Union for the Mediterranean

Union For Mediterranean

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    Israel-EU: Union for the Mediterranean
     
     
    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, as well as the Marseille conference in November 2008 which cemented the creation of the UfM. This is an indication of the high level of importance attached by Israel to such high level regional meetings.
     
     
    Additionally, Israel has taken an active part in the Senior Official meetings of the national coordinators, and other Euro-Med committees. One of the main advantages Israel sees in the UfM is the fact that it is currently one of the only forums in which senior Israelis can publicly meet their counterparts from certain neighboring countries.
     
     
    In addition, Israel will be represented in the permanent secretariat by a Deputy Secretary General once the secretariat is set up in Barcelona.

    Some of the most important innovations of the Union for the Mediterranean include the a 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 Mediterranean Sea;
    • the establishment of maritime and land highways;
    • civil protection initiatives to combat natural and man-made disasters;
    • a Mediterranean solar energy plan;
    • the inauguration of the Euro-Mediterranean University in Slovenia;
    • and the Mediterranean Business Development Initiative focusing on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

  • Israel Participates in UfM Transport Ministerial, 14 November, 2013

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    The first 'Union for the Mediterranean' Ministerial Conference on Transport was held on November 14 in Brussels. Transport ministers from 43 countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area were there to discuss how to strengthen cooperation on transport legislation and how to develop infrastructure to connect the two sides of the Mediterranean Sea.

    Transport is a key tool for achieving closer market integration and contributing to regional integration, economic growth, employment, tourism and increased regional trade. Given the profound changes taking place in the region, transport cooperation between the European Union and its neighbors is crucial.

    The objective of this conference was to follow up on the progress made during the first Conference in Marrakech in December of 2005. A Ministerial Declaration will be approved and signed as the final document of the Conference.

    Israel was represented by its Minister of Transport, National Infrastructures and Road Safety, Mr. Israel Katz. Mr. Katz has served in this position since April of 2009.

    The next Union for the Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Transport will most likely be held in 2016.


  • Israel’s Deputy Secretary General to the Union for the Mediterranean, 5 May, 2011

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    Despite tensions among several of its member countries, there is an excellent atmosphere in the secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, an EU initiative for promoting stability and prosperity across the sea that divides Europe from Africa and Asia, says Ilan Chet, who serves as its Deputy Secretary-General.
     
    Professor Chet was born in Haifa in 1939. He completed his doctoral work in microbiology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Agriculture in Rehovot. Professor Chet has been a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities since 1998 and the European Academy of Sciences since 2004.
     
    He was appointed Deputy Secretary General for Higher Education and Research in the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean in 2010. In an interview with Euractiv this past February, Chet underlined the importance of Israel in multilateral organizations, in particular the Union for the Mediterranean. He stressed that the relationship is developing well, and that, "Israel pays attention to the initiative at the highest level, because for us to be able to be involved in projects with Arab countries, with Turkey, this is very important, both politically and structurally."
     
    For both Israel and the European Union, the Union for the Mediterranean is of significant importance because it promotes economic integration and democratic reform across North Africa and the Middle East. The Union of the Mediterranean was once referred to as the Barcelona Process, but in Marseille in November of 2008, this cooperation was given a new name. Ilan Chet was selected by consensus following proposal made by Euro-Mediterranean partners, in accordance with Article 16a of the Final Statement that was issued in Marseille in November of 2008.