The Barcelona Process is a unique and ambitious initiative that laid the foundations of a new regional partnership representing a turning point in Euro-Mediterranean relations. The ministers of Foreign Affairs of the EU and 12 southern and eastern Mediterranean countries held in 1995 the first Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Barcelona and signed an agreement to launch the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Process. The Barcelona Process was born as a new dialogue framework out of a vocation to convert the Mediterranean region into a common space for peace, stability, security and shared socio-economic progress and dialogue between peoples.
In the Barcelona Declaration, the Euro-Mediterranean partners established three main objectives of the Partnership:
- Definition of a common area of peace and stability through the reinforcement of political and security dialogue (Political and Security Basket).
- Construction of a zone of shared prosperity through an economic and financial partnership and the gradual establishment of a free-trade area (Economic and Financial Basket).
- Rapprochement between peoples through a social, cultural and human partnership aimed at encouraging understanding between cultures and exchanges between civil societies (Social, Cultural and Human Basket)
This expression of good faith and the recognition that closer ties were in everyone’s interest would lead later to the creation of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) in 2008.