Over the course of this year, the broader Mediterranean region has witnessed several developments and progress alongside numerous challenges. These have in part included the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the fragile stabilization process in Libya as well as its upcoming elections, the tense climate in the Eastern Mediterranean, the regional consequences of climate change and migration flows, and lasting concerns over potential hostilities in the Middle East.
In a volatile context where the pandemic continues to pose a serious collective threat, parliamentary diplomacy proves to be ever so crucial in facilitating complex political dynamics as well as building strong ties and relations of trust between peoples and elected representatives across Europe and the MENA region.
Through the participation of elected officials, it will be possible to gain more profound mutual knowledge over current national and regional issues as to establish an agenda of common priorities to be addressed by the Forum.
The discussion focused on the following topics:
- How could Members of Parliaments from the broader Mediterranean structure a stable and lasting cooperation platform for addressing, from a multilateral perspective, the region’s future challenges, preventing crises and instability, and enhancing resilience in Mediterranean countries?
- In a time of significant diplomatic re-openings and redefinitions of international engagements, what common initiatives should be undertaken to foster greater cooperation amongst countries on both shores of the Mediterranean and beyond?
- What is the current space for dialogue on common regional security interests? How could states from Europe and the MENA region improve it constructively to enable a shared security order in the region and a resumption of a peaceful, inclusive and political transition process to current ongoing crises?
- Considering the fluctuating nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, how to advance partnerships and cooperation between countries of the broader Mediterranean in the health sector also taking into account the unequal access to vaccines and vaccination rates?
- What role can national Parliaments play towards increasing coordination over migration policies between the two shores of the Mediterranean? How to promote shared standards in terms of protection, reception systems and integration of migrants? How to strengthen regular migration channels and cooperation over the management of irregular flows, and deepening international dialogue on migration governance?
- How can national Parliaments in the region contribute to environmental preservation in the broader Mediterranean? What initiatives should be pursued to combat pollution and prevent other environmental risks? And what common steps could be taken to tackle the consequences of climate change in the Mediterranean basin?
- What common challenges and possibilities does the energy transition present in countries of the broader Mediterranean? And what role can national Parliaments play in regulating and governing the energy transition?
- What reforms will be necessary for countries in the broader Mediterranean to thrive in the post-oil global economy? And how to strengthen the role of national Parliaments in this reform process?
- What steps could be taken to foster international partnerships in cultural heritage preservation? And what role can national Parliaments play in further promoting intercultural dialogue?
The Committee on Foreign and EU Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies
The Foreign Affairs and Emigration Committee of the Italian Senate