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 The Euro - Mediterranean Partnership

 

 Overview

Latest news:
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Commission launches 5-year work programme to reinforce Euro-Mediterranean Partnership 12/04/05

Euro-Mediterranean Partnership/Barcelona Process

The Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, held in Barcelona on 27-28 November 1995, marked the starting point of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Barcelona Process), a wide framework of political, economic and social relations between the Member States of the European Union and Partners of the Southern Mediterranean.

The latest EU enlargement, on 1st May 2004, has brought two Mediterranean Partners (Cyprus and Malta) into the European Union, while adding a total of 10 to the number of Member States. The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership thus comprises 35 members, 25 EU Member States and 10 Mediterranean Partners (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey). Libya has observer status since 1999.

The Barcelona Process is a unique and ambitious initiative, which laid the foundations of a new regional relationship and which represents a turning point in Euro-Mediterranean relations. In the Barcelona Declaration, the Euro-Mediterranean partners established the three main objectives of the Partnership:

1. The definition of a common area of peace and stability through the reinforcement of political and security dialogue (Political and Security Chapter).

2. The construction of a zone of shared prosperity through an economic and financial partnership and the gradual establishment of a free-trade area (Economic and Financial Chapter).

3. The rapprochement between peoples through a social, cultural and human partnership aimed at encouraging understanding between cultures and exchanges between civil societies (Social, Cultural and Human Chapter).

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership comprises two complementary dimensions:

  • Bilateral dimension. The European Union carries out a number of activities bilaterally with each country. The most important are the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements that the Union negotiates with the Mediterranean Partners individually. They reflect the general principles governing the new Euro-Mediterranean relationship, although they each contain characteristics specific to the relations between the EU and each Mediterranean Partner.

  • Regional dimension. Regional dialogue represents one of the most innovative aspects of the Partnership, covering at the same time the political, economic and cultural fields (regional co-operation). Regional co-operation has a considerable strategic impact as it deals with problems that are common to many Mediterranean Partners while it emphasises the national complementarities.

The multilateral dimension supports and complements the bilateral actions and dialogue taking place under the Association Agreements.

The existing MEDA programme is the main financial instrument for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. From 1995 to 2003, MEDA committed € 5,458 million in co-operation programmes, projects and other supporting activities, the regional activities comprising around 15% of this budget. The other important source of funding is the European Investment Bank that has lent € 14 billion for developing activities in the Euro-Mediterranean Partners since 1974 (€ 3.7 billion in 2002-2003).


Since 2004 the Mediterranean Partners are also included in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).