A total of 43 countries from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East gathered in Barcelona for a landmark Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial meeting on Thursday 26 November. It was co-chaired by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judah.
Speaking at a press conference after the first session Federica Mogherini said that countries in the region were facing "hard times" but they "shared geography and history" and faced the same issues such as terrorism, radicalization and migratory flows. She called for unity to solve these problems.
High Representative Mogherni said that they also discussed common challenges – "Syria, Libya and the Israel-Palestine dispute".
Better economic integration of the Mediterranean is a priority in tackling terrorism, radicalisation and migration., said Mogherini pointing that out that 90% of all trade in the area is within Europe and only 1% across the southern shore of the Mediterranean to the Arab world. The ongoing projects focus on practical issues such as youth, employment, education, women and human rights.
Mogherini on new EU Global Strategy
Earlier in the day the HRVP spoke at a conference on "the EU Internal-External Security Nexus" organized by the EU Institute for Security Studies and Real Institute Elcano.
"The times we live in call for unity and rationality in light of the hatred we are facing in Paris, as well as in Bamako, in the skies of Egypt, as well as in Beirut, let alone in Iraq and in Syria on a daily basis.", said Mogherini.
The objectives of Dahesh are threefold; "to divide us inside our own societies…to divide us from our Arab and Muslim friends and…divide the international community."
Turning to the new EU Global Strategy which is in preparation, she said" We cannot act impulsively. We cannot act without a strategy, a vision on what we want to achieve, and how we want to get there. This is exactly what we are trying to do in drafting a new European Global Strategy."
The HRVP said that consistency and responsibility must be key parts of the strategy. "Consistency means that our external and our internal action must be guided by the same interests and the same values. Take the refugee crisis. The image of a frightened Europe has only weakened our international standing. The refusal by someone to welcome a relatively small number of refugees has hurt our international credibility."
Turning to the importance of Europe engaging in the world she said: "in today's world there is no way we can isolate ourselves from the outer world. We cannot “fence out” our problems. Europe needs to engage, inside our region and beyond. Engagement is our key, our core interest."