1. The Minister for Foreign Action and European Union met with the French Ambassador for the Mediterranean at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Catalan Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret i Aleu, is in Paris on an institutional trip to meet with French authorities and strengthen cooperation in strategic areas for the Government of Catalonia. On the trip, at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs Serret met with the French Ambassador for the Mediterranean, Karim Amellal, to whom she explained the joint strategy between the Catalan and other Mediterranean governments to promote a Mediterranean macroregion.

“We are pleased to have had the opportunity to share the strategy directly with the French government, and see their readiness to make the macroregion a reality,” Serret told the media. Together with Karim Amellal, Serret explained that “we were able to exchange views and opinions on the strategy to follow from now on.”

Other governments supporting the macroregional project include the two French regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Occitania. Just this week, president Pere Aragonès visited Marseille to continue working to make the Mediterranean macroregion a reality, among other things. “We were already very much in tune with the governments of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Occitania, and now we are pleased to see that the French government also wishes to strengthen Mediterranean cooperation, through multilevel governance and by bringing together all the actors who are able to contribute.”

Catalonia has led the promotion of the Mediterranean macroregion from the outset, as it is committed to this project, which should help strengthen Euro-Mediterranean cooperation to provide a response to global challenges. The Mediterranean basin is particularly badly affected by climate change, as one of the world’s regions most exposed to the risks and dangers of the environmental crisis.

Round table on water management

Combating the climate crisis, and consequences such as the drought in the Mediterranean in particular, is one of the macroregion’s priorities. “We agree with the French government on the suitability of the macroregional instrument to meet the challenges arising from the climate emergency, such as drought,” said Serret. In this regard, the Government has organised a round table in Paris on water management and sustainability in a context of drought and climate crisis, at the Government Delegation to France.

“From today’s meeting, we can move forward in forging alliances and promoting joint initiatives and projects, and thus raise the Mediterranean perspective in EU policies in Europe, especially regarding how we tackle the climate crisis,” said Serret. “Because the Mediterranean is our natural space, it is one of the regions of the world where climate change will have the greatest impact, with a very clear effect on a basic resource for life and all social and economic development: water,” explained the minister.

Serret stressed that meetings such as today’s “must help us to continue promoting a political initiative such as the Mediterranean macroregion, to align strategies and units of action with projects that can have a real impact on all shores of the Mediterranean.”

The round table was made up of the Government Director General for Environmental Quality and Climate Change, Mireia Boya, the OECD Water Governance and Circular Economy Unit analyst Juliette Lassman, the Director of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation for Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Yamina Boulkerara, and the head of the Occitania Water, Aquatic Environments and Risks Department, Régis Ingouf. Researchers, journalists and experts such as the sociologist and CREDA researcher Franck Poupeau, sociologist and Le Monde diplomatique journalist, Marc Laimé, sociologist and Sciences Po researcher Joan Cortinas, and Institute for Climate Economics (I4CE) researcher Joséphine Despres-Diry also took part.

Meeting with the Catalan community

In the afternoon, Minister Serret met with the directors of Government offices in Paris: the Institut Ramon Llull, the Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises, ACCIÓ and the Catalan Tourist Board. She also hosted a reception with the Catalan community to present the new Government delegate to France, Eva Doya Le Besnerais.