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Union for the Mediterranean

The establishment of the Union for the Mediterranean, an intergovernmental institution which provides a new political/institutional framework for Euro-Mediterranean relations, was announced at the Paris Summit of Heads of State and Government on 13 July 2008.

The UfM includes the 27 member countries of the EU and 16 Mediterranean partners (Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey); its co-Presidency (one EU member and one non-EU member) rotates every two years.

Decisions are made at the biannual summit of Heads of State and Government and the annual conference of Foreign Affairs Ministers. The agenda for both annual and biannual meetings is prepared by a permanent conference of senior officials based in Brussels.

The General Secretariat based in Barcelona is responsible for the implementation of policies and projects adopted by the UfM.

In its early phase of activity, the UfM focused on a few main areas of interest, namely the environment (with special regard to the cleanup of the Mediterranean Sea), transportation, civil protection, alternative energy sources (Solar Mediterranean Plan), high-level training and research (establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean University), development of small- and medium-sized enterprises (Mediterranean Business Development Initiative).

Presently, the co-presidency of the UfM is held by France and Egypt.

The General Secretariat was officially installed in Barcelona on 4 March 2010; Mr Ahmed Masa'deh, from Jordan, is the Secretary General.

The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean launched officially its website


The French project of the Mediterranean Union (Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean later, and now Union for the Mediterranean) was launched by French President Nicolas Sarkozy since his presidential campaign. French President then presented it in broad outline, on the occasion of a visit to Tangiers (Morocco), Oct 23, 2007.

In Lisbon, Alain Le Roy, ambassador in charge of implementing the project, detailed for the first time the contents of this French initiative to all the countries concerned. The Mediterranean Union would be a forum for annual or bi-annual exchange between countries bordering the Mediterranean, but not a new institution. It would be a "union project" based on specific programs, such as a water agency responsible for combating pollution of the Mediterranean, or a development agency for small and medium enterprises. Each initiative is only supported by those countries that wish it.

The Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean pdf - 62 KB [62 KB] français (fr)was launched officially in Paris on July 13th, 2008. It aims to infuse newvitality into the partnership, offering more balanced governance andincreased visibility. See the European Commission's Communication pdf - 62 KB [62 KB] français (fr) of 20th May, 2008.

TheEU works closely with each of its Mediterranean partners to establishsupport programmes for economic transition and reform which take intoaccount each country’s specific needs and characteristics. Theseactions are funded under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI).

The European Commission has supported the Barcelona Process with the provision of €16 billion from the Community budget pdf - 20 KB [20 KB] since 1995. Loans from the European Investment Bank amount to approximately €2 billion per year.

5th Mediterranean Water Forum


Folder About the Union for the Mediterranean
Folder Articles
Folder Countries Water Profiles
Folder Documents
Folder Financing
Folder IPEMed proposals in the water sector
Folder Meetings
Folder Objectives
HTML Document UfM Partners

The Union for the Mediterranean encompasses the 27 EU member states, the European Commission and 16 Mediterranean countries. Foreign Affairs Ministers in Marseille decided that the League of Arab States shall participate in all meetings at all levels of the Union for the Mediterranean.

  • Austria
  • Algeria
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • The Czech Republic
  • Egypt
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Morocco
  • The Palestinian Authority
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Tunisia
  • The United Kingdom
  • Albania
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Greece
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Luxemburg
  • Mauritania
  • Montenegro
  • The Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Syria
  • Turkey
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News "Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean" - proposals to enhance the EU-Mediterranean partnership The European Commission adopted last 20 May its proposals for upgrading relations with its Mediterranean partners through the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean. Following the decision of the Spring European Council the Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner presented the outline of the structures of the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean which aim at giving renewed vitality and visibility to the EU's relations with Partners in the Mediterranean region. These structures include the setting up of a Secretariat and the creation of a permanent committee of Euro-Mediterranean representatives. The policy paper also outlines ideas for the kind of projects that would constitute visible and tangible efforts at improving the lives and livelihoods of the region's citizens. This latest initiative underlines the EU's continued commitment to the Mediterranean region, an area of vital strategic importance in both political and economic terms. The proposals contained in the Communication will be presented at the inaugural Summit of Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean in Paris on 13 July, 2008.
News EC President and ENP Commissioner at the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean” summit EC President Barroso and External Relations and ENP Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, will attend the Paris Summit with the EU Heads of State and Government and the countries around the Mediterranean. The aim of this initiative is to strengthen regional cooperation between the EU and the countries bordering the Mediterranean based on the Barcelona Process and the EU's Neighbourhood Policy, by launching the "Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean".
News EU heads of state reiterate support to Union for the Mediterranean
The EU heads of state or government have called for the acceleration of the work to establish the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) permanent secretariat and the resumption of the implementation of projects identified.
The European Council has reiterated its support to strengthening the partnership with the southern Mediterranean partners in its conclusions adopted March 20.
The relevant reference reads:   "The European Council reiterates its will to strengthen its partnership with its southern Mediterranean partners. It calls for the resumption of the implementation of the projects identified at the Paris Summit.
In this connection it is important to accelerate work on the establishment of the Union for the Mediterranean permanent secretariat in Barcelona."  
Conclusions (p.13) 
News EU leaders approve the principle of a Union for the Mediterranean

The European Council has approved the principle of a Union for the Mediterranean, which will include the Member States of the EU and the non-EU Mediterranean coastal states.

