UFM: Shulz, relaunching of the Med Union through Parliaments

First summit of Parliaments speakers in Marseille from May 6-7

28 March, 14:02

(ANSAmed) - Brussels, March 28 - Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and President-in-Office of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean, will welcome Speakers of the Parliaments of the member countries of the Union for the Mediterranean in Marseille on 6 and 7 April. The summit, convened at the initiative of President Schulz, will be the first high-level meeting since the summit of the Heads of State and government of the UfM held in Paris in 2008 and the first regional meeting since the Arab Spring.

''This summit will be an opportunity to show that Parliaments are ready to fill the political leadership gap from which the UfM has suffered from in recent years'', Shulz said announcing the meeting. ''We, the Speakers-Presidents of the Parliaments, would like to underline the importance of giving an impetus to the implementation of UfM projects at a time of major regional political and economic upheaval'', he added.

''We also need to re-forge the link between people on both sides of the Mediterranean and respond to their common expectations. If the challenge of democratic transition which is under way in some Mediterranean countries is successfully to be met, we will need strong and effective parliaments which listen to their citizens.'' The summit will continue the work of the civil forum organised by the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) at the Pharo's Palace in Marseille from 4 to 7 April. The forum will bring together around a thousand representatives of civil society, young people, artists, locally-elected officials and economic players from both shores of the Mediterranean. The Speakers of the Parliaments will receive proposals from the ALF Forum and will draw up their own recommendations to be put to the governing bodies of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Union for the Mediterranean is the parliamentary institution of the 'Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean'. It was formed in Naples on 3 December 2003 and has the following remit: to boost the development of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership; to monitor the actions and projects of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership; to adopt resolutions and recommendations for the Union for the Mediterranean's ministerial conferences.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the UfM is made up of MPs/MEPs appointed by the national parliaments of the Member States of the European Union, the national parliaments of the Mediterranean partners and the European Parliament.

The next plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean will be held in Brussels on 11 and 12 April 2013. The main objectives of the Union for the Mediterranean concern energy and the environment: water (for example the Gaza desalination plant), solar energy, the environment (cleaning up the Mediterranean) and the Mediterranean Maritime Highway for the cooperation between the member countries of the UfM. (ANSAmed).