EU Neighbourhood Policy delivers environmental benefits


The EU is building stronger relations with neighbouring countries to the south and east, using European project funding to boost sustainable development and protect the environment for local communities. One example is the integrated programme for the protection of northern Tunisia's Lake Bizerte against pollution. It will give access to better sanitation for over 10 000 people in towns and 30 000 in rural areas.

In 2015, the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was revised to respond to new challenges and to create more flexibility to better reflect the diversity, needs and interests of partner countries. A recent EU report shows that this tailored approach is paying off. Joint ownership, a fundamental principle, has helped to re-energise relations with partners and ensure that citizens’ interests get high priority.

Fighting pollution and protecting the environment can contribute to more sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth.

Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice-President

Supporting sustainable economic development is at the heart of action to stabilise these areas. That also means addressing environmental challenges and ensuring that projects contribute to the long-term well-being of communities, protecting natural resources and biodiversity.



Cleaning up Lake Bizerte

The integrated programme for the protection of Lake Bizerte against pollution is a good example. This EUR 90 million scheme, launched in 2016 and set to run until 2023, will benefit an estimated 400 000 people in northern Tunisia, and prevent further damage to the Mediterranean Sea. Although the lake is close to the marine protected areas of Cap Blanc and Cap Serrat, and the Ichkeul Park natural reserve, its waters are affected by industrial pollution, urban waste water and solid waste. Local stakeholders, including more than 20 public and private companies as well as NGOs and communities, are involved in measures to improve water and air quality, build treatment plants, secure landfill sites, clean up the shoreline and extend a fishing harbour.

Investment comes jointly from the Tunisian government, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as the EU.

“This is a great example of how fighting pollution and protecting the environment can contribute to more sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth, providing new opportunities for young people in the region in sectors such as fishing, eco-tourism, agriculture, industry and aquaculture,” said EU High Representative Federica Mogherini.

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