05/07/2010

First Mediterranean Citizens’ Assembly in Valencia

This July 2-3 and 4, the first Mediterranean Citizens’ Assembly (MCA) was meeting in Valencia (Spain). This civil society’s new initiative is one more effort to bring together the two shores of the Mare Nostrum, but it is definitely different and innovative.

It is first innovative because it does not take the outlines of an institution or an organization. Indeed, the MCA is presented as a process and it is therefore flexible and shapeable by the Mediterranean citizens wishing to get invest in it. It is indeed based on a participatory logic. There is no question of relinquishing the control of the initiative in the hands of a few individuals or institutions, but rather to give information, logistics and finance resources to make the future circles of citizens able to act. The MCA hopes to distinguish itself from other initiatives confined to a small circle of individuals.

In line with the first Mediterranean Union project launched by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, the MCA is intended only for countries bordering the Mediterranean. This logic has not been possible at the institutional level because of the outcry of the non-Mediterranean European countries, led by Germany. But it has nevertheless advantages for several reasons. First, the neighboring countries of the Mediterranean are sharing some common problems related to the Mediterranean basin as environment and migrations. Second, to consid only the Mediterranean countries of Europe allows a more balanced relationship between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Finally, it helps to consider the Mediterranean in a global context – for example in its relations with the Middle East, the United States, and China – rather than only in a Euro-Mediterranean framework.

The first meeting has already highlighted some very practical tracks for work, thus providing food for thought for future circles of citizens that will be added to those of Volos (Greece), Tirana (Albania), Casablanca (Morocco) and Valencia ( Spain). The MCA initiative recalls the need for a strong civil society to underpin the efforts of political cooperation in the Mediterranean.

Nathalie Janne d’Othée

 

>>> For more information, visit MCA’s website: http://www.acimedit.net/