Only greater regional integration can reduce the instability of the Mediterranean region and solve conflicts, said EU High Representative Federica Mogherini at the second Regional Forum of the UfM, taking place on 23-24 of January in Barcelona under the theme of Mediterranean in Action: Youth for Stability and Development. Mogherini, who co-chaired the meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, underlined the importance of giving a positive future to young people in the region.
The UfM Member States gave a strong political commitment to strengthen regional cooperation in the Mediterranean by endorsing a roadmap for action.
The UfM Secretariat and the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) signed a EUR 6.5 million multi-annual financing agreement to implement and strengthen UfM core activities. The focus will be to work on three key areas for the region: women’s empowerment and gender equality, climate action and energy, as well as water, environment and blue economy.
The Regional Forum also saw the project “Generation Entrepreneur” officially launched under the framework of the Mediterranean Initiative for Jobs (Med4Jobs). The project offers a jobs and business creation training programme that will benefit some 79,000 school and university students from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia and is expected to create job opportunities, upon successful completion of mentorship, incubation and graduation from the start-up programmes.
Furthermore, several UfM cooperation agreements were signed with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation and the Agadir Technical Unit. The Government of Monaco announced a financial contribution for the UfM project “Forming Responsible Citizens”. The project, promoted by the Spanish-based organisation Ideaborn, aims to contribute to the prevention of violence against girls and women through the implementation of a renewed civic education curriculum in Morocco and Tunisia.
“Today we have committed together to break this circle of lack of integration and tensions and conflictuality and invest in a coherent manner on more political dialogue and more regional integrational cooperation on very concrete fields of actions through our Union for the Mediterranean,” the High Representative said.
“This is going to have an impact on our citizens’ lives and the special focus of our deliberations today has been the focus on youth because we know well, not only the demographic trends of our region indicate that this is the smart thing to do for our present and not only for our future; but also tackling the issue of giving adequate space to our youth, both in Europe and in the rest of the Mediterranean region, is also key to a certain number of top priorities that we share: economic development, guaranteeing that our societies are open societies with a space for each and every citizen, the management of migration flows but also the prevention of radicalisation and the management of our security concerns that we also share,” she added.
EEAS press release
UfM press release
Roadmap: UfM, an action-driven organization with common ambition
Speech by Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission
Press conference (video)