The European Commission has launched a new dialogue with Southern Mediterranean countries on higher education policies and programmes as part of its roadmap for anchoring progress in the region following the 2011 Arab Spring.
On 2-3 July, in Brussels, Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, has hosted an event with senior officials and experts from Southern Mediterranean countries to assess the challenges they face in higher education and to see how the EU can strengthen its cooperation and support for them in the future.
In response to the events of the Arab Spring, the European Commission has significantly increased funding for the Southern Mediterranean through its international higher education programmes, Tempus and Erasmus Mundus. Tempus, which supports the modernisation of higher education, has received an additional €12.5 million in 2012 and 2013, taking total spending to €29 million a year. Erasmus Mundus, which promotes European higher education and intercultural cooperation through cooperation with non-EU countries, will allocate €80 million in Southern and Eastern neighbouring countries in 2012-2013, more than double the amount initially foreseen.
The objectives of the dialogue with Southern Mediterranean countries on higher education policies and programmes are to:
The new policy dialogue covers Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and the occupied Palestinian territories. Syria may be invited to join it at a future date.