The Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret, is on a working trip to Brussels to take part in the “Friends of the Mediterranean Macro-Region” event, organised by the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR), the Government of the South Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region and the Government of Catalonia, coinciding with EU Macro-Regional Strategies Week promoted by the European Commission.
The event aims to boost the Mediterranean macro-region project, an initiative that should provide greater cohesion and cooperation and more fluid governance between Mediterranean regions and actors in response to growing shared challenges. Minister Serret stated that, “today we are taking a step forward in strengthening Mediterranean cooperation, including all institutions and actors in the launch of the macro-region, which has the support of the Committee of the Regions and the European Parliament”. She further stressed that this step forward calls for “the necessary involvement of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union”.
“Building an advanced and integrated Mediterranean with the Europe of the future is crucial for the EU and is one of the cornerstones of Catalonia’s foreign action strategy. Because Europe and the Mediterranean are our priorities, and their future is interrelated,” Serret said during her speech at the event, which was also attended by the Catalan Government Delegate to the European Union, Ignasi Centelles Santana, and the Secretary General of the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion, Xavier Bernard-Sans.
“We are facing increasingly complex global challenges that call for a stronger cooperation framework,” said Serret, citing the examples of the climate crisis and, more specifically, the extreme drought affecting Catalonia and other parts of the Mediterranean region, going on to warn that, “we need urgent action with a real impact at the local level”.
In this regard, Serret stated that, “drought is a good starting point to boost the Mediterranean macro-region” and insisted that, “we must be capable of providing a genuine response to these challenges”. She said that, “Mediterranean challenges are also European ones” and that, “we have to act together to tackle them properly and effectively”. Serret stressed the need for “more Euro-Mediterranean policies in the EU institutions” and for “strategic thinking in the Mediterranean basin”. For this reason, Serret agreed that “the time has come for a macro-regional strategy to strengthen cooperation in the Mediterranean through actions with greater impact.”
Serret explained that Euro-Mediterranean policies are a priority of the Government of Catalonia. “As a strategic Mediterranean actor, Catalonia will work hard towards creating the Mediterranean macro-region. Our aim is to cooperate, especially within the EU, to promote cross-border territorial cohesion in the Mediterranean region.” Serret also noted that, “our commitment is not limited to just creating” the macro-region, but to “making it a reality, a reality that implies strengthening existing common areas of cooperation, such as the Euroregion Pyrenees Mediterranean,” whose presidency is currently held by the Government of Catalonia.
During her stay in Brussels, as part of the promotion of the macro-region, Serret met the Vice-President of the Regional Council of Tanger-Tetouan-Al-Hoceima, Rafia el Mansouri, and the Vice-President of the Région Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region, Jean-Pierre Colin.