MedCities organized the second ‘MedCities Dialogue’ that reunited the minister for Foreign Affairs and the European Union, Meritxell Serret, and the president of the County of Dubrovnik-Neretva, Nikola Dobroslavic, who have discussed the need for a macro-regional strategy in the Mediterranean, which took place at Palau Centelles.

Serret and Dobroslavic have exchanged views on the relevance of multi-level cooperation and the need for a macro-regional strategy in the Mediterranean as a framework to improve the coordination and management of efforts to achieve the milestones set by the international and global agendas. Dobroslavic is the rapporteur of a report by the Committee of the Regions on the desirability of creating a Mediterranean macro-region.

The Secretary-General of MedCities, Mr. Josep Canals, welcomed the audience talking about the objective of the Dialogues as an open activity that helps to talk about the present and the future of the Mediterranean area and explained the key role of the association of cities and metropolitan areas as project implementation and a transfer knowledge center. Also, Canals said: “It’s a pleasure to have here the Presidency of the Euroregio, through the Catalan Government, and the representative of the Adriatic Ionian region, as both, together with MedCities, are partners from the Mediterranean Cooperation Alliance that went to Brussels to support the creation of the Mediterranean macro-region and also, are signatories from the ‘Friends of the macro-region Declaration‘. MedCities Secretary-General also highlighted the role of the local and sub-state organization as the main implementers of the SDGs and other political decisions.

Ms. Serret considered that “we must contribute to drawing a vision of development for the Mediterranean as a whole because the future of Europe needs to take into account the Mediterranean basin”. She also stressed that it is necessary to “move towards cohesion in the Mediterranean but also in the European Union, to claim a European strategy for the Mediterranean“.

In this sense, Ms. Serret considers that “the macro-region must be used to overcome deadlock situations, to promote relations about specific needs, which are shared, which are urgent, which we face jointly in the Mediterranean framework, with specific projects, with impacts on the territory and local economies and circumstances, which allows us to foster closer relations”.

By his side, Mr. Dobroslovic agreed with the main points raised during the Dialogue. He stressed that “the approval of the macro-region must allow progress in efficiency and effectiveness criteria. But it’s a challenge for the European Council and the European Commission in terms of financing and drawing a common strategy. Nevertheless, some of the existing regions have already added voices in favor such as Provence-Alps-Côte Bleu, Emilia-Romagna, or the Ionian Islands”. Ms. Serret also agreed on those ideas and also added: “The Mediterranean macro-regions must be a space that allows projects to be expedited between its members, while aligning the different funds, and drawing together a common strategic line, with actions adapted to the different ecosystems and local realities”.

The ‘MedCities Dialogue’ moderated by the journalist Maria Alba Gilabert, continues with Mr.Dobroslavic opinion about the main challenges of the macro-region: “The most difficult thing is to convince the European Commission, but also, and above all, states that are not members of the Union, especially those in the southern basin, in the north of Africa. We are satisfied with what we have done so far, but there is still work to be done. The macro-regional strategy for the Mediterranean must be used to jointly face the common problems of this region of the world”, he said.

Dobroslavic explained that “citizens have more confidence in local and regional administrations than in state and European ones. That is why it is so important to take into account the impact of these levels of governance”.

MedCities, as part of the MedCoopAlliance association, gives support to the creation of the Mediterranean macro-region and accompanies the Catalan Government in its contacts to move the macro-region forward.

The event was celebrated in collaboration with the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona.

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