• The Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Fathallah Sijilmassi, participated at the 13th Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 5+5 Dialogue, hosted by France in Marseille on 28 October.
• Ministers discussed current pressing regional challenges and socio-economic cooperation, focusing on youth and employment.
• The final declaration highlights the importance of UfM projects and activities and its role in facilitating the concertation and complementarity between the different Euro-Mediterranean cooperation frameworks and initiatives.
Marseille, 28 October 2016. The Foreign Ministers of the “5+5 Dialogue”, which includes 5 countries from the Northern shore of the Mediterranean (France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain) and 5 from the Southern shore (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia) met today in Marseille, France. The Meeting was co-presided by H.E. Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of the French Republic and H.E. Mr. Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco.
The Meeting also saw the participation of H.E. Mr. Ramtane Lamamra, Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of Algeria, H.E. Mr. Paolo Gentiloni, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Italian Republic, H.E. Mr. Mohamad Taher Siala, Foreign Minister of the Libyan Government of National Unity, H.E. Mr. George Vella, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Malta, H.E. Mr. Ould Ahmed Isselkou Izid Bih, Minister of Foreign Affairs and cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, H.E. Mr. Khemaies Jhinaoui, Foreign Minister of Tunisia, H.E. Mr. Ignacio Ybanez, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Spain and H.E. Ms Margarida Marques, Secretary of State for European Affairs of the Portuguese Republic, Mr. Taieb Baccouche, Secretary General of the Arab Maghreb Union, Mr. Hatem Atallah, Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation, and Mr. Fathallah Sijilmassi, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean.
The Ministers discussed pressing common challenges, mainly related to migration and economic and social development. Mr. Fathallah Sijilmassi presented the current development of UfM regional cooperation activities addressing the root causes of these challenges notably those focusing on human development, youth and women empowerment as key drivers for stability and development in the Mediterranean.
The Ministers adopted a Declaration stressing their will to continue strengthening cooperation and complementarity between the different frames and modalities of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation: the 5+5 Dialogue, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Anna Lindh Foundation, the European Union, and the Union of Arab Maghreb.
They reaffirmed the priority of job creation and training and professional integration of young people in the framework of the renewed European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). They highlighted and welcomed in this regard the UfM labelled projects and initiatives, particularly the integrated regional programme on employment Med4Jobs (Mediterranean Initiative for Jobs), the Euro-Mediterranean University of Fes, and HOMERe (High Opportunity for Mediterranean Executive Recruitment).
Ministers stressed the need to place youth at the heart of cooperation and exchange programs between the two shores of the Mediterranean in their economic but also political, social and cultural dimensions.
They welcomed the concrete actions developed in favor of the environment in the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean such as the project for the protection of the lake of Bizerte in Tunisia against pollution.
Ministers also encouraged the pursuance of ongoing work on the Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the Western Mediterranean, underlining the important role of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean in this regard.