The Mediterranean area between agreements on immigration and the necessity of a “new Marshall Plan”

  • 28 February 2015

The scenarios of instability that recently occurred in the countries of the Mediterranean Basin have consequences both within the countries directly affected, and outside.

As a first consequence of this situation, the phenomenon of migration has increased substantially. The nation that was affected by the desperate people trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea is Italy.

A second consequence is the need for an economic recovery of the Mediterranean area. The European countries are aware of the need to establish a common energy strategy that involves all the states of the southern Mediterranean.

Some of these issues were addressed in the recent meeting between the delegations of Italy and France, on the occasion of the Intergovernmental Summit, held at the Elysee Palace on February 24. Representing Italy there were the President of the Council, Matteo Renzi, and six of Ministers Italian.

The attention of the representatives of the two governments has focused on the sensitive issue of Libya, connected with the increase of refugees fleeing to Italian coast. “A peacekeeping intervention in Libya is not on the agenda” stated Renzi, after the meeting. “The road remains the diplomatic and research of an agreement between the parties, in other words between the “Tripoli government”, so with Abdullah al-Thani and with the “Tobruk government”, so with Omar al-Hassi” – said the Italian Prime Minister.

“Peace in Libya can only make by the Libyans, if they fails we will ask a stronger UN diplomatic intervention”. Renzi has also highlighted the fact that “the issue of Libya is not just Italian.” “Libya – he said – is a priority for Europe. The Mediterranean is not a cemetery or a periphery; is the heart of our continent. ”

On the question concerning the terrorist attacks, which stroke also France, the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said: “In this time we cannot be afraid of the future. Europe cannot be afraid of tomorrow, because, despite the terror, Europe has larger values ​​that come from its history.”

In a dedicated meeting the Interior ministers, Angelino Alfano and Bernard Cazeneuve affirmed the “full agreement between Italy and France about terrorism and immigration.” “As far as action against forms of violent radicalization concerned – reads a statement – the two ministers are link on a strength cooperation both bilaterally and European.”

In particular, Italian and French Interior Minister have been identified three issues:

  1. the creation of a European PNR (Passenger Name Record, the log data provided by passengers collected and stored in the reservation systems and departure control systems of air carriers for commercial purposes, which contains various information: The date of the visit, the route, the data Ticketing, the contact details, the travel agent from whom you booked the flight, the method of payment, the seat number and the information regarding the luggage),
  2. Improve protection of the Schengen treaty by more effective external border controls
  3. Instate a high level of attention to the use of the web as an instrument of recruitment.

As far as the issue of immigration concerned, moreover, Italy received support from the French to the strengthening of Triton (instrument funded by the European Union in order to control the international waters up to thirty miles from the Italian coast), “with the awareness that Libya plays a key role in the fight against irregular immigration in the Mediterranean “.

Renzi and Hollande have, in fact, stated: “We have asked Europe to strengthen Triton. Italy and France are allies in the fight against illegal immigration in the Mediterranean and support a more determined European response. The two countries – continues the document – share the same concern about the increase in illegal flows over the past two years, the origin of tragedy that must be avoided. ”

Also, on the subject, a meeting between Italian and French interior ministers and other European partners is plan “for the development of further strategies, as, for example, the possibility that migrants coming from Libya, can be welcomed in neighboring countries, in respect of international humanitarian law. ”

As far as economic problems of the countries of the Mediterranean Basin concerned, on 26 and 27 February, was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI), the conference entitled “A new US-EU Marshall Plan for Mediterranean and Middle East: economic development and cooperation policies “, produced by MAECI in collaboration with the Association Mediterranean Perspectives, the Ebert Foundation (FES-Italy), the EURISPES, the University of Calabria, the Italian Representation of the European Commission and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM).

The international conference is the result of ten years of work supported and followed by the Central Mediterranean and the Middle East on MAECI. The debate focused on the results of the latest research on crucial issues such as energy and water resources, the problem of under-employment and the attempts to solve it through mechanisms of financial inclusion, with the aim of finding common ground for peaceful coexistence and development.

Enrico Molinaro, founder and president of the Research Institute “Mediterranean Perspectives ” said: “Ours is a cry of alarm to the United States and Europe. Mediterranean and Middle East need a new Marshall Plan, a special plan for the development of the area. It needs not only funds, but also infrastructure and the obligation to cooperate. ”

“The project aims to convince the European Union and the United States to transfer funds overtime and advanced know-how necessary for the development of local people, bound by their mutual commitment to contribute to peaceful cooperation in the region – added Molinaro -. The improvement of the conditions local economic and the consequent satisfaction of basic needs of the people could contribute to social development, the security of the area and to strengthen the fragile democratic institutions in the region. ”

The meeting was opened by Marco Carnelos, coordinator for the peace process in the Middle East and Syria, on MAECI, which found that “the area is establishing a new order and to which the region is experiencing is very similar the wars of the European Christian religion of the past. ” “Good governance for the future – he added – is the crucial element on which to focus along with a fair distribution of resources and opportunities.” The conference hosted representatives from the world of politics, finance and energy coming in particulate from Israel and Palestine.

