The 1st Mediterranean Summit

  • August 28, 2019
  • 17:00 to 21:00
  • Haus der Commerzbank, Pariser Platz 1, 10117 Berlin

“Towards a New Phase of EU-Mediterranean Partnership”

August 28, 2019 | 17.00 – 21.00
Haus der Commerzbank, Pariser Platz 1, 10117 Berlin

Drawing on its experience and its Euro-Mediterranean-Arab network, the Euro-Mediterranean-Arab Association EMA will host the first Mediterranean Summit in the heart of the German capital Berlin in the afternoon of August 28, 2019. The Summit will bring together key actors of the region. More than 100 high-ranking representatives and stakeholders hailing from diplomacy, private-sector business, politics, and civil society will discuss and provide prospects for enhanced regional cooperation and new opportunities. A dialogue between political actors and important stakeholders is the sina qua non condition to ensure a better understanding and a shared solution. Furthermore, the Summit will promote the much-needed partnership among the economies of the southern shore and between the northern and the southern shores.

The European Union (EU) and the countries of the southern Mediterranean shores are united by close ties shaped over time. These two natural and indispensable partners seek to deepen their strategic relations in the economic, political, and social spheres. In addition to activities and projects of existing bilateral cooperation, a multilateral, regional approach is necessary and envisioned. Several international and regional actors, such as the EMA, the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry ASCAME, and the Union for the Mediterranean UfM are involved in enhancing this invaluable cooperation.

While business opportunities are multiplying on both sides, it is imperative that governments support entry into foreign markets. Only recently, the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Müller, called for investments in the growth and opportunity markets of the 21st century. Details on the new Development Investment Fund and important opportunities for European companies will be presented during the Summit.


H.E. Fathallah Sijilmassi started his political career at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and took over the position as a Director at “International Collaboration” at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Collaboration and afterward Director in the department “European Affairs”. Mr. Sijelmassi became the ambassador of Morocco at the European Union and afterward in France. After that, he became General Secretary at the Union for the Mediterranean.


H.E. Dr. Jawad Anani is an economist, who held several ministerial posts, as former Deputy Prime Minister and former Chief of the Royal Court, Heshemite Kingdom of Jordan. He began working at the central bank of Jordan and started his political career among other positions as the minister for labor, minister for information, minister of state for cabinet affairs, foreign minister, representative prime minister and minister for investment.


Corinna Franke-Woeller is Head of the Agency for Business & Economic Development (AWE) since 2016, which is the central contact point for German and European companies aiming on investing or engaging in developing and emerging countries. Corinna Franke-Woeller looks back on vast experiences in the interface between politics, economics, and justice.


Since 2017 Gabriele Groneberg is President of the Euro-Mediterranean-Arab Association (EMA), following her role as Vice-president and membership at the EMA Bureau since 2014. Having gained extensive international experience as a multilingual secretary in several countries in Africa and the Middle East, Gabriele Groneberg joined the German Bundestag in 2002 for the SPD to which she belonged until 2017. At the German Bundestag she was a member of the Parliamentary Group for Eastern Africa and the Maghreb countries as well as deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Group Arab speaking states in the Middle East.


Emanuele Garzia is constantly active in representing local companies on behalf of the relevant trade associations. He has been a member of Confcommercio Sud Sardegna since 2014 and Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry since October 2016. He is also responsible, on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for the management of all relations with the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce ASCAME. He is active in the field of formation both through the Vice-President of the Territorial Bilateral Authority of the Tertiary Sector of the Province of Cagliari and, in recent years, through the President of the ASCAME Commission for Formation. In addition, since 1990, he has been the President and Managing Director of the ASDFA – Associazione Sportiva Dilettantistica Football Americano.


For four years Mr. Gunther Beger was the speaker for European affairs and was active as a speaker for the economy at the embassy of Germany in Moscow. Afterwards, he took over the position as a speaker of the CDU/CSU party for agriculture and environment policy and became head of the department „Twinning“ as well as the project group foreign trade promotion. Gunther Beger now works as the head of the department Questions of Principle; Economy, Trade and Rural Development.


H.E. Dr. Andreas Reinicke is the ambassador for Tunisia. He started his political carrier in the Ministry of Foreign Affair at the economy department. Afterwards, he worked at the embassy of Tel Aviv and in the consulate general in New York. He worked in the representative office in Ramallah for three years and became an ambassador for Syria and special representative for the peace process in the Middle East.


