View of Notre-Dame de La Garde in Marseille
26 June 2019

Summit of the Two Shores: a positive agenda for the Mediterranean

Held in Marseille on 23 and 24 June 2019, the Summit of the Two Shores brought together ten countries in a 5 + 5 format: five countries on the northern shore (Spain, France, Italy, Malta and Portugal) and five on the southern shore (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia) alongside Germany and the EU and representatives of civil society (academics, artists, entrepreneurs and business leaders). Each participant, despite their differing resources and constraints, expressed a common desire to see development of an updated Mediterranean action plan.
The Summit of the Two Shores was the result of the President of the Republic's determination to implement a strong foreign policy for the Mediterranean.

The radically innovative method involves 100 representatives of 10 countries' civil societies, brought together to enable emergence of concrete projects, with priorities including sustainable development, support to Mediterranean youth, development of digital technology, culture and vocational training, and economic dynamism.

A new formula for cooperation, with the focus on civil society

The real innovation in the Summit's format is that it is based on two dynamics:
  • one institutional, with governments, each represented in Marseille by their Ministers,
  • one with delegations from civil society, who committed to the initiative from the very start, organising preparatory forums themselves and selecting concrete priority projects to implement, including the Mediterranean New Chance Network (MedNC), a school for new seafaring professions, multilingual Mediterranean media, a Euro-Arab translation centre, circular economy and sustainable food supply projects, promotion of historical and tourist centres, and financial support to startups.
Five preparatory forums preceded the Summit of the Two Shores, held in Algiers, Rabat, Valletta, Montpellier and Palermo, to instigate dialogue between the various members of civil society. They all met in Tunis two weeks ago in order to adopt their priorities in the form of a Declaration.