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Summit of the Two Shores -a missed opportunity- according to the civil society

June 26th 2019

For Solidar, the Summit of the Two Shores that ended June 24 in Marseille is a missed opportunity.

The initiative launched by the French President E. Macron to develop a "strong Mediterranean policy" brought together representatives of 5 countries of the southern shore (Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia and Libya) and 5 of the northern shore (Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Malta). On the basis of the expertise of some 100 representatives of civil society and unions from both sides, the emphasis was on "positive" dialogue and "unprecedented" participation of civil society, in favor of values of inclusive solidarity, gender equality, understanding and mutual respect ".

Despite the alleged "unprecedented" participation of civil society and trade unions, Solidar questioned the independence of some invited organizations and deplored the opacity in the selection and the process of this event. Solidar also regrets that the essential theme of "mobility" was treated in a biased way by limiting its virtual dimension and without referring to the issue of the physical mobility of people or only a negative way. Solidar criticizes the disconnect between the discussions on economic integration and the dimensions of the social cohesion. It is worth noting that in terms of representation, Mr Macron was the only head of state to participate in the summit.

In a context marked by the restrictions on freedoms and on civil society and unions activities in the region, Solidar regrets that the high expectations raised by this initiative were not met and concludes that this Summit has unfortunately was reduced to a meeting of a handful of civil society organizations and political leaders to fund some flagship projects, failing to address the priority theme of migration.