The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is a multilateral partnership of 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin: the 28 member states of the European Union and 15 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Europe. It was created in July 2008 as a relaunched Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (the Barcelona Process), when a plan to create an autonomous Mediterranean Union was dropped. The Union has the aim of promoting stability and prosperity throughout the Mediterranean region.
The Union for the Mediterranean introduced new institutions into the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership such as the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, established in Barcelona in 2010, with the aim to identify and promote regional cooperation projects that contribute to achieve its goals and objectives as indicated in its mandate. The Union for the Mediterranean is the southern regional cooperation branch, which works in parallel to the European Neighbourhood Policy. Its eastern counterpart is the Eastern Partnership.
Paris Summit for the Mediterranean (13 July 2008), the 43 Heads of State and Government from the Euro-Mediterranean region decided to launch the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean. It was presented as a new phase Euro-Mediterranean Partnership with new members and an improved institutional architecture which aimed to “enhance multilateral relations, increase co-ownership of the process, set governance on the basis of equal footing and translate it into concrete projects, more visible to citizens. Now is the time to inject a new and continuing momentum into the Barcelona Process. More engagement and new catalysts are now needed to translate the objectives of the Barcelona Declaration into tangible results.” At the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Affairs held in Marseille in November 2008, the Ministers decided to shorten the initiative’s name to simply the “Union for the Mediterranean”.
The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean was inaugurated on March 4, 2010 in an official ceremony in Barcelona. The task of the permanent Secretariat is to identify and monitor the implementation of concrete projects for the Euro-Mediterranean region, and to search for partners to finance these projects. The Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Foreign Affairs decided at the Marseilles conference of November 2008 that the headquarters of the Secretariat would be in at the Royal Palace of Pedralbes in Barcelona.
Read more on Union for the Mediterranean, enpi-info.eu – Union for the Mediterranean, eeas.europa.eu – Union for the Mediterranean and Wikipedia Union for the Mediterranean. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.