29 and 30 January 2019, Barcelona. A delegation of parliamentarians from the EPP Group composed of Andrey Kovatchev (Bulgaria), Santiago Fisas (Spain) and Francis Zammit Dimech (Malta) visited the headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), in Barcelona, on 29-30 January, 2019. This visit is part of a series of discussions organized with parliamentarians from UfM Member-States aimed at presenting ongoing flagship projects and initiatives promoted by the organisation.
The members of the European Parliament (MEPs) met with the UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel and other UfM representatives to discuss how to strengthen synergies and partnerships to jointly tackle common challenges in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The Secretary General briefed the parliamentarians on the UfM’s activities in promoting Euro-Mediterranean dialogue and in supporting regional and sub-regional projects of cooperation. Identifying the most pressing regional challenges, notably migration, they agreed on the importance of the UfM ‘s strategy to focus on the root causes through the support of concrete projects of cooperation in areas like civic education, gender equality, employability, regional integration and social and economic development, amongst others.
UfM Secretary General Kamel said: “Visits by members of the EPP contribute to the consolidation of the UfM’s Euro-Mediterranean cooperation model as defined by the Paris Declaration of 2008. The European Parliament, in particular, can play a very important role in support of this comprehensive and integrated effort to promote dialogue and development in the Euro-Mediterranean region. We are very honored to count on the EPP Group’s continued engagement and support.”
EPP Group’s Vice Chair responsible for Enlargement and Mediterranean Policy, Andrey Kovatchev, stated: “The work of the UfM is of paramount importance, and therefore we should work together to enhance the cooperation between the UfM and its Parliamentary Assembly.”
UfM representatives presented various projects and initiatives on human and sustainable development, namely the project Fostering Responsible Citizens and the initiative Plastic Busters, which was welcomed by the MEPs for its positive impact on the reduction of plastics in the Mediterranean and its benefit to the tourism economy. The Mediterranean Initiative for Jobs (Med4jobs), which aims to increase the employability of youth and women as well as close the gap between labour demand and supply, the Euro-Mediterranean University of Fes, the UfM Water Agenda or the project for the Water Desalination Plant in Gaza were especially greeted by the parliamentarians as examples of high-relevance projects for the development of the Euro-Mediterranean region.
Furthermore, the delegation had the opportunity to exchange views with UfM key stakeholders such as the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean (PRIMA), a joint initiative of 19 Euro-Mediterranean countries that aims to promote sustainable innovation and research capacities and solutions in the region, the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and the NGO Ideaborn, promoter of the UfM labelled project “Forming Responsible Citizens”.
This visit comes in the context of the UfM Secretariat’s support to its Parliamentary dimension, notably during the tenure of the European Parliament’s Presidency of the Plenary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM).