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Union for the Mediterranean

The Union for the Mediterranean (French: Union pour la Méditerranée; Arabic:
الاتحاد من أجل المتوسط ) is a community of European Union member states and non-EU countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea established on 13 July 2008 in Paris by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

 

 

History

The proposal was originally made as part of Sarkozy's election campaign. Following his victory the idea was reiterated, with plans being drawn up. Despite the potential division it could cause with the Muslim world, President Sarkozy sees the initiative as a way of promoting peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours. It is hoped that an institutional core will be established by the end of the French presidency of the European Union in 2008. On 23 October 2007 Sarkozy invited all Mediterranean leaders to a summit in France to take place in June 2008 where they would "lay the foundations of a political, economic and cultural union founded on the principles of strict equality." 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" which would only be "completing and enriching" to existing EU structures and policy in the region. 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 built upon the existing Barcelona process. The MU was launched on the 13 July-14 July 2008.


Members

The Union consists of all the EU states and those countries on the Mediterranean rim or those which are participating in the Euromediterranean Partnership. The idea is to form a connection between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

bandiera Albania 
bandiera Algeria 
bandiera Bosnia and Herzegovina 
bandiere Croatia 
bandiera Egypt 
bandiera Jordany 
bandiera Israel 
bandiera Lybia (observer) 
bandiera Lebanon 
bandiera Marocco 
bandiera Mauritania 
bandiera Monaco 
bandiera Montenegro 
Flag of Morocco Morocco
bandiera Palestinian territories
bandiera Syria 
bandiera Tunisia 
bandiera Turkey
bandiera European Union (27 Nations)


Aims

Sarkozy called on the Mediterranean people to "do the same thing, with the same goal and the same method" as the European Union, though he stated it would not be based on the EU model. Under the original plans, members would form a regular council under a rotating presidency dealing with energy, security, counter-terrorism, immigration and trade. French nuclear expertise would be exchanged for North African gas reserves. The Mediterranean and European Unions would work together and share some institutions, including a common judicial area to fight corruption, terrorism, organised crime and people smuggling.


Presidency

people Presidency is entrusted to Prime Ministers of two member States. For the first two years southern nations can elect a president; the option ends in 2010.

For 2008 the two presidents are the French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and the Egyptian Prime Minister Hosni Mubarak.


Flag


The flag chosen to represent the Union for the Mediterranean is composed of two horizontal lines: the upper one is white, symbolizing the sky, the lower is blue, symbolizing the sea.

Parliamentary Assembly of the UFM - 7th plenary session

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The Italian Chamber of Deputies hosted the 7th plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (UFM) on Thursday the 3rd and Friday the 4th of March. The meeting was jointly chaired by the President of the Chamber, Gianfranco Fini and the President of the Senate, Renato Schifani.

The Assembly includes Parliament representatives from the 27 member states of the European Union, from the European Parliament, from the Parliament of the ten southern Mediterranean countries belonging to the Euro-Mediterranean partnership (Algeria, Palestinian National Authority, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey) and from the Parliaments of the other six countries in the UFM (Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Mauritania, Monaco and Montenegro).

The Assembly's five commissions (for political affairs, security and human rights; for the promotion of quality of life, exchanges in civil society and culture; for the rights of women in the Mediterranean; the economic and financial commission for social affairs and education, and the commission for the environment, energy and water) met on Thursday March 3.

The meeting of the office of the presidency followed at 18:00, in Montecitorio's Sala della Lupa, and was attended by the Presidents of both Italian Chambers, the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, the President of Morocco's Chamber of Representatives, Abdelwahad Radi, and the representative of the Parliament of Jordan, Abdul Hadi Majali.

Talks in the plenary session opened on Friday with an inaugural session dedicated to the Union for the Mediterranean and developments in the situation in the region, and was attended by Italy's Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, and by the President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Philippe Maystadt. Three themed sessions followed, dedicated respectively to policies for immigration and integration, the protection of the environment in the Mediterranean area and financial instruments for the region's development.

The meetings ended with Italy handing over the Presidency of the UFM's Parliamentary Assembly to Morocco.

During the meeting, the president Capasso congratulated with the friend Abdelwahed Radi, remembering the role of Fondazione Mediterraneo on the birth of the PA-UfM.

Invitation | Programme | Press releases | Declaration | The birth | The constitution of the PA-UfM


Euromed Conferences

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The EU and the Mediterranean

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To implement its policies concerning the Euro-Mediterranean region, the European Union has set up a series of tools and programs: the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and the Meda program; the ECIP program for small and medium-sized enterprises; the "Meda-Democrazia" program aimed at promoting human rights; the Life-Third Countries program; etc.
The Euro-Mediterranean partnership was first defined in the Declaration of Barcelona, adopted on November 28th 1995 by the 15 Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union and by the Foreign Ministers of the 12 Mediterranean Partner Countries beneficiaries of the Meda program: Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Gaza and Cis-Jordan territories. Its contents were confirmed and strengthened by the Second Ministerial Conference which took place in Malta on last April 15th-16th. It is a political agreement between the European Union and the Countries of the Mediterranean Basin, aimed at addressing southward the relationships that the Union has been developing with Eastern Europe Countries since 1989.

The Euro-Mediterranean partnership is based on three different fields of action: politics and security, economy and finance, society and culture. Therefore it includes several initiatives, which cover several sectors. Among the main ones: re-approaching of sectorial economic policies, which is a process specially active in industry, telecommunication, energy and water sectors; Euro-Mediterranean cooperation networks aimed at supporting knowledge exchange (industrial federations, economic institutes, chambers of commerce, banks, etc.); cooperation in the statistic field; cooperation in civil society (universities, professional associations, non-governmental bodies); the cultural heritage whose purpose is recognizing mutual traditions and developing the cultural dialogue; the effort in building an area of peace and stability by identifying a number of principles to be respected and of aims to be achieved.

The partnership has been provided with important economic resources in order to perform its actions. Such resources were established by the European Council in Cannes in June 1995, and they are in force until the year 1999. They include non-repayable aids from the Union's budget (4,685 millions ECUs), and a similar amount consisting of loans granted by the European Investment Bank. Most of non-repayable aids are granted by the MEDA program. These aids are managed by the European Commission together with the MED Committee, which is made up of representatives from the member Countries and presided over by a representative from the Commission itself. The MEDA program is mainly aimed at encouraging and supporting social and economic reforms in the Mediterranean partner countries, through two channels: 1) bilateral actions, which use about 90% of the total amount and are started by the association agreements between the European Union and each beneficiary country; 2) regional initiatives, including decentralized cooperation that is being re-launched, which involve several North and South Mediterranean Countries.
Bilateral actions are based on national programs defining the priority sectors to be supported on the basis of the guidelines, identifying, at the same time, the estimated amounts for each sector. The main sectors are: economic transition support, through structural reorganization and development programs in the private sector; social and economic balance consolidation; development of the Civil Society.
The regional initiatives include thematic meetings, conferences and programs, involving both the Mediterranean partners and the European Countries. All this makes clear that the financial effort related to the MEDA program is not essentially aimed at granting a direct funding to enterprises or companies. On the contrary it is aimed at preparing the conditions required in order to allow their development and work. As for proposals concerning possible projects, they have to be accepted by the authorities of the beneficiary countries and based on the above mentioned guidelines in order to be considered by the European Commission.
The aim of ECIP (European Community Investment Partners) program consists in promoting the institution or the development of "joint-ventures" among small and medium-sized companies from the Mediterranean, Latin American, Asian and South African Countries. The ECIP program provides 4 types of financial facilities.

“Meda-Democrazia” is a cooperation program aimed at promoting human rights and democracy development in the Mediterranean partner countries. Created at the initiative of the European Parliament in 1996, the program grants aids to no-profit associations, Universities, Research Centres and public Bodies in order to realize projects aimed at promoting democracy, freedom of expression and association, and safeguarding specific groups, such as women, young people and minorities. The granted funds for this kind of projects can total a maximum of 80%.

The purpose of LIFE-Third Countries consists in starting technical assistance measures and pilot actions in Third Countries (in the Mediterranean area, besides the “MEDA Countries”, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia), in the following sectors: technical assistance to set up the required administrative structures aimed at developing environmental policies and action programs; environmental safeguard and recovery of important habitats for flora and fauna at risk; pilot actions designed to promote sustainable development. The total budget for the period 1996-1999 amounts to 36 MECUs. Maximum 50% of each project submitted by public administrations, NGOs, individual or juridical persons from the beneficiary countries, can be financed.

The lines of the European Union’s budget established for NGOs in the sectors of direct aid, food aid, humanitarian aid, human rights and decentralized cooperation, etc., can also be applied to the Mediterranean Partner Countries.
In general, the partnership system is aimed at improving the efficiency and competitiveness of the Italian enterprises in the international context, performing a function of operational linking and strategic guidance. In the concrete, all this can be accomplished by performing actions of assistance, which are started at a Government "policy advice" level in the planning stage and then fulfilled in identifying, through Embassies and ICE branches abroad, and circulating international cooperation projects (technical assistance, industrial and commercial cooperation, technology transfer, etc.) financed by a variety of players/institutions (European Union, Bers, EIB, World Bank and so on).

The targeted involvement of enterprises proceeds with actual supporting initiatives during the successive tendering steps. Information received by the Schemes is treated and circulated through three databases: the international cooperation initiative database, the enterprise database and the expert database.