Tensions in the Mediterranean invite themselves to the summit of southern EU countries

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The sharp tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean will dominate the discussions at the summit of the countries of the south of the European Union that Emmanuel Macron chairs Thursday in Corsica, French island in the Mediterranean.

Meeting for a few hours in a hotel in Porticcio, a seaside resort in Ajaccio Bay, the leaders of the seven Med7 member countries will try to match their strategy to avoid an escalation of the crisis between Turkey and Greece.

Very involved in the file, the French president will discuss it with the Italian leaders Giuseppe Conte, Spanish Pedro Sanchez, Greek Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Portuguese Antonio Costa, Cypriot Nikos Anastasiades and Maltese Robert Abela.

It is a question of “advancing the consensus on the relationship of the EU with Turkey, in view in particular of the European summit of September 24-25 which will be devoted to it”, in Brussels, specified the presidential palace of the Elysee. .

Greece and Cyprus are on the front line against Turkey, which claims the right to exploit hydrocarbon deposits in a maritime area that Athens considers to be under its sovereignty.

In recent weeks, these countries have shown their muscles with martial declarations, military maneuvers and shipments of ships to areas.

France has clearly shown its support for Greece by deploying warships and fighter jets in the region, an initiative strongly denounced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, already very upset against Paris.

France is calling today for “a clarification” of relations with Turkey, “an important partner” with whom “we must be able to work on a solid basis”, according to the presidency.

Before the start of the summit, Emmanuel Macron will meet face to face with Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis and the two men could discuss the purchase of Rafale aircraft by Athens, according to the Greek press.

3rd visit to Corsica

This is the seventh time that the Med7 meets, an informal forum that was launched in 2016 in a context of divide between the countries of northern Europe and those of the south against the backdrop of the Greek economic crisis.

Since then, these north-south tensions have subsided within the EU but the Med7 countries feel the need to coordinate better in the face of common challenges: migration issues, the Libyan crisis and relations with the countries on the shore. southern Mediterranean.

They “share the same desire to stimulate a new dynamic of cooperation” in this region, “in particular on the issues of sustainable development and sovereignty”, according to the Élysée.

They also agree on the future of the EU, which they want more united, and united in July against the so-called “frugal” countries, rather from the north, on the European recovery plan of 750 billion euros. euros.

Before the Porticcio meeting, President Macron will begin his third visit to Corsica at the end of the day on Wednesday since the start of the five-year term. He will participate in a ceremony celebrating the anniversary of the Liberation of Ajaccio, which will be followed by a “republican dinner” with elected officials. Thursday morning, the president will take stock of the progress of various projects for Corsica (water, waste …).

Even if the climate has clearly calmed down, relations remain delicate between the government and the nationalists who chair the executive council and the Corsican Assembly. The latter regularly express their frustration at not obtaining greater autonomy in the management of the island.

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