THE Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, held in Barcelona on 27-28 November 1995, marked the starting point of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Barcelona Process), a wide framework of political, economic and social relations between the Member States of the European Union and Partners of the Southern Mediterranean. The latest EU enlargement, on 1st May 2004, has brought two Mediterranean Partners (Cyprus and Malta) into the European Union, while adding a total of 10 to the number of Member States. The Euro–Mediterranean Partnership thus comprises 35 members, 25 EU Member States and 10 Mediterranean Partners (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey). Libya has observer status since 1999. The Barcelona Process is a unique and ambitious initiative, which laid the foundations of a new regional relationship and which represents a turning point in Euro-Mediterranean relations. In the Barcelona Declaration, the Euro-Mediterranean partners established the three main objectives of the Partnership:
1. The definition of a common area of peace and stability through the reinforcement of political and security dialogue.
2. The construction of a zone of shared prosperity through an economic and financial partnership and the gradual establishment of a free-trade area.
3. The rapprochement between peoples through a social, cultural and human partnership aimed at encouraging understanding between cultures and exchanges between civil societies. In the Barcelona Declaration, the Euro-Mediterranean Partners agreed on the establishment of a Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area (EMFTA) by the target date of 2010. This is to be achieved by means of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements negotiated and concluded between the European Union and the Mediterranean Partners, together with free trade agreements between the partners themselves. Turkey signed in 1995 an Association Agreement establishing the definite phase of a customs union with the EU.
Together with EFTA this zone will include some 40 States and 600-800 million consumers, i.e. one of the world's most important trade entities.


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