XIII High-Level Meeting

“ADDRESSING THE HUMANITARIAN CHALLENGES OF A EURO-MEDITERRANEAN PARTNERSHIP”

22-23 November 2017

Athens, Greece

A meeting of leaders addressing the human dimension

of a European-Mediterranean partnership

 

In co-operation with “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation”

More than 22 years have passed since the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership between the EU and 10 countries on the southern and eastern shore.  When designed, this partnership was one of the EU’s most significant strategic foreign policy initiatives with a goal of cooperation towards peace, stability and shared prosperity for the people from all shores of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Process). In 2008, this partnership was upgraded to the Union for the Mediterranean, with new ambitions and expectations. What we witness today is a failure of the implementation and the achievement of the goals of this initiative and some would argue that Euro-Mediterranean relations have worsened. At a time when Europe and Arab States, as well as Turkey and Israel are facing crucial geopolitical and economic challenges, we find ourselves again at a crossroads. The region is suffering from insecurity and its worst-ever humanitarian crisis. The revolutions, internal tensions and wars (particularly in Syria and Libya), caused a collapse of the state structure and the productive procedure and which also cause large refugee and migrant movements. Illicit trade, trafficking and smuggling are rife, providing financial sources for jihadist groups and undermining the regional rule of law and economic order. Far from representing a benign link between people and cultures, the Mediterranean Sea is in the headlines today as the site of frequent and tragically large numbers of refugee and migrant deaths. On the European shores the conditions of the reception of the refugees are becoming stifling and difficult to manage, while the European countries are unable to coordinate in solidarity between each other with this new challenge. The growing influence of non-Western rising powers in the Middle East acerbates the competition for strategic alliances, geo-economic power and access to energy supplies and complicates the solution of the crises and the implementation of the programs of cooperation and development. More than ever, a wake up call is needed to address the complicated and crucial situation.