In a statement annexed to the Conclusions of the European Council, the heads of state or government “invited the Commission to present to the Council the necessary proposals for defining the modalities of what will be called "Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean" with a view to the Summit which will take place in Paris on 13 July 2008.”
The EU leaders refer to a number of other issues in their Conclusions, mainly of an economic nature, such as the Lisbon Strategy, including the reinforcement of its external dimension, investing in knowledge and innovation, climate change and energy.
European Council Conclusions


News French EU Presidency programme for Mediterranean Summit French President and President of the European Council, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, will co-chair the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean on Sunday 13, in Paris. On the sidelines of this Summit, President Sarkozy will hold  preparatory working meetings, the Presidency announced in a press release.
URL From the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership to the Union for the Mediterranean
News Joint Declaration of the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean, Paris, 13 July 2008
Localized File Report of the expert group convened by the Mediterranean Institute on the Mediterranean Union project
News The Mediterranean Union is a union of projects
URL The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean official website
News The Union for the Mediterranean launched a new regional infrastructure development fund at its meeting in Alexandria on 30 April The union aims to raise more than €1bn ($1.3bn) in equity capital for its Inframed Fund. The fund is led by France's Caisse de Depots, Italy's Cassa depositi e prestiti, Morocco's Caisse de Depot et de Gestion, and Cairo-based investment bank EFG-Hermes. The four institutions have already committed €400m.

The fund is also likely to co-operate with other partners from the Gulf.

The new structure represents a regional framework for public-private-partnerships which would aid the development of infrastructure across the region.

It will participate in financing energy efficiency, transportation, environmental and urban development projects.
News Union for the Mediterranean summit postponed

A meeting to bring together European and Middle Eastern governments has been postponed to give Israeli-Palestinian talks time to achieve results, officials said. Israel on Friday called the reason for the delay ridiculous.

The summit of the Union for the Mediterranean was going to take place June 7 in Barcelona. Now, it has been pushed back to November, Spain's Foreign Ministry said Thursday night.

The Union for the Mediterranean brings together the 27-nation EU and 16 partner countries across the southern Mediterranean and the Middle East. It is designed to encourage economic, environmental and other kinds of cooperation.

The Foreign Ministry says the postponement was agreed by Spain and co-chair nations France and Egypt to give indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks that began recently time to prosper.

But Spanish media said the meeting has been postponed because organizers feared it might be a failure.

The newspaper El Pais says Syria and Egypt threatened to boycott it if Israel's hardline foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, attended. Lieberman heads an ultranationalist party and is known for a belligerent tone that has earned him critics abroad and inside Israel.

Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, said his country did not understand the stated reason for the postponement.

"We don't see why an organization that aims to promote cooperation, mostly economic cooperation, among Mediterranean nations should be linked in any way to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. This linkage is simply ridiculous," said Palmor.

"Will Algeria and Morocco not talk to each other because of Israel and the Palestinians? Will Tunisia now refuse to sit with France because of Israel and the Palestinians? Will Libya and Bulgaria, or Turkey and Cyprus, stop their plans to cooperate because of Israel and the Palestinians?"

The postponement seemed to be another diplomatic setback for Spain, which holds the rotating EU presidency until the end of June. An EU-U.S. summit that was to have been held this month in Madrid was called off months ago when Washington announced that President Barack Obama would not attend and had never planned to in the first place.


Spain has postponed a Union for the Mediterraneansummit with more than 40 countries that was scheduled to take place in Barcelona on 7 June.

The Spanish government, the holder of the rotating presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers, said the move was intended to give more time for indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, which began on Wednesday (19 May) after more than a year. The summit has now been tentatively scheduled for the third week in November.

In a statement, the Spanish foreign ministry said: "This postponement will also give a greater amount of time for the process of Israeli-Palestinian talks, which has just been launched, to begin to yield results that will help create the right conditions to ensure the success of the summit."

A diplomat said that preparations for the summit had been overshadowed by a threat by some Arab governments to stay away if Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's foreign minister, attended. Lieberman is a divisive figure in Israel and with the Palestinians. Israel made it clear that it would not let other governments dictate who attended the summit.

In April, the adoption of a water-management strategy for the region had to be dropped after a dispute over references to the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel.

Another source said that Spain feared a low turnout by Mediterranean leaders.

The summit was to be the first held by the Union for the Mediterranean since its inauguration in Paris in July 2008. The union, part of the European Union's Neighbourhood Policy, is supposed to link the EU to the countries of the Maghreb, the Levant and the Balkans. It is co-chaired by France and Egypt and has its secretariat in Barcelona. 


News Union for the Mediterranean: Proposals for the Water sector The Institut de Prospective Economique du Monde méditerranéen (institute of economic forecasting for the greater Mediterranean - IPEMed) with the support of experts, business leaders and public officials from both side of the Mediterranean has elaborated proposals for a Mediterranean policy on water sector to fuel the discussions for the forthcoming GMed that will be held in 13 July 2008 in Paris. These proposals are open for comments and available from the EMWIS website. Priority programmes are outlined to secure access to lean water and sanitation for all, to clean up the Mediterranean and to improve water efficiency. These programmes could be supported by institutional instruments such as a Mediterranean water agency and a water knowledge hub.
URL Water: a strategic challenge for the Mediterranean Basin

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