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The Center for Mediterranean Integration
The “Cycle économique” gathers, under the auspices of the CMI, intellectuals from the two shores of the Mediterranean who are firmly convinced of the urgent need to propose a more inclusive perspective on the issues affecting the Mediterranean region. It consists in a working group of multidisciplinary individuals, such as economists, psychologists, demographers and policy analysts, that engages in a series of meetings, over an extended period. The group discusses challenges that are common to both sides of the Mediterranean to better understand those problems and subsequently produce policy recommendations for concrete actions that can drive the region and its populations towards lasting, regionwide solutions.
The working group was formed in 2014 and has, so far, discussed two major themes: Economic Transitions in the Mediterranean, and Violent Extremism and Development. Both cycles resulted in the production of trilingual policy papers in English, French and Arabic, containing the results of the in-depth group discussion: detailed analysis of the topics under a multi-disciplinary perspective, followed by policy recommendations. The policy papers were successful in influencing policy-making at the regional level: the Economic Transitions in the Mediterranean policy paper, for example, was instrumental in the elaboration of the New European Southern Neighborhood Policy by the EU in 2015 and inspired the World Bank’s MNA strategy.
The third Cycle économique discussion series hosted by CMI, launched in November 2018 and concluded in June 2020, has gathered intellectuals from both shores of the Mediterranean with the aim of proposing a new approach to mobility as a way to help young people become the engine of change in the region, by contributing to a new discourse – around education, employability, and mobility – appealed for in the “Commitments for a New Ambition in the Mediterranean” made in the framework of the Summit of the Two Shores. This culminated in the publication of the latest policy paper, "Youth, Actors for Change: Rethinking Mobility", in 2021.
Youth in both the North and the South of the Mediterranean have wide-ranging aspirations on economic, educational, personal and cultural levels, yet they face numerous shared challenges. Young populations throughout the region are experiencing a threefold exclusion on the economic, social and political levels, with high unemployment and a lack of opportunities to take part in civic and political life or to influence decision making. Moreover, with the youth bulge predicted to explode, poor quality education that has inadequately prepared students for entrance into the labor market, and an obsolete social contract with a lack of trust in governments and institutions, the challenges can only be expected to be further exacerbated. Possible negative consequences of youth exclusion include large numbers of informal workers, the risk of vulnerable individuals embracing extremist ideology, and increased irregular migration as young people attempt to escape their situation.
The policy papers and the discussions held in the context of the working group aim to influence public policy makers in the wider Mediterranean region. The policy papers lay out the specific challenges, identify areas that require action, and offer a set of key actionable recommendations.
Latest Cycle économique policy paper presented at joint CMI-PCNS webinar: The CMI and the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS) held on October 7, 2021 a webinar entitled "Perspectives on mobility and migration in the Mediterranean". The webinar offered a cross-analysis of migration and mobility issues in the Mediterranean, first from a transversal point of view (education and youth work), and then through the intersection of European and African perspectives, thanks to the presentation of two papers, the CMI Cycle économique policy paper “Youth, Actors for Change: Rethinking Mobility” and the PCNS paper “Building a Youth Euro-Med Community through Learning and Research Mobility: Incubators and Obstacles”. The CMI paper takes a multidisciplinary approach, underlining the connections between mobility, education, employability, and labor markets. The paper produced by the PCNS expert focuses more specifically on the obstacles faced by young researchers from the South Mediterranean when it comes to access to scientific mobility.
These two papers both recognize and highlight the importance of mobility at the higher education level and propose concrete recommendations in order to promote it. This webinar inaugurates a series of dialogues on these themes between the CMI and the PCNS.
Policy paper “Economic Transitions in the Mediterranean” published in 2015: Taking the reduction of youth and women unemployment as a priority and guiding thread of all the actions, the policy papers proposes to increase the attention of Europe on the following 4 axes which are closely interrelated: (i) progressively conceiving Euro-Mediterranean value chains through co-productions involving the Northern and Southern Mediterranean; (ii) fostering the development of the knowledge economy; (iii) supporting the rural economy and regional development; (iv) securing the mobility of individuals legally residing in the common space.
Sharing knowledge on developing young people’s resilience: CMI, an active member of the British Council–led Community of Practice on Preventing Violent Extremism, presented its work on this important topic at the Community of Practice meeting on October 23, 2019. The presentation focused on the findings of its 2017 policy paper, Violent Extremism and Development, and insights into the upcoming 2021 report, Youth, Actors for Change: Rethinking Mobility.
The Community of Practice meetings culminated in a publication by the British Council and partners to which CMI contributed. The final report of the Community of Practice on Preventing Violent Extremism, Building Pathways: What Works on Developing Young People’s Resilience to Violent Extremism, was released on March 4, 2020, at the U.K. Houses of Parliament in London.