All participants at the conference agreed on two issues: on one hand, the economic development is the only way to achieve peace; on the other hand they must consider energy as a cornerstone for growth and security in the region.




Access to the world of work: the female point of view

  • 27 February 2015

According to the study Women in Business and Management: Gaining Momentum of the ILO, published in late 2014, “women have made many gains in access to education, and it follows that they have increased access to employment. Today, a third of the world’s enterprises are run by women, and their management skills are increasingly recognized as well. There is more and more evidence that achieving gender balanced and diverse management teams at all levels in the hierarchy produces positive business outcomes. Yet age-old gender stereotypes still overshadow women’s contribution to businesses. Top of the list of stereotypes across all social and cultural contexts is their ability to balance work and family responsibilities”.

The world of work has changed dramatically in the last generation due to falling fertility, aging of populations and migration, as well as increased access to education and technology.

While these initiatives are implemented within the framework of the social requirements concerning physical segregation of men and women at workplaces, they nevertheless provide new opportunities for women to earn income and to apply their knowledge and education at technical and managerial levels. In many parts of the globe, the main role of women is still perceived as carers for families and households. In terms of sheer daily hours of work, this has given rise to the so called “double burden” of being a worker, a career or business woman in addition to attending to family needs.

Today, women own and manage over 30 per cent of all businesses, ranging from self-employed (or own account workers), micro and small enterprises to medium and large companies. However, women tend to be concentrated more in micro and small enterprises. They represent around 24 per cent of all employers in all regions except the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) where they are around 6 per cent. By comparison, women represent 31 to 38 per cent of own-account workers across all regions except the MENA countries, where they make up almost 13 per cent of those who are self-employed.

Social customs and traditional gender roles in many countries and certain regions, such as the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, greatly influence the role women are able to play in labour markets and in decision-making generally. However, as a means to enhance economic growth there is increasing governmental and societal support for the education and economic engagement of women as long as social and religious norms, particularly in relation to family responsibilities, are respected. The route for women to gain access to management positions is thus being opened up with efforts to counter the low labour participation rates of women and to create a larger pool of qualified women. Some multinational companies are spearheading the hiring of women and promoting more women in their management structures in such countries. In a bid to nationalize their labour markets, the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia are providing incentives to speed up women’s entry into the labour market, including as managers and business owners.

Guy Ryder Director General International Labour Office declared: “promoting gender equality at the workplace is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do. A growing body of evidence shows that utilizing the skills and talent of both men and women is beneficial for enterprises and for society in general. While many multinational companies are already on this track, a major challenge is to ensure that national firms, especially medium and large sized firms, receive advice and tools on how to advance women and improve their business outcomes. National employers’ organizations have a strategic and timely role to play as the business world is on the cusp of recognizing how women’s contribution to economic decision-making can make a positive difference to the “bottom line” and business performance. It is heartening to see that, with the support of national employers’ organizations, many companies from the developing regions responded to the ILO company survey that provided rich material for the global report”.

The investigation conducted by the ILO shows that there are arguments in favour of the promotion of women in business and women. Academics and analysts have been examining to what extent more gender balance in management teams and boards actually improves business performance and if the “bottom line” is negatively affected when all decision-makers are men only.  When it comes to a woman being the chairperson of a company board, the percentages decline sharply. While data from different sources vary, they generally show the small degree to which women are leading boards – generally in the range of zero to a few per cent in a number of countries there was some increase in the percentage of women as chairpersons from 2009 to 2013 while in others it declined. The ILO company survey found that 87 per cent of the boards of respondent companies had a man as president while 13 per cent had a woman as president. Some commentators describe progress as “glacial” and consider that unless action is taken it could take 100 to 200 years to achieve parity at the top. One consequence of this inertia is that a number of countries have moved to legislate controversial mandatory quotas for women on company boards, with Norway being the first. The European Union is currently considering extending these to its member states with a draft Gender Directive passed by the European Parliament in November 2013 and still under consideration by the European Council of Ministers as of mid-2014. Other countries, notably Australia, Canada, Hong Kong China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, United Kingdom, United States of America, while stopping short of quotas, have adopted a variety of measures to promote more women in management, such as inclusion of gender diversity requirements and reporting in corporate governance codes, codes of conduct, voluntary targets and cooperative initiatives between business and government.


