Union for the Mediterranean

Union for the Mediterranean

Union for the Mediterranean member states
Formation 13 July 2008
Headquarters Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Region served
Official language
Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Secretary General
Fathallah Sijilmassi
Website ufmsecretariat.org

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organization of 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin: the 28 member states of the European Union and 15 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Europe.

It was created in July 2008 at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean, with a view to reinforcing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) that was set up in 1995 and known as the Barcelona Process.

The Union has the aim of promoting stability and prosperity throughout the Mediterranean region. It is a forum for discussing regional strategic issues, based on the principles of shared ownership, shared decision-making and shared responsibility between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Its main goal is to increase both North-South and South-South integration in the Mediterranean region, in order to support the countries’ socioeconomic development and ensure stability in the region. The actions of the organization fall under three, interrelated priorities[1] - regional human development, regional integration and regional stability. To this end, it identifies and supports regional projects and initiatives of different sizes, to which it gives its label, following a consensual decision among the forty-three countries.


Flags of UfM members, located at the Royal Palace of Pedralbes, in Barcelona (UfM headquarters)

The members of the Union of the Mediterranean are the following:



Antecedents: Barcelona Process

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, also known as the Barcelona Process, was created in 1995 as a result of the Conference of Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Foreign Affairs held in Barcelona on 27 and 28 November under the Spanish presidency of the EU. The founding act of the Partnership in 1995 and Final Declaration of the Barcelona Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference is called the Barcelona Declaration,[9] which is often used to refer to the Process itself.

The Partnership culminated a series of attempts by European countries to articulate their relations with their North African and Middle Eastern neighbours: the global Mediterranean policy (1972–1992) and the renovated Mediterranean policy (1992–1995).[10]

Javier Solana opened the conference by saying that they were brought together to straighten out the "clash of civilizations" and misunderstandings that there had been between them, and that it "was auspicious" that they had convened on the 900th anniversary of the First Crusade. He described the conference as a process to foster cultural and economic unity in the Mediterranean region. The Barcelona Treaty was drawn up by the 27 countries in attendance, and Solana, who represented Spain as its foreign minister during the country's turn at the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, was credited with the diplomatic accomplishment.

According to the 1995 Barcelona Declaration, the aim of the initiative was summed up as: "turning the Mediterranean basin into an area of dialogue, exchange and cooperation guaranteeing peace, stability and prosperity."[11] The Declaration established the three main objectives of the Partnership, called "baskets" (i.e. strands or facets):

  1. Definition of a common area of peace and stability through the reinforcement of political and security dialogue (Political and Security Basket).
  2. Construction of a zone of shared prosperity through an economic and financial partnership and the gradual establishment of a free-trade area (Economic and Financial Basket).
  3. Rapprochement between peoples through a social, cultural and human partnership aimed at encouraging understanding between cultures and exchanges between civil societies (Social, Cultural and Human Basket).

The European Union stated the intention of the partnership was "to strengthen its relations with the countries in the Mashreq and Maghreb regions". Both Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat had high praises for Solana's coordination of the Barcelona Process. The Barcelona Process, developed after the Conference in successive annual meetings, is a set of goals designed to lead to a free trade area in the Mediterranean Basin by 2010.

The agenda of the Barcelona Process is:

The Barcelona Process comprises three "baskets", in EU jargon, or strands:

The Euro-Mediterranean free trade area (EU-MEFTA) is based on the Barcelona Process and European Neighbourhood Policy. The Agadir Agreement of 2004 is seen as its first building block.

