The EESC concedes that the Mediterranean region is geographically very large and has varying economic, social, political and cultural features, and countries with different systems and infrastructures (EU countries, non-EU countries with EU candidate status, and non-EU countries taking part in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation). For this reason it is proposed that two subregional policies (for the eastern and western Mediterranean) should be set up, which would be complementary, coordinating their work with each other and with that of the macro-regional Adriatic-Ionian strategy.
The EESC believes that subregional cooperation must be consolidated without delay by boosting the trade, tourism and industrial links of the southern Mediterranean countries. The EESC believes that and that the necessary political decisions must be taken by the Council in order to remove outstanding issues so that the Union for the Mediterranean can be a body responsible for strategic planning and implementing the new macro-regional policy.
The EESC believes that Cyprus and Malta will play a particularly important role in any new strategy framed by the EU, as will all the islands of the Mediterranean, which face a very difficult situation owing to their poor connections and communications with the continental EU Member States.
The EESC considers that the present opinion will serve to open a dialogue on the new Mediterranean macro-regional strategy and submit the main issues of the strategy for consultation. The Committee explicitly undertakes to continue working on this very important issues by producing further opinions that explore in more detail and depth all of the questions addressed in this opinion.