Mediterranean Dialogue : Project Presentation

The Mediterranean Dialogue Project aims to establish and strengthen the dialogue between Germany, the European Union and the Southern & Eastern Mediterranean countries. Particularly, the five pillars economy, energy, integrated security/rule of law, human rights and migration are in the spotlight. The dialogue-oriented project intends to promote cross-regional cooperation based on liberal approaches and thus create benefit for the political debate.

Political education, political dialogue and political advice are amongst the central components of the project to pursue the objectives

The location Spain, more specifically its capital Madrid, combines many advantages in order to develop the intended effect of the project in the countries of origin and transit as well as in the "target countries" of the EU. Spain, as bordering the Mediterranean Sea, has traditionally good connections to North Africa. The large number of local development partners and the close ties that exist between Madrid and the Maghreb States also reflects this. Consequently, the government has acted both as a mediator in the North-South dialogue and as a promoter of Pan-European solutions.

The Madrid office seeks to strengthen cooperation and political dialogue between representatives from political parties, scientific institutions and civil society organizations from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany and the European sphere. We are committed to help contribute to solutions to specific regional challenges in Southern Europe and highlight best practices from this ever more important region for the European integration process. It also seeks to develop a new approach to interregional cooperation in the Mediterranean. With partner organisations, we are developing a liberal approach to geostrategic demands and opportunities in the Mare Nostrum.

  • Mission: The Mediterranean Dialogue project will always look for adequate synergies and opportunities for cooperation with civil society and institutional actors in order to gain expertise and knowledge on the one hand and to multiply the effect of the measures through access to further target groups on the other.
  • Vision: The aim is to network actors from politics and civil society, establish a constant dialogue between stakeholders of both shores of the Mediterranean Sea, develop liberal action plans for the states affected by crises and introduce them into the German and European discourse.
  • Objectives: Principally, the objective is the establishment of a network between the FNF Madrid Office, eligible partners and within European institutions. Hence, the creation of a dialogue platform between the like-minded core group within Renew Europe (liberal, pro-European political group of the European Parliament) in order to strengthen the harmonization and “Europeanization” of policy proposals regarding the main fields of action economy, energy, integrated security/rule of law, human rights and migration. The overall objective is the continuous development of feasible and sustainable cross-regional solution strategies for both politics and civil society.

Our main topics of discussion

1. Migration

EU Member States and Mediterranean countries are linked as destination, transit or origin countries on the migration issue. In addressing conflicts caused by migration movements and their root causes, a holistic Euro-Mediterranean approach is fundamental: within Europe to strengthen integration capacity in the respective political, professional and social systems and to counter right-wing populist sentiment against refugees by promoting tolerance and open societies. Both within and outside Europe, the development of solutions for orderly, safe and regular migration within the framework of a multi-level dialogue is of utmost importance, alongside the strengthening of countries of origin and, in particular, the creation of sustainable prospects in origin countries. It is to be hoped that measures adopted by the European side, such as the Migration Pact (September 2020) and the EU new Agenda on the Mediterranean (2021), will represent  important and promising milestones in this regard.

2. Economy and free trade

General disparities in prosperity and a lack of economic and employment prospects are among the main reasons for migration to Europe, especially among young people. In contrast, regional economic integration, the strengthening of free trade and sustainable supply chains contribute to job creation, the reduction of flight causes, and the protection of human rights. The promotion of entrepreneurship and technical innovation, especially among women, contributes to their (re)integration into local labor markets, economic prosperity, and ultimately counteracts a "brain drain" in the countries of origin. 

3. Integrated security

The "area of peace" envisaged by the Barcelona Process has not  yet been achieved. Ongoing regional conflicts, including war and violence, as well as human rights violations, threaten collective and individual security in the region and are one of the main reasons for migration. As a sustainable European solution to the migration issue is currently not foreseeable, irregular migration and resulting dangerous routes, especially across the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and most recently the English Channel and the Canary Islands, will continue. In the pursuit of a concerted foreign and security policy, it will also be important for the European community of states to uphold European values both inside and outside the Union. Geopolitical conflicts at the EU's external borders, including energy issues, as well as the continuing threat of religious terrorism and fanaticism, also contribute to a fragile security imbalance. The lack of a pan-European strategy in the face of massive shifts in influence in favor of Russia and China, including in the Mediterranean region, is having a detrimental effect on the long-term development prospects of many states.

4. Energy and climate

Especially in the context of the European Green Deal, energy cooperation opens up win-win situations. While North African countries such as Morocco and Tunisia can help Europe achieve its CO2 emission targets and strengthen its position in competition with China. The promotion of European investments in renewable energies, including promising projects such as green hydrogen, guarantees jobs in countries of origin and local development. This reduces (economic) migration pressure, contributes to the further stabilization of the region and ultimately also to climate protection and thus the prevention of climate refugees. A broad Euro-Mediterranean energy dialogue also contributes to the resolution of geopolitical conflicts in the region, such as the natural gas dispute in the Eastern Mediterranean and a related confrontation between NATO partners.

5. Human rights and the Rule of Law

Repeated blatant human rights violations, often linked to the above-mentioned issues, the erosion of rule-of-law principles and a lack of transparency and good governance lead to widespread social frustration and a subjective lack of perspective, which often results in the desire to migrate to Europe as a representative of Western values. As a global actor for democracy and the rule of law, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is committed to pluralism and tolerance, the advancement of women and the protection of minorities.

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