“Glass walls”: Women concentrated in specific management functions

One of the reasons why it can be more difficult for women to be selected for top management jobs is that their management experience is not sufficiently diverse. They have not been exposed to all types of company operations during their careers and thus have not gained sufficient experience in general management across several functional areas. The concentration of women in certain types of management reflects the “glass walls” phenomenon, which is segregation by gender within management occupations. While women are gaining access to more and higher levels of management, there is a tendency for them to be clustered in particular managerial functions.

Women are increasing their share of managerial jobs ILO data shows that women’s labour market participation rates are generally still proportionally higher than their share of management jobs, and in many countries the gap is considerable. However, women are gradually increasing their numbers as managers. In the majority of countries for which ILO data was available over time during the last decade, women have increased their share of management jobs. In 77 per cent – or 80 of the 104 countries for which ILO data was available, the proportion of managers who were women increased. In 23 countries the increase was by 7 per cent or more as shown in Figure 3 below. However, in some 23 countries women’s share of management actually fell, despite their increasing labour force participation and their higher levels of education. This indicates that gains made in the advancement of women in management are not always sustained and can be easily reversed unless there are concerted efforts to consolidate progress. The countries that saw a decline in women managers are from all regions and levels of development. In only a few cases did both the labour force participation and the proportion of women in management decline. Women reaching senior management positions in greater numbers are critical for building a pool of potential candidates for the top jobs such as chief executive officer (CEO) or company president. ILO data provided by 49 countries give an indication of the proportion of women in senior and middle management in the private and public sectors combined in 2012. Given that legislative quotas in many countries have boosted the proportion of women as legislators and that legal requirements for equal opportunity in the public service are driving the appointment of women at higher levels of management, the figures are likely to be lower for the private sector alone.

Women overtaking men in education

In most regions, women are surpassing men with degrees at Bachelors’ and Masters’ levels. In many countries, this is not a recent phenomenon and already two decades ago, women had reached parity in obtaining degrees. Differences in the choice of study focus between men and women are declining in many areas.

Getting rid of the glass ceiling and glass walls

What can companies do?

  • Explain and provide evidence on the business case for more women in management
  • Network with other companies on good practices
  • Provide good practice examples of measures and strategies to promote women in management
  • Develop a strategy to promote more women in management
  • Design an equal opportunity policy Network with women’s business associations
  • Provide guidelines on gender sensitive human resource management systems
  • Develop guides on measures and strategies to promote women in management
  • Introduce a mentoring scheme
  • Design a sexual harassment policy
  • Introduce a sponsorship scheme

Barriers to women’s leadership

  1. Ranking of Barriers to Women’s Leadership
  2. Women have more family responsibilities than men
  3. Roles assigned by society to men and women
  4. Masculine corporate culture
  5. Women with insufficient general or line management experience
  6. Few role models for women
  7. Men not encouraged to take leave for family responsibilities
  8. Lack of company equality policy and programmes
  9. Stereotypes against women
  10. Lack of leadership training for women
  11. Lack of flexible work solutions
  12. Lack of strategy for retention of skilled women
  13. Inherent gender bias in recruitment and promotion (ranked the same as) 12. Management generally viewed as a man’s job
  14. Gender equality policies in place but not implemented
  15. Inadequate labour and non-discrimination laws

Role of national employers’ organizations

National employers’ organizations are critically important as they already have key networks of national businesses and programmes in place. With the evolution of labour markets, the high educational and skills levels of women and their growing role in national economies and political life, women today hold a wealth of talent and resources that can be tapped by companies large and small. Employers’ organizations can play a key role on creating greater awareness among their members of this potential and advising on how to adapt policies and practices at the company level for women’s talent to be optimised and for women to participate in decision-making and so improve business outcomes.

The way forward to promoting more women in business and management

What companies can do to promote women in management?

