09/12/2011

The citizen, driver of changes in the Mediterranean?

From December 1 to 4 was held in Tunis the second Mediterranean Citizens’ Assembly . The Mediterranean Citizens’ Assembly (MCA) is an independent and autonomous initiative which aims to be a space for dialogue, a meeting place where we practice citizens’diplomacy between equal people, regardless cultural, religious or national diversity.

The first Mediterranean Citizens’ Assembly which was held in Valencia in July 2010 had expressed the need to foster the emergence of a Mediterranean community of peoples, rooted in a political Mediterranean and a Mediterranean citizenship. Since 2011, developments in North and South of the Mediterranean have demonstrated the commitment of citizens to take responsibility for a sustainable future.

These dynamics can be felt wherever in the Mediterranean, where a conjunction of factors has reinforced the strong affirmation of citizenship. This same determination highlights the depth of their faith in a possible and profound improvement of their perspectives.

This Second Assembly in Tunis was attended by over 150 citizens, from all Mediterranean countries and various socio-professional activities, as well as representatives of various institutions and entities present in the Mediterranean.

The first day of the Assembly, citizens had the opportunity to analyze the situations and circumstances in our sea from Turkey to Spain, from Morocco to Egypt. The next day, citizens were asked to discuss and make concrete proposals on common issues that affect everyone in political, economic, social, cultural and religious areas.

This exercise of freedom and civic responsibility was addressed to all, at a time when the Euro-Mediterranean institutions are forced to seriously reconsider their policies, and where the people of North Africa and the Middle East are questioning about their future and asking for serious answers to their questions and expectations.

Among the many proposals made at this « Assembly », we can highlight some, achievable in the short term and which could bring the peoples of the Mediterranean closer, such as facilitating the mobility of citizens as it is for goods , offering real academic exchange for Mediterranean students, or offering an education that also learn the culture of the other.

Public authorities, which were invited and present at the assembly, must consider these requests in and make the Mediterranean no longer a border, but once again a place of exchange and mutual understanding for the benefit of all.

Geoffroy d’Aspremont