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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 21 November 2013

EU boosts support to democratic reforms and development in the Southern Neighbourhood

Countries of the Southern neighbourhood will receive almost half a billion euro from the European Commission in support of their transition and reform efforts. The European Commission has adopted today an assistance package of €476 million to foster development and cooperation with a number of Southern neighbours. This assistance is provided through the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and represents nearly one third of the total €1.5 billion of funding foreseen this year for the region.

Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle stated: "The new support for the countries in our Southern Neighbourhood will make a difference in key areas like education, for small and medium enterprises development and agriculture. This important funding constitutes a clear proof of our commitment to support partner countries’ efforts to stimulate sustainable economic development and improve the living standards of citizens. It is also a testimony of our continuing support to regional cooperation in the context of the Union for the Mediterranean, for which the Secretariat in Barcelona has a key role to play'.

The overall allocation approved today includes €150 million from the SPRING programme which provides additional funding to countries that have progressed towards democratic reforms in line with the 'more for more' principle of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Beneficiaries of the new SPRING allocations are: Jordan (€21 million), Lebanon (€21 million), Libya (€5 million), Morocco (€48 million) and Tunisia (€55 million).

In addition, €314 million are allocated to cooperation programmes that will benefit citizens in five partner countries, in the fields of agriculture, environment, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development and economic recovery, education and protection of vulnerable people.

Finally, the Commission is allocating €12 million for regional cooperation programmes; mainly helping to ensure that young people’s voices and priorities are heard when authorities in the region prepare new legislation. Furthermore, cooperation with the Union for the Mediterranean will be enhanced in areas that have direct impact on the livelihoods of the citizens from the Southern Mediterranean.

For more on country specific allocation see background.


‘SPRING 2013’ programme

‘SPRING 2013’ has a value of €150 million and translates in concrete terms the EU's commitment to supporting southern Mediterranean countries in their efforts towards democratic and economic transition, in line with the 'More for more' principle. This means that the more a country progresses in the implementation of democratic and political reforms, the more support it can expect from the European Union, notably through increased financial assistance.

The programme will address partner countries’ specific needs and support home-grown reforms, because sustainable results can only be achieved where the drive for change comes from within.

Bilateral cooperation programmes

The newly-adopted bilateral programmes will support cooperation in five Southern Neighbourhood countries:

  1. Algeria: €10 million will support rural development and agriculture (Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) approach), through the involvement of local public and private actors, thus stimulating economic activities in some less developed areas (provinces of Aïn-Témouchent, Laghouat, Sétif and Tlemcen).

  2. Egypt: The EU will support improving Egyptian people’s daily lives through better waste management and rural development. €27 million will contribute to the sustainable protection of the environment and natural resources and to the reduction of health risks for the population. Additionally, €20 million will support rural development in areas in three of the most vulnerable Governorates (Matrouh, Minia and Fayoum).

  3. Libya: Economic development and protection of vulnerable people will be targeted through a €15 million assistance package. It includes a programme (€10 million) on development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME), enabling them to create employment and livelihoods, with particular focus to women and young people. Another €5 million programme will aim on the one hand to improve the living conditions of detainees and on the other hand to provide vulnerable people including internally displaced people with psychosocial rehabilitation and socio-economic integration.

  4. Morocco: €87 million will support the Moroccan government in development of socio-economic reforms and legislation for a gradual integration of the Moroccan economy to the European Single Market. About €90 million will support the reform efforts in the education sector with a view to ensuring equitable access to basic education throughout the Moroccan territory. The programme will more specifically promote access to schools for children from more impoverished families and for girls.

  5. Tunisia: Since 2011, the EU has continuously supported and accompanied socio-economic development in the country. The newly adopted €65 million economic recovery programme will keep the focus on this priority area of cooperation with the aim to reduce socio-economic inequalities.

Regional cooperation programmes

The two programmes adopted in the framework of the regional cooperation include:

  1. One youth project (€8 million) which respond to the demands of young people in the Southern Mediterranean by offering training and skills to youth organisations from the region; encouraging and helping them to take part in the decision making process and play a watchdog role in society.

  2. The 2013 contribution (€4.12 million) to the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, co-funded by the Member States of the Union for the Mediterranean, that will support on-going and new specific actions in the areas of transport and urban development, energy, environment and water, higher education and research, social and civil affairs, business development.

More details on all adopted programmes can be found in the press memos:

MEMO/13/1025 on Algeria

MEMO/13/1028 on Egypt

MEMO/13/1026 on Libya

MEMO/13/1029 on Morocco

MEMO/13/1031 on Tunisia

MEMO/13/1027 on the regional cooperation programmes

MEMO/13/1030 on the SPRING 2013 programme

For further information:

DG Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid website:

Commissioner Štefan Füle's website:

On support to the European Neighbourhood:

EU Neighbourhood Info Centre:

Contacts :

Peter Stano (+32 2 295 74 84)

Anca Paduraru (+32 2 296 64 30)

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