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Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean

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Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean

The Union for the Mediterranean is intended to deepen relations between Europe and other Mediterranean countries as part of a strengthened Euro-Mediterranean partnership which produces tangible results for citizens in the region.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 20 May 2008 on the “Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean” [COM(2008) 319 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The purpose of this Communication is to improve the efficiency of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. In particular, the purpose of the new Union for the Mediterranean is to develop:

  • political cooperation;
  • the principle of co-ownership in multilateral relations;
  • regional and sub-regional projects that are more concrete and visible to the citizens of the region.

The Union has been enlarged to 43 States. This includes all the Member States of the European Union (EU), the European Commission, partner and observer countries of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership (Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Albania) as well as the other Mediterranean coastal States (Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Monaco).

The Union for the Mediterranean is a component of Community policies and programmes of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.

Institutional Governance

The partnership is strengthened by the concern for balance and joint ownership. To this end, the Communication suggests:

  • biennial summits of Heads of Government;
  • a co-presidency, chaired by a representative of the European Union and a representative from a Mediterranean member country;
  • a Joint Permanent Committee for institutional governance, composed of representatives of EU Member States, Mediterranean partners and the European Commission;
  • a secretariat that ensures equal representation, composed of officials seconded from participants in the process, responsible for identifying, examining and following up on projects.

The role of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) as a framework for parliamentary dialogue and a consultative forum on the implementation of the partnership is thus reaffirmed.

Project Dimension

The Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean is the implementation framework for regional and transnational cooperation and for the development of regional cohesion, economic integration and infrastructural interconnections.

The 2007-2013 Euro-Mediterranean regional indicative programme and strategy continue to apply. Supplementary sources of financing for projects should mainly come from:

  • private sector participation;
  • bilateral cooperation from EU Member States;
  • contributions from Mediterranean partners;
  • international financial institutions, regional banks and other bilateral funds;
  • the Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership Facility (FEMIP), created to foster private sector development;
  • the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (ENPI) and the cross-border cooperation instrument within the ENPI;
  • other instruments applicable to the countries covered by the initiative.


The Barcelona Process remains the only forum which allows a constructive dialogue that promotes the pursuit of political and socio-economic reform and the modernisation of the Mediterranean region.

Trade liberalization with the EU, with a view to establishing a free-trade area, has notably favoured exports and investment. However further and faster reforms are needed to achieve effective regional integration.

On the occasion of the first summit of the Barcelona Process: a Union for the Mediterranean on 13 July 2008 in Paris, Heads of State and Government adopted a joint declaration (FR) following the main proposals of the present Communication.

Last updated: 01.01.2008