“Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean”: what priorities for 2009?

Foreign Ministers meet in Marseille on 3-4 November to complete the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean. The priorities for the 2009 working programme will be defined, so as to accelerate the regional integration.

Ministers will decide on the remit and governance of the new institutional structure, the functioning of the co-Presidency and the composition, seat and funding of the Secretariat, taking into account the discussions and proposals submitted by partners. The new proposed architecture will build on the existing foundations and structures of the Barcelona Process. Projects are at the core of the restructured Partnership, and in their sourcing and administration, the Secretariat will strive to ensure that the selected projects promote growth, employment, regional cohesion and socio-economic integration. The Paris Summit has already identified a number of key areas: de-pollution of the Mediterranean; maritime and land highways; civil protection; Mediterranean Solar Plan; Euro-Mediterranean University; and a Mediterranean business development initiative.

Following the Ministers’ endorsement the Secretariat will seek the necessary additional funding from outside the traditional existing budget allocations. These funds are expected to come from the private sector, international financial institutions and bilateral cooperation as well as contributions from EU member States and Mediterranean Partners.

Bearing in mind the Barcelona 5-year work programme and the Declaration of the Paris Summit, ministers will outline their Ministerial meetings agenda and agree on the priorities for the 2009 work programme, in line with the key areas identified in Paris. Ministerials are planned for 2009 in the following sectors: Transport; Higher Education; Environment; Trade; Justice, Liberty and Security; Economy and Finance; Sustainable development; and Strengthening the role of women in society.

While the European Neighbourhood Policy will continue to drive bilateral relations in the region with a differentiated approach the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean will complement this policy by strengthening regional cooperation.

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