The EIB Institute organised a roundtable on “Infrastructure Financing and Balanced Regional Development: the Role of the Transport Sector in the Mediterranean Region,” during the 53rd congress of the European Regional Science Association (ERSA) held in Palermo in August 2013 on the topic “Regional Integration: Europe, the Mediterranean and the World Economy”.

Flavia Palanza (EIB) chaired the roundtable composed of Yigit Alpogan (Union for the Mediterranean), Professor Giovanni Longo (University of Trieste), Saki Aciman (Centre d’Etudes des Transports pour la Mediterranée Occidentale), and Massimo Pecorari (Unicredit Group). They discussed whether it was possible to accelerate the implementation of key infrastructure projects across the Mediterranean, bringing balanced regional development and growth.

Developing strong relations with its neighbouring countries is central to the EU’s Lisbon Strategy and further reinforced by the Europe 2020 Strategy. Europe 2020 highlights the importance of transport policy, which leads to more efficient border crossings, faster and safer connections and the liberalisation of markets to facilitate the flow of goods and people across the EU’s borders. Furthermore,  in 2011 the European Commission emphasised the need for a pragmatic approach towards transport sector development in EU neighbouring countries and explicitly stated that it would support such objectives with the help of other international financial institutions.