Nicosia, November 1st 2016
12th Cyprus Summit – Europe in Peril, Cyprus in Play
Panel: 4.50 pm.
Can the Mediterranean be more competitive?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for a Mediterranean Business community to participate in this prestigious Summit and contribute to the three main challenges: integration, cooperation, and investment for employment creation, raised by the keynote speakers and that determine to a large extent the future of our Region.
I thank the organizers for giving to BUSINESSMED the opportunity to express its views and to share its vision.
BUSINESSMED, as per its structure is entitled to convey the economic community views and to foster business opportunities in the Mediterranean region.
Our organization is the major representative of the Mediterranean private sector, as it gathers North and South Mediterranean Confederations of Enterprises.
And our mission concerns the economic relations between the European Union and South-Mediterranean countries.
We do believe that the Private Sector has a crucial role to play in the making of the future. It is with you that we want to imagine and achieve it.
The unity around the Mediterranean has become inevitable. After the turmoil suffered, the economic relations, which are still very limited, shall be boosted with the reconstruction and launching of a new era of cooperation.
During the past few years, promising energy prospects have emerged in the Lebanese offshore and Eastern Mediterranean region (Levant Basin), which holds massive volumes of oil and gas.
These fuels could well attract investment in the field of energy production, and a large number of downstream industries.
Moreover, the Mediterranean is one of the leading touristic destinations in the world, and the movement is already integrating all Mediterranean countries.
All this should procure wealth that shall spread over the entire region and improve the economic and social welfare in Mediterranean countries.
Furthermore, the Mediterranean is in need for Gulf investment; and the Gulf is in need for Mediterranean activities and labor.
Cyprus is viewed as a strong connection and hub between Europe and the Mediterranean countries, especially if it maintains its strong ties with the MENA countries.
The Mediterranean needs peace and stability in order to further develop; but conversely only economic and social development may bring stability and peace to the region.
We must adhere to the economic and social « good practices », improve work conditions in terms of regulations and reality, guarantee a better homogenization of production, and finally realize the widest economic liberalization.
This is why we have to focus on the following aspects, to ensure further development:
- Supporting the modernization agenda through liberalizing trade in some sensitive sectors in the region;
- Improving the business climate and governance system, and upgrading infrastructure and human capital;
- Countries of the Mediterranean region, should conduct comprehensive reforms of their economic, social and political systems with the aim of ensuring macroeconomic stability, increasing trade and investment openness.
We share the belief that the future of the region in the medium term lies in a Mediterranean « Common Market ». Thus, we have something to build together and offer to the world, in order to identify our status and take up the position that is ours.