Efforts will continue to enhance regional, sub-regional and inter-regional cooperation with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) as a focal point.
The European Commission and countries from the Union for the Mediterranean’s Eastern and Southern regions celebrated in November 2020 the 25th anniversary of the launch of their partnership, the “Barcelona Process”. This was a timely opportunity to reflect on the strategic partnership with the region in light of the governance, socio–economic, climate, environmental and security challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Following consultations with the Southern Mediterranean countries to relaunch and strengthen the strategic partnership, the EU Commission and the High Representative adopted yesterday an ambitious and innovative new Agenda for the Mediterranean.
The Agenda aims to join forces in fighting climate change and speeding up the green and digital transitions, to renew the commitment to shared values, to jointly address forced displacement and migration, and to strengthen the unity of the EU, its Member States and the Southern Mediterranean countries in promoting peace and security in the Mediterranean region. It proposes a range of actions along the following key policy areas:
- Human development, good governance and the rule of law
- Strengthen resilience, build prosperity and seize the digital transition
- Peace and security
- Migration and mobility
- Green transition: climate resilience, energy, and environment
UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel embraced the new Agenda and stated: “We welcome the EU’s renewed confidence in the UfM indispensable role to enhance regional cooperation and as a privileged dialogue forum for its 42 Member States. In the framework of the 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Process, the EU’s renewed partnership with the Southern Mediterranean countries and its accompanying Economic and Investment Plan will help to address the pressing challenges facing our region today. The new Agenda is based on the shared conviction that by working together and in a spirit of partnership, at the bilateral, multi-country and regional levels, we can turn common challenges into opportunities for our common Euro-Mediterranean region.”
EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: “This Communication sends a crucial message about the importance we attach to our Southern Neighbourhood., We need to renew our mutual efforts and act closely together as partners, in the interest of all of us. This is what this new Agenda is all about. We are determined to work together with our Southern Partners on a new Agenda that will focus on people, especially women and youth, and help them meet their hopes for the future, enjoy their rights and build a peaceful, secure, more democratic, greener, prosperous and inclusive Southern Neighbourhood.”
EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi added: “With the Renewed Partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood we are presenting a new beginning in our relations with our Southern partners. Based on common interests and common challenges; developed together with our neighbours. It shows that Europe wants to contribute directly to a long-term vision of prosperity and stability of the region, especially in the social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. In close dialogue with our partners, we have identified a number of priority sectors, from creating growth and jobs, investing in human capital or good governance. We consider migration to be a common challenge, where we are ready to work together to fight irregular migration and smugglers together with our partners as it is a risk for all of us. We will work together to bring real change on the ground for the benefit of both our neighbours and Europe!”
In 1995, the Barcelona Declaration launched the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership with the objective to create an area of peace, shared prosperity, and human and cultural exchanges. The last European Neighbourhood Policy review took place in 2015.
For More Information
article published by the Union for the Mediterranean https://ufmsecretariat.org/
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