Archive for category Africa
The Union for the Mediterranean promotes economic integration and democratic reform across 16 neighbours to the EU’s south in North Africa and the Middle East.
Formerly known as the Barcelona Process, cooperation agreements were re-launched in 2008 as the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) .
The re-launch was an opportunity to render relations both more concrete and more visible with the initiation of new regional and sub-regional projects with real relevance for those living in the region. Projects address areas such as economy, environment, energy, health, migration and culture.
Along with the 27 EU member states, 16 Southern Mediterranean, African and Middle Eastern countries are members of the UfM: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.
Currently meetings are co-presided over by one Mediterranean and one EU country. As of September 2010, the UfM also has a functional secretariat, based in Barcelona, a Secretary General and six deputy secretary generals.
Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, governance from the EU side will be rearranged once the EEAS has been established.
The UfM has a number of key initiatives on its agenda:
- the de-pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, including coastal and protected marine areas;
- the establishment of maritime and land highways that connect ports and improve rail connections so as to facilitate movement of people and goods;
- a joint civil protection programme on prevention, preparation and response to natural and man-made disasters;
- a Mediterranean solar energy plan that explores opportunities for developing alternative energy sources in the region;
- a Euro-Mediterranean University, inaugurated in Slovenia in June 2008;
- the Mediterranean Business Development Initiative, which supports small businesses operating in the region by first assessing their needs and then providing technical assistance and access to finance.
(European Union External Action)
“We have decided to recognise the Libyan National Transitional Council as the country’s only legitimate interlocutor on bilateral relations” – recognition that will take place formally. This was Minister Frattini’s statement, who met today at the ministry in Rome with representative for foreign policy of the Libyan National Transitional Council Ali al Isawi.
According to Frattini “the proposals” of Muammar Gaddafi “to end the crisis”, outlined by his emissary in Athens, “are not credible”. Moreover, Frattini added, the Tripoli government is using “illegal immigration as a weapon”.
The minister then announced that “Italian planes will be used to transport the wounded from the Misurata hospital to a hospital ship”.
“Italy is very important for Libya”, Ali al Isawi said, explaining that any action aimed at dividing Libya “is unacceptable, as is any policy initiative that does not lead to the end of the Gaddafi regime”.
Also today, head of the Libyan National Transitional Council Mustafa Abdul Jalil explained from Benghazi that “through our envoy in Rome we are asking that Italy play a major role in the NATO mission” to defend the Libyan people.