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|Formation||13 July 2008|
|Arabic, English, French|
The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM; French: Union pour la Méditerranée, Arabic: ? ? Al-Ittid min ajl al-Mutawassa?) is an intergovernmental organization of 42 member states from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin: the 27 EU member states and 15 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, Western Asia and Southern Europe. It was founded on 13 July 2008 at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean, with an aim of reinforcing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) that was set up in 1995 as the Barcelona Process. Its general secretariat is located in Barcelona, Spain.
The Union has the aim of promoting stability and integration throughout the Mediterranean region. It is a forum for discussing regional strategic issues, based on the principles of shared ownership, shared decision-making and shared responsibility between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Its main goal is to increase both north-south and South-South integration in the Mediterranean region, in order to support the countries' socioeconomic development and ensure stability in the region. The institution, through its course of actions, focuses on two main pillars: fostering human development and promoting sustainable development. To this end, it identifies and supports regional projects and initiatives of different sizes, to which it gives its label, following a consensual decision among the 42 countries.
These projects and initiatives focus on 6 sectors of activity, as mandated by the UfM Member States:
The members of the Union of the Mediterranean are the following:
Additionally, Libya is an observer state. The UfM has expressed a desire to grant Libya full membership, and Mohamed Abdelaziz, Libya's Foreign Minister, has stated that his country is "open" to joining. The Arab League also participates in UfM meetings.[note 1]
The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, also known as the Barcelona Process, was created in 1995 as a result of the Conference of Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Foreign Affairs held in Barcelona on 27 and 28 November under the Spanish presidency of the EU. The founding act of the Partnership in 1995 and Final Declaration of the Barcelona Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference is called the Barcelona Declaration, which is often used to refer to the Process itself.
The Partnership culminated in a series of attempts by European countries to articulate their relations with their North African and Middle Eastern neighbours: the global Mediterranean policy (1972-1992) and the renovated Mediterranean policy (1992-1995).
Javier Solana opened the conference by saying that they were brought together to straighten out the "clash of civilizations" and misunderstandings that there had been between them, and that it "was auspicious" that they had convened on the 900th anniversary of the First Crusade. He described the conference as a process to foster cultural and economic unity in the Mediterranean region. The Barcelona Treaty was drawn up by the 27 countries in attendance, and Solana, who represented Spain as its foreign minister during the country's turn at the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, was credited with the diplomatic accomplishment.
According to the 1995 Barcelona Declaration, the aim of the initiative was summed up as: "turning the Mediterranean basin into an area of dialogue, exchange and cooperation guaranteeing peace, stability and prosperity." The Declaration established the three main objectives of the Partnership, called "baskets" (i.e., strands or facets):
The European Union stated the intention of the partnership was "to strengthen its relations with the countries in the Mashreq and Maghreb regions". Both Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat had high praises for Solana's coordination of the Barcelona Process. The Barcelona Process, developed after the Conference in successive annual meetings, is a set of goals designed to lead to a free trade area in the Mediterranean Basin by 2010.
The agenda of the Barcelona Process is:
The Barcelona Process comprises three "baskets", in EU jargon, or strands:
At the time of its creation, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership comprised 27 member countries: 15 from the European Union and 12 Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey). As a result of the European Union's enlargements of 2004 and 2007 the number of EU member states grew up to 27, and two of the Mediterranean partner countries--Cyprus and Malta--became part of the European Union. The EU enlargement changed the configuration of the Barcelona Process from "15+12" to "27+10." Albania and Mauritania joined the Barcelona Process in 2007, raising the number of participants to 39.
Moreover, the Barcelona Process included 6 countries and institutions participating as permanent observers (Libya, Mauritania, the Secretary-General of the Arab League) and invited observers, such as the European Investment Bank, the Arab Maghreb Union, the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, the Economical and Social Committee or the Euromed Economical and Social Councils.
According to the ISN, "Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an were the only leaders from the Mediterranean countries to attend, while those of Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt were not present."
