Today the Commission has presented a proposal for a Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area - PRIMA. The first partnership of its kind in the Mediterranean basin aims to develop much-needed novel solutions for sustainable water management and food production.
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "EU research and innovation is open to the world so we can tackle global challenges together. This Euro-Mediterranean partnership is an excellent example of where pooling knowledge and money can make a huge difference. It will bring more clean water and food to the people, boost local economies and create jobs. Through PRIMA, research and innovation will play a crucial role in addressing the root causes of migration."
The Commission's proposal already includes Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia. The participation of Germany is currently under negotiation. As the initiative is evolving over time, more participants are expected to follow, both EU and non-EU countries.
Funding for the €400 million partnership will come from the participating countries (currently around €200 million), matched by a €200 million contribution from the EU through its current research framework programme Horizon 2020. The partnership is scheduled to run for 10 years, starting in 2018.
In recent years, the agricultural sector in the Mediterranean has been suffering from severe water shortages and decreasing crop yields. Today, 180 million people in the Mediterranean basin are considered 'water poor'. The lack of clean water and nutritious food has adverse effects on the health and stability of the populations.
Based on a proposal of nine Member States in 2014, this partnership will be created under Horizon 2020 and based on Article 185 TFEU, which enables the EU to participate in research programmes undertaken jointly by several Member States.
The Commission's proposal will now be sent to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU for political discussion and legislative approval.