Nadia Ben Bahtane started her career in different management positions at Microsoft and became speaker of the Business Software Alliance for North Africa for three years. After that, she became a regional manager at Western Union for North Africa and subsequently for Logica. Today she is the director for group marketing, communication, and sustainability for Intelcia.

Nadia is also a passionate open water swimmer and the first Moroccan woman to solo cross the Strait of Gibraltar. Furthermore, she is co-founder and president of the Dakhla Bay Marine Ecosystem protection association.


Mohamed Raied is chairman of the General Libyan Union of Chambers and executive director of Al-Naseem Dairy in Libya. He started working in the steel industry at a state owned company (LISCO). Afterwards he became food retailer and specialized on dairy products. Today his company Al-Naseem Dairy is the largest private owned company of Libya.


Dr. Abdelmajid Layadi is the main initiator of the Euro-Mediterranean-Arab Association (EMA). For several years, Mr Layadi has been teaching at the University of Bremen in the Department of Economics, focusing on “The Economy and Society of the Middle East”. He has successfully established EMA as an institution in the German-Arab organizational landscape. He was elected Vice-President of the EMA and prior to his current position, he was Secretary General.


Clara Gruitrooy, secretary general of the EMA, has significantly built and shaped the organization. The award-winning mentoring program Ouissal which promote female startups in North Africa reflects her engagement, but also other innovative topics such as digital topics and the cross-regional dialogue she successfully promoted. Mrs. Gruitrooy studied international law in Paris, intercultural conflict management in Berlin and recently completed a management program at the ESMT Berlin.

17:00-18:00 Networking Refreshments

Welcome & Opening Session

Dr. Abdelmajid Layadi, Vice-President, EMA e.V.

Keynote Speeches
“Re-thinking EU-Mediterranean Relations: Towards a new Phase of Partnership”
H.E. Mr. Fathallah Sijilmassi, former Ambassador, former Secretary General, Union For the Mediterranean

“The Future of the Mediterranean”
H.E. Dr. Jawad Al Anani, former Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Minister of Industry and Trade, Jordan

“The AfricaConnect Programme & the Development Investment Fund”
Dr. Corinna Franke-Wöller, Managing Director, Agentur für Wirtschaft und Entwicklung
  Awards Ceremony

by Mrs. Gabriele Groneberg, President, EMA e.V., former Member of the German Parliament

Panel Discussion

The Economic Situation of the Mediterranean Region: Reality & Challenges

  • Mr. Emanuele Garzia, Vice President, Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry ASCAME
  • Mr. Gunther Beger, Head of Department, Policy Issues, Private Sector, Trade, Rural Development, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany
  • H.E. Dr. Andreas Reinicke, Ambassador, German Embassy to Tunisia
  • Mrs. Nadia Ben Bahtane, Mentor, German-Arab Mentoring Program “Ouissal”, Director Group Marketing & Communications, Intelcia Group, Morocco
  • Mr. Mohamed Raied, Member of the Libyan Council of Deputies, Chairman of the Board, General Libyan Union of Chambers, and CEO, Al Naseem for Food Industries, Libya
Moderation: Mrs. Clara Gruitrooy, Secretary General, EMA e.V.
Dinner Reception

Towards a New Phase of Euro-Mediterranean Partnership!

“We have to change the narrative of our relations!” With this statement in his opening speech at the 1st Mediterranean Summit, the former Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), H.E. Fathallah Sijilmassi, emphasized the importance of new ways of cooperation for all actors in the Mediterranean and Middle East regions. The EU should shift its focus more towards the south – for instance regarding the issues of trade and investment or women and youth. Especially young female entrepreneurs and women in leadership positions are an asset in the Mediterranean region. He expressed his delight at the German-Arab mentoring program Ouissal that was initiated by the EMA in 2012. “Our cooperation should not only focus on the political and economic levels, there should also be an academic dimension”, he welcomed a continued expansion of the Erasmus program towards the countries of the southern Mediterranean.

New Impetus for Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation

One former Ouissal mentor was represented on the stage of the Mediterranean Summit: the Moroccan Intelcia manager Nadia Ben Bahtane. She gave insights into her experience of swimming through the Strait of Gibraltar as the first Moroccan woman ever – a symbol of connection between Europe and Africa. This connection is created in reality by her employer Intelcia, one of the largest at several African locations. “Intelcia is investing heavily in education, training, coaching, and support for the development of young talents and pursues a strong internal support and mobility policy”, said Ben Bahtane.

