Union for the Mediterranean
The ‘Barcelona Process: 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.
A few months later, on November 3-4, Foreign Ministers from the EU and the Mediterranean states came together and agreed on the institutional structures, the work programme for 2009, the fields of cooperation to be pursued and the state of progress in the implementation of projects decided.
One of the decisions taken at the Marseille meeting was to rename the ‘Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean’ as ‘Union for the Mediterranean'. They also decided that the League of Arab States would participate in all meetings at all levels.
On the structure of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), one of the decisions was that the co-presidency would apply to summits and meetings and that one of the co-presidents would be from the EU and the other from the Mediterranean partner countries. Barcelona was chosen as the seat of the Secretariat, according to the Declaration agreed by the Foreign Ministers.
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; and by making these relations more concrete and visible through additional regional and subregional projects, relevant for the citizens of the region."
The Paris Summit, co-chaired by the French and Egyptian Presidents, had brought together 43 European and Mediterranean States, the Community institutions and regional organisations.
An outline of what was decided at the Paris meeting can be found by clicking here, and another on the meeting of the Foreign Ministers is available here.
In March 2010, the Barcelona Headquarters of the UfM’s Secretariat were inaugurated. The headquarters are housed in the emblematic Palacio de Pedralbes, once the Barcelona residence of the Spanish royal family. On the same day the first Secretary General of the Secretariat, Ahmad Masa’deh, was presented. Ahmad Masa’deh resigned in February 2011 and Dr. Lino Cardarelli was appointed interim Secretary General of the UfM Secretariat.
In a press release the then EU Presidency, Spain, said this new stage in Euro-Mediterranean relations is intended to achieve a more dynamic association of EU countries and their Mediterranean partners. The new UfM Secretariat represents both an opportunity and a hope for the whole region, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle said at the inauguration ceremony.
The Secretariat would make proposals for joint initiatives to be decided by the political bodies and would ensure the follow-up of project related decisions of the Summit, according to an EU press release. The tasks of the Secretariat would include the gathering of project initiatives for instance from civil society, private sector or national or regional authorities, their examination and proposal. Once projects are approved by the Summit (Heads of State or Government), the Secretariat is responsible for the follow-up by promoting the project and searching for partners for implementation.
Since the launch of the UfM, a number of meetings have been held on a ministrial level, to agree on policy priorities. At the same time, the Parliamentary Assembly of the UfM (PA-UfM) has continued to meet on a regular basis.
A Euromed Local and Regional Assembly (ARLEM) and a Joint Assembly of EU and Mediterranean Civil Society have been set up to support this initiative and have a voice in developments.
Below are some links on this initiative:
Marseilles Declaration (Foreign Ministers - 4 November 2008)
European Parliament and UfM webpage
ENPI Info Centre UfM news search