At the time of its creation, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership comprised 27 member countries: 15 from the European Union and 12 Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey). As a result of the European Union's enlargements of 2004 and 2007 the number of EU member states grew up to 27, and two of the Mediterranean partner countries — Cyprus and Malta — became part of the European Union. The EU enlargement changed the configuration of the Barcelona Process from "15+12" to "27+10."[12] Albania and Mauritania joined the Barcelona Process in 2007, raising the number of participants to 39.[13]

Euromediterranean Summit 2005

The 10th anniversary Euromediterranean summit was held in Barcelona on 27–28 November 2005. Full members of the Barcelona Process were:

Moreover, the Barcelona Process included 6 countries and institutions participating as permanent observers (Libya, Mauritania, the Secretary-General of the Arab League) and invited observers, such as the European Investment Bank, the Arab Maghreb Union, the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, the Economical and Social Committee or the Euromed Economical and Social Councils.

According to the ISN, "Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were the only leaders from the Mediterranean countries to attend, while those of Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt were not present."

From the official web site, "The new realities and challenges of the 21st century make it necessary to update the Barcelona Declaration and create a new Action Plan (based on the good results of the Valencia Action Plan), encompassing four fundamental areas":[14]

Regional aspects

Regional dialogue represents one of the most innovative aspects of the Partnership, covering at the same time the political, economic and cultural fields (regional co-operation). Regional co-operation has a considerable strategic impact as it deals with problems that are common to many Mediterranean Partners while it emphasises the national complementarities.

The multilateral dimension supports and complements the bilateral actions and dialogue taking place under the Association Agreements.

Since 2004 the Mediterranean Partners are also included in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and since 2007 are funded via the ENPI.

The Euromed Heritage Programme

As a result of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the Euromed Heritage program was formed. This program has been active since 1998, and has been involved in programs to identify the cultural heritages of Mediterranean states, promote their preservation, and educate the peoples of partner countries about their cultural heritages.[15]


By some analysts, the process has been declared ineffective. The stalling of the Middle East Peace Process is having an impact on the Barcelona Process and is hindering progress especially in the first basket. The economic basket can be considered a success, and there have been more projects for the exchange on a cultural level and between the peoples in the riparian states. Other criticism is mainly based on the predominant role the European Union is playing. Normally it is the EU that is assessing the state of affairs, which leads to the impression that the North is dictating the South what to do. The question of an enhanced co-ownership of the process has repeatedly been brought up over the last years.

Being a long-term process and much more complex than any other similar project, it may be many years before a final judgment can be made.

Bishara Khader argues that this ambitious European project towards its Mediterranean neighbours has to be understood in a context of optimism. On the one hand, the European Community was undergoing important changes due to the reunification of Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the beginning of the adhesion negotiations of Eastern and Central European countries. On the other, the Arab-Israeli conflict appeared to be getting closer to achieving peace after the Madrid Conference (1991) and the Oslo Accords (1992). As well, Khader states that the Gulf War of 1991, the Algerian crisis (from 1992 onwards) and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism throughout the Arab world are also important factors in Europe's new relations with the Mediterranean countries based on security concerns.[16]

Criticism of the Barcelona Process escalated after the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Summit in Barcelona in 2005, which was broadly considered a failure.[17] First, the absence of Heads of State and Government from the Southern Mediterranean countries (with the exception of the Palestinian and Turkish ones) heavily contrasted with the attendance of the 27 European Union's Heads of State and Government.[18] Second, the lack of consensus to define the term "terrorism" prevented the endorsement of a final declaration. The Palestinian Authority, Syria and Algeria argued that resistance movements against foreign occupation should not be included in this definition.[19] Nevertheless, a code of conduct on countering terrorism and a five-year work program were approved at Barcelona summit of 2005.[20] both of which are still valid under the Union for the Mediterranean.[21]

For many, the political context surrounding the 2005 summit — the stagnation of the Middle East Peace Process, the US-led war on Iraq, the lack of democratisation in Arab countries, and the war on terror's negative effects on freedoms and human rights, among others — proved for many the inefficiency of the Barcelona Process for fulfilling its objectives of peace, stability and prosperity.[22] Given these circumstances, even politicians that had been engaged with the Barcelona Process since its very beginnings, like the Spanish politician Josep Borrell, expressed their disappointment about the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and its incapacity to deliver results.[23] Critiques from Southern Mediterranean countries blamed the Partnership's failure on Europe's lack of interest towards the Mediterranean in favour of its Eastern neighbourhood;[24] whereas experts from the North accused Southern countries of only being interested on "their own bi-lateral relationship with the EU" while downplaying multilateral policies.[23]

