‘We are not

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS - Gi­u­lia Ma­gri

With re­gard to the Mediter­ranean’s cur­rent press­ing is­sues, Kamel stresses that the Union is not at the fore­front of han­dling po­lit­i­cal is­sues, but works more to­wards re­solv­ing the root cause of such chal­lenges. He said the Union works to­wards cre­at­ing an area of peace and sta­bil­ity by means of re­gional in­te­gra­tion through en­hanc­ing eco­nom­i­cal and in­fras­truc­tural re­la­tions. It fo­cuses on cre­at­ing co-oper­a­tion to ease ten­sions both in­ter­nally and be­tween mem­ber states.

With re­gard to the Arab Spring – just a year be­fore the Union was be­ing re­named and re­branded and against all the odds – the Union was able to cre­ate and main­tain a struc­ture that fo­cused on try­ing to achieve re­sults for those re­gions that were fac­ing a chal­leng­ing pe­riod. De­spite the in­sta­bil­ity which mem­ber states of the Union faced dur­ing this

hile the ac­tiv­i­ties and ini­tia­tives car­ried out by the Union for the Mediter­ranean (UfM) in the re­gion are not well known in Malta, its Sec­re­taryGen­eral, Nasser Kamel, ex­plained that the Mal­tese and other re­gional cit­i­zens have most likely worked on pro­jects in which the Union was the key play­ers.He noted, how­ever, that most peo­ple are aware of Euro Mediter­ranean Co­op­er­a­tion, which struc­tures and in­te­grates nu­mer­ous sec­tors such as higher ed­u­ca­tion, trans­port and trade.Launched in 1995 as The Barcelona Process, the aims of the project were to strengthen re­la­tions be­tween Europe and South­ern Mediter­ranean coun­tries and to pro­mote a EuroMediter­ranean as­so­ci­a­tion. Then, in Paris in 2008, the Process was re-launched as The Union for the Mediter­ranean, which to­day brings to­gether the 28 coun­tries of the Eu­ro­pean Union and 15 coun­tries of the South­ern and Eastern Mediter­ranean.Kamel ex­plains how one ma­jor project on which the Union has fo­cused is the Re­gional Di­a­logue Plat­forms, a close in­ter­ac­tion in which not only over 2,000 stake­hold­ers are in­volved but which is also open to mem­bers of civil so­ci­ety: a plat­form for shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and pro­mot­ing con­crete co­op­er­a­tion pro­jects, which is one of the Union’s main pur­poses. He goes on to men­tion that the Union has fos­tered and mo­bilised funds for nu­mer­ous pro­jects, iden­ti­fy­ing over 50 pro­jects which re­sulted in over €5 mil­lion in fund­ing.

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