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Launch of the “Friends of the Mediterranean Macro-Region”: a strong initiative to develop Euro-Mediterranean cooperation!

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The community of “Friends of the Mediterranean macro-region” was launched on 24 April 2023 in Brussels, at the premises of the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions (CPMR). This initiative is an important step in promoting the request for the creation of a macro-regional strategy in the Mediterranean among EU institutions, on the model of the four other European macro-regional strategies that already exist. At the event, PRIMA’s Director Octavi Quintana, reiterated the program´s dedication to fostering a sustainable future for the region and actively participated in the proceedings.

On the sidelines of the 4th European Week of Macro Regional Strategies in Brussels, a new initiative has emerged to promote regional cooperation in the Mediterranean. Thus, the “Friends of the Mediterranean Macro-Region” is a support community that works to create a Mediterranean macro-regional strategy, based on the model of the four European macro-regional strategies created between 2009 and 2015: Baltic Sea; Danube; Adriatic and Ionian; Alpine. Also, the macro-regional strategy for the Mediterranean is based on a graduated and voluntary approach, as well as on transnational multi-stakeholder governance. The launch event is organized by the Alliance for Mediterranean Cooperation, the Inter-Mediterranean Commission (IMC) of the CPMR, the Government of Catalonia and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region. It brought together in Brussels on April 24, 2023, nearly 80 participants, representatives of European institutions, Member States, local and regional authorities and civil society.

During the event, various actors from Mediterranean local and regional authorities and European institutions took turns in several discussion panels, in order to highlight the main arguments in favor of the advent of a macro-regional strategy for the Mediterranean. François Alfonsi, French Member of the European Parliament, came to present his report currently being drafted on this subject. Marie-Antoinette Maupertuis, President of the Assembly of Corsica and representative of the European Committee of the Regions, also presented the report “A macro-regional strategy for the Mediterranean” by Nikola Dubroslavic voted in October 2022, for which she was “shadow” rapporteur.  These exchanges underlined the importance of cooperation between the Mediterranean countries to meet the common and transversal challenges of the region, current and future, such as: climate change, protection of biodiversity, the fight against desertification, transitions energy and digital technology, food security, innovation, management of migratory phenomena, as well as gender equality and opportunities. The speakers thus expressed their full support for the implementation of an ambitious and comprehensive strategy on these issues.

Subsequently, the participants were invited to sign a declaration of friendship consolidating their commitment to the creation of a macro-regional strategy for the Mediterranean. By joining this community, members undertake in particular to promote economic, social and environmental cohesion throughout the Mediterranean region, to facilitate dialogue and cooperation between the countries, regions, municipalities and communities adjoining “Mare nostrum”, and to contribute to the mobilization of resources to support the implementation of this strategy over time.

This launch event is an important moment, which illustrates the strong support and collective commitment to regional cooperation in the Mediterranean. The objective for the various stakeholders is clear: to formalize the creation of a macro-regional strategy for the Mediterranean within the European institutions.

PHOTOS: Laurent Van Krinkelen – CPMR