The splendid location, the Temple of Hadrian, which hosted the first edition of the Mediterranean Forum, is especially symbolic. The great Roman Emperor “the Philosopher” has been a great follower and promoter of Romanity in the world as the founding principle of Europe and an inclusive and harmonizing action in the Mediterranean as Mare Nostrum. Hadrian’s foreign policy was characterized by peace, both external and internal, ensuring stability and security through controllable borders with civilization, containment and strengthening. The most turbulent borders were necessarily reinforced with permanent infrastructures, the most famous of which is the mighty Hadrian’s Wall in Great Britain.
The MEDITERRANEAN FORUM of ROME is meant to be an occasion where different ideas and solutions will be exchanged, ideally leading to a Euro-Mediterranean common space of dialogue that addresses most of the current issues in the social, economic and cultural dimensions. The Mediterranean Forum will be a space where Representative of Governments, High-level Representatives of International Organization and Civil Society Activists can join and debate about the next challenges of the Mediterranean Area.
Euro-Mediterranean integration is moving towards turbulent times. Many things have changed for the worse since 13th july 2008, when the Union for the Mediterranean was created in Paris. Today, the 20 years old Barcelona Declaration (1995), that set the goals of stability, security, peace and prosperity for the whole Euro-Mediterranean space, seems a distant dream.
The European Union itself is not so “prosperous, secure and free” as it was proudly announced in 2003 in Solana’s European Security Strategy and a number of internal and external crisis are putting at risk the political fabric of the Union. The effects of an ungoverned globalisation have transformed the Euro—Mediterranean space in something different from what we were used to, changing the geopolitical environment of the old developmental strategies. The traditional gaps between the Northern and Southern shores, in the democratic, development and security fields have remained or increased, while the region is still economically extremely divided and the global economic crisis has reduced the financial instrument of Public Development Aid.
A huge inflow of mostly economic migrants from Sub-Saharian Africa are flocking towards the Mediterranean, smuggled by powerful organised criminal cartels that are arising as new power actors in a growing lawless environment, taking over sovereignty and territory from nominal states.
At the same time, an unprecedented stream of foreign fighters has spread-out across the Mediterranean space directed toward ISIL global-jihadi proto-state, bridging the different terrorist organisations of North Africa and the Middle East with the radical segments of European diasporas. This new phenomenon, matched with the crisis of the European multicultural model, the decreasing legitimacy of governments and the advancement of political Islam, adds to the picture the uneasy question of how the Mediterranean countries can avoid a future of social unrest and identitarian conflicts between alternative social and political paradigms.