Barcelona, 2 February 2015. Three Committees of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM) held their working sessions at the UfM headquarters in Barcelona. These sessions gathered more than 100 parliamentarians from 35 UfM member States and the European Parliament to discuss and exchange views on economic, social and security challenges in the region.
The meetings provided an opportunity to highlight the need to reinforce the already active cooperation between the UfM Secretariat and the PA-UfM. They also served as a forum for proactive discussions to address key strategic issues for the region such as mobility and migration, youth employment, economic opportunities and women’s empowerment, in which the Secretariat has developed a growing number of significant initiatives.
The 20th anniversary of the Barcelona Process in 2015, the new perspectives of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the growing security challenges in the region lay the groundwork for a strengthened Euro-Mediterranean common agenda, which UfM institutions such as the Parliamentary Assembly and the Secretariat are working on, within the framework of their respective mandates.
The session of the Committee on Improving Quality of Life, Exchanges between Civil Societies and Culture took place on 23 January and focused on migration as a socio-economic growth factor. It was chaired by Khalid Chaouki, a member of the Italian Parliament, with the participation of the Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ignacio Ybáñez Rubio.
The Committee on Economic and Financial Issues, Social Affairs and Education took place on 26 January and was chaired by Ali Ercoşkun, Parliamentarian at the Turkish National Assembly. Amongst many others, the Committee’s three Vice Chairs will be in attendance: Brice Hortefeux, former Interior Affairs Minister of France; Antonio D’Alì, former Deputy Secretary of State in the Italian Ministry for the Interior; and Ouadia Benabdellah, member of the Moroccan Parliament. This Committee focused on the economic aspects of migration and the promotion of investment in the Mediterranean.
The Committee on Political Affairs, Security and Human Rights took place on 30 January and was chaired by Renato Soru, Italian member of the European Parliament, and also attended by Elena Valenciano, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights in the European Parliament.
2015 will be a year of intense activity with UfM parliamentarians. The UfM Secretariat will participate in high level meetings with EU parliamentarians to discuss the Neighbourhood Policy and UfM activities. The Secretary General is also expected to attend the second Summit of Speakers of Parliaments and the PA-UfM Plenary Session in May 2015 in Lisbon, Portugal.