By RAY FLEMING
IT might be thought that President Sarkozy of France would have enough on his plate with the unrest among North African immigrants in several French cities and the resistance to his plans for reform to outdated working practices is some sections of French public services. But he continues to travel extensively and to promote some of the longer-term projects which he floated during his campaign for the presidency. One of these projects is for a union of countries from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa; explaining his thinking behind this proposal President Sarkozy said recently: “In the Mediterranean will be decided whether or not civilisations and religions will wage the most terrible of wars...whether or not the North and South will clash.” Seven member states of the EU would participate in this “Mediterranean Union”, Spain and Portugal among them, and France and Algeria would be its main axis. Not everyone in the EU likes this idea and earlier this week Chancellor Merkel of Germany expressed her opposition to it on the grounds that it would not respond to the needs of the “core” of the EU.

Another objection to it is that the existing 12-year-old Barcelona Process which promotes dialogue between the EU and ten countries on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean would be a better basis for a strengthening of links that President Sarkozy rightly sees as desirable if North and South are not to clash.

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