From the official web site, "The new realities and challenges of the 21st century make it necessary to update the Barcelona Declaration and create a new Action Plan (based on the good results of the Valencia Action Plan), encompassing four fundamental areas":
Regional dialogue represents one of the most innovative aspects of the Partnership, covering at the same time the political, economic and cultural fields (regional co-operation). Regional co-operation has a considerable strategic impact as it deals with problems that are common to many Mediterranean Partners while it emphasises the national complementarities.
The multilateral dimension supports and complements the bilateral actions and dialogue taking place under the Association Agreements.
As a result of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the Euromed Heritage program was formed. This program has been active since 1998, and has been involved in programs to identify the cultural heritages of Mediterranean states, promote their preservation, and educate the peoples of partner countries about their cultural heritages.
By some analysts, the process has been declared ineffective[who?]. The stalling of the Middle East Peace Process is having an impact on the Barcelona Process and is hindering progress especially in the first basket. The economic basket can be considered a success, and there have been more projects for the exchange on a cultural level and between the peoples in the riparian states. Other criticism is mainly based on the predominant role the European Union is playing. Normally it is the EU that is assessing the state of affairs, which leads to the impression that the North is dictating the South what to do. The question of an enhanced co-ownership of the process has repeatedly been brought up over the last years.
Being a long-term process and much more complex than any other similar project, it may be many years before a final judgment can be made.
Bishara Khader argues that this ambitious European project towards its Mediterranean neighbours has to be understood in a context of optimism. On the one hand, the European Community was undergoing important changes due to the reunification of Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the beginning of the adhesion negotiations of Eastern and Central European countries. On the other, the Arab-Israeli conflict appeared to be getting closer to achieving peace after the Madrid Conference (1991) and the Oslo Accords (1992). As well, Khader states that the Gulf War of 1991, the Algerian crisis (from 1992 onwards) and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism throughout the Arab world are also important factors in Europe's new relations with the Mediterranean countries based on security concerns.
Criticism of the Barcelona Process escalated after the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Summit in Barcelona in 2005. First, the absence of Heads of State and Government from the Southern Mediterranean countries (with the exception of the Palestinian and Turkish ones) heavily contrasted with the attendance of the 27 European Union's Heads of State and Government. Second, the lack of consensus to define the term "terrorism" prevented the endorsement of a final declaration. The Palestinian Authority, Syria and Algeria argued that resistance movements against foreign occupation should not be included in this definition. Nevertheless, a code of conduct on countering terrorism and a five-year work program were approved at Barcelona summit of 2005. both of which are still valid under the Union for the Mediterranean.
For many, the political context surrounding the 2005 summit - the stagnation of the Middle East Peace Process, the US-led war on Iraq, the lack of democratisation in Arab countries, and the war on terror's negative effects on freedoms and human rights, among others--proved for many the inefficiency of the Barcelona Process for fulfilling its objectives of peace, stability and prosperity. Given these circumstances, even politicians that had been engaged with the Barcelona Process since its very beginnings, like the Spanish politician Josep Borrell, expressed their disappointment about the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and its incapacity to deliver results. Critiques from Southern Mediterranean countries blamed the Partnership's failure on Europe's lack of interest towards the Mediterranean in favour of its Eastern neighbourhood; whereas experts from the North accused Southern countries of only being interested on "their own bi-lateral relationship with the EU" while downplaying multilateral policies.
However, many European Union diplomats have defended the validity of the Barcelona Process' framework by arguing that the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership was the only forum that gathered Israelis and Arabs on equal footing), and identifying as successes the Association Agreements, the Code of Conduct on Countering Terrorism and the establishment of the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures.
In 2006 the first proposals for improving the Partnership's efficiency, visibility and co-ownership arouse, such as establishing a co-presidency system and a permanent secretariat or nominating a "Mr./Ms. Med."
As of 2007, on the initiative of France, States embark on a round negotiations to revive the process.
A proposal to establish a "Mediterranean Union", which would consist principally of Mediterranean states, was part of the election campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy during the French presidential election campaign in 2007. During the campaign, Sarkozy said that the Mediterranean Union would be modelled on the European Union with a shared judicial area and common institutions. Sarkozy saw Turkish membership of the Mediterranean Union as an alternative to membership of the European Union, which he opposes, and as a forum for dialogue between Israel and its Arab Neighbours.
Once elected, President Sarkozy invited all heads of state and government of the Mediterranean region to a meeting in June 2008 in Paris, with a view to laying the basis of a Mediterranean Union.
The Mediterranean Union was enthusiastically supported by Egypt and Israel. Turkey strongly opposed the idea and originally refused to attend the Paris conference until it was assured that membership of the Mediterranean Union was not being proposed as an alternative to membership of the EU.
However the European Commission and Germany were more cautious about the project. The European Commission saying that while initiatives promoting regional co-operation were good, it would be better to build them upon existing structures, notable among them being the Barcelona process. German chancellor Angela Merkel said the UfM risked splitting and threatening the core of the EU. In particular she objected to the potential use of EU funds to fund a project which was only to include a small number of EU member states. When Slovenia took the EU presidency at the beginning of 2008, the then Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jan?a added to the criticism by saying: "We do not need a duplication of institutions, or institutions that would compete with EU, institutions that would cover part of the EU and part of the neighbourhood."
Other criticisms of the proposal included concern about the relationship between the proposed UfM and the existing Euromediterranean Partnership (Barcelona Process), which might reduce the effectiveness of EU policies in the region and allow the southern countries to play on the rivalries to escape unpopular EU policies. There were similar economic concerns in the loss of civil society and similar human rights based policies. Duplication of policies from the EU's police and judicial area was a further worry.
At the start of 2008, Sarkozy began to modify his plans for the Mediterranean Union due to widespread opposition from other EU member states and the European Commission. At the end of February of that year, France's minister for European affairs, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, stated that "there is no Mediterranean Union" but rather a "Union for the Mediterranean" that would only be "completing and enriching" to existing EU structures and policy in the region. Following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel it was agreed that the project would include all EU member states, not just those bordering the Mediterranean, and would be built upon the existing Barcelona process. Turkey also agreed to take part in the project following a guarantee from France that it was no longer intended as an alternative to EU membership.
In consequence the new Union for the Mediterranean would consist of regular meeting of the entire EU with the non-member partner states, and would be backed by two co-presidents and a secretariat.
At the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean (13 July 2008), the 43 Heads of State and Government from the Euro-Mediterranean region decided to launch the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean. It was presented as a new phase Euro-Mediterranean Partnership with new members and an improved institutional architecture which aimed to "enhance multilateral relations, increase co-ownership of the process, set governance on the basis of equal footing and translate it into concrete projects, more visible to citizens. Now is the time to inject a new and continuing momentum into the Barcelona Process. More engagement and new catalysts are now needed to translate the objectives of the Barcelona Declaration into tangible results."
The Paris summit was considered a diplomatic success for Nicolas Sarzoky. The French president had managed to gather in Paris all the Heads of State and Government from the 43 Euro-Mediterranean countries, with the exception of the kings of Morocco and Jordan.
This meeting concluded with a new joint declaration, which completed the Paris Declaration by defining the organisational structure and the principles on which the UfM would be run. A rotating co-presidency was set up, held jointly by one EUmember country and one Mediterranean partner. France and Egypt were the first countries to hold this co-presidency. The presence of the Arab League at all meetings is written into the rules. A secretariat with a separate legal status and its own statutes was created. Its headquarters were established in Barcelona.
