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Tenth anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership

The tenth anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is an opportunity for the European Union (EU) to take stock of its relations with the Mediterranean Non-Member Countries (MNCs) and to reiterate its solidarity commitment to these countries. The Commission presents a new cooperation method based on a five-year work programme and built around priority actions for the future of the region.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 12 April 2005 - Tenth Anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: A work programme to meet the challenges of the next five years [COM(2005) 139 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

The Commission has identified the critical areas for the future of the Mediterranean region and for intensified relations between the EU and the MNCs.

It focuses on three key objectives:

  • promoting human rights and democracy;
  • supporting job creation and sustainable economic development by liberalising trade and promoting regional integration;
  • contributing to better education for all.

With these proposals the Commission wishes to realise the full potential offered by the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. A detailed analysis of achievements and shortcomings has shown that cooperation methods can be improved further.

A new model of cooperation may be drawn up via the institutional framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). This would mean that new cooperation projects form part of a five-year work programme and benefit from the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements and the Neighbourhood Action Plans.

Human rights and democracy

The political dialogue set up by the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership serves to develop common perceptions in the areas of democracy and respect for human rights. Greater emphasis will be placed on certain issues, such as gender equality, the promotion of fundamental and social rights and the role of civil society.

The Commission considers that new impetus must be given to the political dialogue to ensure stability and security in the Mediterranean region. It proposes to hold a conference on human rights and democratisation at sub-regional level. It also encourages the creation of a Democracy Facility under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.

Job creation and economic growth

The Commission considers that these two objectives will be met through trade liberalisation and sub-regional integration. Increased trade between the partners will be facilitated in particular by:

  • enhanced liberalisation of trade in services and establishment, and of trade in agricultural and fishery products;
  • increased convergence of technical legislation and regulations, upgrading of infrastructure to European standards;
  • the development of South-South trade relations by the signing of Free Trade Agreements between the MNCs. This type of agreement must also enable the preferential rules of the Pan-Euro-Med cumulation of origin to be implemented;
  • the establishment of appropriate budgetary and monetary policies, and the continuation of structural reforms aimed at lifting obstacles to growth, investment and job creation;
  • the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean Bank, taking into account the success of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) implemented by the European Investment Bank (EIB);
  • the development of a regional transport network and the reform of the sector, and the adoption of recommendations for the creation of Euro-Mediterranean interconnections;
  • the gradual establishment of a Euro-Mediterranean energy market and the development of energy infrastructures in the partner third countries;
  • the adoption of environmental measures designed to depollute the Mediterranean Sea by 2020.

Education

The contribution of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership to improving education and vocational training involves intensifying bilateral cooperation. The Commission intends to increase by at least 50% the proportion of financial aid devoted to education from 2007. In line with the Millennium Development Goals, this cooperation focuses on eradicating illiteracy, ensuring primary education for all and eliminating gender disparity at all levels of education.

Mobility in higher education will also be encouraged by extending existing programmes and by launching a new scheme of scholarships for university students co-financed by the MNCs.

Justice, freedom and security

The Commission recommends a series of actions aimed at enhancing cooperation, in particular in the area of migration and social integration of migrants. It recalls that local authorities and civil society play a key role in these areas.

Terrorism

The aim here is to pursue more practical and sustained cooperation in the fight against terrorism through a political dialogue at regional level. Bilateral state-to-state cooperation has proved insufficient and a new stage in the deepening of relations could be the adoption of a common Code of Conduct.

Weapons of mass destruction and ESDP

Attaining the objectives of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership should lead to a Mediterranean region free of weapons of mass destruction and compliance by all the MNCs with their international obligations in this area. The Secretary General/High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) has taken the initiative of organising a workshop on this subject, aimed at developing Euro-Mediterranean cooperation within the framework of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).

The Middle East Peace Process and the resolution of other conflicts

The appearance of conflicts is an obstacle to progress in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. This is why the EU supports cooperation and political dialogue among the parties. Even though the Barcelona Process is not a forum in which a settlement can be reached, it provides the instruments for maintaining peace.

The Commission proposes the signing of a Euro-Mediterranean charter for peace and stability and closer regional integration through the European Neighbourhood Policy. This strategy is suited to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and may be reproduced to help resolve other conflicts, in particular the Western Sahara conflict that is a significant obstacle to the development of the integration process within the Arab Maghreb Union.

Civil society

The new Anna Lindh Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures should promote the participation of civil society in the Barcelona Process. Additional mechanisms should strengthen this participation, in particular through the organisation of a Euro-Mediterranean civil forum. The results of the forum will be made operational through the Neighbourhood Policy and its financing instrument.

The Commission supports the Arab International Women's Forum in its efforts to set up a network of women who are leaders in their areas of business.

