Union for the Mediterranean

Union for the Mediterranean

  •   Israel-EU cooperation: 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.

    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 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. 

  • Upcoming meetings of the UfM in late 2015

    ​Upcoming meetings include the Water Expert Group Director’s Meeting in November in Luxemburg and  the Ministerial on Blue Economy to be held in Brussels.

  • Israel takes part in UfM stakeholder conference “Towards a Roadmap for Blue Investment and Jobs in the Mediterranean” in Athens - May 2015


    The Mediterranean region can tap further the potential of the blue economy. It can provide jobs and growth through the sustainable development of key strategic maritime sectors in this important sea basin. This can be promoted by increased clustering and networking of education and training organizations, pairing research and innovation capacity, matching supply/demand of skilled people and more access to finance. These are some of the cooperation and coordination challenges that need to be tackled. The Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Blue Economy to be held in autumn 2015 would bring about the political mandate and provide guidance for the further development of blue economy and promotion of blue jobs in the Mediterranean region.

    In preparation for the upcoming Ministerial Conference, stakeholders of the Union for the Mediterranean held an event "Towards a Roadmap for Blue Investment and Jobs in the Mediterranean'' on 27 May 2015 in Athens.  The meeting provided the opportunity to collect input from all actors in the region, including financial institutions, academia, business associations, civil society and organizations and international agencies about the challenges that need to be addressed and the emerging opportunities for investment and jobs creation in the blue economy of the Mediterranean basin.

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


    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, 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.