Support to the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)on Employment and Trade
Budget Euro 5.50 millions
Budget Euro 5.50 millions
Context The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) was established in 2008. It promotes cooperation on key regional issues among the member states of the European Union (EU) and the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries. Some of the major issues include employment and trade. High unemployment, underemployment and low incomes are among the leading causes of social instability in North Africa and the Near East. Young people and women are particularly affected. 20 per cent of all women have no work. The unemployment rate among 15 to 24 year-olds is even higher, at 30 per cent. At the same time, levels of regional economic integration and hence trade are lower than in any other region of the world. 90 per cent of trade flows take place within the EU, 9 per cent between the EU and its southern neighbours and only 1 per cent between the southern neighbours. The UfM aims to find joint regional solutions. This will be achieved through increased political cooperation among the UfM member states, the organisation of dialogue formats with relevant stakeholders and the provision of support for specific projects in the Mediterranean region. However, the UfM Secretariat (UfMS) lacks the capacity in terms of human resources and expertise to meet the many regional challenges and solve the ongoing problems. This makes it difficult to provide effective support to regional exchanges on employment and trade among the private sector, civil society and government stakeholders. Objective Regional exchanges on employment and trade have been enhanced among private sector, civil society and government stakeholders in the UfM. Approach On the one hand, the project expands the technical capacities of the UfMS, enabling it to consolidate its position as a competent mediator and technical platform for solution-oriented work on regional political challenges. Where employment is concerned, special focus is placed on social dialogue, the integration of the private sector and employment for women and young persons. In the case of trade, the focus is on reducing trade barriers, promoting regional value chains and facilitating e-commerce. On the other hand, the project supports and advises the UfMS in shaping and moderating the expert exchange among relevant regional stakeholders. The aim here is to develop practical policy recommendations and implementation-oriented measures to address the employment and trade challenges facing the UfM member countries. The project also supports the joint implementation and execution of UfM measures on employment and trade with stakeholders in the region.
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