However, many European Union diplomats have defended the validity of the Barcelona Process' framework by arguing that the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership was the only forum that gathered Israelis and Arabs on equal footing[25]), and identifying as successes the Association Agreements, the Code of Conduct on Countering Terrorism and the establishment of the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures.[4]

On 2006 the first proposals for improving the Partnership's efficiency, visibility and co-ownership arouse, such as establishing a co-presidency system and a permanent secretariat or nominating a "Mr./Ms. Med."[26]

Mediterranean Union

As of 2007, on the initiative of France, States embark on a round negotiations to revive the process.

A proposal to establish a "Mediterranean Union", which would consist principally of Mediterranean states, was part of the election campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy during the French presidential election campaign in 2007. During the campaign Mr. Sarkozy said that the Mediterranean Union would be modelled on the European Union with a shared judicial area and common institutions.[27] Sarkozy saw Turkish membership of the Mediterranean Union as an alternative to membership of the European Union, which he opposes,[27] and as a forum for dialogue between Israel and its Arab Neighbours.[28]

Once elected, President Sarkozy invited all heads of state and government of the Mediterranean region to a meeting in June 2008 in Paris, with a view to laying the basis of a Mediterranean Union.[29]

The Mediterranean Union was enthusiastically supported by Egypt and Israel.[30] Turkey strongly opposed the idea and originally refused to attend the Paris conference until it was assured that membership of the Mediterranean Union was not being proposed as an alternative to membership of the EU.[31]

Among EU member states, the proposal was supported by Italy, Spain,[32] and Greece.[33]

However the European Commission and Germany were more cautious about the project. The European Commission saying that while initiatives promoting regional co-operation were good, it would be better to build them upon existing structures, notable among them being the Barcelona process. German chancellor Angela Merkel said the MU risked splitting and threatening the core of the EU. In particular she objected to the potential use of EU funds to fund a project which was only to include a small number of EU member states.[34] When Slovenia took the EU presidency at the beginning of 2008, the then Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša added to the criticism by saying: "We do not need a duplication of institutions, or institutions that would compete with EU, institutions that would cover part of the EU and part of the neighbourhood."[35]

Other criticisms of the proposal included concern about the relationship between the proposed MU and the existing Euromediterranean Partnership (Barcelona Process), which might reduce the effectiveness of EU policies in the region and allow the southern countries to play on the rivalries to escape unpopular EU policies. There were similar economic concerns in the loss of civil society and similar human rights based policies. Duplication of policies from the EU's police and judicial area was a further worry.[36]

At the start of 2008 Sarkozy began to modify his plans for the Mediterranean Union due to widespread opposition from other EU member states and the European Commission. At the end of February of that year, France's minister for European affairs, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, stated that "there is no Mediterranean Union" but rather a "Union for the Mediterranean" that would only be "completing and enriching" to existing EU structures and policy in the region.[37] Following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel it was agreed that the project would include all EU member states, not just those bordering the Mediterranean, and would be built upon the existing Barcelona process. Turkey also agreed to take part in the project following a guarantee from France that it was no longer intended as an alternative to EU membership.[31]

The proposed creation of common institutions,[38] and a Mediterranean Investment, which was to have been modelled on the European Investment Bank, was also dropped.[39]

In consequence the new Union for the Mediterranean would consist of regular meeting of the entire EU with the non-member partner states, and would be backed by two co-presidents and a secretariat.

Launch of the Union for the Mediterranean

At the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean (13 July 2008), the 43 Heads of State and Government from the Euro-Mediterranean region decided to launch the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean. It was presented as a new phase Euro-Mediterranean Partnership with new members and an improved institutional architecture which aimed to "enhance multilateral relations, increase co-ownership of the process, set governance on the basis of equal footing and translate it into concrete projects, more visible to citizens. Now is the time to inject a new and continuing momentum into the Barcelona Process. More engagement and new catalysts are now needed to translate the objectives of the Barcelona Declaration into tangible results."[21]

The Paris summit was considered a diplomatic success for Nicolas Sarzoky.[40] The French president had managed to gather in Paris all the Heads of State and Government from the 43 Euro-Mediterranean countries, with the exception of the kings of Morocco and Jordan.[41]

At the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Affairs held in Marseilles in November 2008, the Ministers decided to shorten the initiative's name to simply the "Union for the Mediterranean".[8]

This meeting concluded with a new joint declaration,[42] which completed the Paris Declaration by defining the organisational structure and the principles on which the UfM would be run. A rotating co-presidency was set up, held jointly by one EUmember country and one Mediterranean partner. France and Egypt were the first countries to hold this co-presidency. The presence of the Arab League at all meetings is written into the rules. A secretariat with a separate legal status and its own statutes was created. Its headquarters were established in Barcelona.

The fact that the Union for the Mediterranean is launched as a new phase of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership means that the Union accepts and commits to maintain the acquis of Barcelona, the purpose of which is to promote "peace, stability and prosperity" throughout the region (Barcelona, 2). Therefore, the four chapters of cooperation developed in the framework of the Barcelona Process during thirteen years remain valid:[21]

The objective to establish a Free Trade Area in the Euro-Mediterranean region by 2010 (and beyond), first proposed at the 1995 Barcelona Conference, was also endorsed by the Paris Summit of 2008.[21]

In addition to these four chapters of cooperation, the 43 Ministers of Foreign Affairs gathered in Marseilles on November 2008 identified six concrete projects that target specific needs of the Euro-Mediterranean regions and that will enhance the visibility of the Partnership:[43]

2008 - 2010: First years

A summit of heads of state and government is intended to be held every two years to foster political dialogue at the highest level. According to the Paris Declaration:

The first summit was held in Paris in July 2008. The second summit should have taken place in a non-EU country in July 2010 but the Euro-Mediterranean countries agreed to hold the summit in Barcelona on 7 June 2010, under the Spanish presidency of the EU, instead.[49] However, on 20 May the Egyptian and French co-presidency along with Spain decided to postpone the summit, in a move which they described as being intended to give more time to the indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that had started that month. In contrast, the Spanish media blamed the postponement on the Arab threat to boycott the summit if Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended the Foreign Affairs conference prior to the summit.[50]

At the time of the Paris summit, France — which was in charge of the EU presidency — and Egypt held the co-presidency. Since then, France had been signing agreements with the different rotator presidencies of the EU (the Czech Republic, Sweden and Spain) in order to maintain the co-presidency for alongside Egypt.[4] The renewal of the co-presidency was supposed to happen on the second Union for the Mediterranean Summit. However, due to the two postponements of the summit, there has been no chance to decide which countries will take over the co-presidency.

The conflict between Turkey and Cyprus has been responsible for the delay in the endorsement of the statutes of the Secretariat,[51] which were only approved in March 2010 even though the Marseille declaration set May 2009 as the deadline for the Secretariat to start functioning.[52] At the Paris summit, the Heads of State and Government agreed to establish five Deputy Secretaries General from Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta and the Palestinian Authority. Turkey's desire to have a Deputy Secretary General and Cyprus' rejection of it, resulted in months of negotiation until Cyprus finally approved the creation of a sixth Deputy Secreaty General post assigned to a Turkish citizen.[51]

