During his working visit to Madrid on 18 January 2017, UfM Secretary General Sijilmassi, accompanied by UfM Deputy Secretary General for Water and Environment, Miguel García-Herraiz, and Spokesperson Sergi Farré, both Spanish diplomats seconded to the UfM Secretariat, held his first working meeting with Alfonso María Dastis Quecedo, appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain last November. He also met with the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ignacio Ybáñez, and International Cooperation, Fernando García Casas, with the Director of Spain’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Luis Tejada, and other high officials of the Ministry.
They discussed the Euro-Mediterranean agenda and focused on the strategic partnership between the UfM and Spain, a vital Member State, one of its main contributors and host to its Secretariat.
The UfM Secretary General informed the Spanish authorities about the state of play of UfM projects and activities. Spain reiterated its strong support for the UfM and its appreciation for the work conducted by the Secretariat, which has so far implemented 47 regional cooperation projects across the Mediterranean worth €5.3 billion thanks to the unanimous support of its 43 Member States.
The Spanish authorities exchanged views with the Secretary General on UfM activities in human development and sustainable regional development and cooperation in the Mediterranean. Discussions also emphasised the preparations for the Second UfM Regional Forum which Spain is hosting in Barcelona on 23-24 January 2017.
Building on the success of the first event held in Barcelona in November 2015, the Second UfM Regional Forum will focus on our young people’s potential as a driving force for stability and development and will be a timely opportunity to further amplify and accelerate a coordinated agenda for action within the Euro-Mediterranean region.
More than 300 participants including Ministers, representatives of civil society and the private sector, regional actors, international financial institutions and socioeconomic project promoters will address the most pressing needs of Mediterranean youth by sharing concrete initiatives and efficient partnerships and promoting relevant frameworks for financing regional priorities.