The fact that the Union for the Mediterranean is launched as a new phase of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership means that the Union accepts and commits to maintain the acquis of Barcelona, the purpose of which is to promote "peace, stability and prosperity" throughout the region (Barcelona, 2). Therefore, the four chapters of cooperation developed in the framework of the Barcelona Process during thirteen years remain valid:
In addition to these four chapters of cooperation, the 43 Ministers of Foreign Affairs gathered in Marseilles in November 2008 identified six concrete projects that target specific needs of the Euro-Mediterranean regions and that will enhance the visibility of the Partnership:
A summit of heads of state and government is intended to be held every two years to foster political dialogue at the highest level. According to the Paris Declaration:
The first summit was held in Paris in July 2008. The second summit should have taken place in a non-EU country in July 2010 but the Euro-Mediterranean countries agreed to hold the summit in Barcelona on 7 June 2010, under the Spanish presidency of the EU, instead. However, on 20 May the Egyptian and French co-presidency along with Spain decided to postpone the summit, in a move which they described as being intended to give more time to the indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that had started that month. In contrast, the Spanish media blamed the postponement on the Arab threat to boycott the summit if Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended the Foreign Affairs conference prior to the summit.
At the time of the Paris summit, France--which was in charge of the EU presidency--and Egypt held the co-presidency. Since then, France had been signing agreements with the different rotator presidencies of the EU (the Czech Republic, Sweden and Spain) in order to maintain the co-presidency for alongside Egypt. The renewal of the co-presidency was supposed to happen on the second Union for the Mediterranean Summit. However, due to the two postponements of the summit, there has been no chance to decide which countries will take over the co-presidency.
The conflict between Turkey and Cyprus has been responsible for the delay in the endorsement of the statutes of the Secretariat, which were only approved in March 2010 even though the Marseille declaration set May 2009 as the deadline for the Secretariat to start functioning. At the Paris summit, the Heads of State and Government agreed to establish five Deputy Secretaries General from Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta and the Palestinian Authority. Turkey's desire to have a Deputy Secretary General and Cyprus' rejection of it, resulted in months of negotiation until Cyprus finally approved the creation of a sixth Deputy Secreaty General post assigned to a Turkish citizen.
Due to its seriousness, the Arab-Israeli conflict is the one that most deeply affects the Union for the Mediterranean. As a result of an armed conflict between Israel and Gaza from December 2008 to January 2009, the Arab Group refused to meet at high level, thus blocking all the ministerial meetings scheduled for the first half of 2009. As well, the refusal of the Arab Ministers of Foreign Affairs to meet with their Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, resulted in the cancellation of two ministerial meetings on Foreign Affairs in November 2009 and June 2010. Sectorial meetings of the Union for the Mediterranean have also been affected by Israel's handling of the Palestinian civilian population under its control. At the Euro-Mediterranean ministerial meeting on Water, held in Barcelona in April 2010, the Water Strategy was not approved due to a terminological disagreement of whether to refer to territories claimed by Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese as "occupied territories" or "territories under occupation." Two other ministerial meetings, on higher education and agriculture, had to be cancelled because of the same discrepancy.
After the initial postponement, both France and Spain announced their intentions to hold peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as part of the postponed summit under the auspices of the US. In September, U.S. President Barack Obama was invited to the summit for this purpose. The summit which was then scheduled to take place in Barcelona on 21 November 2010, was, according to Nicolas Sarkozy, "an occasion to support the negotiations."
Nevertheless, at the beginning of November 2010 the peace talks stalled, and the Egyptian co-presidents conditioned the occurrence of the summit on a gesture from Israel that would allow the negotiations to resume. According to some experts Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement of the construction of 300 new housing units in East Jerusalem ended all the possibilities of celebrating the summit on 21 November. The two co-presidencies and Spain decided on 15 November to postpone the summit sine die, alleging that the stagnation of the Middle East Peace Process would hinder a "satisfactory participation."
Having been slowed down by the financial and political situation in 2009, the UfM was given a decisive push in March 2010 with the conclusion of the negotiations on the set-up of its General Secretariat and the official inauguration of the same on 4 March 2010 in Barcelona, in the specially refurbished Palau de Pedralbes.
The European Union Ambassador to Morocco, Eneko Landaburu, stated in September 2010 that he does "not believe" in the Union for the Mediterranean. According to him, the division among the Arabs "does not allow to implement a strong inter-regional policy", and calls to leave this ambitious project of 43 countries behind and focus on bilateral relations.
