Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Reinventing the Mediterranean

Written by Philippe de Fontaine Vive on Monday, October 29th 2012 à 13:56 | Read 449 times

By Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice President of the European Investment Bank

The wave of revolutions that has shaken the Mediterranean since January 2011 is unprecedented in the region’s contemporary history. Comparable to the events experienced by Europeans in autumn 1989, the now famous Arab Spring stands as a message of hope for a region long believed to be condemned to political authoritarianism and economic injustice. 

Citizens from Tunis to Cairo made clear their call: They want a fair distribution of the benefits of growth and consistent rule of law. They want an end to corruption. They want transparent and accountable governments. And, just as importantly, they want the opportunity to shape and decide their destiny. Fulfillment of these aspirations will certainly be more complex and erratic than expected, but let us not forget that the present moment is a chance to open, at last, an era of democracy, prosperity, and peace across the region. 

Since its launch in 2009, the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) has been animated by the spirit of renewal and fresh thinking. Through the joint efforts of its founding members, it has nurtured a new paradigm of cooperation and development and fostered awareness of the most pressing issues faced by the region—employment and education above all. In retrospect, the Arab Spring confirms the visionary nature of the CMI and its multi-partner and multidimensional approach, as well as the relevance of its assistance for transitioning countries. 

As the CMI responds to the new demands, it is essential that it reinforce both its sectoral and its cross-cutting endeavors, while remaining true to the priorities of each democratizing country and of the region as a whole. CMI must also attract additional partners and governments committed to the success of economic integration and democratic change. 

Exceptional events call for exceptional action. This implies the very reinvention of the Mediterranean, not only as a notion but more crucially as a reality. The Deauville Partnership initiated by the G8 nations and their Arab partners in May 2011 was a first and vital step in this respect. With $38 billion pledged at the Marseille Ministerial Meeting in September 2011 to the transition of Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan over the period 2011–13, the Deauville Partnership offers an ambitious and comprehensive framework for shaping this new Mediterranean reality, one characterized by democracy, broad-based growth, jobs for millions of young people, and equal opportunities for all. 

The CMI is well positioned to promote this objective, notably through its work on greater regional integration and foreign direct investment to be debated within the Deauville Partnership in 2012.

Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-Président de la Banque européenne d'investissement
Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-Président de la Banque européenne d'investissement

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