  • Awareness on the business case for more women in management
  • Equal Opportunity/Diversity Policy – written and disseminated
  • Sexual Harassment Policy – procedures and penalties
  • Sensitization of company managers on gender stereotyping and diversity approaches
  • Assessment of employee profiles (sex, age, skills, etc.)
  • Survey/consultation on employee needs in relation to family responsibilities
  • Setting targets and establishing a monitoring and reporting system
  • Career planning for both men and women
  • Ensure equal access to training for men and women/special training for women
  • Assign young women challenging and visible tasks, assignments, projects
  • Expose women as well as men to operations across the company
  • Flexible working arrangements (time and place – telework)
  • Re-entry programmes after career breaks/staying in touch during leave
  • Encourage male employees to engage in family care (leave, working hours, etc.)
  • Assist in child and elder care arrangements
  • Results based employee performance evaluations
  • Encourage networking
  • Mentoring (unwritten rules and processes)
  • Sponsorship to the top
  • Company/industry awards
  • Appoint women to senior management, CEO, Company Board and Board Sub Committee members
  • Appoint women managers to key/strategic roles, not only HR, finance and CSR managers
  • Foster role models (women managers, male gender champions) and use them as examples or inspiration
  • High level management commitment essential!
  • What employers’ organizations can do to promote women in business and management?
  • Awareness raising of EO staff on the business case for gender diversity and equality
  • Design and implement an internal policy on gender equality
  • Awareness of EO staff on strategies for companies to promote women in management
  • Gender balance in EO staff – role model
  • Consider mechanisms/structures within the EO to implement gender related activities
  • Consider conducting a participatory gender audit within the EO to establish a baseline and the way forward
  • Provide guidance to member affiliates and companies on promoting women in management and assistance with self- assessment or audit of the company’s needs
  • Develop or strengthen links with business women’s associations to know about their experiences and strategies and to provide ‘voice’ to their goals
  • Policy advocacy on addressing obstacles to women’s entrepreneurship (access to credit facilities, resources, BDS, training, etc.)
  • Policy advocacy on legal frameworks that can promote women’s access to decision-making in private sector
  • Partnerships with academic institutions for research and with media for advocacy on women in business and management
  • Launch annual awards, exhibitions and fairs, to attract public and media attention


Women’s Empowerment Principles

  • Principle 1: Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
  • Principle 2: Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and non-discrimination
  • Principle 3: Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
  • Principle 4: Promote education, training and professional development for women
  • Principle 5: Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women
  • Principle 6: Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
  • Principle 7: Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality


Growth of the Tunisian economy in 2014 is lower than in 2013. The IMF forecasts for 2015 are encouraging

  • 27 February 2015

The Tunisia GDP in 2014, published by the National Statistics Ins, showed growth of 2.3%. This number is down by one percentage point compared to 2013.

In the fourth quarter of 2014 it was found a slight improvement with an increase of 0.8% compared to the previous quarter, due in particular to the increase of the value added in the services sector, and a 0.5% growth in the sector manufacturing industries (5.8% and 1.1% food electrical and mechanical) and 3.5% agriculture and fishing.

The sectors that recorded declines were those of non-manufacturing industries, with -2.2% (-11.8% mining, oil and gas extraction -4.2%) and -9.5% chemical, ceramic and glass -1, 3% and textile – apparel and leather -0.7%.

Giorgia Albertin, the International Monetary Fund representative in Tunisia, presenting the report on the regional economic outlook, announced that the rate of growth of Tunisia for 2015 will be 3%, up from 2.4% in 2014.

According to the forecasts of the IMF in February inflation in Tunisia will increase by 5% in 2015 (compared to 4.9% in 2014) and the current account deficit will improve to touch 6.6% of GDP (-8.9% the last year). The global deficit instead increase to -5.3% of GDP.

The IMF notes that the decline in oil prices on international markets could be a window of opportunity for Tunisia, a chance to improve his position in the public deficit, as many calculations have been developed taking into account the price of a barrel of $ 95, while today certifies around 50 dollars.

Benefits to which Tunisia has not profited, said the governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia, Chedli Ayari, but for which you will probably see the effects on the trade balance from May to June, considering that Tunisia buys, like all the other countries of the world, crude oil on the international market at the price in force six months before, explained the economist Radhi Meddeb.





The Spanish economy restart to grow up: this is the first sign of overcoming the economic crisis

  • 26 February 2015

The Spanish economy, for the first time after six years of stalemate and recession – according to data released by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) – grew up in the fourth quarter of 2014 by 0.7%, from the previous quarter. The 2015 GDP increase on an annual basis is of 1.4%.

This growth is attributable to the increase in household consumption, increased from October to December by 0.9% from the previous quarter.

A prediction about the growth of GDP for 2015 is an increase of 2.4%. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has revised its growth forecast for the Spanish economy this year, saying that “reality can exceed expectations.” Brussels, in fact, predicted that the Spanish economy will grow by 2.6%.

“Between 2014 and 2015 the economy will create a million net jobs in Spain, fulfilling the commitment made by this government in Parliament,” said the prime minister, noting that “today there are 156,000 fewer unemployed since the beginning of legislature “, in November 2011.

The measures announced by the leader of the PP for the end of the term, exemptions of social security contributions for contracts of up to EUR 500, and child protection measures, and an “integral plan of support for the family and the elderly” with “social allowances” for many families.

According to the latest bulletin released today by the Bank of Spain, the recovery in consumption, steady at an average increase of 1.4% in 2014, will be maintained during 2015, continuing to support the growth of GDP. “It is estimated a significant contribution to the expansion of household consumption in GDP,” said the central bank. The increase in household spending is supported by a favorable evolution of the labor market and “continued improvement” in financial conditions, a decrease in interest rates of loans in recent months. In terms of industry, the Bank of Spain also plans that will continue in 2015 the “dynamism” of the construction industry.