Commissioner Hahn at Mediterranean Economic Week: Digital technology can help promote growth and employment

November 4, 2016
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As part of the Mediterranean Economic Week in Marseille, ANIMA Investment Network and their partners organised the EMEA (Europe-Middle East, Africa) Business Forum on 2 and 3 November in Marseille on the theme of Digital Technology for a connected Mediterranean. Targeted at business and economic decision-makers in the region, the Forum addressed the opportunities brought by the digital revolution and the new frontiers of cooperation between Europe and the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, during the Economic Week, the EU-funded Euro-Mediterranean Forum of Economic Institutes (FEMISE), together with the “Institut de la Méditerranée” and “Cercle des Economistes” also organised the 12th edition of the “Rendez Vous Economiques de la Méditerranée”which focused this year on the Digital Economy. European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Johannes Hahn, who was guest of honor at the event, reminded that job creation was the biggest challenge in the region and a top priority of the European Neighbourhood Policy: “at least 5 million new jobs need to be created every year to employ a growing workforce and to ensure social inclusion.” To reach this target, economic growth in the region should accelerate to above 6%.
He pointed to another key issue, support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), especially in terms of access to finance. “In fact, the 6 million MSMEs in the region represent the largest opportunity for economic growth and job creation, since they account for 90% of total employment.”
Commissioner Hahn also stressed the importance of developing trade among Southern partners and encouraging foreign direct investment to the Southern Neighbourhood Region. He believes that digital technology, which is now part of everybody’s daily life, can help promote private sector-led growth and employment.
Finally, the Commissioner reminded that the EU had invested EUR 1 billion in economic development since 2011, added to the 2 billion Euros per year that are provided within the Neighbourhood Investment Facility for project financing in the Southern Neighbourhood. 
Support for economic stabilisation and development has been an important pillar of the Euro Mediterranean Partnership in the past and remains a key priority for the future,” he concluded. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
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