The European Commission, represented by Mr Manuel MARIN, Vice­President,

Germany, represented by Mr Klaus KINKEL, Vice­Chancellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Algeria, represented by Mr Mohamed Salah DEMBRI, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Austria, represented by Mrs Benita FERRERO­WALDNER, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Belgium, represented by Mr Erik DERYCKE, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Cyprus, represented by Mr Alecos MICHAELIDES, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Denmark, represented by Mr Ole Loensmann POULSEN, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Egypt, represented by Mr Amr MOUSSA, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Spain, represented by Mr Carlos WESTENDORP, State Secretary for Relations with the European Community,

Finland, represented by Mrs Tarja HALONEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

France, represented by Mr Hervé de CHARETTE, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Greece, represented by Mr Károlos PAPOULIAS, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Ireland, represented by Mr Dick SPRING, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Israel, represented by Mr Ehud BARAK, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Italy, represented by Mrs Susanna AGNELLI, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Jordan, represented by Mr Abdel­Karim KABARITI, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Lebanon, represented by Mr Fares BOUEZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Luxembourg, represented by Mr Jacques F. POOS, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Cooperation,

Malta, represented by Prof. Guido DE MARCO, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Morocco, represented by Mr Abdellatif FILALI, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs,

the Netherlands, represented by Mr Hans van MIERLO, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Portugal, represented by Mr Jaime GAMA, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

the United Kingdom, represented by Mr Malcolm RIFKIND QC MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs,

Syria, represented by Mr Farouk AL-SHARAA, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Sweden, represented by Mrs Lena HJELM-WALLEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs,Tunisia, represented by Mr Habib Ben YAHIA, Minister for Foreign Affairs,

Turkey, represented by Mr Deniz BAYKAL, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs,

the Palestinian Authority, represented by Mr Yassir ARAFAT, President of the Palestinian Authority, taking part in the Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Barcelona:


  • stressing the strategic importance of the Mediterranean and moved by the will to give their future relations a new dimension, based on comprehensive cooperation and solidarity, in keeping with the privileged nature of the links forged by neighbourhood and history;

  • aware that the new political, economic and social issues on both sides of the Mediterranean constitute common challenges calling for a coordinated overall response;

  • resolved to establish to that end a multilateral and lasting framework of relations based on a spirit of partnership, with due regard for the characteristics, values and distinguishing features peculiar to each of the participants;

  • regarding this multilateral framework as the counterpart to a strengthening of bilateral relations which it is important to safeguard, while laying stress on their specific nature; 

  • stressing that this Euro­Mediterranean initiative is not intended to replace the other activities and initiatives undertaken in the interests of the peace, stability and development of the region, but that it will contribute to their success. The participants support the realization of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace settlement in the Middle East based on the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and principles mentioned in the letter of invitation to the Madrid Middle East Peace Conference, including the principle land for peace, with all that this implies;
  • convinced that the general objective of turning the Mediterranean basin into an area of dialogue, exchange and cooperation guaranteeing peace, stability and prosperity requires a strengthening of democracy and respect for human rights, sustainable and balanced economic and social development, measures to combat poverty and promotion of greater understanding between cultures, which are all essential aspects of partnership,

  • hereby agree to establish a comprehensive partnership among the participants the Euro­Mediterranean partnership through strengthened political dialogue on a regular basis, the development of economic and financial cooperation and greater emphasis on the social, cultural and human dimension, these being the three aspects of the Euro­Mediterranean partnership.

Political & security partnership: establishing a common aea of peace and stability

The participants express their conviction that the peace, stability and security of the Mediterranean region are a common asset which they pledge to promote and strengthen by all means at their disposal. To this end they agree to conduct a strengthened political dialogue at regular intervals, based on observance of essential principles of international law, and reaffirm a number of common objectives in matters of internal and external stability.

