Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)


UfM: Relaunching the Barcelona Process
The ‘Union for the Mediterranean'‚ was launched in Paris on 13 July 2008 in a bid to give a new impulse to the Barcelona Process, according to the Joint Declaration adopted at the heads of state or government meeting.
According to the Paris Declaration, a new impulse would be achieved in at least three very important ways:
·         by upgrading the political level of the EU’s relationship with its Mediterranean partners;
·         by providing for further co-ownership to our multilateral relations;
·         by making these relations more concrete and visible through additional regional and subregional projects, relevant for the citizens of the region.
In launching the UfM, Heads of State and Government identified the following six priority areas:
•         De-pollution of the Mediterranean
•         Maritime and land highways
•         Civil protection
•         Alternative energies: Mediterranean solar plan
•         Higher education and research, Euro-Mediterranean University
•         The Mediterranean Business Initiative 
The Union for the Mediterranean encompasses the 27 EU member states, the European Commission and 16 Mediterranean countries. The Marseille meeting decided that the League of Arab States would participate in all meetings at all levels of the UfM.
The 43 member states of the UfM are:
Austria; Algeria; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croatia; The Czech Republic; Egypt; Finland; Germany; Hungary; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Malta; Monaco; Morocco; Portugal; Romania; Slovenia; Sweden; Tunisia; The United Kingdom; Albania; Belgium; Bulgaria; Cyprus; Denmark; Estonia; France; Greece; Ireland; Israel; Jordan; Lebanon; Luxemburg; Mauritania; Montenegro; The Netherlands; Palestine; Poland; Slovakia; Spain; Syria; Turkey.
The UfM is chaired by a co-presidency shared between the two shores. Since 2012, it is assumed by the European Union on the Northern side, ensuring a close link with the European Neighbourhood Policy, and by Jordan on the Southern side, allowing its full appropriation by the Southern countries. The co-presidency applies to all levels: summits, ministerial meetings, and officials’ level meetings.
UfM Secretariat – regional cooperation, projects, variable geometry
In March 2010, the Barcelona Headquarters of the UfM Secretariat were inaugurated, housed in the emblematic Palacio de Pedralbes, once the Barcelona residence of the Spanish royal family. Since 1 March 2012, Fathallah Sijilmassi has been Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean.
In an interview with the Tunisian media in September 2015, the UfM Secretary General emphasised that the UfM seeks to play a role in improving people’s lives in the Euro-Mediterranean region: “It is important that the various policies engaged in the region materialise through concrete actions, aiming to bring stability and development in the region. The objective of the Union for the Mediterranean is to promote projects and regional initiatives that have a direct impact on the lives of citizens.”
Previously, in a video interview conducted in 2013, Secretary General Sijilmassi said the UfM’s action plan was based on three main pillars:
·      Regional cooperation – “we believe that one of the keys to growth, and to employment and job creation is regional integration, so we try to promote regional cooperation.”
·      Concrete projects – “we actually implement projects having a benefit for the population, a benefit for growth and social development in the countries.”
·      Variable geometry – “we don’t need to implement all our projects with all the 43 countries, but we need to put it within the framework of the 43 countries – this is why we label the projects but then the implementation and the stakeholders can be in a certain number of countries.”
The mandate of the UfM Secretariat is focused on identifying, processing, promoting and coordinating projects, which enhance and strengthen cooperation, and impact directly on the livelihoods of citizens.
UfM Secretariat website
The UfM proactively gathers regional, sub-regional, or transnational projects in in six strategic priority areas which are business developmentsocial and civil affairshigher education and researchtransport and urban developmentwater and environment, and  energy and climate action.
While the size and scope of projects may vary – from micro-projects on employment and women entrepreneurship to macro initiatives such as the Mediterranean Solar Plan – they all share a strong political and economic relevance.
Projects can be proposed by national, regional and local authorities and institutions, the private sector, international institutions and civil society organizations.
Following examination and assessment of submissions, the Secretariat recommends projects for the UfM ‘label’, with the final decision taken by the Senior Officials’ Meetings of the 43 members.
Once a project receives the UfM ‘label’, the Secretariat works to facilitate its promotion, especially its financing needs, in collaboration and agreement with the project’s promoters. This requires the Secretariat contacting/discussing with funding banks and institutions, as well as assisting in removal of obstacles or impediments. Once financing arrangements have been finalised and the project launched, the Secretariat monitors its implementation, ensuring that criteria required for obtaining and keeping the UfM 'project label' are being met.
A list of UfM projects can be found here
Senior Officials’ Meetings
The partners of the Union for the Mediterranean meet on a regular basis at the level of Senior Officials of the Foreign Affairs departments of the 43 partner countries, EU institutions and the League of Arab States.
Senior Officials’ meetings (SOM) oversee and coordinate the work of the Union for the Mediterranean.They approve the budget and the work programme of the Secretariat and prepare meetings of Foreign Ministers. They also discuss the project proposals submitted by the Secretariat for approval and endorsement. Senior Officials take decisions by consensus.
Parliamentary Assembly - Union for Mediterranean (PA-UfM)
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean builds on the work of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly established in 2004 as the parliamentary dimension of the Partnership set up by the 1995 Barcelona Declaration.
The PA-UfM consists of 280 members, equally distributed between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean. The PA-UfM holds at least one plenary session per year. It adopts resolutions or recommendations – though these are not legally binding – on all aspects of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation that concern the executive organs of the UfM, the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the national governments of partner countries.
Euro-Mediterranean Local and Regional Assembly (ARLEM)
ARLEM is a consultative assembly, which aims to increase the involvement of local and regional actors in the Union for the Mediterranean and to give it a territorial dimension. It gathers 84 Members from the 43 UfM member states, who are representatives of regions and local bodies holding a regional or local authority mandate. The inaugural ARLEM meeting took place on 21 January 2010 at the Pedralbes Palace in Barcelona.
Useful links
UfM Secretariat website
Paris Declaration (Heads of State - 13 July 2008)
Marseilles Declaration (Foreign Ministers - 4 November 2008)
European Commission – Background memo (10 July 2009)


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