Tag Archives: Mediterranean

Mediterranean partner countries

Mediterranean partner countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Mediterranean partner countries

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Mediterranean partner countries

Mediterranean partner countries

GENERAL FRAMEWORK

Framework for relations

  • Partnership for democracy and prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean
  • Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean
  • Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements
  • Pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation of origin

Barcelona Process: Euro-Mediterranean Partnership

  • Tenth anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership
  • The Valencia Ministerial Conference and its Action Plan
  • Reinvigorating the Barcelona process
  • Barcelona Declaration and Euro-Mediterranean partnership
  • EU Common Strategy for the Mediterranean

European Neighbourhood Policy

  • New neighbourhood policy strategy
  • Taking stock of the European Neighbourhood Policy
  • Neighbourhood policy: participation in European Union Agencies and programmes
  • Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper
  • Neighbourhood Policy: 2008 Report
  • Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007
  • European Neighbourhood Policy: recommendations for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia and for Egypt and Lebanon

FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

  • European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (2007 – 2013)
  • Euro-Mediterranean Regional Strategy and Indicative Programme 2007-2013
  • Inter-regional programme: Strategy paper 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010
  • Cross-border cooperation (CBC) 2007-2013
  • Common framework for joint multiannual programming
  • MEDA programme
  • Financial and technical cooperation with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

SECTORAL COOPERATION

  • Human rights and relations in the Mediterranean
  • Environment strategy for the Mediterranean
  • Euro-African Partnership for infrastructure
  • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety
  • European Training Foundation (ETF)
  • Combating HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries (2009-2013)
  • Action on HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries 2006 – 2009

Reinvigorating the Barcelona process

Reinvigorating the Barcelona process

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reinvigorating the Barcelona process

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Mediterranean partner countries

Reinvigorating the Barcelona process

To assess the current state of the Barcelona process and establish a new action framework in order to reinvigorate the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and European Parliament of 6 September 2000 to prepare the fourth meeting of Euro-Mediterranean foreign ministers « reinvigorating the Barcelona process » [COM(2000) 497 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

This communication forms one stage in the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, in accordance with the European Union’s common strategy on the Mediterranean adopted during the European Council meeting in Santa Maria da Feira in June 2000. It forms the foundation of the position adopted by the European Union (EU) during the meeting of Euro-Mediterranean foreign ministers in November 2000 in Marseilles.

The Commission aims to reinvigorate the relations between the European Union and the Mediterranean partners in order to achieve the goals set out in the Barcelona Declaration of 1995, namely to create an area of peace and stability based on respect for fundamental rights, to create an area of shared prosperity and to help improve mutual understanding among the peoples of the region.

The Barcelona process aims to promote the relations between the EU and the countries and territories of the Mediterranean Basin. Established in 1995, it is a regional framework bringing partners together at both technical and political level to promote and develop their common interests. This multilateral process is underpinned by a network of bilateral relations between each Mediterranean partner and the EU, embodied in Association Agreements.

Since the launch of this process, a new spirit of partnership has been built and, despite the ebb and flow of the Middle East peace process, numerous ambitious projects have been carried out to encourage cooperation. In total, the EU has mobilised nearly EUR 9 billion in grant and loan funding during the 1995-1999 period.

However, the ambitious goals of the Barcelona process have come up against several problems:

  • the difficulties encountered in the Middle East peace process have slowed the progress of the work and limited the development of cooperation;
  • the process of negotiation and ratification of the Association Agreements has been slower than expected;
  • the spirit of partnership has not always led to the expected results particularly in the area of human rights;
  • some partners have been reluctant to apply the specified economic transition policy;
  • the volume of South-South trade is still very low and the levels of investment in some countries remain below the forecasts (inadequate legal and technical adaptation, lack of transparency in trade);
  • the implementation of the MEDA programme has been hampered by procedural problems.

However, the Commission considers that the basic strategy agreed at Barcelona and the main instruments available are still valid. As a result, it intends to revitalise the Barcelona process in light of the experience gained in order to give it another chance of succeeding. Several proposals were made in this respect during the Ministerial Conference in Marseilles in November 2000.

As regards the Association Agreements, the countries of the Mediterranean Basin which have not already done this must be persuaded to rapidly conclude the negotiations. It must be guaranteed that any subsequent Association Agreement will be ratified by the Member States of the European Union within two years of signature.

In trade terms, for each country that has signed the Association Agreement, the reciprocal trade liberalisation measures that may be adopted must be examined closely and the greatest possible coherence in trade relations with the other partners must be sought. The Commission also encourages all the partners to join the World Trade Organisation and to create a free trade area between them. Any country signing an Association Agreement should undertake to conclude a free trade agreement with the other signatories of an Association Agreement within five years of its conclusion. A timetable should be established with the partners for the « single market » type harmonisation measures to be adopted in certain priority sectors (rules of origin, customs issues, standards and intellectual property). This programme should be ready for implementation from 2004.

