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ARLEM: 30 nationalities come together to give the Union for the Mediterranean a territorial dimension

18 janvier 2010

More than 80 locally elected representatives and 43 partners of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) are being brought together in Barcelona by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) on Thursday, January 21, for the first meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM).

The Assembly provides a new institutional framework within the UfM, with a permanent platform bringing together members of the CoR, representatives of European institutions involved in Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation and their counterparts from the Mediterranean partner countries.

A CoR press release said the aim was to strengthen cooperation between local and regional authorities around the Mediterranean in order to give the relationship a territorial dimension beyond its existing parliamentary dimension within the Barcelona Process. It added: “Local and regional authorities are actors in their own right in the implementation of UfM projects, especially in areas such as urban development, the sustainable management of natural resources, public health and educational services.”

The ARLEM meeting will see the election of two co-presidents for the new institution. The Assembly consists of equal numbers of local and regional representatives from EU Member States and countriesof theMediterranean rim. The meeting takes place at the seat of the Union for the Mediterranean, the Pedraibes Palace in Barcelona.

In the immediate aftermath of the establishment of the Union for the Mediterranean at the July 2008 Paris Summit, the CoR submitted a proposal to the Heads of State and Government for the creation, in the form of a Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly, of a territorial dimension to the partnership. This proposal was promoted and supported by partner countries and approved at the Marseille meeting of Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers in November 2008.

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