Israel was an important founding member of the
Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (also known as the Barcelona Process), and now
wishes to continue taking an active part as the partnership takes new shape
with the Union for the Mediterranean.
The Barcelona Process which was launched in 1995 with the
Barcelona Declaration set the framework for political, economic and social
relations between the EU and its Mediterranean neighbors, including Israel. It
comprised three major facets of cooperation: (1) Political dialogue; (2)
Regional economic cooperation; (3) Social and cultural cooperation.
At the summit of heads of state and government held in Paris
in July 2008 Euromed was reincarnated as the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).
The new framework brought about some important organizational changes. Among
these changes, the most noteworthy were the formation of a joint north-south
Co-Presidency, the identification of 6 major projects of cooperation, and the
decision on the establishment of a permanent secretariat. It also introduced
several new partners to the initiative, representing mostly the Aegean region,
bringing the number of partner countries to 43.
Both during the Euromed years and currently within the new
UfM framework Israel has participated in the many official meetings and
technical programs it has encompassed (with the exception of Israel’s
non-eligibility to aid money under the former MEDA instrument, due to its high
level of development). Israeli Ministers of Foreign Affairs participated in all
the Foreign Minister's Euromed conferences that were held so far.
Additionally, Israel has taken an active part in the Senior
Official meetings of the national coordinators and other Euro-Med
committees. It is represented in the permanent secretariat in Barcelona by a
Deputy Secretary General.
Some of the most important innovations of the Union for the Mediterranean
include the rotating co-presidency with one EU president and one president
representing the Mediterranean partners, and a Secretariat based in Barcelona
that is responsible for identifying and promoting projects of regional,
sub-regional and transnational value across different sectors.
The Union for the Mediterranean has also identified six priority projects which
are at the heart of the of Partnership’s efforts, including projects for:
the de-pollution of the
the establishment of
maritime and land highways;
initiatives to combat natural and man-made disasters;
a Mediterranean solar
the inauguration of the
Euro-Mediterranean University in Slovenia;
and the Mediterranean
Business Development Initiative focusing on micro, small and medium-sized