Union for the Mediterranean: time for parliaments to play their role 


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EP president Martin Schulz will plead for parliaments to play a greater role in facilitating Arab Spring countries' transition to democracy during a meeting of the Union of the Mediterranean in Marseille on 6-7 April. Mr Schulz will meet the parliament presidents of all the countries that belong to this partnership that unites both shores of the Mediterranean to discuss how they can help further the Union's goals. This will be the Union's first-ever meeting of Parliament speakers.

Mr Schulz, who also chairs the Union for the Mediterranean's parliamentary assembly, said the parliament presidents could help to facilitate the Union's projects at a time of great economical and political change for the region. "We also need to re-forge the link between people on both sides of the Mediterranean and respond to their common expectations," he said. "If the challenge of democratic transition which is under way in some Mediterranean countries is successfully to be met, we will need strong and effective parliaments which listen to their citizens."

Map showing which countries are a member of the Union for the Mediterranean. Blue is for EU countries and yellow for non-EU countries. Syria suspended its membership in 2011.  

The 9th plenary session of the Union's parliamentary assembly will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 11 and 12 April. It will be an opportunity for MEPs to discuss transnational issues with their counterparts from the different member countries. On Friday Mr Schulz will also hold a press conference together with Saed Hael Srour, the speaker of Jordan's house of representatives.