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Brussels, 29 November 2001

New Euromed Youth programme, to strengthen the dialogue between cultures

The European Commission has just adopted the Euromed Youth II programme, to run for the next three years (2002-2004), with a budget increase of 40% over Euromed Youth I (1999-2001). This programme of exchanges, voluntary work and training activities is aimed at the young people of the EU Member States and of the countries of the Mediterranean basin (Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey).

« In adopting Euromed Youth II the Commission has made a first step towards encouraging dialogue between our civilisations, in line with the desire expressed by the Ghent European Council . At Romano Prodi's request, Chris Patten and myself are working on initiatives towards this objective, notably within the context of Euromed. Euromed Youth II, with its larger budget, will help multiply the number of exchanges between young people and increase the number and quality of voluntary work projects», stated Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Education and Culture .

The Euromed Youth programme, one of the regional programmes under the Barcelona Process, allows exchanges to be made and projects undertaken between young persons in 27 Euro-Mediterranean partner countries, promoting mutual knowledge and understanding, the integration of young persons and the strengthening of civil society.

The budget allocated for Euromed Youth II (2002-2004) totals EUR 14 million (compared with EUR 9.7 million for Euromed Youth I), with EUR 10 million coming from MEDA and EUR 4 million from the Youth Programme.

Euromed Youth II will seek not only to increase the number and quality of exchanges and voluntary work projects but also to support the Mediterranean NGOs by giving priority to training activities and to develop the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Forum. From 2002 onwards the programme will form part of the Youth Programme.

Euromed Youth I (1999-2001) provided support for more than 200 projects, with more than 3000 young participants. There was an even balance, with 52% of the participants coming from the EU countries and 48% from the Southern Mediterranean countries.

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