Employment EU's main challenge in stabilising Mediterranean

Med4Jobs initiative at UfM regional forum

08 October, 17:11

    (ANSAmed) - BARCELONA, OCTOBER 8 - The Mediterranean region has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, and it is a common problem on both the north and south shores, where at least six countries have unemployment rates exceeding 30%. The main challenge, and the shared destiny of the region's countries, is to invest in concrete labour policies through the private sector in order to stabilise the region, reduce migratory flows, and prevent extremism.

    If the unemployment rate was reduced by half, the Mediterranean's GDP would grow annually by 20 billion euros, and the potential for unleashing this growth is in the private sector's hands, according to European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, who spoke on Monday at the 3rd Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Forum in Barcelona. "Politicians can only establish the conditions and the appropriate regulatory framework to facilitate job creation, but businesses must create jobs, and there aren't any magic solutions, because it's impossible to do it without the private sector," Hahn said.

    Since its founding, UfM - which counts 43 countries among its members - has sponsored 13 employment projects for young people and women.

    In one of these, "Generation Entrepreneur", 79,000 young people in the MENA region have thus far benefited, with a total budget of 175 million euros.

    "Since its founding, UfM has taken a pragmatic approach and a positive agenda," said UfM Secretary-General Nasser Kamel, highlighting the "untapped potential" behind the numbers.

    "The private sector contributes 60% of the region's GDP, 80% of capital investment and 90% of job creation in developed countries," Kamel said.

    "In all, about 80% of jobs in the Euro-Mediterranean area are created by small and medium-sized enterprises," he said.

    Using the Roadmap for Action, which established the foundations of the strategy for reaching common cooperation objectives between Europe and the Mediterranean, the Med4Jobs initiative has incorporated projects in the past five years that involve the entire spectrum of players: ministries, UN agencies, business incubators, development agencies, financial institutions and academic institutions.

    The 13 countries that have thus far directly benefited from UfM projects are: Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Portugal, Spain, and Tunisia. (ANSAmed).

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