MADRID (AP) – The European Union’s foreign policy chief said Thursday that more investment and policies to regulate immigration are needed for southern Mediterranean countries hit hard by food and energy crises stemming from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Speaking at the 7th regional forum of the Mediterranean Union, which brought together delegations from 43 countries, Josep Borrell said that southern countries need support to narrow the growing economic gap with northern countries.
Borrell said the war “stopped growth that had started and set the stage for a financial crisis, more inflation and less growth.”
Delegations of 27 European Union members and 16 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, West Asia and South Europe gathered at the forum held in Barcelona, in the north-east of Spain.
Borrell said that the economic gap is growing not only between North and South, but also between the countries of the South, which “increase their differences and do not resolve their conflicts”.
According to him, southern countries are one of the least economically integrated areas in the world, and half of the region’s population is under 24 years old.
“It’s a very young population looking for opportunities,” he said, adding that there should be more development and regulated migration. “Opportunities must be presented.”
The Union for the Mediterranean aims to promote dialogue and cooperation between member countries despite economic and political differences.
At the meeting, it was announced that North Macedonia is its last member.
At the forum, an agreement was signed between Southern European countries Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus and North African countries Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt on the launch of the Medusa submarine communication cable project.
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