The EU and its southern Mediterranean neighbours aim to create an area of shared prosperity through industrial cooperation.
As part of the cooperation, the 2018-2020 work programme of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) industrial cooperation and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development was approved on 20 September 2018 by the 'senior official meeting' in Vienna, Austria.
The UfM regional platform on industrial cooperation coordinates the cooperation and monitors the implementation of the work programme.
It is composed of representatives from the European Commission (the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, SMEs and Entrepreneurship and the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations), public authorities and business associations from EU and South Mediterranean neighbour countries, and certain international organisations.
In December 2019, the platform met in Barcelona with a focus on innovation policy. This followed up on the previous meeting dedicated to access to finance for SMEs held in Brussels in June 2019. The Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, SMEs and Entrepreneurship (GROW) and Jordan co-chaired the platform. In the first session, the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) presented the EU’s approach to innovation in the South Mediterranean region. DG GROW described EU policy on innovation with an emphasis on selected initiatives and instruments that are applied to boost entrepreneurship in European industry. UfM members, in particular from the Southern Neighborhood, informed participants about innovation policies and structures in their respective countries.
In the second session speakers from Sweden, the Catalonia Region and from the Innovation Growth Laboratory, a research organization in the UK, shared their approaches on innovation and good practices, and discussed possible ways to translate them in the specific context of South Mediterranean countries. The following day a seminar on the EU-funded project ‘MED MSMEs’ was held to discuss, with MED partners, some chosen successful case studies from EU countries in the field of businesses internationalisation.