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Parliamentarians conclude Mediterranean Assembly with proposals on immigration and funding projects

4 mars 2011

An orderly and coordinated response to the alarming influx of migrants fleeing Libya and new imaginative ways to finance democratic transition efforts under way in the region: these were the key recommendations adopted by parliamentarians from European and Mediterranean countries at the end of the 7th UfM Parliamentary Assembly.

In a recommendation addressed to the ministers of the Union for the Mediterranean, the Assembly called for a common strategy to manage South-North migratory flows. Recent uprisings in the Arab World are triggering population movements and creating humanitarian crises, turning Libya and other Northern African states into transit countries.

Parliamentarians questioned the EU practice of subcontracting migration controls to North African transit countries. They also reminded European governments that, according to EU laws, collective expulsions are prohibited and that no one may be removed or extradited to a country where they would be put at serious risk.

Among key proposals to promote migrant integration, delegates encouraged national and local authorities to recognise the right of long-term residents to vote in local elections and facilitate language courses.

« This recommendation must send a signal of openness to governments, we have to reach out to the people », stressed co-rapporteur Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE/NGL, FR).

Funding projects

Social uprisings, economic crises and the effects of oil and food prices rises require an urgent and coordinated approach from the EU, if it is to support the development of emerging democracies in North Africa. In this context, the UfM Parliamentary Assembly urged the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean development bank, as a branch of the European Investment Bank (EIB), able to carry out programmes to combat poverty, unemployment and social exclusion.

The establishment of this bank would also make it easier to meet the credit needs of SMEs and of the major infrastructure projects already envisaged by the Union for the Mediterranean in 2008 in the fields of transport, energy, environment, education and social affairs.

« We want a bank based on values », said co-rapporteur Ines Ayala (S&D, ES). « A bank which doesn’t promote speculation but which can boost development and can adapt itself to the needs of Southern countries, especially as regards the financing of micro businesses ».

The following recommendations were approved by acclamation on Friday:

Recent popular uprisings in the Arab countries – Tokia Saïfi (EP)
Role of civil society in the institutional framework of the Union for the Mediterranean – Jordi Pedret (Spain), Abdelmalek Aferiat (Morocco), Omar Moro (Morocco) and Hèléne Flautre (EP)
Security in the Mediterranean – Antonio Panzeri (EP), Mohamed Kamel Rezgui (Algeria) and Zeynep Dagi (Turkey)
Immigration and integration: building a culture of peace by means of dialogue between new generation – Patrick Le Hyaric (EP) and Abdelkarim Korichi (Algeria);
Dialogue between cultures and religions: towards a Mediterranean charter of values – Ioannis Kasoulides (EP);
The Mediterranean heritage: the preservation of archaeological sites (Kriton Arsenis (EP)
Women and illiteracy in the Euro-Mediterranean region – Malika Benarab-Attou (EP) and Fatiha Bakkali (Morocco)
The creation of marine parks in the Mediterranean as a means of preserving biodiversity – Luigi Ramponi (Italy)
Protection of the marine environment – Antonyia Parvanova (EP), Hamid Narijsse (Morocco) and Stefan Schennach (Austria)
Waste management in the coastal regions of the Mediterranean – Akif Akkus (Turkey) and Neven Mimica (Croatia)
Euro-Mediterranean transport networks – Inès Ayala Sender (EP), Bennani Smires and Mbarka Bouaida (Morocco)
UfM projects: Assessment and vision for the future – Dominique Vlasto (EP) and Jordi Xucla (Spain)


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