European Union External Action

Remarks by HR/VP Mogherini at the press conference of the Third Regional Forum of the Union for the Mediterranean

Barcelona, 08/10/2018 - 19:22, UNIQUE ID: 181008_16
Remarks

Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press conference of the Third Regional Forum of the Union for the Mediterranean

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Thank you very much.

First of all, let me thank Josep [Borell, Foreign Minister of Spain] and the Spanish government, for not only the hospitality, but also the dedication to developing our Mediterranean common work. Without their commitment and their political will our work would have been much less productive, if possible at all. So, muchas gracias.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union’s Member States as well as of the Union for the Mediterranean met today for the Third Regional Forum here in Barcelona. This is a unique space for dialogue among actors that sometimes have this as the only and unique opportunity to talk among themselves, about our common interests and common objectives - security, human development - and to work and focus on common, concrete projects.

Our region is unique for its diversity. And this is richness, it is not a limit. It has always been in history and this continues to be the case. The point is how to use this richness at its best and turn this into opportunities; first of all for our younger generations and for our women, so that we can provide good education and training and job opportunities for all.

We share a common view and we share a common purpose. First of all, in the need to promote sustainable security, to tackle the threat of terrorism and extremism – and this is something we can do only together across the Mediterranean. We all want to find political solutions to the crises we are facing in Syria, in Libya, in the Middle East. We are determined to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution as the only path to comprehensive peace and security.

But first and foremost, as I said, we share an interest in improving our people's lives. We want to put the people of our region at the centre of our cooperation and this is why the Union for the Mediterranean does not only provide this common platform for discussions, but also – and mainly - involves different works and different projects in many different areas.

So far, we have been giving opportunities and training to over 100.000 young people and we have decided today to continue on this path. We supported the development of over 800 small and medium-sized enterprises and we decided to continue on that path. We have also launched, as you might now, two Euro-Mediterranean universities, to create a new generation of Euro-Mediterranean people that can build the basis for peace and cooperation in our region. And Ministers with other portfolios than Foreign Affairs have met in these years to work in areas such as mobility, women empowerment, climate action, renewable energies, environmental protection, resource management, regional connectivity, urban development and I could continue with very concrete projects that have an impact on people's lives.

To remain short, I want to say that you will have in a couple of minutes the conclusions of the Co-Presidency that Ayman [Safadi, Foreign Minister of Joran] and I chaired,  that give an idea of the sense of our discussions today and the way forward for the work of the Union for the Mediterranean. In a nutshell, in one sentence it is: renewed political commitment to this Forum, to regional cooperation across the Mediterranean - the more it becomes difficult, the more it is needed – and to a positive agenda based on projects that have an impact on the daily life of our citizens in different areas of the Mediterranean region.

Thank you.

Q&A

Q. Malheureusement, je suis obligé de constater que l'UE et l'Union pour la Méditerranée sont inexistants sur plusieurs crises, la migration, la Libye, la Syrie. Pour la Syrie par exemple, auriez-vous un autre moyen de pression que le levier de la reconstruction, et comment allez-vous employer ce levier?

Premièrement nous avons parlé de la Syrie ici. Il est vrai que l'Union pour la Méditerranée n'est pas un Forum pour des discussions diplomatiques et la résolution politique des crises de la région, mais nous avons discuté de cela comme le Ministre jordanien [Ayman Al-Safadi] vient de le dire. Nous travaillons ensemble.

Du côté de l'Union européenne, je voudrais être très claire parce que depuis des années, j'entends dire que l'Union européenne serait absente. Je vous invite à imaginer ce qui arriverait en Syrie et aux Syriens, en Syrie ou ailleurs, si l'Union européenne n'existait pas. L'Union européenne et ses Etats membres sont de loin les premiers donateurs d'aide humanitaire aux Syriens, en Syrie et ailleurs - en Jordanie, au Liban, en Turquie, en Europe aussi.

Qu'arriverait-il aux Syriens sans l'aide humanitaire - qui n'est pas seulement de l'argent mais également des projets qui font en sorte que les Syriens restent vivants, parce qu'il n'y aura pas de reconstruction en Syrie s'il n'y a plus de Syriens. Sur ça, je pense que nous sommes d'accord. Pour nous, la priorité est la vie des hommes, des femmes et enfants syriens.

Deuxièmement, le travail diplomatique. Il y a dix jours à New York, l'Union européenne ensemble avec Staffan de Mistura, et avec les autres agences des Nations Unies qui s'occupent de la Syrie – de l'Agence pour les réfugiés au Bureau de la coordination des affaires humanitaires – nous avons organisé la réunion ministérielle sur la Syrie avec les ministres de la région, de l'Arabie Saoudite au Qatar, de l'Iran, la Jordanie au Liban, et avec la présence de la Russie, des Etats-Unis, des Etats membres de l'Union européen pour travailler avec tous ces Etats membres des Nations Unies à soutenir le processus politique des Nations Unies à qui il incombe d'essayer de parvenir à une solution.

Parfois, j'ai l'impression que l'on confond le fait d'être absent et le fait que le résultat de la paix en Syrie n'est pas là. Parfois l'on travaille beaucoup, et pourtant le résultat n'arrive pas, mais cela ne veut pas dire que l'on n'y travaille pas – au contraire. Imaginez quelle serait la situation si l'on n'avait pas les efforts politiques, diplomatiques et humanitaires de l'UE qui est – je tiens à la souligner – avec ses Etats membres – et je pense que Josep [Borrell] peut me conforter là-dessus - presque la seule, souvent avec nos partenaires de la région, à insister sur la résolution diplomatique et politique de la crise. Je pense que sans nous les Nations Unies auraient du mal à mettre cette question comme une question à résoudre sur l'agenda international.

Je pense qu'il est important que nous Européens sommes conscients du travail que nous faisons et de l'importance de ce travail. Parce qu'en son absence, la situation serait encore pire, et cela est possible.

I will switch to English, very shortly. On migration, yes, we have mentioned this as one of the challenges that obviously affect our region. But I want to stress very clearly that the work the European Union is doing on migration goes far beyond the Mediterranean region, and obviously beyond the work we are doing in the Union for the Mediterranean where the biggest added value I see is the work we are doing with our youth, creating jobs and opportunities. The work we are doing on migration goes far beyond that, because it is a phenomenon that involves first and foremost Africa, inside Africa, but also Asia and Latin America. It is a global issue that we are facing, again, in the context of the United Nations. So the Union for the Mediterranean is not the principal forum and is not the main forum to address this issue and it is not a purely Mediterranean issue. It is true, there are challenges and the Union for the Mediterranean can contribute even more in addressing them and we are studying the ways to do so, but we work on this and on many other files.

Link to the video: https://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I161383