Background

In this Communication, the Commission draws up the preparatory framework for the meetings of the Foreign Affairs Ministers in 2005. Most notable was the Extraordinary Conference in Barcelona celebrating the tenth anniversary of a strong partnership between the EU and the MNCs, based on the basic principles of the Partnership, namely dialogue and cooperation.

The Luxembourg Conference ('Barcelona VII') aims to make concrete progress in the areas described above. To this end, the Commission attaches to its recommendations a timetable of measures to be taken in the short and medium term to achieve an integrated Euro-Mediterranean area by 2010.

RELATED ACTS

BARCELONA SUMMIT CELEBRATING THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE EURO-MEDITERRANEAN PARTNERSHIP, 27-28 NOVEMBER 2005.

Declaration adopted at the Summit marking the 10th anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, 27-28 November 2005.

Five-year work programme adopted at the Summit marking the 10th anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, 27-28 November 2005 (pdf).
The Barcelona Summit saw the adoption of new objectives and a five-year work programme to improve the partnership's impact on people's lives and to make its results more visible.
Political and security partnership.
The EU and its partners remain committed to making the Euro-Mediterranean region an area of peace, security and prosperity. This commitment concerns both the resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and other issues such as strengthening the partnership, developing joint regional projects, sustainable development and consolidating the rule of law, democracy and human rights. Citizens and civil society should be more involved, particularly in the decision-making process. The EU will support the reforms on the basis of the shared principles and values and the priorities under the ENP action plans. For their part, the partners will primarily have to undertake to meet international election standards, further the human rights dialogues envisaged under the association agreements and implement the code of conduct on countering terrorism. Dialogue concerning the ESDP and security issues should also be stepped up so as to consolidate the partners' cooperation on conflict and natural disaster prevention, crisis management and civil protection.
Sustainable socio-economic development and reforms. The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership aims to improve employment and GDP levels and reduce poverty and wealth disparities. In order to achieve this, a business-friendly climate, particularly one which is favourable to small and medium-sized enterprises, must be created. The partners will establish a roadmap identifying the steps to be taken to create a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area by 2010. Trade in agricultural and fisheries products and trade in services should be progressively liberalised. It will also be necessary to speed up the signing of association agreements, promote regional agreements and bilateral free trade agreements and encourage the entry into force of the Agadir Agreement. Existing instruments such as the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Protocol will also have to be promoted. Cooperation also concerns industrial products, health, the environment, transport, energy and tourism. It is planned to open up Community programmes such as the Eureka programme on research and innovation to all the partners and to apply the methodology used in the EU regional policy.
Education and socio-cultural exchanges. Because of its crucial role in political, economic and social development, education should be improved and strengthened, so as to contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Objectives will be identified for moving towards quality education which is open to all and tailored to labour market needs. Achieving these objectives should involve increasing funding for education through EU aid programmes and national programmes, including the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), increasing the number of enrolments in an increased number of schools and extending programmes to fight illiteracy. Intercultural knowledge and understanding will benefit mainly from increased support for the work of the Anna Lindh Foundation, the involvement of civil society, measures to encourage mobility, etc.
Migration, social integration, justice and security. These issues will be handled using a comprehensive and integrated approach and increased cooperation. The means for achieving the objectives identified should essentially be meetings of Ministers and experts, frameworks encouraging exchanges of experience, dialogue with and assistance to countries of origin and transit and strengthened administrative and institutional capacities. Cooperation on illegal immigration should be stepped up by dealing with all the aspects involved (readmission agreements, the fight against people trafficking, capacity building). Cooperation between the legal/judicial professions on the one hand and the police and law enforcement authorities on the other should be strengthened by means of contacts, training and technical assistance on the basis of the existing instruments (Euromed Justice, Euromed Police, etc.).

Euro-Mediterranean code of conduct on countering terrorism, adopted at the Summit marking the 10th anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, 27-28 November 2005 (pdf).

CONCLUSIONS OF THE 7TH EURO-MEDITERRANEAN CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS, LUXEMBOURG, 30-31 MAY 2005 (pdf).

OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS:

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the preparation of the Tampere Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Affairs Ministers Conference (27-28 November 2006) - The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: Time to deliver

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 25 October 2006 on the preparation of the Tampere Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Affairs Ministers Conference (27-28 November 2006) - The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: Time to deliver [COM(2006) 620 final - not published in the Official Journal].
With a view to the Tampere Conference, the Commission summarises the successes of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. It proposes key areas in which action is required as part of the implementation of the five-year work programme. These key areas are political and security dialogue, implementation of the code of conduct on countering terrorism, the establishment of a Euro-Med area for free trade and investment, energy and transport, the environment, education and social development, strengthening the role of women in society, information society, cultural dialogue and migration.
The Commission also proposes reviewing the working methods, so as to improve communication on the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and the preparation of Euro-Med meetings and conferences by involving participants and giving them more responsibility.

Last updated: 18.04.2008
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