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Brussels, 10 July 2009

Union for the Mediterranean: Commission increases its contribution to priority projects

On the eve of the first anniversary of the launching of the Union for the Mediterranean (Paris, 13 July 2008), the European Commission announces an additional contribution of €72 million, for 2009-2010, to the areas identified as priorities by the Euro-Mediterranean Heads of State and Government in Paris. Work will focus on the de-pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, maritime and land highways, alternative energies, with a focus on the Mediterranean Solar Plant, higher education and research and supporting investment in businesses. Part of the funds will be dedicated to support the running of the Union for the Mediterranean Secretariat. With this contribution, the total community budget dedicated since July 2008 to the priorities identified by the Union for the Mediterranean amounts €90 million.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy said: "Next Monday the Union for the Mediterranean celebrates its first anniversary. Although some progress has been achieved, the suspension of activities following the crisis in Gaza has prevented us from meeting and, therefore, from taking key political decisions necessary to allow the Union to gain top speed. I understand that the UpM does not work in a political vacuum, however, it is important that we realise the urgency to start working and to deliver to our citizens the potential benefits of such a Union. I am sure that today there is the political will to overcome the differences and hope that the recent meetings held between partner countries will allow us to clearly pave the way towards the gradual resumption of activities so we can move forward."

And she added: "The Commission has spared no efforts to support the UpM. We have participated and organised meetings at technical level on a variety of Euro-Med activities, and have contributed to the discussions and work for the setting up of the Secretariat. I am happy that we have also worked hard on the priority projects adopted at the Paris Summit last year, with a substantial financial contribution. I am also glad to see that private business has profited from the UpM tremendous possibilities and start linking up the Mediterranean through joint business activities"

Environment - De-pollution of the Mediterranean (€22 million for 2009-2010)

The programme Sustainable Water Management and De-pollution of the Mediterranean will promote sustainable water management policies and practices in the region in the context of increasing water scarcity, combined pressure on water resources from a wide range of users and desertification processes in connection with climate change. Part of the funds will be dedicated to support the Mediterranean Water Strategy.

€7 million will be dedicated to the implementation of the Horizon 2020 Programme as from September 2009, with an additional €1 million (pre-accession instrument) to allow the participation of the Balkan countries and Turkey in the programme.

Maritime and Land Highways (€7.5 million)

The Mediterranean Motorways of the Seas, phase II and Integrated Maritime Policy for the Mediterranean programmes will contribute to the development of an efficient and integrated Mediterranean Transport Network. Building on phase I, the Mediterranean Motorways of the Seas II will focus on maritime and port operations and on connecting the railway routes with the maritime connections.

Alternative Energies: Mediterranean Solar Plan (€5 million)

The creation of a Mediterranean Solar Plan is one of the major concrete initiatives of the Union for the Mediterranean. To support this initiative, t he Commission is carrying out studies to identify the most effective strategy to develop and implement the Mediterranean Solar Plan and to identify areas where the EU assistance could be more efficient. The Commission will cooperate, with €5 million, to the establishment of favourable conditions (institutional, legislative, technological and investment climate) for the development of renewable energy resources in the Mediterranean partner countries, including the Solar Plan.

FEMIP ( 32 million for 2009-2010)

The Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership provides capital to the private sector on terms that are not available locally. FEMIP will contribute during 2009 and 2010 to the de-pollution of the Mediterranean, under the Horizon 2020 , to the development of renewable energy in the Mediterranean region under the umbrella of the Mediterranean Solar Plant, and to the development of sustainable transportation infrastructures, as foreseen in the Maritime and Land Highways priority project. Higher Education and Research - Euro-Mediterranean University

The Commission is providing a contribution of €1 million to the Euro-Mediterranean University in Portoroz (Slovenia) to allow non EU Mediterranean students to participate in the programmes.

The European Commission is in the process of identifying the financial needs and possibilities related to the running of the UpM Secretariat in order to allocate funds.

Before this new package, the Commission had allocated 18 million to projects such as

  • Development and reinforcement of the civil protection in the region by building and strengthening the reaction capacity.

  • The "Invest in Med" initiative which supports investments in the region.

  • Mediterranean Maritime Security via the SAFEMED programme.

For a comprehensive Background to the Union for the Mediterranean, see:

- MEMO/09/333


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