Financially, the Commission proposes to make future financial contributions conditional on the efforts made by the partners in concluding the Association Agreements and on the necessary political and economic reforms. In addition, the granting of financial aid would depend on the progress made in democracy and human rights. Further efforts should be made to reinforce the effectiveness of the regional cooperation programmes.

In terms of political cooperation, a Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Peace and Stability should institutionalise the existing political dialogue and establish the mechanisms allowing the security and stability problems in the region to be tackled.

11. Finally, a new programme aimed at raising the awareness of both the Member States and the partner countries should be launched to improve understanding of the Barcelona process, particularly by introducing a new « Euro-Mediterranean partnership » label for the projects undertaken.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

The fourth Euro-Mediterranean Conference was held in Marseilles on 15 and 16 November 2000. It brought together the foreign ministers of the fifteen Member States and of Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. Libya and Syria refused to take part. Also present were Mr Solana, High Representative for the CFSP and Secretary-General of the Council, Mr Patten, Commissioner, and, as special guests, representatives from Libya, the Arab League, Mauritania and the Arab Maghreb Union.

The Conference resulted in « formal conclusions » of the French presidency.

The ministers noted with great interest the proposals for revitalising the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership put forward by the Commission in its Communication on « Reinvigorating the Barcelona process » and the contributions made by the Mediterranean partners.

On the political and security partnership, the ministers confirmed the special importance they attached to the draft Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Peace and Stability but they decided to defer its adoption owing to the political context. However, they reaffirmed the need to reinforce the political dialogue, to deepen this in the areas of terrorism and migration and to extend this to other areas such as security, disarmament, the rule of law and human rights.

On the economic and commercial partnership, while reaffirming the objective of creating a free trade area by 2010, the participants decided to step up the dialogue on the macroeconomic environment, structural reforms and the economic liberalisation of the partners. They also underlined the importance for those countries having signed an Association Agreement with the EU of concluding free trade agreements amongst themselves within five years and of developing the initiatives contributing to attaining that objective, including the introduction of diagonal cumulation between countries with identical rules of origin and committed to concluding a free trade agreement between themselves. The emphasis was placed on the value of establishing an indicative timetable for the adoption of harmonisation measures in certain priority sectors, enabling partner countries to benefit fully from the Euro-Mediterranean market.

As regards the social, cultural and human partnership, the ministers recommended taking greater account of the social effects of the economic transition in national programmes by placing the emphasis on training, employment, professional requalification and the reform of education systems. They advocated building up existing programmes in the cultural area, such as Euromed Heritage and Euromed-Audiovisual, and also launching Euromed-Human Sciences. In addition, they recommended intensifying dialogue on migration and human exchanges. The preparation of a regional programme in the field of justice and home affairs was also recommended. Finally, the ministers encouraged players from civil society to take a full part in the regional programmes.

On financial cooperation, the participants advocated efficient financial cooperation targeted towards the major challenges of the partnership through the MEDA programme. This instrument must be closely linked to the implementation of reforms initiated under the Association Agreements and must take account of the special characteristics of each partner.

In addition, the ministers recommended strengthening the subregional dimension of the partnership by encouraging the introduction of development and economic integration initiatives between the countries and territories of the south side of the Mediterranean.

Finally, the ministers decided to establish a communication and information programme and a Euro-Mediterranean label intended to increase public awareness in the partnership region.

The Valencia Ministerial Conference and its Action Plan

The Valencia Ministerial Conference and its Action Plan

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Valencia Ministerial Conference and its Action Plan

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Mediterranean partner countries

The Valencia Ministerial Conference and its Action Plan

To extend and strengthen the decisions of the Marseilles Ministerial Conference and to present initiatives in order to pursue and develop the Euro-Mediterranean partnership in all its aspects.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and European Parliament of 13 February 2002 to prepare the meeting of Euro-Mediterranean foreign ministers in Valencia on 22 and 23 April 2002 [SEC(2002) 159 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

In this communication, the Commission starts by summarising the progress made in the context of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. This progress consists in particular of developing the grid of Association Agreements with the Mediterranean partners, making progress towards the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area, refocusing the MEDA programme on strategic objectives, furthering MEDA regional cooperation and maintaining the political dialogue.

The communication contains a series of recommendations covering the areas of political and security cooperation, freedom, justice and governance, social, cultural and human dimensions, civil society, economic and financial partnership and a reform of the institutional device for managing the partnership.

