[EN] Video Transcript

In this unit we explore what people on the two shores of the Mediterranean associate with the region. Through the Intercultural Trends Survey, we can see that the majority of respondents in the surveyed European countries think that the region is characterised by a Mediterranean way of life and food and hospitality at 89% and 88%, respectively. As in previous surveys, respondents in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries are more likely to associate the region with hospitality, followed by a common cultural heritage and history, at 87% and 86%, respectively.

Let’s take a closer look at our experts’ comments on these facts.

Mohamed Tozy emphasises the shared positive vision that “Mediterraneans” have of the space they belong to, remarking, however, that for 66% of Europeans and 69% of southern and eastern Mediterraneans, the region is still seen as a source of conflict. Not everything is negative though, as “this judgement has been declining since 2010”, despite this period witnessing various acts of violence across the region.

Bernard Abrignani argues that, although there are some negative associations to the Mediterranean region in relation to instability and insecurity (71% of Europeans, and 73% of southern and eastern Mediterranean) or in resistance to change (67% and 68% respectively), far more associate the Mediterranean with positive ideas and views. They placed emphasis on hospitality, where “young people who have benefited from opportunities offered by the EU youth programmes, experienced this hospitality first-hand and have returned transformed. They have learned to know, discover, appreciate, and no longer fear what is unknown, which can often lead to hate”.

According to Alexandra Büchler and Ayman Zohry, as 79% of Europeans and 83% of southern and eastern Mediterraneans associate migration issues with the region, placing it in fourth place, this becomes one of the leading characteristics in the Survey. Zohry emphasised that this trait is at the heart of regional and public discourse, and may lead to “a picture of the Mediterranean region as one characterised by tenacious migration issues”.

Finally, commenting on the Mediterranean way of life and food, Khalid Chaouki believes that strong and common roots are at the base of the region, “allowing us to recognise we are alike even in diversity”, strongly believing that we have to share the fruits these roots bear “because they are an antidote to extremism”.