More than 100 business leaders from UfM countries gather in Barcelona to foster stability, inclusive growth and job creation across the Mediterranean
EU Commissioner for the European Neighbouhood Policy and Enlargement, Johannes Hahn, former Prime Minister of Tunisia, Mehdi Jomaa and the UfM Secretary General Fathallah Sijilmassi, reiterate the importance of fostering cooperation between private sector, International financial institutions and regional organizations.
Barcelona, 14 April 2015 – The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean organised together with the European Commission a two-day High-level Meeting on the role of the private sector in strengthening the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.
The meeting, which gathered more than 100 representatives from the private sector, international and regional organisations and International Financial Institutions (IFIs), took place immediately after the informal Ministerial Conference held yesterday at Palau de Pedralbes, headquarters of the UfM Secretariat, to discuss the future of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). The revision of the ENP provides an opportunity to emphasize the need for strengthening the role of the private sector and improving the business environment across the region.
Discussions aimed at fostering dialogue between stakeholders from the private sector and main financial institutions on key strategic issues for the future of the region, such as inclusive growth and job creation, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and informal economy.
The UfM Secretariat launched a strategy for the private sector development at the end of last year. Acting as regional multi-stakeholder platform, the Secretariat organised two working meetings to engage private sector players in addressing the region’s challenges through consultations and discussions with international financial institutions (IFIs), private companies, international and regional organisations as well as civil society representatives. The three key strategic issues discussed during today’s meeting were raised by the participants on those occasions. This series of meetings have initiated the first regional dynamic with the private sector.
At the opening speech, yesterday at the Caixa Forum Barcelona, Secretary General Sijilmassi said to participants that this meeting “will allow continuing the regional dynamic and to associate more closely private sector with UfM activities and also to identify how UfM can support private sector ideas and initiates”.
Commissioner Hahn stated : “A flourishing economy across the Mediterranean is key to reach our shared objectives of stability and prosperity and for that the private sector must be at the core of any successful process”. He also highlighted the important role played by the Union for the Mediterranean in promoting private sector-led growth and employment in the Southern Partners.
Former Prime Minister from Tunisia stressed that “private sector needs to open the door to young unemployed people, we cannot tackle unemployment without the private sector”.
The UfM Secretariat foresees the organisation of two other High-level private sector meetings on food security and energy this year.
Private sector development is key to seize existing business opportunities and foster regional integration in the Mediterranean by raising the current levels of intra-regional trade, 5% of total external trade, low compared to 65% among the EU, 22% of ASEAN and 19% of MERCOSUR.