The Union for the Mediterranean loses its Secretary General once again

The Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, whose headquarters are based in Barcelona, has resigned to become Morocco’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. King Mohamed VI appointed Youssef Amrani to counterweight the actual Foreign Affairs Minister, from the moderate Islamists. Amrani’s resignation means that the UfM has once again been left without a figure head in the past year, after Massadeh’s resignation in early 2011.

CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

January 4, 2012 09:54 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- Youssef Amrani, the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, has resigned to become Morocco’s new Vice Minister for Foreign Nationals, within the Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Ministry. Amrani has been put forward by King Mohamed VI, who has put people he trusts in the new Moroccan Government to counteract the strength of the moderate Islamists from the Justice and Development Party (PJD). However, with this decision, Amrani abandons the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), after having taken office only seven months ago, in May 2011. The Moroccan diplomat headed the Euro-Mediterranean organisation, based in Barcelona, after its former Secretary General, the Jordanian diplomat Ahmad Masa’deh resigned on January 27th 2011. Masa’deh resigned less than two weeks after the fall of the Tunisian dictatorial Government and two days after the protests in Egypt began. Officially, he quit due to the difficulties the organisation has been facing carrying out its mission and projects. In fact, the UfM finds its work affected by the volatility of the current North African Governments and the Israel-Palestine conflict, which has blocked some working papers and technical meetings. In addition, the European Union is far from considering the Euro-Mediterranean policy and the UfM as one of its priorities. Amrani’s appointment, with the consensus of the new Government’s resulting from the Arab Spring, had to address the UfM’s situation and re-invigorate the organisation. However, his resignation and the persistent external factors have not helped the UfM to reach its desired functioning process.

A platform to build projects between both sides of the Mediterranean

The UfM is an international institution that aims to foster cooperation across the Mediterranean Sea. It brings 43 countries together: the 27 Member States of the European Union and all the other countries around the Mediterranean except Libya. The Euro-Mediterranean organisation’s headquarters are based in Barcelona, where the offices of its General Secretariat are located. As agreed in the 2008 Paris Declaration, the UfM has six areas of work: environment (with a special focus on sea pollution); water management; renewable energies (with the Mediterranean solar plan as a star project); collaboration in higher education and research; fostering business exchange; and, sea and land transport infrastructure. However, the UfM’s work has evolved extremely slowly due to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the current political changes taking place in Arab countries and the European Union not considering it a high priority. In fact, Former Secretary General Dr. Masa’deh resigned because of this stagnation. The UfM is attempting to resolve the situation by focusing on technical and field projects, however the institutions has not reached its desired functioning process yet.