The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership or “Union for the Mediterranean” constitutes the policy of the European Union towards the Mediterranean countries. Its purpose is to strengthen the links between the Union and the partner countries, whilst encouraging closer ties among the Mediterranean countries themselves.
The objective of the Partnership launched in 1995 following the Barcelona Declaration is to promote peace and stability in the region by establishing a political dialogue that respects the partners' shared values, such as democracy and the rule of law. Further aims are to promote the prevention and resolution of conflicts, as well as prosperity, particularly through the creation of a free-trade area, and to develop cooperation.
In this context, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership brings together the Member States of the Union and 16 Mediterranean countries under a large-scale programme with three strands: a political and security strand, an economic and financial strand and a social and cultural strand. Strengthening cooperation in the fields of justice, migration and social inclusion is also an important element of the Process.
The Partnership is put into effect both bilaterally and regionally. The bilateral arrangements are tailored to the individual partner country, an important aspect being the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements. Community funding is principally based on the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and on the European Investment Bank's Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP).
The partnership has been strengthened by the launch of the Union for the Mediterranean at the Summit for the Mediterranean, which took place in Paris in July 2008. A rotating presidency has been set up between the partners in the North and the South and a permanent secretariat has been established in Barcelona to manage regional, sub-regional and transnational projects.
The partners of the Union for the Mediterranean have set themselves a number of key objectives:
- pollution abatement of the Mediterranean Sea;
- development of maritime and land transport routes;
- administration of civil protection against natural and man-made disasters;
- solar energy production;
- business development, specifically micro-businesses and SMEs;
- establishing a Euro-Mediterranean university in Slovenia.