“We need to step up our efforts to close the gap along the two shores of the Mediterranean. It’s one of the most unequal borders in the world,” he said.
“It’s also one of the least economically integrated regions, leaving a lot of potential untapped. The way to tackle this is to strengthen regional integration,” he continued.
Borrell said he hopes the forum will make progress on transportation, digital connectivity and labor.
“We have committed to establishing the Mediterranean transport network, however, we’ve experienced a lot of delays, especially with bilateral agreements. We must do better,” said the EU politician.
He also acknowledged how the war in Ukraine has exacerbated problems of food and energy security in the region.
“We are doing our best to minimize them,” he said of the EU nations.
During his speech, he expressly thanked Türkiye for securing an extension to the Istanbul grain export deal, which allows food exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea. The shipments were paused after Russia's war on Ukraine in February.
While insisting that the Union for the Mediterranean has delivered on some promises, he said “the youth are tired of hearing commitments … they care about concrete action on the ground.”
“We are often too slow and the clock is ticking … I hope we can use today to deliver on concrete goals for the benefit of us all.”
The UfM is an intergovernmental organization that brings together all the countries of the EU and 16 countries from the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.
Source: Anadolu Agency