On 22 June 2011, the UfM labelled its first project, the creation of a seawater desalination plant in Gaza. In 2012, the UfM had a total of 13 projects labelled by the 43 countries in the sectorial areas of transport, education, water and development companies.
In January 2012, the Secretary General, Youssef Amrani was appointed Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in the Benkirane government. He is replaced by the Moroccan diplomat Fathallah Sijilmassi.
In 2013, the Union for the Mediterranean launches its first projects:
Between 2013 and 2018, thirteen sectorial ministerial meetings took place, in presence of the ministers of the UfM Member States:
In 2015, the UfM had a total of 37 labelled projects 19 of which were in the implementation phase.[AP2] On 18 November 2015, the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), published by the European External Action Service and the commission and confirmed by the European Council ON 14 December, positions the UfM as a driving force for integration and regional cooperation.
On 26 November 2015, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration, at the initiative of the co-presidents of the UfM, Ms. Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative of the European Union for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Mr. Nasser Judeh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Jordan, held an informal meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the countries of the UfM in Barcelona to renew their political commitment to the development of regional cooperation in the framework of the UfM.
On 14 December 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A / 70/124 granting observer status to the Union for the Mediterranean.
In February 2016, the UfM-labelled project "Skills for Success" successfully ended its training activities in Jordan and Morocco with high percentages of job placements. The job placement percentage among the total number of job seekers in Jordan and Morocco (115 graduates) is estimated at 49% and 6% of the participants were placed in internships.
On 12 March 2016, the UfM was awarded the prestigious Badge of Honor from Agrupación Española de Fomento Europeo (AEFE) in recognition of the value of its work for the Universal Values and Human Rights in the Mediterranean region.
On 2 June 2016, the UfM held its first Union for the Mediterranean Ministerial Meeting for Regional Cooperation and Planning, at the invitation of EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Imad N. Fakhoury, Jordanian Minister of Cooperation and Planning.
Ministers recognised the need to boost economic integration among the countries in the region as one of the means to create opportunities for the necessary inclusive growth and job creation. They highlighted the crucial role of the Union for the Mediterranean to that effect, welcoming the work of the UfM Secretariat to help facilitate progress in regional cooperation and integration, including by promoting region-wide projects.
On 18-19 July 2016, the UfM actively participated to the MedCOP Climate 2016, as institutional partner of the Tangier region. MedCOP Climate 2016 provided a forum to present various initiatives and projects supported by the UfM that are helping to formulate a Mediterranean climate agenda, such as the creation of a Mediterranean network of young people working on climate issues; the Regional Committee for Cooperation on Climate Finance, to make funding for climate projects in the region more efficient; and the launch of the UfM Energy University by Schneider Electric.
On 10-11 October 2016, the UfM Secretariat organized in Barcelona the Third High-Level Conference on Women Empowerment, which followed the 2014 and 2015 editions and in preparation of the Fourth UfM Ministerial Conference on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society, due to take place late 2017. The Conference provided a regional dialogue forum where the 250 participants from more than 30 countries stressed the need to invest in the essential contribution of women as a response to the current Mediterranean challenges. A report was prepared following the request formulated by the UfM Paris Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening the role of women in society. The request was "to establish an effective follow-up mechanism as a Euro-Mediterranean forum and to ensure an effective dialogue on women-related policies, legislation and implementation."
On 1 November 2016, the UfM officially launched the "Integrated Programme for the Protection of Lake Bizerte against Pollution" in Bizerte. Tunisia. The event was held in the presence of Youssef Chahed, Head of Government of Tunisia, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, and Fathallah Sijilmassi, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean. With a total budget of more than EUR90 million over a 5-year period, the programme will contribute towards cleaning up Lake Bizerte in northern Tunisia, improving the living conditions of the surrounding populations and reducing the main sources of pollution impacting the entire Mediterranean Sea. The project is supported by International financing institutions, such as the European Investment Bank and the European Commission, as well as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
In November 2016, the UfM Secretariat officially became observer to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) during the COP22, while actively participating through the launch of specific regional initiatives and projects aimed at helping achieve the Paris Agreement targets in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
On 23 January 2017, the Union for the Mediterranean's Member States gave a strong political commitment to strengthen regional cooperation in the Mediterranean by endorsing the UfM roadmap for action at the second Regional Forum of the UfM, which took place in Barcelona on 23-24 January 2017 under the theme of "Mediterranean in Action: Youth for Stability and Development".
