scientific and cultural cooperation – promotion of social innovation – gender – governance and transparency
Based on the international relevance of the Mediterranean area and recognizing the importance of the social and sustainable development in the area, the GEOMETT association was created among key researchers and stakeholders from Mediterranean countries and it is addressed to the study of public policies in the key issues of: economic prosperity, social rights, welfare, environment and climate change

Since 2014, the EU has faced unprecedented flows of migrants and refugees from Syria, Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa. The Syrian civil war turned into one of the worst humanitarian crises since World War II. It created a power vacuum that allowed the Islamic State (ISIS) to take over large parts of Syria and Iraq.

In 2014, Libya’s democratic transition failed, leaving the country with two competing governments and a growing ISIS presence. Since then, the terrorist
organisation has claimed the responsibility for attacks in European and neighbouring countries including in Spain, UK, France, Belgium, Denmark, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt and Libya. This regional conflagration has triggered massive displacement.

Relatively stable countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia or Morocco have been directly affected by the refugee flows from Syria. These developments have illustrated how interlinked the EU’s internal security and stability is with that of its southern Mediterranean neighbourhood. This fact has also become clear to Europe’s public.

Eurobarometer polls from November 2015 showed that the citizens considered immigration and terrorism the two most important issues facing the EU2. Actually, the peace, stability and security of the Mediterranean region were recognized as a common asset by all the countries of the area, according to the Declaration of Barcelona and the Union for the Mediterranean strategy.

In particular, since 2004, the economic prosperity was included in the European neighbourhood agenda for the Mediterranean as a central condition for stability, with a focus on addressing the root economic causes of instability in the region: poverty, inequality, a perceived sense of injustice, corruption, weak economic and social development and lack of opportunity especially for young people3.

Thus, the economic partnership within the Mediterranean are is key to stimulate economic development and modernisation in the Southern Neighbourhood, and deepening economic relations between both shores of the Mediterranean is a way to trigger growth and address the economic root causes of instability in the region.

This implies structural reforms, which are also necessary to ensure that economic growth is inclusive and provides basic rights to people. The economic prosperity needs to come together with social rights, at the heart of peoples’ aspirations and preoccupations on both shores of the Mediterranean. Indeed, the triggering factor of the Arab uprisings was the claim for social justice and better economic future. The southern Mediterranean countries witness an almost complete absence of social protection and a lack of long-term investment to achieve socioeconomic welfare of their citizens. Public policies focused on long-term structural reforms are needed to this end, and to fight against poverty.