Union for the Mediterranean: UfM, that sinking feeling
19 July 2010
"The outlook for the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is very poor," writes La Vanguardia, reporting on the conclusions of a European Commission report. Two years after its launch, the Barcelona based UfM, an international political community comprising a total of 43 countries (EU member states and countries that border the Mediterranean Sea) has made little progress in addressing the region’s many problems. “Nothing has been done,” notes the daily, listing many deadllocked issues including the Arab-Israeli conflict, water shortages, and demographic imbalances. The report warns of an increased potential for ethnic and religious conflict in the main EU member states. The General Director of IEMed, Senén Florensa, complains that "the Arab states have made no effort" to pursue the process of regional integration and that no states on the southern shore are planning to embrace democracy in the near future. There is no mystery as to the solutions to these issues, La Vanguardia notes : a drive to promote pluralist democracy, investment to facilitate access to water supplies and education, and an increased diplomatic effort to resolve conflicts. However, the Barcelona daily is not convinced that "partners in the UfM have either the will or the resources” to put such solutions into practice.