The Union for the Mediterranean loses its Secretary General once again


Barcelona (ACN).- Youssef Amrani, the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, has resigned to become Moroccou2019s new Vice Minister for Foreign Nationals, within the Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Ministry. Amrani has been put forward by King Mohamed VI, who has put people he trusts in the new Moroccan Government to counteract the strength of the moderate Islamists from the Justice and Development Party (PJD). However, with this decision, Amrani abandons the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), after having taken office only seven months ago, in May 2011. The Moroccan diplomat headed the Euro-Mediterranean organisation, based in Barcelona, after its former Secretary General, the Jordanian diplomat Ahmad Masau2019deh resigned on January 27th 2011. Masau2019deh resigned less than two weeks after the fall of the Tunisian dictatorial Government and two days after the protests in Egypt began. Officially, he quit due to the difficulties the organisation has been facing carrying out its mission and projects. In fact, the UfM finds its work affected by the volatility of the current North African Governments and the Israel-Palestine conflict, which has blocked some working papers and technical meetings. In addition, the European Union is far from considering the Euro-Mediterranean policy and the UfM as one of its priorities. Amraniu2019s appointment, with the consensus of the new Governmentu2019s resulting from the Arab Spring, had to address the UfMu2019s situation and re-invigorate the organisation. However, his resignation and the persistent external factors have not helped the UfM to reach its desired functioning process.

A platform to build projects between both sides of the Mediterranean

The UfM is an international institution that aims to foster cooperation across the Mediterranean Sea. It brings 43 countries together: the 27 Member States of the European Union and all the other countries around the Mediterranean except Libya. The Euro-Mediterranean organisationu2019s headquarters are based in Barcelona, where the offices of its General Secretariat are located. As agreed in the 2008 Paris Declaration, the UfM has six areas of work: environment (with a special focus on sea pollution); water management; renewable energies (with the Mediterranean solar plan as a star project); collaboration in higher education and research; fostering business exchange; and, sea and land transport infrastructure. However, the UfMu2019s work has evolved extremely slowly due to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the current political changes taking place in Arab countries and the European Union not considering it a high priority. In fact, Former Secretary General Dr. Masau2019deh resigned because of this stagnation. The UfM is attempting to resolve the situation by focusing on technical and field projects, however the institutions has not reached its desired functioning process yet.