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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.