One of the aims of Merid project is to establish links and open connections with other bodies and projects dedicated to the relations between EU and MENA countries.

On 22nd June 2016, at Infopoint Europa in Bruxelles, we participated at a very interesting policy workshop on “Democracy, Youth and Social justice: challenges for Europe and the Middle East”, with the presentation of the state of art of three FP7-SSH funded research projects focusing on different aspects of transition in selected Middle East and North Africa (MENA)/South-East Mediterranean (SEM) countries: ArabTrans, Power2Youth and Sahwa. These projects bring together multiple partners from Europe and Arab countries to survey the changes occurred in the Arab Mediterranean countries after the “Arab Spring”, focusing in particular on youth, migration and jobs.

The event was leaded by Philippe Keraudren, Deputy head of Unit, DG RTD, Unit B.6 – Open and Inclusive Societies, with the participation of officials of the European Parliament: Perla Srour-Gandon, Policy Advisor, for Middle East and Gulf – Policy and research and Benjamin Rey, Policy Analyst for Middle East and North Africa of the Directorate General for External Policies.

Presentations of the projects were taken on by stakeholders and researchers such as Andrea Teti and Pamela Abbott from the University of Aberdeen, Maria Cristina Paciello of IAI Italian institute, Elena Sánchez-Montijano of the Barcelona Center for Global Affairs and Asuman Goksel from the Middle-East Technical University of Ankara, Turkey.

The presentations were followed by a lively debate about some very actual topics, such as borders control, security and social issues, which are strongly connected with the basic needs and hopes of young generations across the Mediterranean. Yet it was an interesting opportunity to create new partnerships between Europe, Africa and Middle East bodies in order to “co-create the future through new solutions that have the potential to ensure sustainability, participatory governance, openness and transparency in policies and markets and social cohesion” – as stated in the Horizon 2020 Work Programme for 2016 – 2017 issued by the European Commission.