Marseille summit: parliaments relaunch Union for the Mediterranean
Projets common to both sides of the Mediterranean in the fields of infrastructure, education and training and female entrepreneurship need renewed financial support and strong parliaments, said the presidents of Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) parliaments meeting in Marseille on Sunday. They called for efforts to combat "all forms of exclusion, sexism, racism, xenophobia and radicalism" and to "eradicate terrorism".
The declaration approved by over 40 parliamentary presidents meeting in Marseille calls for more democratic legitimacy and participation by UfM citizens.
«The UfM, launched in 2008 at the Paris summit and since linked to the Barcelona process, is at a watershed. It was born under a purely intergovernmental aegis. This model is outworn, because it ignores civil society" said European Parliament President Martin Schulz (S&D, DE) after the summit.
« Euro-Mediterranean cooperation will be among parliaments and citizens, or it will be nothing. It needs a renewed partnership among strong and transparent parliaments, inspired by the unfettered operation of civil society organisations", he added.
The presidents underlined the scale of the challenges of democratic transformation in the southern countries and combatting the economic crisis in the northern ones. They also voiced concern about the risks of insecurity and instability in the Sahel-Sahara region.
Co-development instrumuents are also needed to eradicate terrorism and its connections with cross-frontier organised crime, adds the text.
The presidents reiterate that human dignity, respect for fundamental rights and gender equality must guide regional cooperation, in the interests of bringing peoples together.
Mobility and education
Mobility partnerships envisaged to ease the free movement of people must be put in place quickly, say the presidents, who call for a common area of professional training, higher education, science and research.
The Marseille summit convened by President Schulz is the first to bring together the presidents of parliaments of the Euro-Mediterranean region, and the first high-level summit since that of heads of state and government in Paris in 2008. It aims to relaunch the establishment of projects in a context of political change in the south and economic crisis in the north, and to strenghthen the role of parliaments in the transition to democracy on the south bank.