Ahmad Masa’deh, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), and Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), responsible for FEMIP, signed on 17 January 2011 a memorandum of understanding (MoU) establishing close cooperation in the Mediterranean region in the areas of economic, social and sustainable development in line with the UfM’s priorities.
The MoU has the aim of implementing a global and regional development strategy in order to reinforce policy and business networks in the Mediterranean and create a prosperous and sustainable Euro-Mediterranean region by fostering socio-economic development and private sector investment.
The MoU is based on six concrete joint actions:
Sharing of information in order to promote the implementation of the UfM’s priority projects. The two parties agree to closely collaborate in the exchange of information on projects, initiatives, events and studies, thus avoiding any possible overlapping and trying to complement the other party’s views in order to increase the value added of the final outcome.
Facilitating the financing and implementation of priority UfM projects. The parties agree to work together to facilitate the financing and implementation of UfM projects identified and chosen by the UfM Secretariat (UfMS) in accordance with its priorities. More specifically, and upon request from the UfMS, the EIB may provide support for the processing of projects by carrying out project analysis with a view to their possible funding by financial institutions.
Promoting a better understanding of the region. The UfMS and EIB agree to collaborate in the area of studies and research, recognizing that improved knowledge of the region’s economic and financial characteristics will help them to better attune their policies to the UfM countries’ needs and priority projects.
Enhancing visibility and raising awareness about the UfM’s priority projects among stakeholders in the region, including the media, via events, conferences and seminars.
Network-building in order to implement overall strategy. More specifically, the EIB will facilitate the liaison between the UfMS and the business community, notably chambers of commerce, professional associations, banking organizations, think-tanks and NGOs. Reciprocally, the EIB could be associated in the UfMS’s specialized platforms and structured networks.
Secondment of staff: the close relationship between the EIB and the UfMS is also reflected in the placement of EIB experts within the Secretariat.
The signed agreement marks a significant step in the operational activity of the Union for the Mediterranean, underlined in these terms by Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the EIB: “I am convinced that close and fruitful collaboration between the EIB and the UfM Secretariat is the most efficient response to the current challenges facing the Euro-Mediterranean region, such as sustainable economic development, social cohesion and employment. It will support and speed up the implementation of Union for the Mediterranean’s priorities such as the Mediterranean Solar Plan, the Depollution of the Mediterranean, the Land and Sea Highways and support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises through the Multilateral Business Development Initiative.”
Secretary General Ahmad Masa’deh said: “Investment and the facilitation of investment are of critical importance for the creation of jobs and financing of basic regional and trans-national infrastructure in the Mediterranean. The MoU concluded today between the EIB and the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean constitutes a major step towards effective collaboration between two major players in the region: the EIB as the major lender to Mediterranean countries and the UfM Secretariat as the institution tasked by the Euro-Mediterranean Heads of State and Government with identifying, promoting and facilitating projects. Two regional institutions are joining forces for the benefit of a region that needs new sources of employment, capital and labour-intensive investment and tangible and real projects that can impact the livelihoods of their people”.
The European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union’s financing institution. Its shareholders are the 27 Member States of the Union. Its subscribed capital is EUR 232.4 billion and it has a AAA credit rating. The EIB is active both within and outside the European Union. The bulk of its lending is for projects in the Member States to support development and integration policies. Outside the EU, the EIB supports projects that contribute to economic development in the EU’s partner countries. Set up in 2002, the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) is the EIB’s financial arm in the Mediterranean region. Within the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean, its aim is to promote the economic and financial development of the Mediterranean partner countries.
As soon as 2009, 80% of funding targeted the UFM priorities. The projects funded by FEMIP include a sanitation scheme in Lebanon (EUR 70 million), the construction of a wind farm in Gabal El-Zeit in Egypt (EUR 50 million), the widening of the Rabat-Casablanca motorway in Morocco (EUR 225 million) and the first venture capital fund for Palestinian private enterprises (EUR 5 million).
The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean
The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean was created by the 43 Euro-Mediterranean Heads of State and Government in Paris on 13 July 2008. The Foreign Affairs Ministers in their meeting in Marseille on 4 November 2008 decided that the headquarters of the Secretariat would be in Barcelona. The Union for the Mediterranean is a multilateral partnership aimed at increasing the potential for regional integration and cohesion among the Euro-Mediterranean partners. It is inspired by the shared political will to revitalize efforts to transform the Mediterranean into an area of peace, democracy, cooperation and prosperity. The creation of a joint secretariat is a key stone in this partnership. The Secretariat will help to reinforce co-ownership of new Mediterranean relations and achieve visibility through economic projects. The mandate and missions of the Secretariat were defined in the Paris and Marseille Declarations as well as in the Statutes adopted on 3 March 2010. It should be remembered that the mandate of the UfM Secretariat is of a technical nature, focusing on identifying, processing, promoting and coordinating projects which are in line with the principles and rules of international law and which enhance and strengthen cooperation and impact directly on the livelihoods of citizens. As stated in the Paris and Marseille Declarations, the central mission of the UfMS is to increase, promote and ensure the coordination of regional, sub-regional and transnational UfM projects in order to improve socio-economic development, regional integration, sustainable development and the exchange of knowledge among and within the countries of the UfM. In launching the UfM, the Heads of State and Government identified six priority areas. These are the following:
De-pollution of the Mediterranean
Maritime and land highways
Alternative energies: Mediterranean solar plan
Higher education and research, Euro-Mediterranean University
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