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Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation

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1) OBJECTIVE

To define the broad lines of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in the field of transport and energy for the period 2000-2006 in order to inject new momentum into the transport sector and to boost the existing momentum in the energy sector.

The Euro-Mediterranean energy forum, which will be held in September 2007, will provide the occasion to highlight progress made in different areas of cooperation in terms of energy and to define the future guidelines as well as the priorities for 2007-2010.

2) COMMUNITY MEASURE

Communication from the Commission to the Council and to the European Parliament of 7 March 2001, "Enhancing Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on transport and energy."

3) CONTENTS

Context
Relations between the European Union and Mediterranean countries are governed by "The Euro-Mediterranean partnership" set up in Barcelona in 1995 ("The Barcelona Process"). The partnership is made up of 12 partner countries around the Mediterranean: Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria (Mashrek), Tunisia (Maghreb) and Turkey (Libya has observer status). It covers a large range of policies.

This Communication is fully in line with several recent Community initiatives aiming to consolidate the Euro-Mediterranean partnership (one of the Commission's priorities for 2002), particularly the September 2000 Communication "Reinvigorating the Barcelona Process." It also draws on more general Commission initiatives such as the Green Paper on the security of energy supply and the draft White Paper on the common transport policy.

The energy and transport policies are a key element of the partnership for both the EU Member States and the Mediterranean partners because of the planned creation of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area by 2010 (main objective of the Barcelona Declaration) and prognoses that there will be a significant population increase in the 12 Mediterranean partner countries and the pressure that this will create in the two sectors concerned.

Transport dimension

The most important modes of transport in this region are air and sea transport. Restructuring of the sector is essential in order to attract investments to the region and also for the efficient running of the Euro-Mediterranean free trade area being developed. Although there is momentum in this field with the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum, the results obtained to date fall far short of the Barcelona mandate. Some of the key points of this mandate are: infrastructure; organisation of transport operations and freedom to provide international transport services; safety and environmental protection.

The Commission has identified four priority fields: administrative reform, the definition and promotion of a multimodal trans-Mediterranean transport network sea and air transport and the global navigation satellite system (Galileo).

Administrative Reform
The current institutional and regulatory framework in the sector creates many bottlenecks in the transport system (State influence, insufficient competition, etc.). Thus the Commission identifies three main points for reform:

  • adaptation of the institutional, legislative and regulatory frameworks;
  • harmonisation of standards (social, technical, environmental, safety, etc.);
  • improvement of the interface between transport services and the customs and immigration authorities, banking and insurance sectors.

Definition and promotion of a multimodal trans-Mediterranean transport network
The characteristics of such a network are:

  • the development of a multimodal air-sea transport plan followed in a second phase by overland links (in particular links between ports and their hinterland);
  • interconnection with the Trans-European Networks (TENs);
  • a South-South dimension.

An in-depth study will be carried out on infrastructure funding. A public-private partnership is envisaged using MEDA funds (financial instrument of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership) for feasibility studies and preparatory work. In the context of sustainable development, the development of infrastructures must take account of environmental impact.

Sea and air transport
The priority areas for these two transport modes are: safety, short-sea shipping and harmonisation of air transport policies on a Euro-Mediterranean level.

The Communication sets out to initiate a debate on improving the safety of shipping, in particular the transport of dangerous substances and passenger transport. Recent disasters at sea (Erika, Ievoli Sun) have highlighted the importance of maritime safety, particularly with regard to the transport of oil and chemical substances. Such accidents have particularly serious consequences for an enclosed sea such as the Mediterranean.

Air transport safety must also be improved. Close cooperation with the EU and the candidate countries could be considered in order to provide general assistance, particularly technical, to support the Mediterranean countries.

Short sea shipping takes on a strategic importance in the Mediterranean given the distances involved and the lack of practical overland routes. Therefore this mode of transport should be made more attractive by tackling the technical, administrative and regulatory aspects of to short sea shipping, particularly in ports.

Harmonisation of transport policies is of crucial importance given the stakes for tourism in the region. The opening up of this sector must be considered and discussions could be initiated to this end between the European Union and the Mediterranean partners.

Global navigation satellite system (Galileo)
The extension of this system to the Mediterranean is an important tool with regard to creating a trans-Mediterranean transport network and coherent transport systems at regional and global levels. It is also essential to include the Mediterranean partners in Galileo, the European Union programme aiming to develop a European satellite navigation system with global coverage.

The energy dimension

Energy is an important sector for collaboration for two main reasons linked to security of the EU's energy supply:

  • geographical importance of the partner countries
    The Mediterranean countries' geographical proximity to the EU, an energy importer, and to countries exporting to the EU e.g. from the Gulf and Caucasus;
  • significant oil and gas reserves in some partner countries which offer an important security of energy supply for the EU, which greatly depends on external energy sources.

Given the expected large increase in the Mediterranean population, these countries must mobilise additional financial resources.

Euro-Mediterranean cooperation is currently slightly more advanced in the field of energy than in transport. A cooperation framework was set up - the Euro-Mediterranean Energy Forum and an Action Plan for the period 1998-2002 has been implemented.

The Granada Forum 2000 (third forum) is a significant step in the cooperation process. Priorities have been established in four main areas.

Reform of the legislative and regulatory framework and restructuring of the energy industry
Reform of the legal and regulatory framework of the sector would be carried out on the lines of that already undertaken by the Member States. The partner countries are generally characterised by a centralised, State-controlled monopoly but in order to satisfy market competition requirements, overall reform is necessary. This is even more imperative given the partnership's aim to create a free trade area (FTA).

Some liberalisation measures must be implemented, including the establishment of independent regulatory authorities, separation of activity types, reduction of subsidies and promotion of private participation.

The EU is also encouraging the Mediterranean partners to accede to the Energy Charter Treaty.

Integration of Mediterranean markets and development of interconnections
With a view to enhancing the security of energy supply, the interconnection of infrastructure between Mediterranean countries and also between them and the EU is planned. Modernisation of the existing infrastructure should also be a priority. The enlargement of INOGATE, the EU programme aiming to promote the construction and interconnection of oil and gas infrastructures between the EU and regions such as the Caspian Sea will also be considered.

Sustainable development and use of renewable energy
Sustainable development for partner countries in this sector is based on energy efficiency requirements, energy saving and environmental protection. Renewable energy has a major role to play and also represents the diversification of energy sources. The use of this energy should therefore significantly contribute to the restructuring of the sector. Cooperation between the EU and the partner countries may also include the use of flexibility mechanisms in the framework of the Kyoto objectives.

The Euro-Mediterranean energy forum, which will be held in September 2007, will provide the occasion to highlight progress made in different areas of cooperation in terms of energy and to define the future guidelines as well as the priorities for 2007-2010.

4) DEADLINE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LEGISLATION IN THE MEMBER STATES

Not applicable

5) DATE OF ENTRY INTO FORCE (if different from above)

6) REFERENCES

COM(2001) 126 final
Not yet published in the Official Journal

7) FOLLOW-UP WORK

8) COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING MEASURES

Last updated: 01.06.2007
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