PRESS RELEASE 199
Arancha González Laya announces agreement of foreign ministers of Union for the Mediterranean to declare 28 November as “Mediterranean Day”
27/11/2020
The foreign affairs ministers of the Member States of the Union for the Mediterranean have agreed today, following the holding of the fifth edition of the Regional Forum, which commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Process, to declare 28 November as “Mediterranean Day”.

 
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, was tasked with announcing the decision, to pay tribute to the 1995 Conference which now celebrates its quarter-century of existence, which was hosted in the city of Barcelona “that I would now like to thank for having hospitably welcomed us, a trait that characterises it and that contributes to strengthening the central Mediterranean role of Barcelona, she added.

 
Arancha González Laya announced that Spain “will remain faithful to its vocation for leadership in Mediterranean affairs”, and Barcelona will again host this event next year to continue with this “essential dialogue between the two shores to contribute to the creation of this great area of peace, stability and prosperity we all wish to see in the Mediterranean”.

 
During the meetings, which involved the participation of delegations from 42 countries that account for 760 million people, migration was one of the main themes of the debates. The minister highlighted the agreement of most of the Member States that this is a question that must be addressed with a global focus through bilateral, but above all, multilateral, cooperation.

 
In this regard, Arancha González Laya underlined the commitment of the participant countries to strengthening “our resolve to fight people trafficking” and also evidenced the recognition of the Member States of the benefits of migration and mobility that are “well managed”, she clarified.

 
The fight against radicalisation and violent extremism that can lead to terrorism also played a key role in the debates which focused the efforts required in the new scenario in the region of the Mediterranean. In this regard, the minister committed to a commitment to apply the measures that have been identified and work communities that are more vulnerable to radicalisation. 

 
Arancha González Laya highlighted the “frank and constructive” dialogue of the meeting which, in her opinion, leads to “enhancing respect and mutual understanding” to tackle the crises that exist in the region, such as “in Syria and Libya, as a priority, but also the Middle East Peace Process, which must be reactivated without wasting any more time”, she stated.

 
For the minister who attended, in addition to representatives from 42 countries that are members of the Union for the Mediterranean and of the EU, headed up by its High Representative Josep Borrell, and the participation of the European Investment Bank, the Arab League, the Anna Lindh Foundation, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly, this is one more example of the key role that the Union for the Mediterranean can play between regional and sub-regional parties in the Mediterranean.

 
In this regard, she highlighted that one of the main values of the Union for the Mediterranean “is the interrelationship between the political dimension and its practical translation into specific regional cooperation projects” and, on this matter, she specified that 60 projects have already been approved (of which 14 have now been completed) with a total budget in excess of more than 5.2 billion euros.

 
The minister also sought to underline the importance of the actions of civil society and expressed her gratitude to the Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Nasser Kamel, for having organised them, and highlighted that the role of civil society is essential in the efforts to achieve greater cooperation and integration between the opposite shores of the Mediterranean”.


-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-​​

 

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