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Abolish the Union for the Mediterranean

Apr 11, 2012 No Comments ››

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) was stillborn. Created in 2008, it has blatantly failed to fulfill its purpose: to unlock the stalled regional Euro-Mediterranean cooperation. Detaching technical from political cooperation to bypass the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate did not work. Neither did the premise of attracting private sector investment. So, why keep paying for a misguided conceptual setup whose ability to deliver in the foreseeable future is close to zero? The UfM secretariat costs EUR 6.9 million annually, and has EUR  90 million for projects. Some say closing the UfM would send a negative signal. But with all Europe tightening its belt, what kind of signal does it send to maintain yet another EU card house structure weighing on taxpayers’ pockets?  More agile coalitions of the willing for specific shared interests, such as the ‘5-plus-5’ security cooperation, are more promising arrangements to revive. Let’s admit there is currently no momentum for genuine Euro-Med multilateralism.  As long as the Arab-Israeli stalemate persists, genuine regional cooperation cannot work.  At the current state of play, it is disproportionate to keep an institution alive for the sake of a symbolic political statement.

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