This Roadmap focuses on the following four areas of action:
On 22 February 2017, the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) signed a EUR6.5 million multi annual financial agreement to support UfM activities in favour of a more sustainable and inclusive development in the region.
On 10 April 2017, the Heads of State or Government of Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain convened in Madrid at the 3rd Summit of Southern European Union Countries, where they reaffirmed their support to the Union for the Mediterranean and stressed its "central role in the consolidation of Euro-Mediterranean regional cooperation, as an expression of co-ownership in the management of our common regional agenda in order to effectively and collectively address our current challenges".
In 2017, 51 regional cooperation projects, worth over EUR5.3 billion, have been accorded the UfM label, through the unanimous support of the 43 Member States. Implementation of the projects is accelerating and is producing positive results on the ground.
27 November 2017 Ministers from the 43 Member countries of UfM gathered in Cairo at the 4th UfM Ministerial Conference on "Strengthening the Role of Women in Society" to agree on a common agenda to strengthen the role of women in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
On 29 November 2017, the UfM Regional Stakeholder Conference on the Blue Economy, brought together over 400 key stakeholders dealing with marine and maritime issues from the entire region, including government representatives, regional and local authorities, international organisations, academia, the private sector and civil society.
On 20 March 2018, the European Commission and the Government of Palestine, in partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean, hosted an international donor Pledging Conference to consolidate financial support to the construction of a large-scale desalination plant and its associated water supply infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.
On 13 July 2018, the UfM celebrated its 10th anniversary, with 51 regional cooperation projects labelled, 12 regional policy platforms created and over 300 expert fora organised.
The UfM's goal is to enhance regional cooperation, dialogue and the implementation of concrete projects and initiatives with tangible impact on our citizens. The UfM has consolidated an action-driven methodology, with a common ambition of creating effective links between the policy dimension and its operational translation into concrete projects and initiatives on the ground to adequately address the challenges of the region and its key interrelated priorities. This methodology is composed of three components: Policy framework, dialogue Platforms and regional Projects - namely the "Three Ps".
The UfM complements the bilateral work of the European Neighbourhood Policy set up in 2004 and the development policies of UfM member states, driving the emergence of a shared Mediterranean agenda to achieve an impact, not just on the situation of one country, but on regional integration as a whole.
With 43 members, the UfM acts as a central platform for setting regional priorities and sharing experiences of the principal challenges that the region faces.
The UfM Secretariat implements decisions taken at political level through regional and sub-regional sectorial dialogues fora and follow-up activities thereby following through on Ministerial commitments and promoting initiatives to foster regional cooperation.
The work to achieve this goal is carried out in conjunction with other organisations and regional cooperation forums (The Arab League, the Arab Maghreb Union) and alongside sub-regional cooperation fora such as the 5+5 Dialogue with which the UfM is actively associated.
Structured regional dialogues fora have involved over 20,000 stakeholders from around the Mediterranean, including parliamentarians and representatives of international organisations, NGOs, civil society organisations, international financial institutions, development agencies, industry and the private sector, universities as well as think tanks.
In March 2015, the Inter-parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy, in its final conclusions, described the UfM as "the most efficient and multifaceted cooperation forum in the region".
In May 2016, the Parliamentary Assembly of the UfM recognized, in the final declaration of its 12th Plenary Session, the "importance of the pivotal role played by the UfM in promoting cooperation and regional integration in the Mediterranean [...]".
In January 2017, at the occasion of the second UfM Regional Forum gathering the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 43 Member States, Ms. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, declared: "we have committed together to break this circle of lack of integration and tensions and conflictuality and invest in a coherent manner on more political dialogue and more regional integrational cooperation on very concrete fields of actions through our Union for the Mediterranean."