In this spirit they undertake in the following declaration of principles to:

  • act in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other obligations under international law, in particular those arising out of regional and international instruments to which they are party;
  • develop the rule of law and democracy in their political systems, while recognizing in this framework the right of each of them to choose and freely develop its own political, socio-cultural, economic and judicial system;
  • respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and guarantee the effective legitimate exercise of such rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression, freedom of association for peaceful purposes and freedom of thought, conscience and religion, both individually and together with other members of the same group, without any discrimination on grounds of race, nationality, language, religion or sex;
  • give favourable consideration, through dialogue between the parties, to exchanges of information on matters relating to human rights, fundamental freedoms, racism and xenophobia;
  • respect and ensure respect for diversity and pluralism in their societies, promote tolerance between different groups in society and combat manifestations of intolerance, racism and xenophobia. The participants stress the importance of proper education in the matter of human rights and fundamental freedoms;
  • respect their sovereign equality and all rights inherent in their sovereignty, and fulfil in good faith the obligations they have assumed under international law;
  • respect the equal rights of peoples and their right to self-determination, acting at all times in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and with the relevant norms of international law, including those relating to territorial integrity of States, as reflected in agreements between relevant parties;
  • refrain, in accordance with the rules of international law, from any direct or indirect intervention in the internal affairs of another partner;
  • respect the territorial integrity and unity of each of the other partners;
  • settle their disputes by peaceful means, call upon all participants to renounce recourse to the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of another participant, including the acquisition of territory by force, and reaffirm the right to fully exercise sovereignty by legitimate means in accordance with the UN Charter and international law;
  • strengthen their cooperation in preventing and combating terrorism, in particular by ratifying and applying the international instruments they have signed, by acceding to such instruments and by taking any other appropriate measure;
  • fight together against the expansion and diversification of organized crime and combat the drugs problem in all its aspects;
  • promote regional security by acting, inter alia, in favour of nuclear, chemical and biological non-proliferation through adherence to and compliance with a combination of international and regional non-proliferation regimes, and arms control and disarmament agreements such as NPT, CWC, BWC, CTBT and/or regional arrangements such as weapons free zones including their verification regimes, as well as by fulfilling in good faith their commitments under arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation conventions.
  • The parties shall pursue a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems;
  • Furthermore the parties will consider practical steps to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as excessive accumulation of conventional arms;
  • Refrain from developing military capacity beyond their legitimate defence requirements, at the same time reaffirming their resolve to achieve the same degree of security and mutual confidence with the lowest possible levels of troops and weaponry and adherence to CCW;
  • Promote conditions likely to develop good-neighbourly relations among themselves and support processes aimed at stability, security, prosperity and regional and subregional cooperation;
  • consider any confidence and security-building measures that could be taken between the parties with a view to the creation of an "area of peace and stability in the Mediterranean", including the long term possibility of establishing a Euro-Mediterranean pact to that end.

Economic & financial partnership: creating an area of shared prosperity

The participants emphasize the importance they attach to sustainable and balanced economic and social development with a view to achieving their objective of creating an area of shared prosperity.

The partners acknowledge the difficulties that the question of debt can create for the economic development of the countries of the Mediterranean region. They agree, in view of the importance of their relations, to continue the dialogue in order to achieve progress in the competent fora.

Noting that the partners have to take up common challenges, albeit to varying degrees, the participants set themselves the following long-term objectives:

  • acceleration of the pace of sustainable socio-economic development;

  • improvement of the living conditions of their populations, increase in the employment level and reduction in the development gap in the Euro­Mediterranean region;

  • encouragement of regional cooperation and integration.

With a view to achieving these objectives, the participants agree to establish an economic and financial partnership which, taking into account the different degrees of development, will be based on:

  • the progressive establishment of a free-trade area; 

  • the implementation of appropriate economic cooperation and concerted action in the relevant areas; 

  • a substantial increase in the European Union's financial assistance to its partners.

a) Free-trade area

The free-trade area will be established through the new Euro­Mediterranean Agreements and free-trade agreements between partners of the European Union. The parties have set 2010 as the target date for the gradual establishment of this area which will cover most trade with due observance of the obligations resulting from the WTO.

