An informal meeting of European and Arab ministers is intended to revive plans for a Conference on Security & Co-operation in the Mediterranean (CSCM). The Cairo meeting, to be held in early July, is intended to discuss the structures needed to co-ordinate Arab and European policy on security, migration and economic co-operation.

The CSCM idea gained momentum in the early 1990s when a number of committees were established to link the northern and southern flanks of the Mediterranean. Progress has since been blocked by differences over the Lockerbie affair and other issues.

Speaking in London on 4 May, Tunisian Foreign Affairs Minister Habib Ben Yahia said the CSCM idea would help to develop a ‘partnership in co- development and mutual security. This implies the common management of a lot of problems.’

European governments led by France and Spain are showing renewed interest in Mediterranean security in response to the Islamist challenge. Similar structures have been establised for East-West relations.