On Tuesday morning, Vice President Joana Ortega inaugurated the final conference of the Catalonia-led COM&CAP MarInA-Med project as part of the European Union’s wider MED Programme, a transnational plan for European territorial cooperation. The event took place in Barcelona’s Maritme Museum (Museu Marítim de Barcelona) and included the participation of Roger Albinyana, Secretary for Foreign Affairs and EU; Tarja Richard, the Programme’s Joint Technical Secretariat coordinator. Also taking part of the event was the Government’s Mobility and Infrastructure Secretary, Ricard Font, who highlighted the potential of the Mediterranean as “central point of entry for the world’s incoming trade”.
The conference, entitled Challenges for the Integrated Maritime Policy for the Mediterranean Sea, was organized by the Government of Catalonia to discuss the enhancement of Integrated Maritime Policy and its approach to the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the session was part of the joint closure of the 14 Med Maritime projects selected under the Integrated Maritime Approach call of the 2007-2013 MED Programme.
The main technical discussion was held by MED Maritime Projects representatives together with experts from the Union for the Mediterranean and from EU Institutions (European Commission, European Parliament, and the Committee of the Regions), and involved an audience comprised of national, regional and local authorities, port authorities and representatives of the fishing industry and the tourism sector.
Additionally, the conference also promoted the need to establish the Mediterranean as a priority area for sustainable socio-economic development to mitigate environmental pressures. In this respect, the Union for the Mediterranean underlined the necessity to promote dialogue regarding maritime policies in the framework of a blue economy within the Mediterranean region.
Furthermore, the Vice President underlined the need to create a macro-region “based on multi-level governance” to help advance development and to share key priorities within the Mediterranean. In this sense, Vice President Ortega underlined Barcelona’s capacity as a capital city of the Mediterranean and a European leader “in development, innovation, and dialogue”. Ortega also emphasized that projects such as the MED Programme are fundamental for establishing ties between North and South that go beyond borders. “Catalonia has always been committed to ensure the Mediterranean continues to be region of prosperity”, concluded Ortega.
Moreover, Secretary Ricard Font, made reference to the Catalan Government’s continued efforts to establish the Corredor Mediterrani (Mediterranean Corridor), an infrastructural project which would connect Spain's main harbours on the Mediterranean Sea with Northern Europe. In this regard, Font called for a prioritization of transportation, logistics, energy and digitalization policies to harness efforts in developing this imperative project, so vital for Southern Europe’s economic recovery. “From Catalonia we are working intensively to ensure the Corredor Mediterrani becomes a reality. We need instruments to create a competitive and efficient Mediterranean, which should be at the disposal of global, regional and local economies”, added Font.
In concluding the event, Secretary for Foreign and EU Affairs Roger Albinyana, highlighted the importance of innovative initiatives such as those found in the MED Programme to help improve “efficiency and the impact these projects”, and added that “the Catalan Government has always believed in this project, proving Catalonia’s full commitment to the Mediterranean as well as the need to work together to reduce inequalities between the North and South”, concluded Albinyana.