Peace, justice and security in the Mediterranean
Making progress on the political and security aspects of the Barcelona Process has been a challenge owing to the persistent conflicts in the Mediterranean region.
Middle East peace support
The European Commission developed its Middle East Peace Projects (MEPP) with the aim of increasing regional co-operation between Israelis and Arabs in fields such as integrated cross-border development, education, environment, legal matters, media and civil society issues.
The EU Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme is now being run under the MEPP umbrella. Its overall objective is to support the peace process and to provide a solid foundation at civil society level for a just and lasting settlement in the Middle East.
PfP seeks to strengthen and increase direct civil society relationships and co-operation based on equality and reciprocity between Israelis (including the Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel), Palestinians and other Arabs. The Commission will extend its support to this programme beyond 2007.
Justice, security and migration
A framework document adopted at the Euro-Med Valencia conference of April 2002 marked a decisive step forward in co-operation on issues related to justice and home affairs. Acting on the document, the European Commission launched the MEDA JAI I Programme which, between 2004 and 2007, addressed regional co-operation in the following areas:
- Justice, via the EuroMed Justice I project
- Crime fighting through the EuroMed Police I project
- Migration issues, which were covered by EuroMed Migration I
These three projects prompted the exchange of good practice and experience between the EU and the MEDA countries, and laid the foundations for the establishment of networks among relevant Euro-Mediterranean players.
A second phase of MEDA JAI has been launched in 2008.
- Euromed Justice II: it will contribute to the development of a Euro-Mediterranean area of cooperation in the field of justic by supporting the development of partner's capacity and backing the modernisation of justice including an improved access to justice.
- Euromed Migration II: it will contribute to the development of a Euro-Mediterranean area of cooperation in the field of migrations and assist partner countries in their efforts to provide an effective, targeted and comprehensive solution to the various forms of migration.
Network of foreign policy institutes
The EuroMeSCo network of foreign policy institutes, supported by the Commission since 1996, has been a successful partnership building measure. It undertakes studies and research on political co-operation and security as they relate to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the European Neighbourhood Policy.
The network also deepens the political dialogue between Euro-Mediterranean institutes and relevant senior officials.
Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on civil protection was reaffirmed as a priority in November 2005 – the tenth anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration. In 2008, the Paris Summit launching the Union for the Mediterranean and the follow-up Summit of Marseille reiterated this commitment.
The aim of cooperation in this field is to develop stronger civil protection capacities at international, national and local level. This will help to better protect people, infrastructures, cultural heritage and the natural environment in the event of major disasters.
Why work together on a regional level? The main reason is that the Euro-Mediterranean basin is frequently exposed to similar natural and man-made disasters, such as earthquakes, flash floods, forest fires or industrial accidents. This opens up excellent possibilities for exchanging and learning from each other's experiences as well as strengthening regional support in case of need.
Running from 2009 until 2011, the new regional Programme for the Prevention, Preparedness and Response to natural and man-made Disasters (PPRD South) aims at further improving and building on the results achieved by the previous two Euro-Mediterranean programmes on civil protection by focusing on prevention rather than response. PPRD South is managed by a real Euro-Mediterranean consortium led by the Italian Civil Protection Authority, together with the Civil Protection Authorities of Algeria, Egypt and France as well as the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).