© Università degli Studi di Padova - Credits: HCE Web agency
In the first part of the paper the author argues that we in the European Union must be prepared, in the context of our debate as to whether or not we wish to adopt the Constitutional Treaty, but hoping that it can in substance be adopted, to open our hearts and minds to all cultures and develop, in the framework of secular democracy based on human rights, a value in policymaking approach. This means real dialogue about values. Secondly, dialogue with our neighbours, especially in the Mediterranean, must also include real dialogue about values. The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly is a forum where this deeper dialogue can occur. The bilateral approach of association agreements, action plans and so on may be beginning to yield real fruit. However, it is argued that we should consider a stronger, more effective, framework than the Barcelona Declaration, possibly in the form of a Framework Treaty, in order to give greater cohesion to Euro-Mediterranean cooperation and integration, and that the model for this can be the Union model itself. Above all, we need to adopt with our partners the model of maximum cohesion with necessary differentiation through procedural and substantive solidarity. It is argued that willingness on all sides to employ the tried and tested tools of integration, with the member states and the Union «doing with others as we do among ourselves», will, because it is a model that works, lead to greater mutual understanding to mutual benefit, and to better cohesion and integration results. The second part of this paper introduces the papers of the other participants in the group, highlighting themes of relevance to the development of intercultural dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean area, themes that will be seen to find their resonance in the papers in the other sections of this volume.