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Mediterranean, Arlem focus on macro-regions and immigration

Monday, 15 December 2014

(ANSAmed) - BRUSSELLS - The two main themes of the plenary Assembly of local and regional authorities of the Mediterranean (Arlem) scheduled on December 14 and 15 in Antalya, Turkey, will be new macro-regional strategies in the Mediterranean and a bigger say for local authorities in the management of immigration phenomena.

The meeting will represent an important opportunity to debate the issues for dozens of mayors, governors and local authorities from the three flanks of the Mediterranean, with the goal of strenghtening cooperation in order to meet common challanges such as the immigration one. According to Arlem, the operative regional arm of the Mediterranean Union, the phenomenon must be addressed by recognising the "key role" played by local authorities which must be more involved both in setting out strategies and policies at the national and international level and also by providing them with the financial cover essential to meet their obligations both in terms of reception and integration . Arlem called for a widening of the dialogue on these issues between the 43 partecipating countries in order to find "common solutions" and the chance to "develop a Euro-Mediterranean migration policy" . Emergency plans ensuring the coordination of all parties involved in the management of humanitarian crisises (governments, international organisations, ngos local and regional authorities) are needed "to clarify responsibilities and guarantee adequate financing" of cities and regions. On the other hand, it is necessary to work with local authorities on campaigns against the negative stereotypization of immigrants, as well as measures to foster integration, language courses and family reunifications. Another pivotal topic addressed by the Turkish meeting is the development of macro-regional strategies to supplement the newly launched Adriatic-Ionian. According to a report which will be reviewed by the plenary, Arlem will call on the European Council to champion this policy by making formal requests in this respect. Arlem will also invoke the support of Eu Mediterranean partner countries. The idea is to foster a strategy for the western Mediterranean encompassing Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria and possibly Libya. Another macro-region, to the east would include Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, Israel and Egypt.

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