The Mediterranean is one of the most studied regions of the world. In spite of this, a considerable spread of opinions exists about the geodynamic evolution and the present tectonic setting of this zone. The difficulty in recognizing the driving mechanisms of deformation is due to a large extent to the complex distribution in space and time of tectonic events, to the high number of parameters involved in this problem and to the scarce possibility of carrying out quantitative estimates of the deformation implied by the various geodynamic hypotheses. However, we think that a great deal of the present ambiguity could be removed if there were more frequent and open discussions among the scientists who are working on this problem. The meeting ofERICE was organized to provide an opportunity in this sense. In making this effort, we were prompted by the conviction that each step towards the understanding of the Mediterranean evolution is of basic importance both for its scientific consequences and for the possibleimplicationsfor society. It is well kwn, for instance, that the kwledge ofongoing tectonic processes in a given region and of their connection with seismic activity may lead to the recognition of middle- long term precursors of strong earthquakes. The few cases of tentative earthquake prediction in the world occurred where information on large scale seismotectonic behavior was available. This led to identify the zones prone to dangerous shocks, where observations of short-term earthquake precursors were then concentrated.