Forum on 'Reinventing the Med' in Otranto

Ambassadors, politicians and journalists debate

13 September, 13:37

    OTRANTO - With an international workshop entitled 'Reinventing the Mediterranean: dialogue, challenges, and opportunities', the Euro-Mediterranean Forum began Thursday morning in the Aragonese castle of Otranto.
    Taking part in the roundtable discussion were Moroccan ambassador to Italy Hassan Abouyoub, Jordanian ambassador Fayiz Khouri, Tunisian ambassador Moez Eddine Sinaoui, and ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta Gabriele Checchia, as well as Sebastiano Leo, councillor for studies and training of the Puglia region, Ambassador Enrico Granara, coordinator for multi-lateral affairs of the Euro-Mediterranean area of the foreign ministry, and Deputy Speaker of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Fabio Rampelli.
    Opening remarks were made by Otranto mayor Pierpaolo Cariddi and Massimo Salomone, secretary general of the Consular Corps of Puglia, Basilicata and Molise. Introductions were instead made by Giuseppe Scognamiglio, editor-in-chief of the geopolitics journal "Eastwest" and moderating the debate were ANSA deputy editor Stefano Polli and Paolo Di Giannantonio from TG1.
    ''Almost 50 years have passed since the signing of the first agreements, through the Treaty of Rome, with countries of the southern Mediterranean, of North Africa, and at the level of stability and peace we have not made noteworthy progress,'' Ambassador Abouyoub said. ''The crisis of the Middle East is getting worse. Some countries of the southern Mediterranean, after the Arab Spring, are still looking for the right way to reinvent their institutions and put democracy on the right level.'' He went on to say that ''at the economic and social level, all development models tried have shown that there are limits of a systemic nature, and so far they have not been able to provide the desired response to either the challenge of jobs or that of sustainable development''. The ambassador noted that ''all of this process has put us before a demagogic reality that tends to reduce all the problems in the Mediterranean to immigration. At this historic time, there is the need to open a debate on the common model of geo-strategic management of the Mediterranean. The most urgent priority is to restore confidence among the protagonists, go towards programs and sectorial projects of shared interest to relaunch human and economic development.'' ''Italy,'' Abouyoub concluded, ''is the country of the northern Mediterranean that would have more to gain in opening itself not only to the southern Mediterranean but also its inland areas. It would gain in terms of prosperity and collective wellbeing much more than now''.

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