FEMISE organised its Annual conference in Barcelona (27 to 29 September, 2023 ) co-organised and hosted by IEMed, with the theme: Shifting Paradigms: Opportunities for a Deeper EU-Med Integration in a Changing World.
The theme of the conference was addressed during the conference’s 4 plenary sessions and 4 thematic sessions. The conference was attended by more than 100 participants from across the EU-Med region from international organisations, researchers, academia and civil society. High level speakers of the plenary sessions addressed the way forward for the EU-Med integration from different perspectives including, trade integration and the regional value chains, green transition and the role of entrepreneurship, innovation and Mediterranean youth. In addition, 12 papers were presented during the 4 thematic sessions and authors received feedback and comments from the discussants. Final papers will be published as FEMISE-IEMED research papers.
Structure of the conference :
1- Opening and Plenary Sessions:
Opening Speeches by Nasser Kamel, Secretary General, Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), Carmen Magariños, Director of Cooperation with Africa and Asia, Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and Pau Solanilla, Commissioner of International Relations and City Promotion, Barcelona City Council
| Plenary Session 1 – Rebalancing the Geopolitical Landscape with Economic Opportunities.
||Plenary Session 2 – Enhancing the Region’s Resilience Through Regional Value Chains
|Plenary Session 3 – Challenges and Opportunities on the Way to Resilient Net-Zero Economies
|| Plenary Session- 4 Youth-Driven Euro-Mediterranean Region: Policies to Boost, Entrepreneurship Innovation
2- Thematic Sessions
Thematic 1:Financial Inclusion and GVC Integration in the Euro-Mediterranean Region
Thematic 2:Building a More Integrated Euro-Mediterranean Region: Trade, Remittances and Skills’ Mobility
Thematic 3: Economics of the Euro-Mediterranean Green Transition
Thematic 4: Policies Empowering the Youth to Deliver Sustainable Development in the Euro-Mediterranean Region
Final papers presented during the thematic sessions will be published as FEMISE-IEMED research papers.
Context of the conference
The global economy is undergoing major geopolitical and economic paradigm shifts. In addition to its profound political ramifications, the war on Ukraine has exacted major economic and social development costs on the global economy, especially for a developing world that is still reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, climate change’s impacts intensify and threaten the environment and societies with the poorest paying the heaviest price.
Within this context, the Euro-Mediterranean region has an important role to play as a major centre of global trade, connecting three continents of the world. In fact, while representing only 1% of the world’s waters, the Mediterranean Sea generates around 15% of global maritime traffic and 20% of related economic value, making it a fundamental global economic and social crossroads. It has become even more central today following the discovery of giant natural gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean.
As such, and as the countries in the Euro-Mediterranean region are facing their new and existing challenges and resetting their priorities, new opportunities are emerging towards deeper Euro-Mediterranean integration. For the Southern Mediterranean countries (SMC), the consequences of climate change, slow economic growth and increasing youth unemployment are particularly challenging. Nonetheless, there is a huge potential for the SMCs to exploit their comparative advantages to position themselves to meet economic, climate and human development challenges, while developing and strengthening a robust reciprocal, self-reinforcing, win-win partnership with the EU.
Hence, as the world geopolitics is shifting, the Euro-Mediterranean relations could be on the threshold of a new era where the two shores are working closer together to build a more resilient and sustainable region. The present common challenges in the region demand such integration and cooperation between the North and South.
Against this backdrop, the objectives of the FEMISE annual conference of 2023 are threefold:
- To bring forward issues that are of concern to the Euro-Mediterranean region and more precisely to explore how to turn challenges into opportunities for a deeper and closer partnership.
- To exchange on how to build a Euro-Mediterranean region that is better integrated and resilient to shocks while putting its young population at the heart of this partnership to allow them to play their role as the Mediterranean Change Makers.
- To explore ways through which this deeper integration between the EU and SMCs, notably enhanced trade and investments, could lead to better opportunities for the youth, providing important inputs to the Team Europe’s Initiative “Jobs through Trade and Investment in the Southern Neighbourhood.”