The third Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Forum was held in Barcelona on 8 October 2018 under the title '10 years: Building together the future of regional cooperation'. Consolidated as the annual gathering of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of UfM Member States, the Forum provided the occasion to draw up a state-of-play of regional cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean area and its prospects, as well as to spotlight where the UfM needs to redouble its efforts to meet current and future challenges. Ministers took stock of the implementation of the UfM Roadmap endorsed a year ago and committed to amplifying the impetus given to the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. This third edition of the Regional Forum was chaired by the UfM Co-Presidency, assumed by Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, and Ayman Safadi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, and hosted by Josep Borrell, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and Nasser Kamel, the UfM Secretary General.
Via the process of labelisation, the UFM supports projects that address common regional challenges that are likely to have a direct impact on the lives of citizens. The UfM label guarantees regional recognition and visibility for the selected projects. It also gives them access to funding opportunities through the network of financial partners of the UfM.
The main added value of the UfM lies in the interrelation created between the policy dimension and its operational translation into concrete projects on the ground, which in return nourishes the definition of relevant policies through a multi-stakeholder approach. The adoption of projects on the ground follows the principle of "variable geometry", providing a degree of flexibility by which a smaller number of countries may decide, with the approval of all, to cooperate and participate in projects of common interest.
After a consultation process with stakeholders, the UfM launched in 2013 a regional initiative (Med4Jobs) that defines the priorities of intervention in terms of employability, intermediary services and job creation in the region, under which specific projects are developed.
By 2015, the secretariat of the UfM had labeled 13 projects addressing the challenges of youth employability and inclusive growth. Framed by the political mandate and the priorities expressed in regional dialogues, these projects target 200,000 beneficiaries, mostly young people, and involve over 1,000 small and medium private enterprises.
On Women empowerment, it had also labeled 10 projects benefiting over 50,000 women in the Euro-Mediterranean region, this with the participation of over 1000 shareholders and with a budget of over 127 million euros.
The specific focus on Youth employability and Women empowerment is in line with the UfM's aim at reinforcing human capital in the region, which is the key issue for stability and security in the region.
As of June 2018, the UfM has 28 labelled projects addressing the regional Human Development pillar.
By 2015, 14 projects were labelled by the 43 countries of the UfM, included the cleanup of Lake Bizerte in Tunisia, the construction of the desalination plant in Gaza, and the integrated urban development of the city of Imbaba.
As of June 2018, the UfM has 23 labelled projects addressing the regional Sustainable Development pillar. These projects are expected to have an important socio-economic impact across the region, including on climate action, renewable energy, transport, urban development, water, the blue economy and environment.
Twenty-five years after 1995 Barcelona Declaration, the EU failed to accomplish any of the objectives announced in the declaration. The Mediterranean did not become "a common area of peace, stability and shared prosperity". A free Europe-Mediterranean free trade area had not become reality and initiatives to strengthen human rights or democracies had achieved nothing.
A major reason for the lack of success is that the EU was torn between "values" and "interests": Had the EU stayed true to its values it would have had to press for democratic reform, but if interests were priorities the EU would have to stay on friendly terms with autocratic regimes.
In contrast with the Barcelona Process, one of the biggest innovations of the Union for the Mediterranean is its institutional architecture. It was decided at the Paris Summit to provide the Union with a whole set of institutions in order to up-grade the political level of its relations, promote a further co-ownership of the initiative among the EU and Mediterranean partner countries and improve the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership's visibility.
With the purpose of guaranteeing the co-ownership of the Union for the Mediterranean, the Heads of State and Government decided in Paris that two countries, one from the EU and one from the Mediterranean partner countries, will jointly preside the Union for the Mediterranean. The 27 agreed that the EU co-presidency had to "be compatible with the external representation of the European Union in accordance with the Treaty provisions in force." "The Mediterranean partner countries decided to choose by consensus and among themselves a country to hold the co-presidency for a non-renewable period of two years."
From 2008 to 2012, France & Egypt ensured the UfM's first co-presidency.