With a view to developing gradual free trade in this area: tariff and non­tariff barriers to trade in manufactured products will be progressively eliminated in accordance with timetables to be negotiated between the partners; taking as a starting point traditional trade flows, and as far as the various agricultural policies allow and with due respect to the results achieved within the GATT negotiations, trade in agricultural products will be progressively liberalized through reciprocal preferential access among the parties; trade in services including right of establishment will be progressively liberalized having due regard to the GATS agreement.

The participants decide to facilitate the progressive establishment of this free-trade area through

  • the adoption of suitable measures as regard rules of origin, certification, protection of intellectual and industrial property rights and competition; 

  • the pursuit and the development of policies based on the principles of market economy and the integration of their economies taking into account their respective needs and levels of development; 

  • the adjustment and modernization of economic and social structures, giving priority to the promotion and development of the private sector, to the upgrading of the productive sector and to the establishment of an appropriate institutional and regulatory framework for a market economy. They will likewise endeavour to mitigate the negative social consequences which may result from this adjustment, by promoting programmes for the benefit of the neediest populations; 

  • the promotion of mechanisms to foster transfers of technology.

b) Economic cooperation and concerted action

Cooperation will be developed in particular in the areas listed below and in this respect the participants:

  • acknowledge that economic development must be supported both by internal savings, the basis of investment, and by direct foreign investment. They stress the importance of creating an environment conducive to investment, in particular by the progressive elimination of obstacles to such investment which could lead to the transfer of technology and increase production and exports;
  • affirm that regional cooperation on a voluntary basis, particularly with a view to developing trade between the partners themselves, is a key factor in promoting the creation of a free­trade area;
  • encourage enterprises to enter into agreements with each other and undertake to promote such cooperation and industrial modernization by providing a favourable environment and regulatory framework. They consider it necessary to adopt and to implement a technical support programme for SMEs;
  • emphasise their interdependence with regard to the environment, which necessitates a regional approach and increased cooperation, as well as better coordination of existing multilateral programmes, while confirming their attachment to the Barcelona Convention and the Mediterranean Action Plan. They recognise the importance of reconciling economic development with environmental protection, of integrating environmental concerns into the relevant aspects of economic policy and of mitigating the negative environmental consequences which might result. They undertake to establish a short and medium-term priority action programme, including in connection with combating desertification, and to concentrate appropriate technical and financial support on those actions;
  • recognise the key role of women in development and undertake to promote their active participation in economic and social life and in the creation of employment;
  • stress the importance of the conservation and rational management of fish stocks and of the improvement of cooperation on research into stocks, including aquaculture, and undertake to facilitate scientific training and research and to envisage creating joint instruments;
  • acknowledge the pivotal role of the energy sector in the economic Euro­Mediterranean partnership and decide to strengthen cooperation and intensify dialogue in the field of energy policies. They also decide to create the appropriate framework conditions for investments and the activities of energy companies, cooperating in creating the conditions enabling such companies to extend energy networks and promote link-ups;
  • recognise that water supply together with suitable management and development of resources are priority issues for all Mediterranean partners and that cooperation should be developed in these areas;
  • agree to cooperate in modernizing and restructuring agriculture and in promoting integrated rural development. This cooperation will focus in particular on technical assistance and training, on support for policies implemented by the partners to diversify production, on the reduction of food dependency and on the promotion of environment-friendly agriculture. They also agree to cooperate in the eradication of illicit crops and the development of any regions affected.

