As a continuation of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euro-Med), also known as the Barcelona Process, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organisation to strengthen the cooperation in the Mediterranean. It provides a unique platform, covering the issues ranging from political and economic ones to those in the socio-cultural field. The main aim of the UfM is to encourage peace, stability, security and common economic prosperity and to enhance regional integration in the framework of inter-cultural dialogue in the Euro-Med area as well as in line with the principles of democracy, human rights and fundamental rights.
The UfM Secretariat, based in Barcelona, is tasked with ensuring the necessary coordination and contribution to the identification, financing, implementation, monitoring processes of projects that are carried out among member states.
Year of Foundation
Summit of Heads of State and Government on 13 July 2008 at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean.
Secretariat of the UfM
The Secretariat started its functions in 2010 and is located in Barcelona.
Fathallah Sijilmassi (Morocco) has been the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean since 2012. In 2015, his tenure was extended for another three year-term.
The UfM comprises the 28 EU Member States and 15 Mediterranean countries. (EU members and Turkey, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Monaco, Montenegro, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia)
Turkey’s Membership to the UfM
Having been part of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Process, initiated in 1995, Turkey has been a member of the UfM since its foundation in 2008.
History of the UfM
The UfM was founded at the Paris Summit on 13 July 2008 with the aim of building a permanent and institutional framework for cooperation between the European Union (EU) and the non-EU Mediterranean countries.
The UfM has been designed as a platform to further the cooperation in the Mediterranean through political dialogue and with the help of regional, sub-regional and cross-border projects.
The UfM is inspired by the goals set out in the Declaration, adopted at the Paris Summit, namely working towards the creation of an area of peace, stability, security and shared economic prosperity, as well as full respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms and promotion of understanding between cultures and civilizations in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The Declaration also noted that the cooperation process is independent from the EU’s enlargement process and its accession negotiation process.
The Co-Presidency, which is assumed by an EU member state and a Mediterranean partner country for two years, the Senior Officials Meetings, which are held on a regular basis by bringing representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the 43 UfM countries and the UfM Secretariat are main institutional organs within the UfM. According to the Lisbon Treaty, the Co-Presidency is assumed by the European Union on the Northern side. Jordan has been Co-President of the Southern side since 2012.
The Secretariat of the UfM is headed by a Secretary General together with six Deputy Secretary Generals, three of which are appointed from candidates of Mediterranean partner countries and the other three from candidates proposed by EU Member States. The Senior Officials approve then by consensus for a three-year term. It is possible to extend the term of office of the Secretary General as well as Deputy Secretary Generals to six years (3 + 3) with the decision to be taken by consensus by the Senior Officials. It was also decided at the meeting of the UfM Foreign Ministers in Marseilles in 2008 that the Secretary General is always elected from non-EU countries.
Currently, Moroccan Ambassador H.E. Mr. Fathallah Sijilmassi serves as the Secretary General of the UfM. His term of office was extended for 3 years as of 2015.
The Office of the Deputy Secretary General responsible for transportation issues was assumed by Ambassador (ret.) Mr. Yiğit Alpogan on behalf of Turkey between 2010 and 2016.
The Anna Lindh Foundation (ALV), Parliamentary Assembly of the UfM (PA-UfM), Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) constitute the cultural, parliamentary and local governance dimensions of the Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation Process.
The Anna Lindh Foundation was established in 2005 with a view to strengthening the intercultural dialogue within the scope of the UfM. With its headquarters in Alexandria, national networks (NGOs) were founded within the body of the ALF, and Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TÜSEV) coordinates the Turkish network.
Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, which started its activities in 2004, constitutes the parliamentary dimension of the UfM. The Assembly comprises the Member States of the EU, the Mediterranean non-members countries and members of the European Parliament. Turkey is represented by the EMPA Turkish Group (7 members of parliament) headed by Bolu MP Mr. Ali Ercoşkun.
The Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) was established with the purpose of bringing a regional and local dimension to the Euro-Mediterranean partnership in 2010. İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, Antakya Municipality, Balıkesir Municipality and Muğla Municipality are among the participants in the ARLEM.
Turkey’s Relations with the UfM
Turkey is actively supporting the strengthening of cooperation in the Mediterranean.
It has contributed to the development of cooperation in the Mediterranean under the Barcelona Process established in 1995.
Given its approach towards Mediterranean, Turkey, conducting accession negotiations with the EU, has also participated in the "Union for the Mediterranean" initiative, which was established to make the Barcelona Process stronger and more effective.
Turkey is also actively contributing to the work of the UfM Secretariat, which started its activities in 2010. The election of Ambassador Yiğit Alpogan to the post of Deputy Secretary General for Transport and Urban Development undertaken by our country between 2010 and 2016 confirms Turkey's support for the activities of the UfM process and the Secretariat. Our country continues to give the necessary support to the Secretariat's work by appointing a senior diplomat in the UfM Secretariat.
Turkey was also elected as a member of the UfM-PA Bureau for a period of 4 years together with Italy, Egypt at the 12th General Assembly meeting, held in Tanca, Morocco on 28-29 May 2016. Turkey will assume the Presidency of UfM-PA between 2019 and 2020.