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Regional Integration in the Union for the Mediterranean
Public lecture on integration in the Mediterranean region, the role of Hungary in relation to the Mediterranean, as well as trade and financial relations, infrastructure, and the movement of people in the larger region. Questions related to joint research projects and higher education issues also to be addressed.
1016 Budapest, Bérc utca 13-15.
Event reportOn the 30th September, 2021, The Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT) had the chance to host His Excellency Nasser Kamel, the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean. Amb. Kamel held a lecture entitled ‘Regional Integration in the Union for the Mediterranean‘, in which he elaborated on a recently published study focusing on measuring the level of integration in the Mediterranean region. The moderator of the event was Máté Szalai, a senior research fellow of IFAT and senior lecturer of Corvinus University of Budapest. After the welcoming remarks of Márton Ugrósdy, the director of the Institute, His Excellency underlined the role of Hungary in relation to the Mediterranean. He highlighted the merits of the program of the currently Hungarian presidency of the Visegrad Group (V4). In his lecture, Ambassador Kamel summarized the main findings of the recently published study. The research analysed the main patterns of regional integration taking place in the Mediterranean region from the perspective of trade and financial relations, infrastructure, movement of people, as well as links in research and higher education. His Excellency mentioned a few cases where there is room for improvement. First, the framework of inter- and intra-regional cooperation should be updated, which is currently being worked out. Secondly, many problems arise from protectionist tendencies. Calls can also be heard in favour of the development of financial banks and the accessibility of banking through digitalization. Lastly, the insufficient quality of infrastructure was brought up. Despite the fact that 20% of the world trade is transited through the Mediterranean, the transporting system is highly reliant on roads instead of train railways. Moreover, the ability to transport energy is limited, with some exceptions, for instance in the case of Algeria and Spain. During the Q&A session, further questions were raised regarding the role of the European Union, tendencies of FDI flows, trans-peripherial relations, and the phenomenon of brain drain.
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