The Barcelona Process is the result of the political will to provide a framework for strengthened dialogue and comprehensive cooperation in the Mediterranean region.
The involved partners are currently the 27 Member States of the European Union and 10 Mediterranean partner countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria , Tunisia and Turkey.
Launched in 1995, the Barcelona Process stressed that "youth exchanges should be the means to prepare future generations for a closer cooperation between the Euro-Mediterranean partners. A Euro-Mediterranean youth exchange cooperation programme should therefore be established based on experience acquired in Europe and taking account of the partners' needs".
The Euro-Med Youth programme is one of the regional programmes set up in the third chapter of the Barcelona Process entitled « partnership in social, cultural and human affairs ».
This third chapter suggests a permanent dialogue between young people from the 37 Euro-Mediterranean partners. This will help to foster mutual understanding among the people of the region, to integrate young people into social and professional life, and to contribute to the process of democratisation of the civil society.
Since 1992, the dialogue between young people and youth exchanges all over the Mediterranean has been supported within the framework of the Community Programme "Youth for Europe", and since 1996 through the "European Voluntary Service" programme.
In June 1996, a conference held in Amman on "Youth Exchanges between the European Union and its Mediterranean partners", gathering officials and NGO representatives, elaborated further on the objectives of a new cooperation scheme under the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.
The second Euro-Mediterranean Conference held in Malta in April 1997 reiterated that a programme of activities for youth should be put forward shortly.
In September 1998, the first Euro-Med Youth programme was adopted by the European Commission and the Euro-Mediterranean (MED) Committee.
In November 2001, a second phase of the Euro-Med Youth programme was adopted by a decision of the European Commission and the MED Committee.
Euro-Med Youth III, featuring the decentralised management in the Mediterranean Partner countries, started in 2007 and will run until the end of 2008.
The Euro-Med Youth programme I was adopted by the European Commission and the Euro-Mediterranean Committee for the Barcelona process. This Programme represents a concrete initiative prompted by the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and provided for the extension of the YOUTH programme's activities to the Mediterranean partner countries. It involved three actions of the YOUTH programme: Youth Exchanges, Voluntary Service and Support Measures (Actions 1, 2 and 5). The budget provided 9.7 million euros (6 million from MEDA and 3.7 from YOUTH).
This first phase of the Euro-Med Youth programme was subject to an evaluation carried out by external experts. Goals to be achieved in the second phase of the Programme were inspired by this evaluation.
In order to implement the Euro-Med Youth programme, a system of National Coordinators was set up with the nomination of one Coordinator in each Mediterranean partner country.
Following the MED Committee's approval in September 2001, on the 22nd November 2001 (Decision n°2001/2347), the European Commission adopted, a second phase of the Euro-Med Youth programme.
Euro-Med Youth II provided a budget of 14 million euros for 2002-2004 (10 million from MEDA and 4 million from YOUTH), in other words an annual budget of 4.333 million Euros for the period 2002-2004. This represented a budget increase of 40% compared to Euro-Med Youth I.
The Programme beneficiaries were young people and other actors in the youth field in the 10 Mediterranean partner countries and in the 25 EU Member States.
The Commission defined some thematic priorities especially focused on the Mediterranean needs. Projects tackling the following subjects were welcomed:
As in the first phase of the Programme, Euro-Med Youth II focused on the three main actions of the YOUTH programme: Action 1 (Youth Exchanges), Action 2 (Voluntary Service) and Action 5 (Support Measures). Its major goals were:
The Euro-Med Youth programme II focused on the consolidation and reorientation of the following 5 main areas:
In December 2004, Euro-Med Youth II came to an end. Before launching phase III, the Commission decided to carry out a review of the centralised management mode of the programme to bring it in line with the principles of decentralised management in the context of the reform of external aid and cooperation. In order to support the decision-making process, the Commission's Cooperation Office EuropeAid (DG AIDCO) launched a feasibility study.
The selection of projects submitted by youth organisations based in the Mediterranean partner countries was therefore suspended until the new management mode would be in place.
Following the recommendations of the feasibility study, the Commission envisaged to decentralise the MEDA part of the programme. Such decentralisation entailed the transfer of the management of the Programme, that is, the selection, issuing of conventions and financial management of the projects presented by youth organisations from the Mediterranean partner countries - to new structures (called Euro-Med Youth Units, or EMYUs) which had to be identified by the authorities of the relevant countries.
The decentralisation process was divided into two phases: the first one focused on the creation and capacity building of the new structures. To this end, a Regional Capacity Building and Support Unit (RCBS) was created.
The specific work of the RCBS encompasses activities such as:
The second phase of the decentralisation process consisted in re-opening project selections to be managed in a decentralised way by the new structures. The process took place under the supervision of DG AIDCO, which is responsible for the implementation of the Commission's external aid.
Directorate General Education and Culture (EAC) continues to manage the part of Euro-Med youth projects taking place in Europe, which are introduced by European youth organisations to their respective National Agencies or by Europe-wide youth NGOs to the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. It also continues to manage the programme's support structures (SALTO YOUTH Euro-Med Resource Centre, Euro-Med Youth Platform).
By 31 December 2006, 9 out of 10 Mediterranean Partner Countries (except Egypt) signed the necessary bilateral Financing Agreement with DG AidCo in order to participate in the newly decentralized phase III of the Euro-Med Youth Programme, which will run until the end of 2008.
Under this Agreement, MEDA authorities were called, among others, to identify and set up a Euro Med Youth Unit (EMYU), which would be responsible for the implementation of the programme at national level. Euro-Med youth projects that are intended to take place in a Mediterranean partner country should therefore be presented by the relevant MEDA partner to their respective Euro-Med Youth Unit according to the criteria and deadlines set out in specific calls for proposals, which are published by each EMYU.
Further details on the objectives, actions and application criteria as well as the contact details of each EMYU can be found on the Euro-Med Youth website.
Similarly to the previous phases, the Euro-Med Youth III supports three types of actions: youth exchanges, voluntary service and support measures, and aims to achieve the following objectives:
For more information on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, please visit the EuropeAid Co-operation office web page.