Due to its seriousness, the Arab-Israeli conflict is the one that most deeply affects the Union for the Mediterranean.[53] As a result of an armed conflict between Israel and Gaza from December 2008 to January 2009, the Arab Group refused to meet at high level, thus blocking all the ministerial meetings scheduled for the first half of 2009.[54] As well, the refusal of the Arab Ministers of Foreign Affairs to meet with their Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, resulted in the cancellation of two ministerial meetings on Foreign Affairs on November 2009 and June 2010.[55] Sectorial meetings of the Union for the Mediterranean have also been affected by Israel's actions against the Palestinian civilian population under its occupation. At the Euro-Mediterranean ministerial meeting on Water, held in Barcelona on April 2010, the Water Strategy was not approved due to a terminological disagreement of whether to refer to territories claimed by Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese as "occupied territories" or "territories under occupation."[56] Two other ministerial meetings, on higher education and agriculture, had to be cancelled because of the same discrepancy.[57]

After the initial postponement, both France and Spain announced their intentions to hold peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as part of the postponed summit under the auspices of the US. In September, U.S. President Barack Obama was invited to the summit for this purpose. The summit which was then scheduled to take place in Barcelona on 21 November 2010,[58] was according to Nicolas Sarkozy, the summit was "an occasion to support the negotiations."[59]

Nevertheless, at the beginning of November 2010 the peace talks stalled, and the Egyptian co-presidents conditioned the occurrence of the summit on a gesture from Israel that would allow the negotiations to resume. According to some experts Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement of the construction of 300 new housing units in East Jerusalem ended all the possibilities of celebrating the summit on 21 November.[60] The two co-presidencies and Spain decided on 15 November to postpone the summit sine die, alleging that the stagnation of the Middle East Peace Process would hinder a "satisfactory participation."[61]

Having been slowed down by the financial and political situation in 2009, the UfM was given a decisive push in March 2010 with the conclusion of the negotiations on the set-up of its General Secretariat and the official inauguration of the same on 4 March 2010 in Barcelona, in the specially refurbished Palau de Pedralbes.

The European Union Ambassador to Morocco, Eneko Landaburu, stated on September 2010 that he does "not believe" in the Union for the Mediterranean. According to him, the division among the Arabs "does not allow to implement a strong inter-regional policy", and calls to leave this ambitious project of 43 countries behind and focus on bilateral relations.[62]

2011 - Today

On 22 June 2011, the UfM labels its first project, the creation of a seawater desalination plant in Gaza.[63]

In 2012, the UfM has a total of 13 projects labelled by the 43 countries in the sectorial areas of transport, education, water and development companies.

In January 2012, the Secretary General, Youssef Amrani was appointed Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in the Benkirane government.[64] He is replaced by the Moroccan diplomat Fathallah Sijilmassi.

In 2013, the Union for the Mediterranean launches its first projects:[65]

Between 2013 and 2016, eight sectorial ministerial meetings took place:

In 2015, the UfM had a total of 37 labelled projects[77] 19 of which were in the implementation phase.[AP2] On 18 November 2015, the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), published by the European External Action Service and the Commission and confirmed by the European Council ON December 14, positions the UfM as a driving force for integration and regional cooperation.[78]

On 26 November 2015, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration, at the initiative of the co-presidents of the UfM, Ms. Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative of the European Union for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Mr. Nasser Judeh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Jordan, held an informal meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the countries of the UfM in Barcelona to renew their political commitment to the development of regional cooperation in the framework of the UfM.[79]

On 14 December 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A / 70/124 granting observer status to the Union for the Mediterranean.[80]

Aims and concrete projects

The main objective of the Union for the Mediterranean is to enhance cooperation and integration in the Euro-Mediterranean region through regional dialogue and the implementation of concrete and structural projects for the region. Projects supported by the UfM obey the principle of variable geometry that allows each country to take part, when desired, to approved projects.

Regional dialogue

The UfM complements the bilateral work of the European Neighbourhood Policy[81] set up in 2004 and the development policies of UfM member states, driving the emergence of a shared Mediterranean agenda to achieve an impact, not just on the situation of any one country, but on regional integration as a whole.

With 43 members, the UfM acts as a central platform for setting regional priorities and sharing experiences of the principal challenges that the region faces.[82]

The work to achieve this goal is carried out in conjunction with other organisations and regional cooperation forums (The Arab League, the Arab Maghreb Union) and alongside sub-regional cooperation forums such as the 5+5 Dialogue with which the UfM is actively associated.[83]

Since 2013, under the Co-Presidency of the EU and Jordan, seven ministerial meetings have been held on key sectors for the Mediterranean agenda:

In March 2015, the Interparliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy, in its final conclusions,[84] described the UfM as “the most efficient and multifaceted cooperation forum in the region”.

Regional projects

Via the process of labelisation, the UFM supports projects that address common regional challenges that are likely to have a direct impact on the lives of citizens. The UfM label guarantees regional recognition and visibility for the selected projects. It also gives them access to funding opportunities through the network of financial partners of the UfM.

In December 2015, 37 projects were labeled by the UfM.[85] As of May 2016, more than 40 projects were labeled by the UfM:[86]

Employability of youth and growth inclusive

By 2015, the secretariat of the UfM had labeled 13 projects addressing the challenges of youth employability and inclusive growth. Framed by the political mandate (in particular the Ministerial conferences on industrial cooperation and the Digital Economy) and the priorities expressed in regional dialogues, these projects target 200,000 beneficiaries, mostly young people, and involve over 1,000 small and medium private enterprises.

After a consultation process with stakeholders, the UfM launched in 2013 a regional initiative (Med4Jobs) that defines the priorities of intervention in terms of employability, intermediary services and job creation in the region, under which specific projects are developed.

Sustainable development

By 2015, 14 projects were labelled by the 43 countries of the UfM, included the cleanup of Lake Bizerte in Tunisia, the construction of the desalination plant in Gaza, and the integrated urban development of the city of Imbaba.[95]

Women empowerment

By 2015, the UfM has labeled 10 projects benefiting over 50,000 women in the Euro-Mediterranean region, this with the participation of over 1000 shareholders and with a budget of over 127 million euros.[96]


In contrast with the Barcelona Process, one of the biggest innovations of the Union for the Mediterranean is its institutional architecture. It was decided at the Paris Summit to provide the Union with a whole set of institutions in order to up-grade the political level of its relations, promote a further co-ownership of the initiative among the EU and Mediterranean partner countries and improve the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership's visibility.[21]

North and South Co-presidency system

With the purpose of guaranteeing the co-ownership of the Union for the Mediterranean, the Heads of State and Government decided in Paris that two countries, one from the EU and one from the Mediterranean partner countries, will jointly preside the Union for the Mediterranean. The 27 agreed that the EU co-presidency had to "be compatible with the external representation of the European Union in accordance with the Treaty provisions in force."[21] The Mediterranean partner countries decided to choose by consensus and among themselves a country to hold the co-presidency for a non-renewable period of two years."[21]

From 2008 to 2012, France & Egypt ensured the UfM's first co-presidency.

In March 2012, the European Union Succeeded to France and in 2012 the secretariat announced that the co-presidency of Egypt would be succeeded by Jordan, and that of France by the European Union. The change which is to take place in September 2012 was decided at a meeting of the high representatives in Barcelona on 28 June.[47]

Northern Presidency Southern Presidency
 France (July 2008 - March 2012)  Egypt (July 2008 - June 2012)
 European Union (March 2012 - )  Jordan (June 2012 - )

Meeting of UfM Senior Officials

The meeting of UfM Senior Officials, composed of ambassadors and senior Foreign Affairs officials appointed individually by the 43 countries of the UfM, is held several times a year, at regular intervals, at the seat of the Secretariat of UfM in Barcelona or in one of the UfM countries.[97] Its role is to discuss regional issues, guide policies and actions of the organization and to label the projects submitted to it. Each country has an equal vote and all decisions are made by consensus. Alongside these meetings, other UfM meetings take place, especially ministerial meetings that define the Mediterranean agenda on specific issues, such as environment and climate change, the digital economy, the role of women in society, transportation or industry.


Headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean

The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean was inaugurated on March 4, 2010 in an official ceremony in Barcelona.[98]

The task of the permanent Secretariat is to provide operational follow-up of the sectorial ministerial meeting, identifying and monitoring the implementation of concrete projects for the Euro-Mediterranean region, and searching for partners to finance these projects and coordinating various platforms for dialogue.[99]

The Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Foreign Affairs decided at the Marseilles conference of November 2008 that the headquarters of the Secretariat would be at the Royal Palace of Pedralbes in Barcelona.[100] They also agreed on the structure of this new key institution and the countries of origin of its first members:

The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean was inaugurated on March 2010 in an official ceremony in Barcelona.[98]

In 2015, the secretariat of the UfM has a staff of 60 persons from more than 20 nationalities, including the permanent presence of senior officials seconded from the European Commission, the EIB, the BERD and CDC.[105]

Other organizations and euro-Mediterranean institutions

Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly

The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) is not a new institution inside the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership framework. It was established in Naples on 3 December 2003 by the Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Foreign Affairs and had its first plenary session in Athens on 22–23 March 2004. The EMPA gathers parliamentarians from the Euro-Mediterranean countries and has four permanent committees on the following issues:[106]

The EMPA also has an ad hoc committee on Energy and Environment. Since the launch of the Union for the Mediterranean, the EMPA's role has been strengthened for it is considered the "legitimate parliamentary expression of the Union".[21]

Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly

At the Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Affairs Conference held in Marseilles on November 2008, the Ministers welcomed the EU Committee of the Regions proposal to establish a Euro-Mediterranean Assembly of Local and Regional Authorities (ARLEM in French). Its aim is to bridge between the local and regional representatives of the 43 countries with the Union for the Mediterranean and EU institutions.[107]

The EU participants are the members of the EU Committee of the Regions, as well as representatives from other EU institutions engaged with the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. From the Mediterranean partner countries, the participants are representatives of regional and local authorities appointed by their national governments. The ARLEM was formally established and held its first plenary session in Barcelona on 31 January 2010. The ARLEM's co-presidency is held by the President of the EU Committee of the Regions, Luc Van den Brande, and the Moroccan mayor of Al Hoceima, Mohammed Boudra.[108]

Anna Lindh Foundation

The Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, with headquarters are in Alexandria, Egypt, was established in April 2005. It is a network for the civil society organisations of the Euro-Mediterranean countries, aiming at the promotion of intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.[109]

At the Paris Summit it was agreed that the Anna Lindh Foundation, along with the UN Alliance of Civilizations will be in charge of the cultural dimension of the Union for the Mediterranean.[21]

In September 2010 the Anna Lindh Foundation published a report called "EuroMed Intercultural Trends 2010."[110] This evaluation about mutual perceptions and the visibility of the Union of the Mediterranean across the region is based on a Gallup Public Opinion Survey in which 13,000 people from the Union of the Mediterranean countries participated.


The Paris Declaration states that contributions for the Union for the Mediterranean will have to develop the capacity to attract funding from "the private sector participation; contributions from the EU budget and all partners; contributions from other countries, international financial institutions and regional entities; the Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership Facility (FEMIP); the ENPI", among other possible instruments,[21]

List of Sectorial Ministerial meetings

See also


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  12. Khader, Bichara (2009). Europa por el Mediterráneo. De Barcelona a Barcelona (1995–2009) (in Spanish). Icaria. p. 27. ISBN 978-84-9888-107-3.
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  14. http://www.euromedbarcelona.org/EN/PtoEncuentro/ACptoEncuentro/index.html
  15. "Mediterranean Heritage projects page". Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  16. Khader, Bishara (2009). Europa por el Mediterráneo. De Barcelona a Barcelona (1995–2009) (in Spanish). Icaria. pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-84-9888-107-3.
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