Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA)

A joint programme focused on the development and application of solutions for food systems and water resources in the Mediterranean basin

The PRIMA initiative

In recent years, the agricultural sector in the Mediterranean has been suffering from severe water shortages and decreasing crop yields. Today, 180 million people in the Mediterranean basin are considered 'water poor'. The lack of clean water and nutritious food has adverse effects on the health and stability of the populations.

PRIMA visual with map

A new Partnership on Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) will develop much-needed solutions for a more sustainable management of water and agro-food systems. The main objective of the ten-year initiative (2018 – 2028), which is partly funded by EU's research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, is to devise new R&I approaches to improve water availability and sustainable agriculture production in a region heavily distressed by climate change, urbanisation and population growth.

The partnership currently consists of 16 participating countries: Algeria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey. As the initiative is evolving over time, more participants, from both EU and non-EU countries e.g. Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco are expected to join soon.

The partnership will be financed through a combination of funding from participating countries (currently €274 million), and a €220 million contribution from the EU through Horizon 2020, its research and innovation funding programme (2014 – 2020).

How the PRIMA initiative began

On 23 December 2014, following the adoption of the Competitiveness Council's conclusions of 5 December 2014, nine Member States of the European Union (EU) – Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain – submitted a proposal for the participation of the EU in a joint research and innovation programme focused on the development and application of innovative solutions for food systems and water resources in the Mediterranean basin. This would be through an Article 185 initiative under Horizon 2020.


The Impact Assessment process

In line with the indications provided in the Better Regulation Guidelines, and with the support of an external group of experts, the European Commission services have performed an Impact Assessment PDF icon of the PRIMA initiative before preparing a legislative proposal. The purpose of this process is to analyse the need for an EU action in this domain and the potential economic, social and environmental impacts of the alternative policy options.


The Stakeholder Consultation process

The European Commission's Better Regulation Guidelines have strengthened the commitment to carry out consultations that are of a high quality, transparent, and reach all stakeholders.

In the context of the PRIMA Impact Assessment, the stakeholder consultation process included the following two consultation activities:


Adoption of the PRIMA Decision

On 13 June 2017, the European Parliament adopted the PRIMA Decision and on 26 June 2017, the Council endorsed the initiative. The Decision entered into force on 7 August 2017. Once final technical and administrative preparations have been concluded, the initiative will be launched in early 2018.



A management body for PRIMA, the "PRIMA Foundation", has been set up in Barcelona.


International Agreements

The participation of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco in PRIMA is subject to the conclusion of specific international agreements with the EU. Please find below the state of play related to these international agreements.

  • Algeria became a PRIMA Participating State on 26 October 2017, following the signature of the relevant agreement which is provisionally applicable from signature
  • Egypt signed the relevant agreement on 27 October 2017 and will become a PRIMA Participating State once this agreement enters into force (ratified by both the EU and Egypt)
  • Jordan signed the relevant agreement on 10 November 2017 and became a PRIMA Participating State end of January 2018 (ratified by both the EU and Jordan)
  • Lebanon will become a PRIMA Participating State once the relevant agreement is signed by the EU and Lebanon, since this agreement will be provisionally applicable from signature (date for signature to be confirmed)
  • Morocco is currently negotiating the relevant agreement with the EU


PRIMA calls for proposal 2018

PRIMA-IS will launch calls for research and innovation proposals to mobilize the Euro-Mediterranean scientific communities, stakeholders and private entities and to support a wide range of research and innovation projects expected to produce a socio-economic impact in the near future.
For more details, please see the Prima calls