Madrid, 24 March 2015. A high-level delegation of the UfM Secretariat headed by the Secretary General Fathallah Sijilmassi participated in the 2nd Dialogue 5+5 Ministerial Conference on Research, Innovation and Higher Education conveyed by Spain on 23-24 March 2015 in Madrid.
The Ministers underlined “the role that higher education, research and innovation play in growth improvement and job creation in the Western Mediterranean area in the context of the work carried out by the UfM”. They exchanged views on the situation in their respective countries, in particular with regards to graduates’ unemployment but also concerning the skills mismatch between education and the labour market.
Building on the activities undertaken since the 1st Dialogue 5+5 Ministerial Conference of Rabat in 2013, the Ministers endorsed a work programme for 2015-2016 which defines concrete steps to move forward the cooperation in this field.
The UfM Secretariat was invited to act as the operational institution responsible for ensuring the efficient implementation and follow-up of the agreed joint actions taken in the framework of Dialogue 5+5 on Higher Education, Research and Innovation. This is consistent with the UfM Secretariat’s ever closer engagement with the 5+5 Dialogue on these fields: one of the experts preparatory meeting of this Second Ministerial Conference on Research, Innovation and Higher Education of the Western Mediterranean Forum – 5+5 Dialogue was co-organised by the UfM Secretariat at its headquarters in Barcelona on 28-29 January 2015.
The Euro-Mediterranean University of Fes, flagship project of the UfM, was highlighted by many countries as a successful example of regional cooperation. “The graduates of the Euro-Mediterranean University of Fes will be the ambassadors of a new generation of young professionals with a unique Euro-Mediterranean profile”, stated UfM Secretary General Fathallah Sijilmassi who also took the opportunity to present the UfM labelled projects and initiatives in the field of higher education & research and employability.
Furthermore, the Ministers expressed their full support to the joint programme proposal “Partnership in Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area” (PRIMA) based on the article 185 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which was recently submitted to the European Commission for assessment.
The Western Mediterranean Forum, commonly referred to as 5+5 Dialogue, is an informal political dialogue that brings together ten western Mediterranean countries: Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia. Its aim is to reinforce and enrich the political, economic and cultural dialogue between the two shores of the Mediterranean.
The 3rd Dialogue 5+5 Ministerial Conference on Research, Innovation and Higher Education will be held in Tunisia in 2017.