In terms of the political and security partnership, the Commission proposes to reinforce the political dialogue by holding meetings at political director level. It is also favourable to intensifying the fight against terrorism, through the available international instruments, and to defining a joint approach and a Euro-Mediterranean information and cooperation network. Human rights and democracy within the Mediterranean partner countries should also be promoted, particularly by raising these questions during all contacts between these countries and the European Union and by linking MEDA programme allocations more closely to progress in these fields.

In the area of justice and home affairs, the Commission proposes that the partners should agree a general framework leading to a Euro-Mediterranean regional programme on freedom, justice and governance which would cover, in particular, dialogue on legal matters and the fight against organised crime, illegal migration, trafficking in human beings, the management of legal migration and the treatment of migrant communities.

In the area of the social, cultural and human partnership, and in order to reinforce the dialogue between cultures and civilisations, the Commission particularly proposes creating a Euro-Mediterranean Foundation financed by the Member States, the Commission and the Mediterranean partners. In the field of education, the Commission suggests extending the Tempus programme and NETDAYS and eSchola initiatives to the Mediterranean partner countries. The Commission also proposes new initiatives aimed at developing vocational training and enhancing women’s opportunities in economic life (access and participation in the labour market and promotion of their role in business).

As regards the economic and financial partnership, the Commission recommends the continued integration of South-South trade by encouraging free trade between the Mediterranean partners (particularly in the context of the Agadir process encompassing Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan) and extending the pan-European system of rules of origin (encompassing the countries of the European Union, the European Free Trade Association and the applicant countries) to the Mediterranean partners. In addition, the Commission recommends defining the priorities for negotiations with the Mediterranean partners to liberalise trade in services.

In addition, the Commission proposes improving reciprocal access to the agricultural markets, developing and interconnecting the transport and energy infrastructures, harmonising policies and regulations with a view to a Euro-Mediterranean internal market and ensuring sustainable development with a high level of environmental protection.

With regard to financial instruments, and in addition to the MEDA programme, the Commission envisages creating a new financial facility or a Euro-Mediterranean bank intended to promote the development of the private sector in the Mediterranean partner countries.

The Commission also suggests promoting the place of civil society within the partnership.

As regards the institutional aspects of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, the Commission recommends a rapid ratification by the Member States of the Association Agreements with the aim of completing ratification within two years. It also proposes enhancing the role of the Euro-Mediterranean Committee on acquis-related business and reinforcing the dialogue on economic policy at both bilateral and regional levels.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

The Fifth Euro-Mediterranean Conference was held on 22 and 23 April 2003 in Valencia. It brought together the foreign ministers of the fifteen Member States of the European Union and of Algeria, the Palestinian Authority, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. Libya and Syria refused to take part. Also present were Mr Solana, High Representative for the CFSP and Secretary-General of the Council, Commissioner Patten, and also, as special guests, representatives from Libya, the Arab League, Mauritania and the Arab Maghreb Union.

The ministers unanimously adopted an Action Plan now referred to as the Valencia Action Plan covering the three political, economic and socio-cultural chapters of the Barcelona process. This plan includes a number of initiatives largely based on the Commission Communication of 13 February 2002.

With regard to the political and security chapter, the action plan aims to reinforce political dialogue and make this more effective by including, for the first time, security and defence issues. In addition, it confirms the mandate of the senior officials on the draft Charter for Peace and Stability allowing them to continue studying this project as soon as the political conditions will allow this. The action plan also recognises the importance of a multilateral approach in the fight against terrorism and proposes a gradual reinforcement of the political aspect by introducing a common strategic language and by developing preventive diplomacy mechanisms.

As regards the economic and financial chapter, the action plan, while recalling the objective of creating a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area by 2010, supports the Agadir process creating a free area between Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan. It also welcomes the implementation of the conclusions of the trade ministers’ meeting in Toledo by supporting the creation of a Working Group on Trade Measures relevant for Regional Integration and the participation of the Mediterranean partners in the pan-European system of rules of origin. The action plan also emphasizes the development of free trade in services, the trans-Euro-Mediterranean interconnections and infrastructures (with regard to transport, energy and telecommunications networks) and the prospects of a Euro-Mediterranean internal market underpinned by a harmonisation of policies and regulations. It also stresses the need for a sustainable strategic development framework for the partnership.

As regards financial cooperation, the action plan highlights the improved management of the MEDA programme and welcomes the introduction of a reinforced investment facility within the European Investment Bank (EIB) to promote infrastructure and private sector investment. The plan also notes the fact that, one year after the launch of this facility, the possibility of creating a Euro-Mediterranean bank (majority-owned subsidiary of the EIB), as desired by the Mediterranean partners, will be considered in light of the assessment of this experience.