The EMA and Its Members Have a Pioneering Role

In his words of welcome, EMA Vice-President Dr. Abdelmajid Layadi outlined how especially the audience could help by offering their expertise to the countries of the southern Mediterranean: “No matter if it is about building the necessary infrastructure or modernizing the industry, building a modern education system or institutional reform and development, I am convinced that as a participant in this Summit, you have an important role to play in shaping the new ways of Euro-Mediterranean partnership.”

H.E. Dr. Jawad Al Anani, former Deputy Prime-Minister and Foreign Minister of Jordan, called for more openness. One should not be afraid of cooperation. The peoples of the Mediterranean region have interacted with each other and foreigners for thousands of years. Now, it is time to create a counterweight to the Chinese and American influence in the region. He cited, for example, the development of vocational training schools and the transition from rent-based to productive economies.

Investment Promotion in 21st Century Opportunity Markets

Carolin Welzel, Head of “International Organizations” at the EMA partner Agency for Business & Economic Development AWE, gave good examples of how such a transition could be accompanied by Germany and Europe. She presented the AfricaConnect and AfricaGrow programs recently initiated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of the Development Investment Fund (EIF) as well as the special training and employment initiative and the long-standing program, which is undergoing some updates and adaptations this year. With these initiatives, the German government supports the entry of German small and medium-sized enterprises into foreign opportunity markets. Further information can be found on the BMZ website here.

Organized by the EMA in partnership with the AWE, the Commerzbank, and the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry ASCAME, the Summit produced a lively panel discussion on the realities and challenges of the economic situation in the Mediterranean region. The German Ambassador to Tunisia, Dr. Andreas Reinicke, praised his host country for the well-organized transition and advocated “Tunisia as an opportunity”, for example in the areas of ​​IT and AI off-shoring. Regarding his concerns that the inter-Maghreb trade stagnates because of the unresolved situation between Morocco and Algeria, H.E. Nor Eddin Aouam, Ambassador of Algeria to Germany, commented that both countries would have some of the strongest bilateral foreign trade relations in the region.

“Gate to a program for promoting African small and medium-sized enterprises”

Being the CEO of Libya’s largest private-sector company, Chairman of the Libyan General Union of Chambers, and a member of the Libyan House of Representatives, Mohamed Raied reported from his home country where daily life continues despite the ongoing crisis: “The Libyan people refuse a return to dictatorship!” As further discussants, EMA Secretary-General, Clara Gruitrooy, welcomed ASCAME Vice-President Emanuele Garzia from Italy, who pointed out that the EMA is the only German member of ASCAME.

The Head of the Department for Basic Policy Issues, Private Sector, Trade, and Rural Development at the BMZ, Gunther Beger promised support for companies from the German government: “The BMZ is aligning its services with other services specifically addressed at the needs of the private-sector economy. The new Development Investment Fund created by the German government is the gate to a program for promoting African small and medium-sized enterprises. It aims to activate even more German and European companies for an engagement in Africa.”

In recognition of their merits and commitment to international understanding and cooperation, both H.E. Fathallah Sijilmassi and H.E. Dr. Jawad Al Anani received the honorary membership of the EMA. H.E. Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s outgoing Ambassador to Germany, and Mohamed Raied were each awarded the status of EMA Ambassadors for their active involvement in various EMA activities.

The 1st Mediterranean Summit: Network for Euro-Mediterranean Exchange

In addition to the high-ranking guests from the Mediterranean region, the Mediterranean weather was also a guest in Berlin. In the air-conditioned Haus der Commerzbank, however, cold drinks and ice cream were served as refreshments during the networking breaks. H.E. Fathallah Sijilmassi and Malta’s Ambassador to Germany, H.E. Dr. Albert Friggieri, enjoyed a splendid bilateral conversation. H.E. Sijilmassi related to the short distances and the hospitality of the island country where the heart of the Mediterranean beats. In this spirit, with all 100 representatives of diplomacy, the economy, politics, and business associations making valuable contacts in lively discussions about the present and future of regional cooperation, the evening came to an end at a German-Mediterranean buffet in the garden lit by the Brandenburg Gate.

2019-8-28 17:00 2019-8-28 21:00 Europe/London The 1st Mediterranean Summit Haus der Commerzbank, Pariser Platz 1, 10117 Berlin
save event to calendar
past event