The Union for the Mediterranean is an organization which has the aim of "enhancing cooperation and partnership in the Mediterranean through the implementation of specific regional cooperation projects". In this sense it is not clear to me why all European Union countries are members of the organization and not just the ones surrounding the Mediterranean plus a supranational European institution such as the European Commission.

What is the point of (e.g., Finland, Sweden, etc.) being in such an organization?

1 Answer 1


If you go to the "Who we are" page of the Union for the Mediterranean, you'll see that the purpose of the union is explicitly to bring the EU in contact with the non-EU states surrounding the Mediterranean:

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental Euro-Mediterranean organisation which brings together all countries of the European Union and 15 countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.

Because of its geographical composition, institutional governance and working methodology, the UfM is the ideal organisation for taking into account the priorities of both the EU – as reflected in the reviewed ENP and the Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy – and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries.

There are historical reasons for this structure: The precursor of the current UfM was the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, which was, at its heart, an EU-led initiative to improve relations between the EU and its Mediterranean neighborhood. As described in the Barcelona Declaration of 1995, the EU members and the EU institutions as well as the non-EU Mediterranean signatories agreed

to establish a comprehensive partnership among the participants [sic] the EuroMediterranean partnership through strengthened political dialogue on a regular basis, the development of economic and financial cooperation and greater emphasis on the social, cultural and human dimension, these being the three aspects of the EuroMediterranean partnership.

Over time, this partnership has turned into the Union for the Mediterranean.

So, to summarize: The UfM was always, right from its inception, intended to be an organization that comprises of all EU members and as many non-EU Mediterranean states as possible. It was never intended to be an organization that existed in parallel to the EU. Excluding EU members that are not bordering the Mediterranean would work against the stated purpose of the organization.

  • 1
    Formally correct. The deeper motivation, I think, is that the non-E.U. countries in the Mediterranean our major potential sources of migration (legal and illegal) and trade with the E.U. and border control is a function in which the E.U. as a whole sets policy. A migrant to Spain, Italy or Greece, or goods imported to those countries, can travel easily to anywhere else in the E.U. effecting Northern Europe as well. Also projects improving the situation in Mediterranean non-E.U. countries can reduce asylum type migration burdens on E.U. countries.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 15:32
  • @ohwilleke: Oh, absolutely. My question doesn't even try to outline the benefits for the EU (you mention migration control, and anti-terrorism measures are definitely another aspect). But that's probably not relevant for answering why the UfM also comprises EU member states that don't border the Mediterranean. Or would you suggest that I add that?
    – Schmuddi
    Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 15:37
  • I would suggest you add that since the question's language "What is the sense of" and "What is the point of" seems to be directed at motivations and realpolitik for creating the formal structure that is in place as much as the formal legal structure of the entity's governing documents themselves.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 15:41
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    @ohwilleke: I just realized something: I probably have to acknowledge that I don't really know enough to say much about the UfM's "motivations and realpolitik". I could go by their website and summarize what they claim to do, but I'm in no position to judge whether that adequately reflects their realpolitik. So, this is going to remain an incomplete answer then.
    – Schmuddi
    Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 15:50
  • @schmuddi Yes the question was more about the motivation for such a structure. In particular why the participation of each of the non mediterrenan bordering EU countries is needed and why the European Commission is not enough. Do you think the question should be edited to make this more clear?
    – pinpon
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 14:32

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