Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)

Union for the Mediterranean

About the Institution: 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 organization that aims to strengthen the cooperation in the Mediterranean Region. It provides a unique platform, covering the issues ranging from political and economic ones to those in the socio-cultural field. The main objective 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.

UfM priority areas have been defined as transport & urban development, business development&employment, energy&climate action, higher education&research, social& civil affairs and water&environment. Altogether, UfM adds up 54 labelled projects worth more than 5.5 billion euros, among which 35 are already launched.

The UfM label is attributed to regional cooperation projects by the unanimous endorsement of the member countries that meet on a regular basis through their Senior Officials.

The UfM Secretariat, based in Barcelona is tasked with ensuring the necessary coordination of projects that will be selected for implementation.

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Year of Foundation:

UfM was established at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean held on July 13th 2008.
Headquarters:

The Secretariat started its functions in 2010 and is located in Barcelona.
Secretary General:

Nasser Kamel (Egypt) has been the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean since June 2018.

Member States

The UfM comprises of 28 EU Member States and 15 Mediterranean countries. (EU members, Turkey, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Monaco, Montenegro, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia)

Syria has suspended its membership to the UfM on December 1, 2011 and Libya has an observer status.

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.

Since June 2018, Nasser Kamel (Egypt) serves as the Secretary General of the UfM.

The Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF), Parliamentary Assembly of the UfM (PA-UfM), Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) constitute the cultural, parliamentary and local governance dimensions of the UfM.

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. Turkey is represented at ALF’s Advisory Council and Board Meetings.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM), 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 PA-UfM Turkish Group headed by İstanbul MP Mr. Şamil Ayrım.

Turkey was also elected as a member of the PA-UfM Bureau for a period of 4 years together with Italy and Egypt at the 12th General Assembly meeting, held in Tanca, Morocco on 28-29 May 2016. As of 13 February 2019, Turkey has taken over the Bureau Presidency of the PA-UfM for the May 2019-May-2020 period.

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, Hatay Metropolitan Municipality, Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality and Muğla Metropolitan Municipality are ARLEM members.

UfM’s New Roadmap

An important milestone was reached at the II Regional Forum in January 2017 with the adoption by the UfM Ministers of Foreign Affairs of a new Roadmap for Action, entitled “The Union for the Mediterranean: an action-driven organisation with a common ambition”. This strong political impulse reaffirmed the commitment of the 43 Member States to work together for a deepened and effective EuroMediterranean regional cooperation agenda through the UfM. The new Roadmap underlined the key role played by the organisation as a unique framework for political dialogue and regional cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean area.

Turkey’s Relations with the UfM

As a littoral state, Turkey has a keen interest and responsibility in supporting the efforts to turn the Mediterranean into an area of peace, democracy and prosperity and is actively supporting the strengthening of cooperation in the Mediterranean.

Given its approach towards the Mediterranean, Turkey, besides 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 has been contributing to the development of cooperation in the Mediterranean under the Barcelona Process established in 1995.

Turkey is also actively contributing to the work of the UfM Secretariat. The Office of the Deputy Secretary General responsible for transportation issues was assumed by Ambassador (ret.) Yiğit Alpogan on behalf of Turkey between 2010-2016. As of July 2018, Ambassador Ayşe Asya has been appointed as the Deputy Secretary General in charge of Transport and Urban Development.