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Monday, January 25, 2010

Major cities try to energise Euro-Mediterranean partnership

Town planning, Public Management, Local development, Co-op & Development,Local and Regional authorities,Administrations States,Non-profit organisations,

News At the inaugural session of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) in Barcelona, mayors of major cities from the European Union and the Mediterranean partner countries have agreed to join forces to energise the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. The mayors expressed thir determination to go beyond existing traditional diplomatic relations by launching concrete cooperation programmes on issues such as immigration, climate change, urban development or cultural exchange. Closeness to citizens, efficiency in project management and tackling real life issues will be at the heart of this cooperation, which should underpin the institutional framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Union.

Addressing the press at Pedralbes Palace in Barcelona, the city's mayor Jordi Hereu I Boher, underlined his pride at hosting the inaugural session of ARLEM. The mayor of Stuttgart, Germany, Wolfgang Schuster underlined the close relations and the interdependence which exist between northern European regions and the Mediterranean. Ahmed Hamza, President of the urban community of Nouakchott, Mauretania, hopes that ARLEM will lead to greater decentralisation in the Mediterranean region. “We are very happy to be in Barcelona to participate in the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly. We sincerely hope that this new tool will help us to push for more decentralisation in our countries and to increase the cooperation between our regions and cities by better twinning and the exchange of good practices. It is clear to me that we will create more democracy and more efficiency if we give more competences and resources to our regions and cities. ARLEM will surely contribute to this and to a good integration of the North and the South. For Hamid Chabat, the mayor of Fez, Morocco, the launch of ARLEM creates new perspectives and a new quality of political dialogue. The mayor of Haifa (Israel), Yona Yahav, also underlined the need for inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue, and praised the multicultural model character of his city as a best practice for reconciliation in the Mediterranean region. ARLEM is a response to the request to put the role of regional and local authorities in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership on an institutional footing. It therefore gives the partnership a territorial dimension and seeks to involve local and regional authorities more closely in the specific projects of the Union for the Mediterranean. The Barcelona Declaration, adopted by the Euro-Mediterranean Conference in November 1995, stated: "Municipalities and regional authorities need to be closely involved in the operation of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. City and regional representatives will be encouraged to meet each year to take stock of their common challenges and exchange experiences." ARLEM, a joint project of the Committee of the Regions, regional and local authorities around the three shores of the Mediterranean, and European and international associations representing regional and local authorities working on the ground, will facilitate the establishment of contacts, good practice sharing between cities and regions and the promotion of inter-municipal and inter-regional cooperation.

Source :  Committee of the Regions


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