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8 October 2018 III Regional Forum of the Union for the Mediterranean

The Third Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Forum, entitled “10 years: Building together the future of regional cooperation” was held in Barcelona on October 8, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the institution. It included the ministerial meeting on foreign affairs and Med4Jobs, a dialogue session on the UfM youth occupation initiative.

This Regional Forum was hosted both by Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell and UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel, and was chaired by HR/VP Federica Mogherini and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi as co-presidencies of the UfM. It was attended by high representatives of the 43 member-states of the UfM, including 13 at ministers or vice-ministers level.

In the UfM official conclusions, the representatives of the member-states recognized that the UfM as a unique, action-driven platform to intensify joint efforts to address common challenges and create opportunities in the Euro-Mediterranean region”.

A number of transversal issues were discussed, such as economic development, energy challenges, education, and climate action. However, it was pointed out that “these efforts are no alternative to political solutions to regional crises that hamper such cooperation”, as stated in the above mentioned conclusion of the Co-Presidency. “The UfM has an eminently practical vocation” stated Josep Borrell in an article published in La Vanguardia the day before the Forum, and added that “the gravity of the regional context calls for urgent and effective action to transform these challenges into opportunities for societies on both shores.” On their side, Mogherini, Safadi and Kamel also published a tribune in French Newspaper Libération, where they stressed: “competition between global and regional powers and the absence of effective mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation can only aggravate existing conflicts, and risk creating new ones.”