- The fifth edition of the UfM Regional Forum commemorated the launch of the Barcelona Process in 1995 as Foreign Affairs Ministers from UfM Member States gathered virtually today.
- UfM Member States declared 28 November as the ‘International Day of the Mediterranean’, to be observed from now on each year with a view to fostering a common Mediterranean identity while promoting intercultural exchanges and embracing the diversity of the region.
- UfM Ministers took stock of the progress achieved to date and discussed the way forward to build inclusive and resilient societies, especially taking into account the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on economic growth and social cohesion.
- The UfM Regional Forum was preceded by an EU-Southern Neighbourhood Ministerial Meeting to decide the best way forward together when renewing their partnership as defined in the new European Neighbourhood Policy. A virtual Civil Society Forum also took place to showcase 25 regional cooperation initiatives promoted by civil society on key areas ranging from climate change and women’s empowerment to youth unemployment.
Barcelona, Online, 27 November 2020 – The 5th Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Forum was held today virtually under the title ‘25years: Building a Stronger Mediterranean’. Consolidated as the annual gathering of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the UfM Member States, the Regional Forum provided the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to the principles of the Barcelona Process and reiterate their engagement in Euro-Mediterranean dialogue and cooperation, as well as to highlight where the UfM needs to redouble its efforts in order to meet current and future challenges.
Coinciding with the anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration of 1995, which laid the foundations for the creation of the UfM, the creation of the ‘International Day of the Mediterranean’ was also announced by all UfM Member States and will be observed on 28 November every year. The celebration’s aim is to help foster a common Mediterranean identity and raise awareness of the efforts undertaken across the region by stakeholders on a daily basis to enhance cooperation and integration in the Euro-Mediterranean area. The cultural dimension will also be an important component as it will provide an occasion to hold events, exhibitions and festivals across the region with a view to strengthening ties between the two shores, promoting intercultural exchange and dialogue, and embracing the diversity of the region.
The Regional Forum was chaired by the UfM Co-Presidency, assumed by Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, and Ayman Safadi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Jordan, and hosted by Arancha González Laya, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain and Nasser Kamel, UfM Secretary General.
Nasser Kamel, UfM Secretary General, stated: “This anniversary comes at a time of great disruption for the region, compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis with severe economic and social impacts. COVID-19 is a stark reminder of the need for tangible cooperation across borders, sectors and peoples. However, we should not forget the hard-earned progress of the last 25 years, nor give up on regaining the momentum that has thus far marked our collective endeavours. Thanks to the human capital and immense potential of the region, our story must continue as one of hope as we build the future we all want to see.”
- Official conclusions by the UfM Co-Presidency
- Videos of the opening ceremonies, press conference, etc.
About the Barcelona Process
The Barcelona Process was launched in 1995 with the aim of strengthening relations between Europe and the Southern Mediterranean countries. This expression of good faith and the recognition that closer ties were in everyone’s interest would later lead to the creation of the Union for the Mediterranean. During these 25 years, hundreds of initiatives have served as examples of this commitment in action. From large-scale international projects to local initiatives, a consolidated network of cooperation has gradually developed and directly impacted the lives of millions of citizens. Since 2008, the UfM has introduced a more structured and pragmatic framework of cooperation that works to tackle the root causes of the crises we face today.
Voices of the Mediterranean
In an effort to put the spotlight on the importance of cooperation and development in our region by focusing on human stories, as well as highlight a common Mediterranean identity, personalities from all walks of life – politics, institutions, musicians, scientists, explorers – share their personal journey of life in the Mediterranean and their hopes for the region. European Parliament President, David Sassoli, violinist Ara Malikian, explorer Bertrand Piccard, Michelin Star Chef Alan Geeam, and Taekwondo champion Lina Khalifeh, among others, have participated in this campaign. Their video-interviews and opinion articles are available here