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שאלת קהל - פרופ' שלמה אבינרי



Thank you Yoav. I have a question to Michael Leigh. I think we were all very much encouraged by hearing about the details of the wider Europe, and especially on the issue of trying to promote and confront the issue of democratization in some of the Mediterranean, mainly Arab countries, this is an issue which you know has been neglected in the European Mediterranean dialogue for many many years. My question is what are the instruments that you envisage in this dialogue with countries which are obviously not democratic – some are more authoritarian, some are less authoritarian. How are you going to lay on the table very clearly the instruments and the goals and aims and criticism that you have of those countries and their governments and their constitutions without alienating them too much? It's a delicate balancing act and I wonder whether you can share with us the strategy you have been envisaging with something that is really overdue, should have been taken lot of years ago, it's very good that the European Union is doing it now, the question is how are you going to go about it?
Dr. Michael Leigh, Deputy Director General DG External Relations (RELEX),
European Commission To respond very briefly, the way in which we approaching each country it's really with two sets of propositions. One – an offer; and the offer lay in the fields that I mentioned during my intervention. The other are benchmarks, standards, and the standards are largely inspired by those that we discussed with the countries joining the European Union, the standards related to democracy, rule of law, human rights, minority rights and all the rest. And the basic approach is to say that the further a partner country is ready to go with us in terms of subscribing to these common values the further we will be willing to go in opening up aspects of EU policies and programs which are of interest to that country, so the two will proceed in balance with each other. We will have a program for each country which is tailored to its capacities and its willingness to commit itself to these common values and therefore if you like the carrot is there – greater integration into EU policies and programs which are of interest to that country, a new financial instrument, and the benchmarks are those related to democracy, human rights and all the rest. The further a country will go into subscribing to these principles the further we will go in opening up our policies and programs.
Prof. Avinery:If I just may, would this be just declarations or will you have instruments of monitoring whether the countries that declare certain things will also go along and do that?
Dr. Leigh: We will use our association agreement, our committees, sub-committees, to monitor the commitments that have been made. This is a serious program and on in which we intend a very far reaching offer really to based not just on words in terms of common values but on practical acts.
Prof. Rafi Melnik: Thank you. My question is also addressed to Michael Leigh, and is related to the first issue that he mentioned, the issue of the single market, and in particular to the main, or one of the most important characteristics of this single market that is the monetary unification and the use of the Euro, and I would like to make the point that the mere creation of this single monetary union has created an important constrain on the degrees of freedom that countries around the Euro area can conduct on monetary policies, and the question is whether in this wider Europe initiative there is some thought about how to address the issue of the monetary unification with the neighbors.
Dr. Leigh: While in talking with our partners we have indicated that no issue which is of interest to them is excluded from this initiative and we can certainly look in ways to extend dialogue on economic, financial and monetary questions with Israel and other partner countries who are interested. I did not put it high on my list because we have this conception mainly of extending networks, internal markets and so on, but if in the course of our dialogue it emerges that this is a serious issue from the point of view of Israel or another partner country, I think there are many ways in which we can intensify the dialogue, including the issues that you mentioned.
השגריר יואב בירן, מנכ"ל משרד החוץ: תודה רבה. זמננו תם, אני רוצה להודות למאזינים, לשואלים, למתדיינים, לחברי הפנאל, לישראלים, לאירופאים וגם לאמריקאי, תודה רבה לכולכם.

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