On the social, cultural and human chapter, the action plan approves the regional work programme on justice and home affairs and the launch of a ministerial conference on migration and social integration of emigrants. It also underlines the particular importance of promoting dialogue between cultures, particularly through the decision in principle to create a Euro-Mediterranean Foundation to promote a dialogue of cultures and the adoption of an action programme in this respect. The action plan also aims to promote employment and training, the role of women in economic life and the more effective participation of civil society in the partnership. The Tempus higher education programme has therefore been extended to the southern Mediterranean partners.

Finally, on the institutional aspect of the partnership, the action plan recommends strengthening the parliamentary dimension of the partnership by creating a Euro-Mediterranean parliamentary assembly. It also recommends examining the possibilities of restructuring the Euromed Committee in order to ensure a greater involvement of partners in the elaboration, monitoring and evaluation of agreed programmes, actions and projects.

Towards a comprehensive European migration policy

Towards a comprehensive European migration policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards a comprehensive European migration policy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Towards a comprehensive European migration policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – The global approach to migration one year on: towards a comprehensive European migration policy [COM(2006) 735 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

2006 was a year of agenda-setting with Africa. A ministerial conference on migration and development was held in Rabat last July, bringing together some 60 countries along West and Central African migration routes. A conference was also held in Libya in November to formulate for the first time a joint approach to migration between the EU and the whole of Africa.

In addition to these conferences, the issue of migration is also being addressed as part of:

  • European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)
  • the Euromed Forum;
  • the high-level meetings with the African Union and the regional organisations.

At the end of 2006, FRONTEX launched and coordinated several joint maritime operations in the Atlantic and Mediterranean regions, completed risk analyses on Africa and presented feasibility studies on establishing a Mediterranean coastal patrols network and a surveillance system covering the whole southern maritime border of the EU and the Mediterranean Sea. Regional networks of immigration liaison officers (ILOs) are being set up along key migration routes through Africa. The Commission has issued a proposal for the establishment of rapid border intervention teams and has carried out an analysis of international maritime law.

Reinforcing coherence: a comprehensive European migration policy

With regard to intensifying dialogue and cooperation with the African countries of origin and transit, the Commission states that on the basis of the work carried out on migratory routes, the EU will foster more specific cooperation with various regions in Africa. Cooperation platforms will bring together African countries, EU Member States and international organisations in an effort to manage migration more effectively in the interests of all. This common framework could then lead to the formulation of regional agreements with interested African countries.

In addition, in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and EUROMED, a ministerial conference on migration will be convened in the second half of 2007.

The Commission states that “Article 13 missions”, in which key African countries such as Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria will take part, will be set up in 2007. These missions, three of which took place in 2006, are undertaken by the Commission on the basis of Article 13 of the Cotonou Agreement with the participation of the Presidency embassies in the countries concerned and interested Member States. A joint EU-ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) working group on migration is also to meet for the first time in 2007.

With regard to the migration and development agenda, the Commission will reserve an amount of 40 million for the first phase of this initiative (9th EDF resources), to be complemented by Member States’ contributions. The geographical scope of the initiative, aimed at seriously addressing the lack of decent jobs in Africa, will be sub-Saharan Africa, but actions may focus on specific countries or regions and – in its first phase – notably on West Africa. Member States will be invited to join the Commission in the programming of these actions.

The EU must continue to help the African states to reinforce their capacity to manage migration and asylum. Important initiatives are being taken in ENP countries, in particular with regard to border management and institutional support in order to improve the reception of migrants as well as the protection of their rights. Furthermore, the Commission has proposed creating migration profiles for each interested country. These profiles should be established for all relevant partner countries in the medium term. The Commission has also suggested establishing migration support teams (MISTs) composed of experts from EU Member States which could provide the necessary assistance to African states who so request.

The Commission intends to:

  • support initiatives stimulating the establishment of a pan-African network of migration ‘observatories’ and/or migration research institutes;
  • propose the implementation of twinning measures using EC funding to assist African countries in developing their migration and asylum policies;
  • suggest designating a contact person for migration issues in each of its delegations (and in Member State missions) in African countries.

As regards legal immigration, the Commission suggests:

  • setting up specific migration centres in partner countries, supported by EC funding, in order to facilitate management of seasonal workers, exchanges of students and researchers and other forms of legal movement of people;
  • supporting activities such as reinforcing the third-country administrative services responsible for managing labour migration, reinforcing the capacity of the national employment services in third countries and developing intermediation establishments as well as the implementation of pre-immigration plans in countries of origin;
  • once certain conditions have been met, such as cooperation on illegal migration and the establishment of agreements for readmission, setting up mobility packages which would enable their citizens to have better access to the EU.

