Reviewing Euro-Mediterranean relations: UfM as the common regional framework for dialogue and cooperation
Barcelona, 9 October, 2015. The Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Fathallah Sijilmassi, participated in the EuroMeSCo General Annual Conference and General Assembly held today in Milan, Italy, and opened by Paolo Gentiloni, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy.
This year’s Annual Conference entitled “Reviewing Euro-Mediterranean relations” aimed at examining which policy and instruments could respond effectively to the changing geopolitical framework and foster effective cooperation with the Mediterranean Partner Countries.
During the 2-day conference, participants analysed the relations between the EU and the Southern Mediterranean partner countries in the current regional context marked by the humanitarian crisis due to the migration flows and the ongoing consultation for the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) review that will be issued next November. They discussed on the challenges lying ahead, including internal ad transnational developments in three main dimensions of cooperation: politics and security, socio-economic and social, human and cultural, and reason of means for greater cooperation in these three areas.
The Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean highlighted that “the increasing magnitude today of the challenges, illegal migration, fight against terrorism, need for a strengthened intercultural and interreligious dialogue, further highlight the interconnected strategic interests between the countries of the region”. “We need to address the root causes of the security challenges, as well as the socio-economic and sustainable development issues, as embodied by the UfM structured, multi-partner, impact oriented approach”, he added.
“The Euro-Mediterranean partnership is at the forefront of both the EU’s foreign policy as well as for the Mediterranean countries” recalled Sijilmassi. “The willingness by the countries of the region to have a common regional framework is today embodied in the Union for the Mediterranean; it is the Mediterranean intergovernmental regional framework”, he concluded.
EuroMesCo (the Euro- Mediterranean Study Commission) is the main network of research center on politics and security in the Mediterranean. EuroMeSCo was set in 1996 with the goal of fostering research, information and social relations among its members as well as acting as a confidence-building measure in the framework of the Barcelona process. EuroMeSCo comprises 100 institutes coming from 32 countries out of the 43 members of the Union for the Mediterranean.