The activities of the Riigikogu delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM) focus on the relations and cooperation between the Northern and the Southern Mediterranean countries, the refugee crisis and the situation of refugees, and the possible solutions in the Middle East peace process. A great deal of attention is also accorded to environmental problems, human rights (including women’s rights), and other issues of democracy in the Mediterranean region, as well as on improving the inter-cultural dialogue.
The activities of the delegation are directed at promoting relations with the parliaments of other PA-UfM member states, participating at international forums, and promoting Estonia’s positions at these. Members of the delegation make speeches at the PA-UfM plenary assembly and committee meetings, and compile summaries of the sittings, in order to inform the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu of their work.
Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean is an institution intended to improve cooperation among the Northern and the Southern Mediterranean countries, and to increase the visibility and transparency of the regional cooperation.
The EMPA was formed on 2 December 2003, at the Sixth Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs as a parliamentary institution of the Barcelona Process; it adopts resolutions and has an advisory role. The major aspects related to the European-Mediterranean relations that emerged through the Barcelona Process consist of creating a common space of peace and stability, building shared economic welfare, and bringing people together through social and cultural partnership and direct contacts.
The mission of the PA-UfM is to support the Barcelona Process by organising public discussions on issues relating to this Process, as well as on problems of common interest in parliaments.
The Assembly has a total of 280 members, an equal number from both the Northern and the Southern Mediterranean countries. It unites representatives of the 28 EU national parliaments and the European Parliament in the framework of the Barcelona Process, as well as representatives of the parliaments of the ten founding members of the Union for the Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey), and the parliaments of the European Mediterranean partner countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Monaco, and Montenegro).
The PA-UfM has the following specialised committees:
- the Committee on Political Affairs, Security, and Human Rights
- the Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs, Social Affairs and Education
- the Committee on Improving Quality of Life, Exchanges between Civil Societies, and Culture
- the Committee on Women’s Rights in Euro-Mediterranean countries
- the Committee on Energy, Environment, and Water
The four-member Bureau of the PA-UfM is elected to office for four years – two members from the parliaments of the European Mediterranean partner countries, one member from the European Parliament and one member from among representatives of the parliaments of the European Union countries. The Bureau coordinates the work of the Assembly. The position of the President rotates with the term of office of one year. The plenary of the PA-UfM convenes at least once a year at the time and place fixed at the previous plenary.
The official languages of the European Union and Arabic, Hebrew and Turkish are the official languages of the Assembly. English, French and Arabic are the working languages.
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