The Commission also suggests similar initiatives to address potential skills shortages and brain drain in certain sectors, as well as measures to prevent the adverse effects on the countries of origin of excessive emigration of skilled workers.

With regard to integration and intercultural dialogue, the Commission will establish instruments enabling more involvement by the interested parties, including the migrants themselves, thereby encouraging an effective integration strategy. This will require in particular:

  • establishing an integration platform where relevant partners can exchange views on a regular basis;
  • consolidating the role played by local authorities building on the success of the Rotterdam conference of 9-10 October;
  • creating an integration website and new editions of the integration handbook and the annual report on migration and integration.

In 2007 the high-level advisory group on the social integration of ethnic minorities is to present practical recommendations for further developing the existing polices. The Commission also recommends adopting other measures to ensure that migrants receive civic education based on fundamental European values and learn the language of their host country. In addition, the EU must continue to support projects in the field of intercultural education, education of immigrants and inclusion of disadvantaged youth via relevant programmes.

With regard to the fight against illegal migration and trafficking in human beings:

  • new legislation on penalties against employers of undeclared labour will be proposed in spring 2007;
  • EUROPOL will help to fight illegal immigration and people trafficking;
  • FRONTEX, within the framework of European external relations policy, should establish technical working arrangements for joint operations with relevant third countries;
  • ILO networks will be reinforced, with the aim of having at least one liaison officer in each key African country of origin and transit;

Member States must be supported in designing and implementing voluntary return programmes and enforced return plans, including joint flights for removal; in this context, the Commission considers that it is equally important that the proposed Directive establishing common standards for Member States’ return procedures is adopted as soon as possible;

Negotiations on a re-admission agreement between the European Community and third countries should continue.

With regard to asylum and the protection of refugees, the Commission suggests implementing regional protection programmes, as well as activities in other areas giving support to asylum-seekers and persons in need of international protection, such as Mauritania and southern Africa. Funds will also be made available to finance a UNHCR-run project for protection activities in all the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Financial support for the comprehensive European migration policy

The Commission confirms its intention of intensifying its financial assistance in areas concerning or related to migration in respect of its relations with third countries, including by an allocation of up to 3% of the European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument (ENPI).

Access to these 10th EDF incentive resources will depend on the outcome of a dialogue between the Commission and the partner country on the past performance and future commitments in the area of governance, including on migration.

The new thematic programme on migration and asylum has been elaborated on the basis of experience gained with the Aeneas programme and builds on lessons learned.

With regard to solidarity between Member States, the bulk of the 4.02 billion package allocated by the budgetary authority for the period 2007-2013 to the framework programme “Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows” will go directly to the Member States under shared management arrangements.

The Commission recommends that Member States take a committed strategic long-term approach to the use of these resources. While the main purpose of the framework programme is to reinforce the implementation of the internal dimension of the Community policies, many of the actions are likely to favour the achievement of the objectives set out in this Communication.

The Commission is also committed to exploring all possibilities of creating a leverage effect through these Funds by making financial agreements with other stakeholders, such as the European Investment Bank.

Background

In December 2005, the European Council adopted a global approach to migration. This global approach, which focuses on action priorities in Africa and the Mediterranean, formulates coherent migration policies and action, addressing a wide range of migration issues and bringing together the various relevant policy areas: external relations, development, employment, and justice, freedom and security.

This Communication has two aims: firstly, it responds to the European Council’s invitation to the Commission to report back on progress made in implementing the first phase of the global approach and the priority actions focusing on Africa and the Mediterranean by the end of 2006. Secondly, it proposes ways to make the European Union’s approach truly comprehensive.

While this Communication focuses on Africa and the Mediterranean region, the Commission believes that consideration should be given to applying the approach to other regions, in particular those on the eastern and south-eastern external borders of the EU.

 

Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper

Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Mediterranean partner countries

Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 12 May 2004, entitled “European Neighbourhood Policy – Strategy paper” [COM(2004) 373 – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

This is the follow-up to two previous communications in 2003 on “A New Framework for Relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours” and on a “New Neighbourhood Instrument”. Its aim is to map out the next steps in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).

Principles and scope

According to the Commission, the ENP should have a comprehensive, coherent and effective approach. By giving new impetus to cooperation with the new neighbours, it will strengthen stability, security and well-being in the region.

Regarding its geographical coverage, the Commission recommends the inclusion of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia within the scope of ENP. It also proposes, as in the March 2003 communication on a wider Europe, some conditions to be met for fuller integration of Belarus in the ENP. In the present circumstances, the EU’s commitments to Belarus will focus on democratic development and support for civil society. The Commission also recommends looking into how Libya could be incorporated into the ENP, but states that integration into the Barcelona process is the first step.

