Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

"Unity and the gathering of Mediterraneans are more necessary than ever."

By Karim Amellal, Ambassador, Interministerial Delegate for the Mediterranean at the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Written by Karim Amellal, Ambassador, Interministerial Delegate for the Mediterranean at the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs on Thursday, December 3rd 2020 à 16:22 | Read 315 times

(Photo : CC BY-SA 4.0)
(Photo : CC BY-SA 4.0)
It is already 25 years old, and another world has replaced the one in which the Barcelona Process was born. A world, if not darker, at least more worrying. Today, among us Mediterraneans, the fear of a global pandemic, a climate emergency or terrorism that could blindly strike any one of us dominates.
In this context, unity and togetherness are more than ever necessary to face the challenges that deafen, the monsters that rise from the darkness. Without cooperation, we will not succeed. This is the strength of the UfM, which was born twelve years ago.
The Union for the Mediterranean is to date the only regional political organisation for dialogue and exchange that brings together all the countries bordering the Mediterranean alongside the Member States of the European Union. In the current context of heightened tensions and growing areas of turmoil, this is no small feat!
The UfM is the heir to the Barcelona Process, launched in 1995 to strengthen relations between Europe and the countries on the southern shores of the Mediterranean. It continues to promote concrete forms of cooperation that are embodied in ambitious projects, particularly in areas such as climate change, energy and the blue economy, where the challenges on both sides of the Mediterranean are the same and where solutions come from the south as much as from the north, east and west.

Importance of dialogue with civil societies

Naturally, given the tensions which, alas, structure this space but also the scope of the subjects and their burning topicality, this is not without difficulties. This is why it is essential to consolidate these exchanges, particularly around sustainable development, which is now a major concern for all Mediterranean societies. Digital technology, entrepreneurship, cities and territories, knowledge and mobility or innovation must also structure the policies of States in a permanent dialogue with civil society actors. In this context, the UfM is an important actor whose role must be strengthened.
The deadline of the end of November 2020 in Barcelona was crucial in more than one respect. First of all, in the context of the global pandemic that we are experiencing, it was an indispensable opportunity for an exchange of views and consultation. But it was also an opportunity to give a new impetus to the EU's southern neighbourhood policy, in particular around the axes mentioned above. For its part, France, along with others, advocates that the European instrument for action in the southern neighbourhood should be more developed and better structured, following the example of the EU's Eastern Partnership.
Finally, I would like to recall here the importance for us of dialogue with civil societies, which was already at the heart of the Barcelona Process 25 years ago. This is why, together with our friends and partners of the 5+5 and Germany, we organised the "Summit of the two shores" in 2019, which was a strong and original moment in this continuous exchange that we have with civil society actors. We want to continue this dialogue around a positive agenda, but also through concrete projects that embody its spirit. The worries and challenges that arise on both sides of the Mediterranean must give rise to strong responses and ambitious actions.


About is an independent media that deals with the daily economic news of the countries bordering the Mediterranean. Economic cooperation, business news by sector (Industry, Services, Transport, Environment, Society/Institutions), thematic files, airport news, airlines and shipping companies (new destinations)... are treated and analysed by a team of journalists present in the Mediterranean basin. Subscribe to To be the first to know, with unlimited access to all articles. To receive the weekly newsletters and special newsletters sent as soon as our files are published. Automatically renewable subscription, but the reader keeps control of it or yearly subscription. For individuals or professionals...