|The Pacific is experiencing renewed interest from major states. The diminished interest in the region after the end of the Cold War and cessation of nuclear tests has turned around and in this globalising world more and more states are turning an eye to the Pacific. Most notably is the change in the policy of Australia that altered its policy characterised by a hands off approach to one, in the case of Solomon Islands, that can be characterised by co-operative intervention. But there are others, like France. The statements made by the French president, Jacques Chirac, during his recent visit to the Pacific made clear that France is interested to become a major player in the region. Not only will France increase its financial aid for the next four years by 50 percent, but the President also assured Pacific leaders that they can count on France to be the ear, eye and mouthpiece for Pacific interests within the European Union. The Cotonou Agreement has knitted the Pacific and Europe closer together with six new Pacific states entering into partnership with Europe, and the vast tuna resources in the Pacific have generated the interest of the European Union with its huge fishing capacity, but depleted fish resources.
The small Islands states of the Pacific can address and discuss their worries and in particular their vulnerability in the light of the growing global interdependence on a global stage at the 10-year review of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Islands Developing States (Barbados, 1994), in 2004.
These and many other Pacific related issues will be discussed at the fourteenth Europe Pacific Solidarity seminar. Apart from the many interesting issues that the participants of the seminar will bring in for discussion, three themes have been identified for a more in-depth discussion. These are the change in the Australian Pacific policy with as example the intervention in the Solomon Islands, the impact of globalisation on the Pacific society and The French speaking Pacific after the visit of Jacques Chirac.