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First annual 'Mediterranean Day' to 'celebrate region's culture and achievements'
02 September 2021 @ 21:35

'MEDITERRANEAN Day' will be on November 28 every year starting with the first-ever in 2021, and will be a celebration of the region's cultures, 'wealth of diversity and difference', as well as everything that unites the countries bordering the inter-continental sea.

The Mediterranean Sea, off La Grava beach in Jávea (Alicante province)

The date will be the 26th anniversary of the so-called Barcelona Process, which set up the Euro-Mediterranean Association in 1995 to enable coastal nations to work together on socio-economic and cultural development.

Its head office remains in Barcelona, and has decided to celebrate 'Mediterranean Day' every year from now on to raise visibility of the region's 'legacy of cultural dialogue, knowledge and humanism' – in the non-Renaissance sense, although this, too, is a period in history that unites the southern half of the continent of Europe in artistic, archaeological and cultural terms.

Egypt's Nasser Kamel, former ambassador in France and the UK and now secretary-general of the Mediterranean bloc, says this sea is what links three continents, 46,000 kilometres of coastline, and is home to over 480 million people.

“The Mediterranean offers a wealth of human and natural diversity that is completely unique in the world,” Kamel recalls.

“Its communities and cultures have been exchanging ideas, produce and learning for centuries via the sea they share, and 'Mediterranean Day' seeks to reinforce those ties, promote dialogue, and highlight their achievements, as well as approaching key issues and mobilising political cooperation, action and resources to enable us to face up to our shared challenges.

“The Mediterranean is our home and our sustenance, our history and our future, and as a region we are facing huge challenges, but we also have huge potential.

“'Mediterranean Day is a fantastic opportunity for us to feel good about all that we've achieved and all that we can achieve in the future if we work together.”

These achievements include individual national ones with a wider impact as well as those made as a bloc, initiatives embarked on by member nations' governments, international and regional governments, international financial institutions, developmental agencies, and ordinary civilians and the private sector.

“Our end aim is to celebrate our diversity, show that what we have in common is greater than the differences between us, and to encourage a sense of union and community,” says the head office in Barcelona.

Now, the Unión por el Mediterráneo, as it is known in Spain ('Union for the Mediterranean', or UpM) is made up of 42 countries – many of which are, in fact, a short-haul flight from the sea in question.

All 27 European Union member States are UpM countries – when the UK left the EU, it automatically left the UpM – as well as non-EU European nations on the Mediterranean shores, Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, Monaco and Turkey.

Three continents are involved in the UpM, making it a crucial international cooperation exercise as well as giving voice to southern European society, where society, culture and financial issues tend to be very different from those of the much larger northern expansion of nations.



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