Regional co-operation with the Mediterranean partners
EU relations with the countries of the Southern Mediterranean and the Middle East have been developing through the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, which was established by the Barcelona Declaration in 1995. More recently, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has begun to map out relations between the EU and these regions.
The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership – also known as the Barcelona Process – is a regional forum for political, economic and social co-operation, which sits alongside bilateral Association Agreements and ENP Action Plans. The creation of the Union for the Mediterranean in 2008, marked the relaunch of the process.
In the political domain, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is a unique platform that facilitates mutual understanding and political dialogue with a view, for example, to reducing tensions in the Middle East.
In the economic sphere, regional co-operation tackles issues that have a trans-national dimension and offers a value-added approach compared with purely national programmes. For example, this is the case in the development of infrastructure network connections, regional economic integration, and protection of the environment and the establishment, in fine, of a free trade zone in the Mediterranean.
The Euro-Mediterranean partnership has also social, cultural and human dimensions. Various programmes are developed under this pillar, including education and training, gender issues, cultural dialogue and support for the civil society, to name only a few. Beyond generating value-added through economies of scale and scope, regional co-operation in the Mediterranean provides an efficient forum for exchanging information, policy experiences and good practice. From 2000 to 2006, the EU allocated more than €1 billion to regional programmes and projects.
The priority areas for regional co-operation have been defined in the European Commission's Regional Strategy Paper (2007-2013) and Regional Indicative Programme (2007-2010) [233 KB] for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Funding of about €333 million has been earmarked for 2007-2010.
The new Regional Indicative Programme (2011-2013) [344 KB] aims to tackle the new challenges the Southern neighbourhood countries are facing. €343.3 will be earmarked for 2011-2013.
Areas of co-operation
Regional programmes and projects follow the main chapters of the Barcelona Process and include the following priority areas: