5th Conference of Transport Ministers of the Western Mediterranean GTMO 5+5
The main objective of the Group of Transport Ministers of the Western Mediterranean (GTMO 5+5) since it was founded in 1995 has been to promote cooperation in the transport sector in the Mediterranean region and help strengthen the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.
On 16-17 November 2008, the 5th Conference of Transport Ministers of the Western Mediterranean (GTMO 5+5) was held in Tunis. Organized by the Tunisian Presidency of the Group, the conference was attended by the Transport Ministers of Algeria, Spain, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Portugal and Tunisia, the Secretary of State from Italy, the Permanent Secretary from Malta, and a high-level representative from France. Also present as observers were the Vice President and the Commissioner for Transport of the European Commission, the Secretary General of the Arab Maghreb Union and the representative of the European Investment Bank in Tunisia. As in previous conferences, CETMO participated as the technical Secretariat of the Group.
The Ministers expressed their continued interest in the GTMO 5+5 by signing the conclusions of the meeting. Some of the highlights of the conclusions are as follows:
- The Ministers welcomed the prospects opened up by the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the Association Agreements and the European Union Neighbourhood Policy on regional and sub-regional cooperation, and the new impetus to Euro-Mediterranean cooperation given by the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean. They also mentioned the importance placed on transport projects in the Joint Declaration of the Paris Summit, the importance of the contribution of the GTMO 5+5 to the future work of Union for the Mediterranean, as well as the need for close cooperation with the future Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean.
- The support given to the GTMO 5+5 by the Tunisian Presidency made it possible to adopt the GTMO 5+5 Work Programme for 2007-2009 and to perform a number of activities, some of which were completed while others are still in progress (as summarized in the follow-up report). For example, the Ministers approved the GTMO 5+5 multimodal network for the Maghreb countries, which demonstrates the effort made to finish building the missing links of the strategic Maghreb axes, especially those corresponding to the Maghreb Union Motorway, and the modernization and interoperability of the trans-Maghreb rail axis.
- The expectations generated by the Regional Transport Action Plan for 2007-2013 of the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum, and the creation and activities of the Working Group on Infrastructure and Regulatory Issues on Land Transport (WG Infra) were favourably welcomed by the Ministers. Worth special mention was the objective of defining a trans-Mediterranean transport network that ensures interconnection between the European and Maghreb transport networks. To support this objective, the Ministers invited the European Commission to study the possibility of establishing, within the framework of Mediterranean cooperation, a programme for the development of the trans-Mediterranean transport network that will be similar to the existing programme for the trans-European transport network.
- The Ministers mentioned the two Memorandums of Understanding signed by the AMU General Secretariat: one with the GTMO 5+5 and the other with its Technical Secretariat. They encouraged the parties to put these Memorandums of Understanding into operation with the chief aim of making progress in the cooperation and joint work of the two organizations. Within this context of mutual cooperation, the GTMO 5+5 carried out a study of the International Agreements on Euro-Maghreb relations. The conclusions of the study indicate the need to simplify international transport legislation, converge transport legislation between the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean and European Union countries, and harmonize procedures on both shores of the Mediterranean.
Following is a summary of the other conclusions:
- The desire for closer relations through constructive dialogue to give an impetus to transport in the region as a basic factor for development.
- The desire to continue the cooperation between the GTMO 5+5 and institutions such as the European Commission, the Arab Maghreb Union and European Investment Bank.
- Preparations for passing the presidency of the GTMO 5+5 on to Italy in 2009.
Click here for the complete text of the conclusions of the 5th Conference of Ministers (in French).
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