EDITORIAL

Mediterranean Scientopolitics

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Science  12 Sep 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5895, pp. 1417
DOI: 10.1126/science.1164682

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Summary

On this year's Bastille day in July, the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, inaugurated a new initiative for uniting the Mediterranean South with Europe in general, and France in particular. The aim of the Mediterranean Union (MU), an analogue of the post-Cold War European Union (EU), is to "lay the foundations of a political, economic and cultural union founded on the principles of strict equality." Comprising 27 EU members and states from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Balkans, the MU would in principle unite close to 800 million people. In June, a meeting was held at the Institut de France with representation from many academies, scientists, and politicians to discuss possible cooperative programs. The goals expressed at the meeting are admirable; however, the MU's motives need to be clearly defined, as the issues for the MU are very different from those for the EU. Most important, thus far missing in the fabric of the former is an explicit role for education and science.