The daily ABC writes that the foreign ministers of France, Spain, Egypt, Tunis and Jordan met on Tuesday in Cairo and supported the candidacy of Jordanian Ahmed Masade to become the first leader of the secretariat of the Union, commonly referred to as 'Club Med'. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa was the first to mention Masade's name for the post.
French spokesperson Bernard Valéro is quoted as saying: "The candidacy of Jordan's Ahmed Masade for the post of secretary-general was mentioned and received the support of the five ministers."
Valéro added that on 12 January a meeting of high representatives of the Mediterranean Union would take place to discuss appointments to the secretariat-general of the Union.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said in Egypt that he hopes that "from 12 January the organisational structure of the secretariat of the Mediterranean Union of Barcelona will be in place". Until now, the Spanish city has been hosting the Mediterranean Union, formerly known as the 'Barcelona Process'.
Although it was launched one-and-a-half years ago, the Union of the Mediterranean still does not function officially due to unsolved questions regarding its statute and the appointment of a secretary-general.
Moratinos is quoted as saying that once the secretary-general will be appointed, "the secretariat will start to function, with the objective of following up on decisions of the Paris summit in 2008, and to prepare the programme for the Barcelona summit, on 7 June".