Launch of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly: a place for local governments at the heart of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership


This 21st January saw the launch, in Barcelona, of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM), a new institutional place for dialogue for local and regional authorities at the heart of the union for the Mediterranean (UfM). The conference participants numbered almost 150, seventy of which included presidents of regions, mayors, and local elected officials and representatives local authority associations of UfM partner countries.

The UfM was launched in July 2008 by the Heads of State and governments of the European Union and the Barcelona Process partner countries. In June 2008, over 500 representatives of Mediterranean cities and regions called for the recognition of local and regional authorities as full actors in this Union, on the occasion of the Forum of Mediterranean Local Authorities, organized in Marseilles by the Mediterranean Committee of United Cities and Local Governments.

On behalf of UCLG, Jordi Hereu, Mayor of Barcelona, officially opened the Assembly, praising the launching of this new place for dialogue: ’ARLEM will play a key part in the development of the UfM; cities and regions are actively participating in building the future of the Mediterranean’.

Angel Lossada Torres-Quevedo, Spanish Secretary of State for International Relations, underlined: ’The consolidation of the UfM requires the participation of all actors: states, regions, cities and citizens’. He explicitly recognized the work carried out by UCLG, as well as by the principal local and regional authority associations of the Mediterranean, in the creation of the ARLEM.

The President of the Catalan Generalitat, José Montilla, who was selected as ARLEM rapporteur to the UPM, stressed the point that the development of concrete projects would be key to the development of the UfM and that these could not be carried out without the active participation of cities and regions.

Two working groups, due to meet shortly, were also created, focusing on: pollution, environmental protection, alternative energy and water; and on coastal and inland motorways, local sustainable development, intercultural issues, and decentralizationa nd regionalization.

Luc Van den Brande, President of the Committee of Regions, and Mohamed Boudraa, President of the region of Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate, Morocco, were elected Co-Presidents of the ARLEM with a two and a half-year mandate. A further six mayors and regional presidents were also elected to the Bureau of ARLEM.

The next meeting of ARLEM will be held in Morocco in January 2011.