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European Commission - Press release

EU boosts socio-economic development and supports better living conditions in the Southern Mediterranean

Brussels, 10 September 2015

The EU has mobilised a substantial assistance package worth €235.7 million to foster socio-economic development and support better living conditions in the Southern Neighbourhood partner countries.

This assistance is provided through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and is particularly important in the context of the EU's efforts to address all aspects of the refugees crisis.

Of this package, €162 million will support bilateral cooperation that will benefit citizens in Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine through the creation of increased economic opportunities, institution-building, improving living conditions, as well as the protection of citizen’s rights and the most vulnerable sectors of society.

€73.7 million will target improved cooperation at regional level; mainly helping to address regional challenges requiring a common approach such as migration, job creation and socio-economic inclusion, as well as the continued integration of civil society in political dialogue.

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, commented: “I am delighted to announce this new EU support for the Southern partners, which will enhance socio-economic development and job creation in the region and help to make a difference in key sectors such as urban and private sector development, energy and water. This investment will further support institution-building and the protection of citizen’s rights, while also tackling major regional challenges such as migration and the integration of civil society in political dialogue. This substantial funding is, yet again, clear proof of the EU’s continued commitment to support our partner countries’ efforts in increasing economic opportunities and improving the living standards of citizens and vulnerable groups.”

Background:

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

Egypt: €59 million will support the country in the areas of human rights, private sector development, urban development, energy and water. Programmes focus on improving the quality of life of Egyptian citizens by promoting inclusive economic growth, improving the living conditions in some of the poorest areas of the Greater Cairo Region, as well as fostering reforms in the energy and water sectors. In addition, it supports measures to strengthen citizen’s rights and the role of the Egyptian civil society.

Lebanon: Economic development and increased economic opportunities as well as support to create better living conditions for vulnerable groups will be targeted through a €15 million assistance package.In particular, these programmes will assist Lebanon in the implementation of its Mine Action Strategy and to foster inclusive and sustainable development in affected regions. Further, the EU seeks to improve housing for the most vulnerable Palestine refugees in the country.

Palestine: Through this €88 million support, the EU reaffirms its commitment to the two-state solution and honours its pledges to the Palestinian population.With these assistance programmes, the EU seeks to bring both immediate relief and more long-term benefits to the Palestinians living under very harsh conditions and provide financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority. Programmes will target in particular Gaza and East Jerusalem, which are part of the territory occupied in 1967.

Regional cooperation programmes

The €73.7 million regional package complements bilateral activities and addresses major common challenges faced by our partners in the South. The continued integration of civil society in political dialogue as well an enhanced regional dialogue remain key across the board. The fundamental principles underpinning all these actions is to encourage North-South and South-South cooperation, as well as to promote dialogue, exchange views and share knowledge. Furthermore, cooperation with the Union for the Mediterranean will be enhanced in areas that have direct impact on the livelihoods of the citizens living in the Southern Mediterranean.

For further information:

European Commission website on European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations

EU Neighbourhood InfoCentre

Funding of migration-related activities in the Southern Neighbourhood region

Press release on Refugee Crisis

IP/15/5622


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