In 2012 the secretariat announced that the co-presidency of Egypt would be succeeded by Jordan, and that of France by the European Union. The change which, took place in September 2012 was decided at a meeting of the high representatives in Barcelona on 28 June.
|Northern Presidency||Southern Presidency|
|France (July 2008 - March 2012)||Egypt (July 2008 - June 2012)|
|European Union (March 2012 -)||Jordan (June 2012 -)|
The meeting of UfM Senior Officials, composed of ambassadors and senior Foreign Affairs officials appointed individually by the 43 countries of the UfM, is held several times a year, at regular intervals, at the seat of the Secretariat of UfM in Barcelona or in one of the UfM countries. Its role is to discuss regional issues, guide policies and actions of the organization and to label the projects submitted to it. Each country has an equal vote and all decisions are made by consensus. Alongside these meetings, other UfM meetings take place, especially ministerial meetings that define the Mediterranean agenda on specific issues, such as environment and climate change, the digital economy, the role of women in society, transportation or industry.
The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean was inaugurated on 4 March 2010 in an official ceremony in Barcelona.
The task of the permanent Secretariat is to provide operational follow-up of the sectorial ministerial meeting, identifying and monitoring the implementation of concrete projects for the Euro-Mediterranean region, and searching for partners to finance these projects and coordinating various platforms for dialogue.
The Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Foreign Affairs decided at the Marseilles conference of November 2008 that the headquarters of the Secretariat would be at the Royal Palace of Pedralbes in Barcelona. They also agreed on the structure of this new key institution and the countries of origin of its first members:
In 2017, the secretariat of the UfM has a staff of 60 persons from more than 20 nationalities, including the permanent presence of senior officials seconded from the European Commission, the EIB, and CDC.
The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) is not a new institution inside the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership framework. It was established in Naples on 3 December 2003 by the Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Foreign Affairs and had its first plenary session in Athens on 22-23 March 2004. The EMPA gathers parliamentarians from the Euro-Mediterranean countries and has four permanent committees on the following issues:
The EMPA also has an ad hoc committee on Energy and Environment. Since the launch of the Union for the Mediterranean, the EMPA's role has been strengthened for it is considered the "legitimate parliamentary expression of the Union".
It was absorbed in 2010 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of the Mediterranean (PA-UfM).
At the Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Affairs Conference held in Marseilles in November 2008, the Ministers welcomed the EU Committee of the Regions proposal to establish a Euro-Mediterranean Assembly of Local and Regional Authorities (ARLEM in French). Its aim is to bridge between the local and regional representatives of the 43 countries with the Union for the Mediterranean and EU institutions.
The EU participants are the members of the EU Committee of the Regions, as well as representatives from other EU institutions engaged with the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. From the Mediterranean partner countries, the participants are representatives of regional and local authorities appointed by their national governments. The ARLEM was formally established and held its first plenary session in Barcelona on 31 January 2010. The ARLEM's co-presidency is held by the President of the EU Committee of the Regions, Luc Van den Brande, and the Moroccan mayor of Al Hoceima, Mohammed Boudra.
The Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, with headquarters are in Alexandria, Egypt, was established in April 2005. It is a network for the civil society organisations of the Euro-Mediterranean countries, aiming at the promotion of intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.
In September 2010 the Anna Lindh Foundation published a report called "EuroMed Intercultural Trends 2010". This evaluation about mutual perceptions and the visibility of the Union of the Mediterranean across the region is based on a Gallup Public Opinion Survey in which 13,000 people from the Union of the Mediterranean countries participated.
As a platform for dialogue and cooperation, the Union for the Mediterranean engages in strategic partnerships with global, regional and sub-regional organizations.
During the past few years, the UfM strengthened its ties with relevant stakeholders through the signature of various Memoranda of Understanding:
The Paris Declaration states that contributions for the Union for the Mediterranean will have to develop the capacity to attract funding from "the private sector participation; contributions from the EU budget and all partners; contributions from other countries, international financial institutions and regional entities; the Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership Facility (FEMIP); the ENPI", among other possible instruments,