Summit of both sides of the western Mediterranean in Marseille

Civil Society Summit of both shores peoples of the western Mediterranean in Marseille in June 2019

Civil Society Summit of both sides of the western Mediterranean in Marseille in June 2019 through an exclusive interview of Professor and international expert, Dr Abderrahmane MEBTOUL.

Why a 5 + 5 meeting?

We must recognise the mixed results of the Barcelona Agreement and the initiative of the Mediterranean meeting, of which I was one of the guests. It would appear it would be more favourable if these meetings were limited to fewer countries in order to achieve concrete results such as the Group 5 + 5.  These are Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Malta for the North shore and Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya for the South Shore and to involve civil society for the next summit, as major players in this 21st century, of the two shores of the Western Mediterranean to be held in Marseille in June 2019.

What is in it for the presence and role of Algeria

His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Algeria appointed me to lead the Algerian delegation at this meeting of Group 5 + 5.  It was officially announced at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 25 December 2018, by Mr Abdelkader Messahel, Minister for Foreign Affairs, in the presence of the Ambassador of Algeria in France and the director general of the Europe Department of the Algerian Foreign Affairs.  Algeria’s diplomatic and security philosophy has always been to avoid contemporary fractures from a productive dialogue in the context of a conflict between different countries.  Algeria is an acknowledged vital player by the international community as a factor in stabilising not only the Mediterranean region but Africa as well, in the future to pool information and expenditure in the context of broad international cooperation, for a co-development, the costs being intolerable in time.  Algeria has always been at the crossroads of trade in the Mediterranean.  From St. Augustine to the Emir Abdelkader, the Algerian contributions to spirituality, tolerance and universal culture can only predispose us to be attentive to contemporary fractures.  The era of confrontation has only been made because extremism has prevailed in an environment of suspicion and exclusion.  To know the other is to go to him, to understand him, to know him better.  Avoid any intolerance for, there is no good nor lousy civilization; in this interdependent world, we are witnessing the increasingly extensive formation of a civilization of the universal that is only the result and the fruit of the inputs and contributions of different human civilizations because per Roger Garaudy « There is no real dialogue of civilizations unless this certainty penetrates everyone that the other man is what is lacking to be fully a man ».

In a more precise way the timetable of this meeting 

This meeting will bring together the Head of States and Governments, the President of the World Bank, of the EIB, the EBRD, the Director General of the OECD and all non-State actors of the Group 5 + 5 civil society in all their diversity, economic, social, cultural.  Its political launch will on this occasion of the 15th Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the 5 + 5 dialogue on 18 January 2019, be in Valletta.  Five groups were formed, Morocco to lead the economy and innovation component, Portugal that of culture, Italy for all sustainable development, Malta with youth and mobility, Algeria was charged with possibly the most important part, i.e. that of the Energy Transition.  It would mean: looking at regional cooperation projects, conventional energies, non-conventional energies, renewable energy, efficiency and generally proposing a new energy consumption model for the 2020/2030-time horizon.  The five heads of delegation will have to carry out a synthesis to be presented to the Head of States and Governments from the two shores of the Mediterranean on 24 June 2019 in Marseille.  Several meetings for coordination purposes, with the countries of the Mediterranean contour, will take place between January and June 2019.  The Head of delegations of the countries concerned by this meeting will meet the French President, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, coordinator of this meeting soon in Paris to define the final strategy running January to early February in principle.  Then a coordination meeting will be held to present the synthesis of the five groups that will launch a civil society appeal to the head of States on June 24, 2019, for shared prosperity.  Germany is part of this meeting.

What role of civil societies for peace and development?

There is a dialectic link between security and development in a cruel and dangerously unbalanced world.  The strategic objective is to rethink the current global economic system, and thus representation at the level of international institutions; the current system favours North/South polarisation, poverty detrimental to the future of humanity with pockets of growing poverty even in developed countries.  It is a phenomenon that has been accelerated by the most debatable governance of some leaders of countries of the south.  The world population currently stands at 7.6 billion and is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to a recent United Nations report.  However, out of more than 7 billion souls, the 2/3 are concentrated within the southern zone with less than 30% of the world’s wealth. There are national social specificities which must be taken into account as they are a source of mutual enrichment. Allowing communicating with distant cultures through decentralised networks to which civil society – intellectuals, diplomats, entrepreneurs, media through the vital role of the Internet – must play a strategic function, because the new relationships based on the personalised relations between heads of state have less and less effective.  These networks must promote communication links, areas of freedom insofar as the excesses of corporate voluntarism inhibit any spirit of creativity.  In this context, special attention should be paid to educational activities, as the thinking and creator man must be in the future the beneficiary and the leading actor in the development process.  That is why we advocate the creation of large poles by large continents (universities and research centres) far from any spirit of domination, as a means of reciprocal fertilisation of cultures, and the realisation of the sustained dialogue to avoid prejudices and conflicts sources of unnecessary tensions.  The Mediterranean presents a millennial experience of openness and mutual enrichment, both economically and culturally. For a shared future, it is essential that most of the leaders of the two shores of the Mediterranean develop all the actions that can be implemented to achieve desirable balances within this set, in order to promote six solidarity objectives as shown below.

  • First: The rule of law and political democracy, taking into account cultural anthropology because a society without its culture and its history are like a soulless body.
  • Secondly: the competitive market economy with a social vocation, far from any monopoly, whether public or private.
  • Thirdly: social dialogue and cultural exchanges through conflicting debates.
  • Fourth: The implementation of ordinary affairs, never forgetting that the only logic of profit drives companies and that in the practice of business there are no feelings. However, we must avoid the logic of profit-destroying social ties, hence the strategic importance of the regulating state reconciling social costs and private costs.
  • Fifth: integrating emigration; cementing cultural ties, it can be the cornerstone of consolidating this cooperation and this critical dialogue, because it contains essential to worship, economic and financial potentials.
  • Sixth: While considering its socio-economic situation, the West must promote the free movement of persons, while committing a real win/win partnership in the framework of a global co-development, taking account of the new ecological challenge which should lead to all economic, socio-cultural and political changes.
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