The Deauville Partnership is a timely, useful, politically and economically relevant initiative. 4 out of the 5 Partnership countries are members of the Union for the Mediterranean, and we hope that Libya will soon establish channels of collaboration with us and become again part of the Mediterranean regional framework where 43 countries, European institutions and the Arab League work together in common projects.
I would like to convey three main messages:
First, the success of the current process of change in the region will depend on two elements: the completion of a balanced and inclusive political transition and the development of economic opportunities, mainly for the young generations that are at the origin in these political changes. Young people in the Mediterranean strive to have a say and strive to have a job, they aspire to be citizens and they aspire to build a future for their countries, for their communities and their families.
Second, although what it happens in each country is what really matters, the regional dynamics are also important. Regional economic integration, regional cooperation, regional interconnections and infrastructures, will be critical for the economic prospects in the Mediterranean. We need to develop and support a collective system of dialogue and governance in the region and we need to support the Agadir Agreement between four countries present here today. The Agadir Agreement is a successful experience of regional economic integration that has increased trade between the countries and has contributed to develop an added value industry.
Third, I believe that the changes taking place in the region are an opportunity for the Union for the Mediterranean, as the Union for the Mediterranean represents an opportunity for the region. Last week, the 43 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean approved a set of projects on higher education and on women empowerment, and last July, a major infrastructure project was also approved: the construction of a 300 million euros desalination plan in the Gaza strip.
These projects are the first concrete results of a partnership based on projects. The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, that I represent, is the instrument, your instrument, to develop joint projects for the creation of jobs and for the construction of regional infrastructures.