Asambleas Ciudadanos


the Mediterranean Citizens' Assembly



We must recover the voice of citizens

Translations : Español . English . français

Valencia, July 6, 2010.- The First Assembly of Mediterranean Citizens was held at the weekend 2 to 4 July in Valencia. The meeting was very active and forged important synergies between organisations, civil society representatives and anonymous citizens.

During the first session it was possible to establish the idea of creating a Mediterranean space from the civil society and with the support of institutions. The lack of unity between both entities was also highlighted, and existing inequalities in gender issues and the absence of a common economic policy for the south to progress faster were pointed out. On Saturday, while trying to find a Mediterranean identity, positions did not only come closer but specific proposals were put on the table. One was that of Admiral Jean-François Coustillière, who talked about "the emergence of a Mediterranean community that brings together the wills between civil society and institutions" and between the countries on the Mediterranean shores, excluding those in an armed conflict. But above all, he emphasized the need to "give priority to employment in the south" and to "eradicate social and economic inequalities by promoting education".

In addition, interesting statements were made such as the message put through in the second session by the former mayor of the city of Valencia, Ricard Pérez Casado: "we must recover the voice of citizens." Or that of Vicent Garcés, member of the consultative board of the MCA who called on "our sea to make it a space for peace." These and other ideas were shared over three days in which about one hundred citizens from nearly 20 countries in the north and south of the Mediterranean brought their positions closer in order to achieve a fruitful dialogue.

The forum also addressed future economic projects and the fact that there will soon be five million young jobseekers from the Maghreb, and Europe will need them. "Where are the European employment projects for the south?" asked one participant. In this sense, interesting business partnerships were suggested, such as protecting the food production system in the southern Mediterranean, as its costs would be lower than those of an industrialization process. The emphasis was also placed on renewable energy and environmentally friendly processes in the use and exploitation of natural resources. The high level of illiteracy in the South was highlighted as a major problem, as well as the desirability of educational exchanges between both shores, as Vicent Garcés calls the area under discussion. In the words of Coustillière, "it is necessary for both shores to understand that the clash of ignorance is the greatest obstacle between us". Therefore, the unanimous voice was raised that "civil society must help policymakers strengthen the union of the Mediterranean."








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