Joint ownership of the process, differentiation between partners and better use of existing instruments are other key points for the Commission. In its opinion, the ENP brings added value through its enhanced and more focused policy approach, the opportunity it creates to attain a significant degree of integration, the encouragement it offers to instigate reform, the incentive to resolve bilateral problems, its clearly defined priorities, its increase in funding and its assistance to partners.

Action plans

The priorities in the bilateral action plans concluded with each partner will fall into two broad areas: firstly, shared values and foreign and security policy, secondly actions which will bring partner countries closer in a number of priority fields, e.g. economic and social development, trade and the internal market, justice and home affairs, and connections and contacts. The bodies set up under the various agreements will be responsible for monitoring and the Commission will draw up periodic reports to review and adapt the action plans.

Fundamental human rights and freedoms lie behind this policy which is intended to promote a commitment to shared values. Political dialogue will be strengthened through the ENP in the sectors identified in the action plans, with effective multilateralism as the constant goal.

The policy also envisages enhanced preferential trade relations and increased financial and technical assistance, offering the prospect of a stake in the EU internal market. Dialogue and cooperation on the social dimension also need to be enhanced. Issues related to the movement of workers will also continue to be addressed within the framework of the various agreements.

Trade and the internal market are another chapter of major significance. Legislative and regulatory approximation must be pursued and the ENP will provide ways and means to deepen trade liberalisation and regional integration. Regarding trade in goods, administrative cooperation needs to be improved with a view to the gradual elimination of non-tariff barriers. For agricultural products, convergence on sanitary and phytosanitary controls is essential. Lastly, legislative approximation is required in the area of free trade in services. Likewise, the investment climate must be improved, independent competition authorities set up and the tax system modernised and made more transparent.

The functioning of public institutions needs to be improved in order to deal with challenges in the field of justice and home affairs, such as migration pressure, trafficking in human beings and terrorism.

Another key aspect of the ENP is “connecting the neighbourhood”. The Commission recommends improving and strengthening energy and transport network connections. The environment, information society and research and innovation are other sectors requiring action for their improvement. The connections do not just need to be physical, but between persons too. Cultural, educational and social links should also be encouraged.

Regional cooperation

The ENP will be differentiated in its application. To the East, the priorities are:

  • reinforced cooperation on the economy, business, employment and social policy, trade and infrastructure;
  • environment, nuclear safety and natural resources;
  • justice and home affairs;
  • people-to-people issues.

In the Mediterranean region, regional and sub-regional cooperation must build on the ‘acquis‘ of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. At regional level, the strategic priorities are:

  • South-South integration;
  • sub-regional cooperation;
  • harmonisation of the regulatory and legislative environment.

The priorities for cooperation in this region are:

  • infrastructure interconnections;
  • environment;
  • justice and home affairs;
  • trade, regulatory convergence and socio-economic development.

Supporting the ENP

Substantial financial support is already channelled through the instruments of the ENP, amounting to a total of roughly EUR 3 700 million between 2000 and 2003. Over the same period, the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) allocated approximately EUR 60 million, while the European Investment Bank provided loans to the Mediterranean countries totalling about EUR 3 400 million. Lastly, macrofinancial assistance and humanitarian aid were provided to third countries facing exceptional needs.

The Commission has proposed to introduce a new set of harmonised instruments for assistance to third countries, including those presently covered by Tacis and MEDA. A recent communication recently also envisaged the possibility of a new neighbourhood instrument. In view of the number of legal and budgetary questions to be resolved, a two-phase approach will be used and the new instrument will not be introduced until 2006. Starting from 2007, it will support cross-border cooperation as well as regional cooperation projects involving all the partner countries. EIB lending capacity will also be reinforced.

Of the three alternatives presented in the July 2003 communication, the strategy paper concludes that the one that best responds to needs is the option of creating a single new regulation to govern a Neighbourhood Instrument to fund activities both inside and outside the Union. In addition, the Commission proposes to use a single budget chapter, drawing on the cohesion and external policies headings for the full amount of the instrument.

In the Commission’s view, Article 181a TEC would be the appropriate legal basis. As this article concerns cooperation with third countries, it should allow funding of joint actions. The instrument will build on the principles of existing cross-border programmes such as partnership, multi-annual programming and co-financing. It will cover all borders, support trans-national cooperation involving beneficiaries in at least one Member State and one partner country and replace existing internal and external cross-border programmes.

The new instrument will operate through two separate funding windows. Window One will support cross-border cooperation, with programmes that are primarily bilateral. Window Two will provide more flexible support for wider trans-national cooperation with cooperation mostly focussed on specific themes, e.g. the environment, integration into energy, telecommunication and transport networks, public health and the prevention of and fight against organised crime.

