PAM AND THE EU: areas of common interest are numerous

PAM AND THE EU: areas of common interest are numerous

The Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, Senator Lhou Lmarbouh (Morocco), addressed the opening ceremony of the Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Creativity, Innovation and IPR in the Textile and Clothing Industry in the Euro-Mediterranean Area, organised in co-operation with DG Enterprise and Industry, TAIEX and the European University Institute.

The conference, being held in Florence, Italy, (24-25 March 2014), is organized in the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue in the textile industry, launched during the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial meeting on industry in Caserta in 2004, and conducted successfully as the only sectoral dialogue with Mediterranean partner countries.

The main objective of the conference is to exchange experiences regarding policies, practices and programmes about creativity, innovation and IPR, as a substantial economic lever to improve brand image, sales and profitability of companies in the textile and clothing sector in the Euro-Mediterranean Area.

PAM’s participation is in line with its priorities, among which the strengthening of relations with the European institutions. Not only with the European Parliament, which can be considered the logical counterpart for a parliamentary organization, but also with the European Commission. “This is what emerged, once more, on the occasion of the PAM 8th Plenary Session, held in Marseille two months ago. The proposal of the PAM Bureau for a structured and fruitful relation with the European institutions, strongly supported by the entire Assembly, reflects what the citizens and the stakeholders – public and private – demand: more integration and cooperation in our region, with the aim of facilitating this process, in every aspect of our lives”, Sen. Lmarbouh explained.

The Mediterranean region is facing numerous challenges, in terms of unemployment, access to credit, and standard of living, more generally. The economic scenario is indeed alarming: the economic/financial crisis is still there, behind the corner, and the recovery will be extremely slow. “In this context, PAM MPs have a role to play in the much needed process of integration and cooperation, and they decided to establish a dedicated instrument to support regional economy: the PAM Panel on Trade and Investments in the Mediterranean”, PAM Vice President Lmarbouh added.

Textiles and Clothing are a crucial sector for the Mediterranean, and a major source for trade in the region. For some Mediterranean countries, such as Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, the textile and clothing sector alone accounts for almost 50% of exports of manufactured products to the EU.

This level of trade means jobs – 50% of the total employment, in some countries – especially for women. The countries of the MENA region have a significant advantage if compared to the countries of the Far East: the geographical proximity to Europe, which keeps the costs of transportation low and at the same time allows any order to be completed fast.

While the MENA countries are so connected – in terms of trade – to the European Union, on the other hand the South-South trade is extremely low. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean is committed to increase these horizontal relations between the MENA countries at all levels, and not exclusively in the trade sector. “This is one of the examples in which the action of PAM can complement the efforts made by the European Commission in the framework of the partnership with the non-EU Mediterranean countries”, Sen. Lmarbouh said.

As a matter of fact other possible areas of cooperation include the implementation of a wider Free Trade Area in the Mediterranean region, the rationalization and reduction of bureaucratic procedures to start new businesses, the fight against corruption and support to the education sector. These factors are fundamental for the social and economic development of the countries of the Mediterranean region.

“As you can see, the areas of common interest are numerous, and I am confident that the conference of today will represent a significant step in the relations between PAM and the European Commission. I would like to take this opportunity to invite the EC to contribute to the work of the PAM Panel: your participation would represent a great added value to the activities of the PAM Panel” Sen. Lmarbouh concluded.

ISSUED ON: 24.03.2014


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