ASCAME and the European Economic and Social Committee together for the economic development of the Mediterranean

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A delegation of ASCAME, the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry, has played a part in the Euromed Summit of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions, held at the Palau de Pedralbes in Barcelona during the 22nd and 23rd of October, ​​in order to enhance European involvement in the development of the Mediterranean economy, focusing on digitalisation for SMEs; promoting education and vocational training, and contributing to the development of international trade and sustainable tourism in the region.

EU authorities of both shores of the Mediterranean have been present at a high-level event co-organised by the European Economic and Social Committee, in collaboration with ASCAME, an association that has also been involved in the preparatory meetings.

The Deputy Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Rachid Maaninou, the President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Luca Jahier, and the Acting President of the Economic and Social Council of Spain, María del Carmen Barrera, have been in charge of the official inauguration. The President of ASCAME, Ahmed M. El Wakil, has intervened in the inaugural session as a guest of honour.

Luca Jahier highlighted “the particular moment which the European Union is facing, especially due to the Brexit issue”. He also wanted to thank Ahmed M. El Wakil, with whom he has worked for several years, for the involvement of ASCAME in this Summit. "I hope that the next one can be held in Alexandria and that we can consolidate a stable collaboration with ASCAME," he added.

The meeting has established the essential priorities for the proper development of both shores of the Mediterranean, such as job creation, digitalisation (especially in the southern countries), sustainability, education, investment, trade or SME support.

“60% of the population of the Mediterranean countries is made up of young people. That is why it is essential to focus on digitalisation to create employment and improve the logistics of products and services, which will have a very positive impact on both the public and private sectors”, said Ahmed M. El Wakil. "We need an educational revolution,  we need to share knowledge, facilitate digitalisation and the financing of SMEs, and support the inclusion of women in the labour market," he added.

“71% of the population are Internet users in the Mediterranean region. However, there is still a significant gap between the levels of digitalisation of both banks that must be resolved, ”expressed El Wakil, whose speech concluded showing the effort of ASCAME to promote initiatives for the training of digital skills and support the digitalisation and financing of SMEs and start-ups.

The President of the Economic and Social Committee and the President of ASCAME have met at the end of the session to strengthen ties between the two organisations and involve the Mediterranean private sector, through the Chambers of Commerce, to launch joint projects concerning the Euro-Mediterranean private sector in the fight against climate change and impulse the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

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