EUMed summit adopts Athens Declaration for EU unity

'Mediterranean is not a place of the past', says Renzi

09 September, 19:00

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    ATHENS - Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras said after a Euro-Med summit in Athens on Friday that an Athens Declaration had been adopted to strengthen the cohesion and unity of Europe ahead of the EU Council meeting in Bratislava. ''We believe in Europe,'' Tsipras said, ''and we must express our position to overcome the challenges that we are facing, fighting against isolation and the powers of xenophobia and terrorism. These initiatives are a positive contribution to the dialogue on the future of Europe'', and that ''we do not want to become another divisive initiative''. He added that the next meeting would be held in Portugal. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi stressed that ''the Athens Declaration is important because it offers a different version of Europe''.

    He added that Europe needed to use its ''soft power'' in this period, skillful as it is in creating a ''cultural identity''. ''Europe,'' he said, ''cannot continue to be only rules, technicalities and austerity. It must focus on the deeply rooted values that made it great.'' He noted that not enough attention was given to what was happening of interest in the Mediterranean area, and that ''the vast majority of commentators currently believe that it is just Europe's past. This is not the case.'' He added that ''within the current European context, we need unity and cohesion to meet expectations and provide hope.

    Mediterranean countries can help to bring in cooperation and dialogue with African and Middle Eastern countries that can help EU stability, security and economy.'' French president Francois Hollande focused on ''growth policies, broadening of the Juncker plan and the sending of a cultural message to the populations near us''. He added that ''it is important, in this post-Brexit moment, when populists and nationalists focus on the breaking apart of the EU'' to provide ''the contribution of united Mediterranean countries''. 

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