Local and regional authorities could help to achieve an innovative Euro-Mediterranean cohesion policy

The third plenary of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) ended with the call on an innovative Euro-Mediterranean cohesion policy through the promotion of the access of local and regional authorities’ to ENP funding, the extension of the Covenant of Mayors to Southern Mediterranean cities and regions and the enforcement of territorial cooperation in strategic fields like sustainability and energy infrastructures.

The Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM), a joint project of the Committee of the Regions, regional and local authorities around the three shores of the Mediterranean, and European and international associations representing regional and local authorities working on the ground, celebrated its third plenary in Bari where agreed in calling for an innovative Euro-Mediterranean cohesion policy. In 2010, the ARLEM plenary took place in Barcelona.

Mercedes Bresso, the President of the Committee of the Regions, underlined after the adoption of the annual report on the territorial dimension of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), which was drafted by ARLEM co-presidents, that the efforts will assist in the implementation of an innovative regional and cohesion policy aimed at supporting the convergence of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean in creating a sustainable development model based on a transparent and efficient administration, as well as a more open and dynamic business environment and, overall, on concrete improvements in the quality of life and in the opportunities offered to citizens.

In addittion, the ARLEM plenary adopted two reports else, one on climate change and desertification and a second one on renewable energy in the Mediterranean which stated a concrete, joint commitment of the members in the field of sustainability can dramatically accelerate the improvement of services like water and waste management, energy and local transport which are key factors in the quality of life of millions of citizens of the area. This improvement is capable of creating new jobs and economic and social growth as well as supporting the democratic opening of societies and governments.