Barcelona, 23 October, 2013. The First Economic Forum of the Western Mediterranean (Dialogue 5+5), which took place today at the headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean, brought together more than 300 participants from the ten countries of the 5+5 Dialogue. Gathering business leaders and high-level representatives from major enterprises and employers’ associations from the Western Mediterranean, the event aimed at strengthening the economic cooperation between Western European countries and the Maghreb region.
Conceived as a platform for debate and identification of concrete areas of cooperation, the Forum sessions focused on the role of the Western Mediterranean in a global economy; the economic cooperation between Europe, Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa; public services and sustainable urban development; Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as vectors of business development and economic growth; project funding for development; and Mediterranean arbitration.
Acknowledging the commitment of the Member States to boost their cooperation in search of a result-based cooperation, regional cooperation projects identified within the framework of the 5+5 Dialogue are being implemented through the operational capacities of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).
Portugal and Mauritania, as co-presidencies of the 5+5 Dialogue, Spain as host country, the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) and Casa Mediterráneo co-organised the event.
About the 5+5 Dialogue
The 5+5 Dialogue, was officially launched in Rome in 1990 as an informal sub-regional forum whose main aim was to foster relations and cooperation between European countries and the newly born Arab Maghreb Union. Since then, further high-level conferences have taken place involving sectorial issues such as Migration, Defence, Transport, Tourism, Education, or Environmental Issues and Renewable Energy, among others.
Following the last Summit of the Western Mediterranean Forum, held in Malta on 5-6 October 2012, the Heads of State and Government of the 10 countries mandated the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean to organize the first Economic Forum of the Western Mediterranean in Barcelona in 2013.
The 5+5 Dialogue comprises the following countries: Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia.