EU-Meda Forum” “

In the framework of the partnership programme between the EU and the twelve countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean (MEDA), the third Euromediterranean Forum for intercultural dialogue was recently held at Chania (Greece), on the theme of the society of citizens since the start of the MEDA programme in 1992. Objective of the meeting: to contribute to the process of bringing the peoples of the Mediterranean closer together through the exchange of opinions and the formulation of proposals aimed at promoting intercultural dialogue and enhancing the role of peoples and traditions. In his opening address, the Orthodox Metropolitan Ireneus declared that “the religious and cultural divisions of the past have never been healed, due not only to our weakness, but also to the interest of third parties extraneous to the common good and inimical to the future of our peoples”. Topics discussed at the Forum included: interreligious dialogue and ecumenism, intercultural education, the role of the local authorities and their cooperation. The Greek foreign minister and current President of the EU, Giorgos Papandreou, in his closing address stressed that dialogue between cultures is “essential for the maintenance of peace inside an area as sensitive as that of the Mediterranean basin where ethnic diversities are at the origin – as in the Israeli-Palestinian case – of sharp and painful conflicts”. The Forum was also attended by the delegates of some seventy NGOs active in the field of cultural cooperation. The island of Crete will host the new Observatory on culture for cooperation in the Mediterranean, which should be inaugurated by 2003.

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