Today, the President of the Catalan Government, Carles Puigdemont, joined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency, Raül Romeva, took part in the Union for the Mediterranean Regional Forum, being held this week in Barcelona.
The forum, entitled ‘Mediterranean in Action: Youth for Stability and Development’, which will take place until Tuesday at the Palau de Pedralbes, focuses on the potential of young persons as a driving force for stability and development in the area surrounding the Mediterranean. The meeting brought together the region’s key players to review the UfM’s activities and discuss perspectives for strengthening cooperation among Euro-Mediterranean countries.
President Puigdemont, who gave the opening speech, welcomed the forum’s participants and highlighted the role of the UfM as “an instrument of regional cooperation” to make the Mediterranean “a region of prosperity and peace”. In this regard, the Head of the Generalitat reaffirmed Catalonia’s commitment “to cooperate together in resolving the great challenges facing Europe”. “We are a committed partner, with a vast experience with regards to the Mediterranean”, he added.
According to the President, these challenges include the global fight against climate change and the refugee crisis affecting Southern Europe. In this regard, the Mediterranean has become an “impassable border”, which “goes against the essence of the Euro-Mediterranean project” and lies “in contradiction to a core European principle: fraternity”, he stated.
In his opening remarks, the President also commented on the role of young people in the context of a politically uncertain world and stressed the importance of Europe’s “democratic values”. “We have to offer the hope of a better future, not only for young people but for all citizens. A future where young people are able to enjoy quality education and equal opportunities”, he affirmed to the various Foreign Affairs ministers and institutional representatives attending the event.
The Forum was presided by the Co-Presidency of the Union for the Mediterranean, assumed by the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Ms. Federica Mogherini, and by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Ayman Al Safadi.
Also attending the event were the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Fsijilmassi Fathallah Sijilmassi, Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Alfonso María Dastís and the Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan, Nasser Judeh, among other institutional and diplomatic representatives from the European Union and the Euro-Mediterranean region.