- This paper is the outcome of a workshop held in Rome in November 2011 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the POEM (Physical Oceanography of the Eastern Mediterranean) program. In the workshop discussions, a number of unresolved issues were identified for the physical and biogeochemical properties of the Mediterranean Sea as a whole, i.e., comprising the Western and Eastern sub-basins. Over the successive two years, the related ideas were discussed among the group of scientists who participated in the workshop and who have contributed to the writing of this paper. Three major topics were identified, each of them being the object of a section divided into a number of different sub-sections, each addressing a specific physical, chemical or biological issue: 1. Assessment of basin-wide physical/biochemical properties, of their variability and interactions. 2. Relative importance of external forcing functions (wind stress, heat/moisture fluxes, forcing through straits) vs. internal variability. 3. Shelf/deep sea interactions and exchanges of physical/biogeochemical properties and how they affect the sub-basin circulation and property distribution. Furthermore, a number of unresolved scientific/methodological issues were also identified and are reported in each sub-section after a short discussion of the present knowledge. They represent the collegial consensus of the scientists contributing to the paper. Naturally, the unresolved issues presented here constitute the choice of the authors and therefore they may not be exhaustive and/or complete. The overall goal is to stimulate a broader interdisciplinary discussion among the scientists of the Mediterranean oceanographic community, leading to enhanced collaborative efforts and exciting future discoveries.