A substantial increase will take place in the budget and provisions will be inserted to allow for reallocation of funds among programmes and projects. This will ensure that obstacles to absorption of funds are eliminated and good performance rewarded.

For more information about the EU neighbourhood policy, please go to the dedicated ENP site.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 11 March 2003, entitled “Wider Europe – Neighbourhood: A new Framework for relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours” [COM(2003) 104 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Communication of 1 July 2003, entitled “Paving the Way for a New Neighbourhood Instrument” [COM(2003) 393 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

 

Inter-regional programme: Strategy paper 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

Inter-regional programme: Strategy paper 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Inter-regional programme: Strategy paper 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Mediterranean partner countries

Inter-regional programme: Strategy paper 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

Document or Iniciative

European neighbourhood and partnership instrument – Inter-regional programme – Strategy paper 2007-2013, indicative programme 2007-2010 .

Summary

The inter-regional programme (IRP) supports the achievement of the objectives of the European neighbourhood policy (ENP) and the strategic partnership with Russia. It focuses on dialogue and cooperation between the countries benefiting from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), and also between the latter and the European Union (EU).

Being part of the ENPI, the IRP provides financial support to activities whose inter-regional implementation has an added value in terms of visibility, coherence, efficiency and flexibility. It also promotes a more important role for governments, universities, towns and regions in order to ensure effective implementation and to boost the impact of initiatives and actions undertaken.

Programmes

The strategy paper 2007-2013 and the indicative programme 2007-2010 identify the priority action areas of the IRP. They distinguish five priority areas for the period 2007-2010.

The promotion of reforms through EU advice and experience aims at supporting the reform process in ENPI beneficiary countries. On the basis of experience acquired during the transition process of the ten new Member States, this priority is based mainly on the following:

  • the technical assistance and information exchange programme (TAIEX), which provides targeted advice and know-how, notably as regards convergence of legislation forming the Community acquis.
  • support for the improvement of public institutions and management systems (SIGMA) launched by the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Europe. Its objective is to facilitate economic integration and political cooperation with the EU.

Promotion of higher education and student mobility, is an area that is essential for the development of partner countries, mutual understanding between peoples and interpersonal contact. The Tempus programme constitutes a framework for reform of higher education and the promotion of cooperation between establishments. A scholarship scheme will be established in order to promote student and teacher mobility. The latter will be based on experience gained from the Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window programmes. A more important role will be assigned to partner countries as regards programme management.

Promotion of cooperation between local actors in partner countries and the EU is a fundamental objective of the ENP based on the exchange of experience and know-how. However, given the lack of structures, a cooperation programme will be set up first of all between local and regional authorities in order to strengthen democratic governance and sustainable regional and local development.

Promotion of the implementation of ENP and the Strategic Partnership with Russia concerns primarily their thematic policy areas, such as energy, environment and infrastructures. This programme supports information and dialogue activities in particular at inter-regional level in order to strengthen mutual understanding amongst opinion formers and citizens in partner countries.

The objective of promoting investment projects in ENP partner countries is to mobilise additional investments in order to support an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness involving the EU and its neighbours. These additional funds will make it possible to improve the infrastructures connecting the EU with neighbouring countries in the areas of transport and energy, to meet the common environmental challenges and to support socio-economic development in partner countries.

Arrangements

Funding for IRP for the period 2007-2010 amounts to 523.9 million, of which 40 million has been allocated to the first priority action area, 218.6 million to the second, 14.3 million to the third and 250 million to the fifth. The envelope for the fourth objective depends on the progress of the ENP and the partnership with Russia.

The indicative programme 2007-2010 gives an idea of the expected results for each priority, such as:

  • the improvement in the legal and regulatory frameworks and their implementation;
  • reform and modernisation of higher education in partner countries and better mutual understanding;
  • a transparent selection process and greater visibility for mobility and scholarship schemes;
  • strengthening of governance by local and regional authorities in partner countries and strengthening of links between them;
  • effective action and information and dialogue activities at inter-regional level in order to create awareness of ENP action.

In order to measure their impact, partners define performance indicators at the time the programmes are being drawn up (number of partnerships, visibility, progress identified in the reports, national and thematic spread of actions, relevance of activities, etc.).

Environment strategy for the Mediterranean

Environment strategy for the Mediterranean

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Environment strategy for the Mediterranean

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Mediterranean partner countries

Environment strategy for the Mediterranean

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 5 September 2006 entitled: “Establishing an environment strategy for the Mediterranean” [COM(2006) 475 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

The Mediterranean is the largest European sea and is bordered onto by seven Member States of the European Union (EU), two accession countries and more than a dozen third countries.

