On Tuesday 1 December, the President of the Committee of the Regions, Mr Luc Van den Brande, announced that the first official meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) is to be held in Barcelona on 21 January 2010. The announcement was made at a working meeting in Brussels attended by representatives of the Union for the Mediterranean, the European institutions and local and regional authorities from the three shores of the Mediterranean.
"The European Union needs the support of all its partners, including that of the local and regional authorities, if it is to achieve its aim of relaunching the Barcelona Process," stated Mr Van den Brande, before adding that, "This forum will enhance the public profile and monitoring at grass-roots level of projects undertaken by the European Union and its partner countries in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean." ARLEM will lend added impetus to Euro-Mediterranean dialogue, both as an instrument for fostering local democracy in the region and as a tool for contributing to the exchange of best practice.
The Catalan Regional Government will host the inaugural meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) in conjunction with the Spanish Presidency of the European Union.
In the immediate aftermath of the establishment of the Union for the Mediterranean at the July 2008 Paris Summit, the CoR submitted a proposal to the Heads of State and Government for the creation, in the form of a Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly, of a territorial dimension to the partnership. This proposal was promoted and supported by partner countries.
The Assembly is to consist of equal numbers of local and regional representatives from the EU Member States and countries of the Mediterranean rim as specified in the CoR Opinion entitled: "Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean – implications for regional and local authorities". Click here for Luc Van den Brande's interview on the subject or consult the press release relating to this Opinion.
For more information, please contact:
Athénais Cazalis de Fondouce
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