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UFM: the key dates

Latest update : 2008-07-14

From the Barcelona Process to the Union for the Mediterranean, it took 13 years of gestation to build a real bridge between the countries on the northern and the southern shores of the Mediterranean.

View our special report on the Union for the Mediterranean. 



November 1995: Barcelona Process

The first Euro-Mediterranean (Euromed) Partnership, called the “Barcelona Process,” is launched in Spain.


Its objectives: to improve the dialogue on political and security issues, develop economic partnerships as well as social and cultural cooperation.

Thirteen years later, the score is worse than mixed, according to Mustapha Sherif, an Algerian former minister and ambassador. According to Sherif, in spite of the common values and multiple forms of cooperation, Europe has let go of the Mediterranean. “The Europeans decide almost everything, including final statement, which they were the only one to sign,” he said. "They chose the projects, the levels and the modes of financing. This put the Mediterranean at the periphery rather than at the centre of Europe."


The 27 signing countries of the 1995 Barcelona Process 

Europe (15): France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, United Kingdom.
North Africa (3): Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya as “observer”
Middle East (6): Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Authority.
Mediterranean countries (3): Cyprus, Malta, Turkey.


May 2003: The European Neighbourhood Policy

The creation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which, for the first time, integrates three new Eastern European countries into the EU (Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova).

Presented as a new historic phase of dialogue between the North and the South, the ENP led to the signing of free exchange agreements and the enlargment of sectors of cooperation. But, for Patrick Bele, who covers economics for Le Figaro newspaper, “the accords of free exchange were not enough for fixing the roots of economic cooperation between the North and the South. One should create an economic zone in a global sense of the term.”



February 2007: The Mediterranean Union

The idea of a Mediterranean Union emerges. Observing the failure of the Barcelona Process, Nicolas Sarkozy, then a presidential candidate, first introduces the idea of a new union of all the neighbouring countries of the Mediterranean Sea. “Barcelona was good because the North helped the South, but… (it) was not a partnership between the people. Barcelona was a mistake because the North-South dialogue was just as it had been after decolonisation,” he said.

The 17 countries integrated in the Mediterranean Union

Europe (7): France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Malta North Africa (4): Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania and Libya as “observer”.
Middle East (6): Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Authority.

March 2008: The Union for the Mediterranean

Under the pressure of Angela Merkel and of Brussels, the Mediterranean Union became the Union for the Mediterranean. The new version of the project integrates all the countries of the EU (27 in total) and 12 countries from the South. These are the 39 who now form part of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Date created : 2008-07-11