The Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders boosts a support network of the Civil Society to the UfM

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  • Four Memorandums of Understanding have been signed with Associations representative of the Euro-Mediterranean Civil Society
  • The Maghreb’s integration is essential for the unification of the Mediterranean as a whole
  • More than 1.200 experts and economic leaders attended six thematic forums in Barcelona

 The Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders, which took place from 20 to 22 of November in Barcelona, ended on a positive result. During these three days, more than 1.100 experts and economic leaders have participated to debates and have exchanged ideas and proposals of collaboration within the Euro-Mediterranean Civil Society with the strong will to support the Union for the Mediterranean and Barcelona, in its decisive role as the economic capital and bridge between the northern and southern sides of the Mediterranean.

In the framework of the Week, ASCAME (the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce) has signed four Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with FEMOZA (World Federation of Free Zones), UNIMED (The Mediterranean Universities Union), AFAEMME (The Association of Organizations of Mediterranean Businesswomen) and MEDCITIES (The network of Mediterranean coastal cities), with the aim of encouraging, from the Civil Society, the Union for the Mediterranean, based in Barcelona and creating a joint Mediterranean federations and associations network.

Thus, the North African Business Development Forum (NABDF) showed that the Maghreb region shouldn’t be considered anymore only as an opportunity for the European enterprises but must be seen as a real necessity, in time of crisis, for all the Southern European countries such as Spain, France and Italy. The increase of Spanish exports (+30%) or Italian exports (+12%) to the North Africa is a meaningful example. France is not far behind with an increase of its exportations by 8% in Maghreb. The economic integration of North Africa (Maghreb) has become an imperative for the whole Mediterranean.  

Another objective reached during the Mediterranean Week has been the consolidation of the public-private cooperation in the field of the Mediterranean cities management. In this regard, 80 entrepreneurs and mayors of Mediterranean cities have met in Barcelona to discuss the basis of a close cooperation regarding services and cities promotion. In terms of training, it has been discussed the setting up of an “Erasmus” allowance in Mediterranean enterprises and the creation of scholarships through support programs addressed to Mediterranean young graduated. Besides, FEMOZA (the World Federation of Free Zones) has announced the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Zones Association gathering hundreds of Mediterranean Free Zones. 

Regarding the Islamic Finances, whereas France, United-Kingdom and other European countries have adopted their legislation in order to enable this kind of economic exchanges, other countries such as Spain are lagging behind. Nowadays, it is important to underline that Islamic Finances are present in 53 countries and main North American operators are encouraging their implementation.

The last day was marked by the Meda Women Forum which brought together women entrepreneurs from 16 Mediterranean countries who have discussed the initiatives encouraging jobs’ creation in favor of the female entrepreneurship. It must be noticed that, in all Mediterranean countries, the unemployment rate amongst young people stands at around 50%. Also, it is interesting to see that, in Southern countries, the percentage of women with high responsibility reaches 29% whereas in the European Union, this rate is only 22%.

The VII Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders has been organized by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry with the collaboration of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the European Investment Bank (EIB) as well as other institutions.

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