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Mediterranean Neighbourhood

Union for Mediterranean

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is a multilateral partnership aiming at increasing the potential for regional integration and cohesion among Euro-Mediterranean countries. Along with the 28 EU member states, 15 Southern Mediterranean, African and Middle Eastern countries are members of the UfM: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Syria (suspended), Tunisia and Turkey.

The members of the Union for the Mediterranean meet on a regular basis at the level of Senior Officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the 43 countries, EU institutions and the League of Arab States. The meetings are chaired by a co-presidency, one from the European Union side and the other from the Mediterranean side.

The UfM has a number of key Flagships 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.

The UfM has a functional secretariat which is based in Barcelona. The secretariat which has the privileges and immunities of an international organisation under Spanish law, is contributing to reinforcing co-ownership of new Mediterranean relations through concrete regional cooperation projects. The Secretariat's work focuses on the following priority areas: Business Development, Transport and Urban Development, Energy, Water and Environment, Higher Education and Research, and Social & Civil Affairs. 

On 13 May 2014, Ministers in charge of environment and climate change from the 43 countries comprising the UfM gathered in Athens on the occasion of the first UfM Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Change. They analysed conclusions and recommendations of the implementation of the Horizon 2020 Initiative’s first phase (2007-2013) and agreed to launch its second phase. They also committed to policy reforms to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns. They confirmed that transition to green and low emissions economy will provide real opportunities for preserving natural resources, job creation, and improvement of the quality of life for all and ensure a sustainable future. The result of the meeting is a declaration of their commitment to tackle the growing climate and environmental challenges facing the region.