Barcelona’s Mediterranean capital status

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Since last March, Barcelona has hosted its first international organisation: the Union for the Mediterranean’s Permanent Secretariat (UpM). After being born in the Catalan capital in 1995, re-launched in 2008 and renamed the Union for the Mediterranean (UpM), with its formal inauguration, the Barcelona Process now has its own institution. For the first time it will have its own body to articulate a new association and cooperation phase between both shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Now, the articulation of the UpM’s operability must be achieved. There must also be an effort to make its activity visible and set the first goals. During its 2nd Summit scheduled for next November in Barcelona, the UpM may receive a decisive political push. We have to wait for the incipient Israeli-Palestine dialogue process to start delivering some results, which would allow us to celebrate this meeting with a guarantee of success. The summit was postponed last July for this reason.

Despite this desirable political stimulus, the Secretariat already has a seat, agreed statutes and a Secretary General, Jordanian Ahmad Masa’deh. In addition, the UpM’s Permanent Secretariat can count on Catalonia and its capital’s traditional pro-Mediterranean will and trajectory. Since 1995, both Catalonia and Barcelona along with the Spanish Government have given their support for the Barcelona Process. All of them wished that the UpM seat in Barcelona might start putting into motion large projects with a Euro-Mediterranean scope and new mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation in the Mediterranean area. Barcelona has definitely come out on top in terms of its Mediterranean capital status and centrality, which may bring new opportunities to the city and the country. Now it depends on us, the 43 UpM member countries, to guarantee its good functioning and successes in the mid-long term. Only this way could an area of peace, stability and progress in the Mediterranean be consolidated while stressing Barcelona’s main role in it.


Senén Florensa

General Director of the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed)

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