The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)
The UfM was launched at a summit in Paris in July 2008. It eventually absorbed
the previous Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP or Barcelona Process), which
had provided a framework for multilateral cooperation in the region since 1995.
The Barcelona Declaration had proclaimed three sets of objectives: a political
and security partnership, an economic and financial partnership and a social,
cultural and human partnership.
The UfM was created in order to give the cooperation fresh impetus. In addition
to the 28 EU Member States and the 10 Southern Mediterranean partners, Albania,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Monaco, Montenegro and Mauritania joined the
Six concrete projects were selected as priorities for the UfM: de-pollution of
the Mediterranean Sea; maritime and land highways; solar energy; regional
research programmes; joint civil protection programme for disasters; and
business development for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Another innovation of the UfM is its permanent institutional architecture: a two
year Co-Presidency is held by the European External Action Service (High
Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini) and one of the Southern
Mediterranean partner countries.
Its Secretariat is based in Barcelona (currently headed by Fathallah Sijilmassi)
and identifies and promotes projects, raises funds, co-ordinates partners,
enhances the visibility of the UfM and establishes institutional links.
From the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum to the PA-UfM: the Parliamentary
Assembly of the UfM
First convened in Brussels in October 1998 to provide the Euro-Mediterranean
Partnership with a parliamentary dimension, the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary
Forum was attended by delegates from the EP and the national parliaments of the
EU Members and Southern Mediterranean partners.
The Forum's conversion into a genuine Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly
(EMPA) was proposed in an EP resolution and approved by the fifth
Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Ministers (Valencia, April 2002). The
EMPA's inaugural sitting was held in Greece in March 2004.
At the sixth plenary session, held in Amman in March 2010, EMPA's name was
changed to Parliamentary Assembly of the UfM (PA-UfM), thus underlining its
unique role as the parliamentary body of the UfM, with a focus on democratic
control and its consultative role.