The participants also agree to cooperate in other areas and, to that effect:

  • stress the importance of developing and improving infrastructures, including through the establishment of an efficient transport system, the development of information technologies and the modernization of telecommunications. They agree to draw up a programme of priorities for that purpose;
  • undertake to respect the principles of international maritime law, in particular freedom to provide services in international transport and free access to international cargoes. The results of the ongoing multilateral trade negotiations on maritime transport services being conducted within the WTO will be taken into account when agreed;
  • undertake to encourage cooperation between local authorities and in support of regional planning;
  • recognizing that science and technology have a significant influence on socio­economic development, agree to strengthen scientific research capacity and development, contribute to the training of scientific and technical staff and promote participation in joint research projects based on the creation of scientific networks;
  • agree to promote cooperation on statistics in order to harmonize methods and exchange data.

c) Financial cooperation

The participants consider that the creation of a free-trade area and the success of the Euro­Mediterranean partnership require a substantial increase in financial assistance, which must above all encourage sustainable indigenous development and the mobilization of local economic operators. They note in this connection that:

  • the Cannes European Council agreed to set aside ECU 4 685 million for this financial assistance in the form of available Community budget funds for the period 1995-1999. This will be supplemented by EIB assistance in the form of increased loans and the bilateral financial contributions from the Member States;
  • effective financial cooperation managed in the framework of a multiannual programme, taking into account the special characteristics of each of the partners is necessary;
  • sound macro-economic management is of fundamental importance in ensuring the success of the partnership. To this end they agree to promote dialogue on their respective economic policies and on the method of optimizing financial cooperation.

Partnership in social, cultural and human affairs: developing human resources, promoting understanding between cultures and exchanges between civil societies

The participants recognise that the traditions of culture and civilization throughout the Mediterranean region, dialogue between these cultures and exchanges at human, scientific and technological level are an essential factor in bringing their peoples closer, promoting understanding between them and improving their perception of each other.

In this spirit, the participants agree to establish a partnership in social, cultural and human affairs. To this end:

  • they reaffirm that dialogue and respect between cultures and religions are a necessary pre­condition for bringing the peoples closer. In this connection they stress the importance of the role the mass media can play in the reciprocal recognition and understanding of cultures as a source of mutual enrichment;
  • they stress the essential nature of the development of human resources, both as regards the education and training of young people in particular and in the area of culture. They express their intent to promote cultural exchanges and knowledge of other languages, respecting the cultural identity of each partner, and to implement a lasting policy of educational and cultural programmes; in this context, the partners undertake to adopt measures to facilitate human exchanges, in particular by improving administrative procedures;
  • they underline the importance of the health sector for sustainable development and express their intention of promoting the effective participation of the community in operations to improve health and well-being;
  • they recognise the importance of social development which, in their view, must go hand in hand with any economic development. They attach particular importance to respect for fundamental social rights, including the right to development;
  • they recognise the essential contribution civil society can make in the process of development of the Euro­Mediterranean partnership and as an essential factor for greater understanding and closeness between peoples;
  • they accordingly agree to strengthen and/or introduce the necessary instruments of decentralised cooperation to encourage exchanges between those active in development within the framework of national laws: leaders of political and civil society, the cultural and religious world, universities, the research community, the media, organisations, the trade unions and public and private enterprises;
  • on this basis, they recognise the importance of encouraging contacts and exchanges between young people in the context of programmes for decentralized cooperation;
  • they will encourage actions of support for democratic institutions and for the strengthening of the rule of law and civil society;
  • they recognise that current population trends represent a priority challenge which must be counterbalanced by appropriate policies to accelerate economic take­off;
  • they acknowledge the importance of the role played by migration in their relationships. They agree to strengthen their cooperation to reduce migratory pressures, among other things through vocational training programmes and programmes of assistance for job creation. They undertake to guarantee protection of all the rights recognized under existing legislation of migrants legally resident in their respective territories;
  • in the area of illegal immigration they decide to establish closer cooperation. In this context, the partners, aware of their responsibility for readmission, agree to adopt the relevant provisions and measures, by means of bilateral agreements or arrangements, in order to readmit their nationals who are in an illegal situation. To that end, the Member States of the European Union take citizens to mean nationals of the Member States, as defined for Community purposes;
  • they agree to strengthen cooperation by means of various measures to prevent terrorism and fight it more effectively together;
  • by the same token they consider it necessary to fight jointly and effectively against drug trafficking, international crime and corruption;
  • they underline the importance of waging a determined campaign against racism, xenophobia and intolerance and agree to cooperate to that end.