The European Commission has hosted the first ‘EU Med Means Business’ event, aimed at defining policy priorities for the Southern Neighbourhood.
Around 150 young entrepreneurs, economic experts and business practitioners from the Southern Neighbourhood Member States – Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia – met in Brussels for the inaugural EU Med Means Business event, with the theme ‘Shaping the future of entrepreneurship in the South’. Parallel events were held concurrently in Cairo, Egypt; Irdib, Jordan; Rabat, Morocco; and Tunis, Tunisia.
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, said: “Following vibrant discussions with so many creative and talented entrepreneurs in the presence of policymakers and financial institutions, we have received a clear list of priority actions. These are important messages for policymakers in Europe, but just as important for decision makers in the region. We will use the outcome of this event in our interactions with the governments and in forthcoming meetings of the Union for the Mediterranean.”
The delegates determined their top priorities for action to be sent to policymakers on both sides of the Mediterranean, with discussions focusing particularly on attracting higher levels of private and public investment and improving job creation opportunities; as well as promoting education, training and skills enhancement for young people in order to combat youth unemployment. They also advocated the removal of the most pressing obstacles to forming a new small or medium enterprise, such as a lack of business mentorship and excessive administrative processes.
Commissioner Hahn added: “During my time as Commissioner, I have worked to put socioeconomic development at the centre of the partnership between the EU and its neighbourhood. Improving opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs is a win-win scenario: young people on both sides of the Mediterranean need economic opportunities to be able to build their own future. We must all work together and listen to the voice of those who are creating employment for the rising generation.”