Berlin, 5 October 2017. With this joint declaration the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) enter into a stronger partnership that seeks to push forward regional integration, support the creation of a wide range of employment opportunities, in particular for young women and men, and boost trade within the region and beyond. To achieve these goals, the BMZ will support the UfM Secretariat with a €2 million advisory project for the years 2017-2019.
“We must put greater emphasis again on viewing the Mediterranean as an area of cooperation. In order to achieve security and development, a strong partnership is needed between Europe and Africa. Our common goal must be to open up opportunities for a good common future for the many young people in North Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The Union for the Mediterranean provides a good basis for this,” said Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Silberhorn.
“The Union for the Mediterranean is an action-oriented organisation designed to build and operationalise a positive agenda for the region. The agreement with the BMZ is a concrete and substantial contribution to UfM activities and overall regional efforts towards the three strategic objectives of human development, stability and integration,” said Sudqi Al-Omoush, UfM Deputy Secretary General for Business Development.
The two parties exchanged views on the current challenges of the region, including unemployment and migration. Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries face high rates of unemployment, especially among young people, and low inclusion of women in the labour market. At the same time, enhancing regional integration and trade within the Euro-Mediterranean region would create favourable conditions for greater economic growth and prosperity. German development cooperation activities have already provided considerable job opportunities in the MENA region. The UfM has placed youth empowerment and job creation at the core of its Mediterranean Initiative for Jobs (Med4Jobs). By joining forces, the UfM and the BMZ seek to scale up these efforts to create better and long-term prospects for the people in the region.