This grouping around the Mediterranean creates clear interdependence between the countries bordering it. Pollution has a direct impact on neighbouring countries, and natural resources (water, air, soils and biodiversity) are connected in complex ecosystems whose use and conservation are matters affecting every one of the Mediterranean countries.

The Mediterranean environment is fragile and continues to deteriorate in spite of all the efforts made. For several of the countries bordering the Mediterranean, this deterioration costs billions of euros a year. The initiatives and strategies which have been developed over the last thirty years are not being properly implemented, or are not being implemented at all. This situation is due not only to the limited funding available but also the low political priority given to the environment, the lack of inclusive environmental governance, and the limited public awareness of the issues at stake.

Environmental action in the Mediterranean therefore needs to be strengthened by means of a coordinated strategy between the EU and the various countries concerned. This strategy focuses mainly on the Mediterranean countries which are covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria and Tunisia). For their part, EU Member States and the accession countries must apply EU environment legislation.

Objectives of a regional strategy

The regional cooperation strategy for the environment proposed by the Commission is aimed in particular at:

  • helping partner countries to create appropriate institutions, develop an effective policy and establish a legal framework that enables environmental concerns to be integrated into other sectors of activity;
  • reducing levels of pollution and the impact of uncontrolled activity;
  • preparing local administrations to react to emergencies as well as to one-off and long-term issues;
  • making more sustainable use of land and sea areas;
  • increasing information, awareness and the participation of the public;
  • encouraging regional cooperation amongst partner countries.

Means of action

To achieve these objectives, the countries concerned will be able to secure financial aid from, inter alia, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and the thematic programme Environment and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources including Water, loans from the International Financial Institutions (IFI), contributions from donors, and national resources. The limited scope of the financial resources available means that these funds will be targeted at sites which give most cause for concern and the use of these resources will be coordinated.

Furthermore, political dialogue will be strengthened within the framework of the official structures of meetings for cooperation between the EU and third countries (Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, European Neighbourhood Policy) or at international level (New Partnership for African Development, African Union). The Commission also plans to support the creation of networks of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and contacts between NGOs, and will make sure that all appropriate partners are associated with the development and implementation of the environment policy.

The Commission will also pursue its cooperation with various partners, such as the organisations linked to the 1976 Barcelona Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean environment, with in particular the implementation of the joint Mediterranean Action Plan/European Commission Work Programme signed in 2005. The memoranda of understanding with certain international financial institutions (World Bank, European Investment Bank) will be fully exploited and contacts will be strengthened with other funding providers (Global Environment Facility and Strategic Investment Fund). These links will moreover be boosted by setting up a “Horizon 2020” steering group.

The EU has wide experience in combating pollution and addressing sustainable development, in particular from the LIFE and SMAP programmes and the research framework programmes. This experience will be shared with partner countries, in particular through instruments such as the Tourism Sustainability Group set up by the Commission and TAIEX (Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office), which is now open to countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Horizon 2020 and beyond

In November 2005, at the summit held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the leaders present agreed to increase efforts to reduce pollution of the Mediterranean Sea. As a result, the Commission launched “Horizon 2020” which is intended to reduce pollution substantially by 2020. This initiative will be based on existing environmental instruments and will help to fulfil the commitments entered into under the Barcelona Convention. It is accompanied by a proposed timetable for the measures planned.

Horizon 2020 consists of four parts:

  • projects to reduce pollution which chiefly cover the sectors regarded as priorities, namely municipal waste, urban waste water and industrial emissions;
  • capacity-building measures, in particular the development of legislation and institutions, and support for local authorities and civil society;
  • research, in particular in the fields of health, food, agriculture, energy, climate change, soil and transport. Major importance will be attached to disseminating the relevant knowledge acquired by means of the LIFE programmes, the research framework programmes, the actions of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and other international activities;
  • monitoring and management of the initiative, in particular by developing a scoreboard to measures the progress made and setting up a consultative steering committee responsible for ensuring the implementation of the initiative.

Complementary activities will also need to be developed to meet the objectives not covered by Horizon 2020, including, among other things, full implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy action plans, further integration of environmental concerns into the relevant economic sectors, combating global threats such as climate change and biodiversity loss, addressing regional risks (coastal zone management, drought, flooding, etc.), the use of impact and environmental assessments, and the production of indicators.

Related Acts

Commission Green Paper of 7 June 2006: “Towards a future marine policy for the Union: a European vision for the oceans and seas” [COM(2006) 275 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 24 October 2005 “Thematic strategy on the protection and conservation of the marine environment” [COM(2005) 504 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Council Decision 77/585/EEC

 of 25 July 1977 concluding the Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution and the Protocol for the prevention of the pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by dumping from ships and aircraft [Official Journal L 240 of 19.9.1977].