Press release 18/2014
21 January 2014
Fathallah Sijilmassi, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, will visit Finland on 22–23 January. He will meet, among others, with Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja and Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto and he will speak at the seminar entitled “The Union for the Mediterranean: Challenges and Opportunities in Strengthening Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation” organized by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.Founded in 2008 at the initiative of France, the Union for the Mediterranean is a cooperation body of 43 countries. Its headquarters and Secretariat are in Barcelona. The membership comprises the EU Member States as well as all of the coastal states of the Mediterranean. As did its predecessor, the so-called Barcelona Process created already in 1995, it includes both Israel and the Palestinian Territory.
The main purpose of the Union for the Mediterranean is to promote regional cooperation, in particular through the creation of new productive projects where the public and private sectors collaborate closely. Its fields of priority are renewable energy, transport, the environment and sustainable development, social issues and education. The European Union is the largest financier of the Union for the Mediterranean but the European Investment Bank (EIB) also support its activities.This is the first visit the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean will make to Finland. As a member of the EU, Finland is actively involved in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation and sees its strong potential importance especially with regard to job creation in North Africa, which is experiencing economic difficulties.
Additional information: Risto Veltheim, Counsellor, Euro-Mediterranean Coordinator, tel. +358 295 351 582 or mobile tel. +358 40 748 2697