EU report on WestMED initiative implementation – The EU Commission has adopted a report on the results of the initiative for the Western Mediterranean (WestMED) which has been in force for 5 years.
Since 2017, five EU Member States (France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Malta) and five Southern partner countries (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia) have worked together on the common interest for the Mediterranean around three objectives: increase maritime safety, promote the sustainable blue economy, growth and jobs, and preserve ecosystems and biodiversity.
The WestMED initiative has proven to be a useful intergovernmental platform to promote sustainable blue economy sectors across the western Mediterranean. COVID-19 has challenged the functioning and governance of the initiative, as most of the meetings had to be virtual. However, great progress has been made, which justifies its continuation.
Main results of the WestMED initiative
The Commission drafted the report after careful analysis of feedback received from stakeholders and an independent external audit study.
The WestMED initiative has demonstrated progress and successes since its creation. While some aspects of the initiative could be improved with the current governance, no major changes will be required, as it has been identified as a successful initiative that has:
- served as a forum for dialogue and soft diplomacy
- led to an increase in cooperation and partnerships
- provided its members with project support (especially when applying for funding)
- enabled the sharing and exchange of knowledge
- allowed to establish technical working groups and alliances (on green transport, sustainable aquaculture and clusters)
- expanded its cooperation with other Mediterranean countries
Three recommendations for the future
Three recommendations were made in the report:
- The initiative and the accompanying framework for action should remain unchanged.
- The WestMED assistance mechanism (operational, logistical and administrative support financed through the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund) should address issues such as increasing visibility; better use of project branding and better metrics to evaluate the implementation of the initiative.
- Priorities in relation to regional/international policies should be reviewed, taking into account the second Ministerial Declaration of the Union for the Mediterranean on a sustainable blue economy.
In April 2017, the Commission adopted the Communication on the Initiative for the Sustainable Development of the Blue Economy in the Western Mediterranean.
The initiative is a direct consequence of the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Declaration on the Blue Economy.
The Commission had an obligation to report on implementation five years after the launch of the WestMED initiative.
Following presentation to the Council and the European Parliament, this report will be presented at the WestMED ministerial meeting in 2023, in Malta. During this meeting, countries can choose to reconfirm or update the priorities included in the current 2017 Framework for Action.
EU report on WestMED initiative implementation