Mediterranean Crisis: Operational Approach Needs Structural Responses
“The crises affecting the Mediterranean are structural, not temporary. They require us to respond on the same register: through a long-term vision and an operational approach in the immediate future,” said Bourita, who spoke at the 7th Regional Forum of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), held on the occasion of the second edition of the Day of the Mediterranean
“Reaffirming the commitment to the programmatic goal of a ‘zone of stability and shared prosperity’, is necessary, but not sufficient,” noted the minister, calling on the UfM member countries to “mark the way” to achieve this goal and to set “common priorities and a commitment to each”.
In this regard, Bourita emphasized the need to “act on policies, anticipate more, create more coherence and vectorial actions over time,” and put in place “common thematic policies, targeted, programmed and funded to really act on the issues,” lamenting, for instance, the fact that the EU has announced the end of the marketing of vehicles with thermal engines by 2035 while no Euro-Mediterranean plan has been adopted to absorb this paradigmatic adjustment of the EU.
Bourita called for more “Mediterranean protagonism” in regards to the partnership’s tools, noting that the means do not match the challenges. He urged the UfM to perform better, answer questions where it has been silent, expand its agenda, pick up the pace of its meetings, and increase ownership of the partnership.
“We must see more of the UfM and feel more of its action,” he insisted, assuring that “it is time to invest the General Secretariat with a forward-looking mission to stop running after crises, for lack of anticipating them, to establish a renewed governance with greater coherence between the various institutions involved in the Mediterranean and to make a place for the Mediterranean in our policies, at the stage of policy shaping, which is not always the case today.”
Bourita reported three instances based on this observation and an analysis of the responses made by the UfM to a number of issues such as political stability, the energy crisis, food, integration, socio-economic, migration, and security, which he characterized as “proselytizing and ideological Iranian entryism.”
First, he stated that “promising responses” must be increased in some areas, such as youth and climate change, “responses that remain insufficient” on important topics like energy security, and “non-existent responses” related health and food security.
“A Mediterranean of security is possible; a Mediterranean of maritime transport is possible; and of course a Mediterranean of free movement of people is possible,” concluded the Minister
Josep Borrell, Vice President of the European Commission and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Ayman Safadi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, co-chair the 7th UfM Regional Forum, which brings together the foreign ministers of the 42 member states.
Both Nasser Kamel, the Secretary General of UfM, and José Manuel Albares, Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation, serve as hosts.
This year, the Forum also serves as a venue for a gathering of young Euro-Mediterranean citizens from civil societies all over the Mediterranean, who presented their recommendations and proposals to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in an effort to come up with practical answers for a project that would be inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous.