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Please be informed that the East and South regional studies and the benefits assessment manual of our ENRTP-project on 'Socio-Economic Benefits of Enhanced Environment Protection in the Neighbourhood Countries and the Russian Federation' have been now been put online here, as well as a press release that was also distributed through the ENPI Info Centre.

The sixteen country-studies under the same project will be put online in the middle of January.

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Mediterranean Neighbours

Environmental cooperation with the countries of the Mediterranean lies in the framework of EU external policy, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), whose aim is to strengthen relations between the EU and its neighbours. The policy covers Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya Morocco, the occupied Palestinian territory, Syria and Tunisia. This policy reinforces the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, while using all its institutions and mechanisms. EU third countries relations are governed by a series of bilateral Association Agreements between the EU and each country concerned. The environmental chapter of the National Action Plans agreed with partner countries under the ENP will be implemented primarily through discussions that will take place in bilateral Environment Subcommittees under each ratified Association Agreement. These relations are bilateral whilst regional cooperation in the Mediterranean takes place under the Union for the Mediterranean.

Financial assistance is provided through the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). This is a flexible, policy-driven instrument, designed to target sustainable development and approximation to EU policies and standards - supporting the agreed priorities in the ENP Action Plans and/or the Association Agreement (as well as the Strategic Partnership with Russia).

From 2014 onwards this will be replaced by the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).

International Financial Institutions such as the European Investment Bank are also active in funding environmental actions in the Mediterranean region.

Environmental Policy in the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean countries have a long history of co-operation in the field of the environment, considered to be a shared value of common interest. The Mediterranean environment is recognised by specialists as one of the richest and most vulnerable in the world, in particular regarding its biodiversity. The Mediterranean countries have continued their joint efforts for the protection of this shared environment at a multilateral level for more than 25 years, in spite of cultural, political, economic or technical differences.

The European Commission strategy for the region is outlined in a Commission Communication establishing an environmental strategy for the Mediterranean. The strategy's key aims are to:

  • Reduce pollution levels across the region
  • Promote sustainable use of the sea and its coastline
  • Encourage neighbouring countries to cooperate on environmental issues
  • Assist partner countries in developing effective institutions and policies to protect the environment
  • Involve NGOs and the public in environmental decisions affecting them.

In line with the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, these aims will be achieved through four means: financial assistance from existing and already planned EU aid programmes; strengthened dialogue with the region's representatives; improved coordination with other organisations and partners; and sharing of EU experience in dealing with the problems of the Mediterranean and other regions.

Horizon 2020

A key pillar of the environmental strategy for the Mediterranean is 'Horizon 2020', an initiative to tackle the top sources of Mediterranean pollution by the year 2020 that was endorsed by leaders of Euro-Mediterranean countries at the 10th Anniversary Euro-Mediterranean Summit in Barcelona in 2005.

The Mediterranean strategy fleshes out the detail of Horizon 2020, grouping activities under four headings:

  • Projects to reduce the most significant sources of pollution. Focus is on industrial emissions, municipal waste and urban waste water, which are responsible for up to 80% of Mediterranean Sea pollution.
  • Capacity-building measures to help neighbouring countries create national environmental administrations that are able to develop and police environmental laws.
  • Using the Commission's research budget to develop greater knowledge of environmental issues relevant to the Mediterranean and ensure this is shared.
  • Developing indicators to monitor the success of Horizon 2020.

Barcelona Convention

The key forum for the protection of the marine and coastal environment in the Mediterranean is the Barcelona Convention; this Convention and its Protocols provide the legal basis for the multilateral co-operation aiming at protecting the environment and fostering sustainable development in the Mediterranean Basin through the work of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), the MED POL Programme (the marine pollution assessment and control component of MAP) and the Regional Activity Centres, each of which deals with a specific issue.

The Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development (MCSD) is an Advisory Forum consisting of representatives of the contracting parties to the Barcelona Convention, local/regional organisations, private enterprises and NGOs. Under its auspices was developed the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD).

The EU is a Contracting Party to the Barcelona Convention, represented by the European Commission. The Commission participates actively in the elaboration and implementation of the MAP Work Programme, ensuring, inter alia, its consistence and complementarity with other EU Mediterranean-related policies and financing possibilities, in particular ENP, H2020, the EU RTD framework programmes and the Development Cooperation Instrument. The Barcelona Convention and the Ecosystem Approach to the management of human activities that it is implementing, constitute an appropriate framework for the regional cooperation required for the implementation by the EU Mediterranean Member States of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.  


Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on the Environment, 20 November 2006, Cairo:
- Final Declaration en frar (pdf 21-22k)
- Horizon 2020 Timetable 2007-2013 en frar(pdf 31-36k)
- Communication flyer en frar (pdf 620K)
- Life in the Mediterranean flyer en frar (pdf 847K)

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: "Establishing an Environment Strategy for the Mediterranean"
cs es da de et el en fr it lv lt hu mt nl pl pt sk sl fi svcs
- Annex (pdf~151k)

Statistics on the depollution of the Mediterranean

Environment and Sustainable development in the Mediterranean
en frcs (pdf~630k)

EU relations with Mediterranean countries 

Applicability of Convergence
Road-Map for the NIS for the Mediterranean region - Final Report

Commission web sites

Progress Reports on the ENP

Horizon 2020

European Neighbourhood Policy

External web sites



Global Environment Facility (GEF)