Relations and exchanges between the two shores of the Mediterranean are constantly developing. In Brussels, the EBSOMED project, which is a network representing the private sector and Euro-Mediterranean and Arab organizations supporting economic development and businesses in the region, ended its work on Friday 16 June at the headquarters of the Economic and Social Committee European (EESC).
Launched 5 and a half years ago with the support of the European Union (EU), the EBSOMED project, which brings together employers’ confederations, in particular the CGEM, the networks of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Agencies of development, SME Support Agencies as well as organisations, research centers and support networks for civil society (youth and women), has made it possible to improve the management capacity of business support organisations, with more 7,000 beneficiaries (companies, men, women, official bodies) and 50 consortia created to submit European offers.
The project has a budget of 6.5 million euros, 80% of which is financed by the European Economic and Social Committee.
At the closing press conference of the EBSOMED project, Ingrid Shweiger, Deputy Head of Unit at the EESC, focused on the EU policy context for the southern neighborhood and the inclusive and sustainable economic growth it promotes.
” The EU has launched a dedicated and ambitious economy and investment plan with a series of flagship initiatives to promote this cooperation between our mutual economies. It is also about creating links, developing partnerships, promoting trade and economic development in general, as well as fostering partnership between the two shores, which has a significant impact. It is also about promoting employment. And the work of EBSOMED has contributed enormously to the region“, she underlined before welcoming this future collaboration.
In a statement to MoroccoLatestNews UKJihen Boutiba, Director of the EBSOMED project and SG of BUSINESSMED, spoke about the Business Country Desk online platform, which has greatly contributed to bringing businesses together in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
” We started from the beginning to form these organizations, then we arrived at a final point which is that of the SMEs. And there we have created a kind of online trading platform. We thought about this platform as early as 2006, but at the beginning, we considered having a focal point in each of the partner countries in order to promote commercial exchanges at the level of the Mediterranean region. And we ended up creating a platform called the Business Country Desk”did she say.
And to explain: It is a completely free online platform that organizes B2B events between Euro-Mediterranean companies that register, and can even print a badge with B2B timetables for entrepreneurs and start-ups“.
” For us, she continues, it’s somewhat the project’s sustainability plan that is the most important point. In the beginning, it was mainly about training business support organisations. But ultimately, we not only created business opportunities, but we also worked on the policy side, doing research and involving all stakeholders, whether it was the private sector, public-private partnership or other entities such as research organizations and academics, to fill a very important gap, especially with regard to young people and new professions that are emerging, where there is no match between academic skills and business needs“.
Asked about the follow-up to the EBSOMED project, the results of which were presented on Friday, Jihen Boutiba stressed that this is a question that is regularly asked of them by the ESEC, noting that continuity is automatically ensured.
” The chambers of commerce that we have in our countries, whether in Europe or in the southern Mediterranean, will continue to exist. Employers’ organizations too. We work with both unions and governments in terms of legislation and the legal framework, so this will continue. The same goes for investment and promotion announcements. Just because the project is over doesn’t mean the work of these organizations stops,” she assured.
She notes in this regard: “Our role as BUSINESSMED, because there is also a Business Africa and others, is to bring them all together and seek common causes. Of course, all this has been achieved within the framework of the Barcelona process, as well as in the continuity of the Union for the Mediterranean (UPM). But what is most important for us is to work on this internationalization and to share good practices, both from Europe to the countries of the South and vice versa, certain countries of the South to European countries“.
To conclude, the SG of BUSINESSMED pointed out that she insisted as much as possible to work on something that is very rarely done, namely exchanges between countries of the South.
” So, yes, even if this project is over, the organizations that manage these initiatives will continue to work in the same way, following the same perspectives focused on internationalization, business, social dialogue, regional dialogue, and our activities. won’t stop because the project is over“, she concluded.
It should be noted that Morocco, represented by the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), a member of BUSINESSMED, was conspicuous by its absence during this event, even though there was a lot of talk about the Kingdom during this event. .