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Brussels, 6 December 2012
EU – Algeria: more interaction – better relations
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Poilicy Štefan Füle, participated today in the EU - Algeria Association Council. Following the meeting he said:
''As the Minister has just said, we had a very good debate, touching on many issues. And I would recall what I stated already in March in Algiers: the more intense the interactions we have among ourselves, the better our relations will be – and today´s session just confirmed that.
Our relations are now strong enough to enable us to embrace the whole spectrum of issues between us, and to speak in confidence.
As the Minister said, we have appreciated the ongoing reform process and repeated the readiness of the EU to support it through a tailor-made approach to Algeria's own needs.
We have stressed again that successful reforms are only those which are inclusive, involving all stakeholders - authorities, civil society, the private sector and trade unions - and that they should not be confined to an isolated timeframe but should be part of a constant effort to deliver on the legitimate aspirations of people.
We also welcomed and encouraged the negotiation on an ENP Action Plan, which started last October. It will be the first Action Plan between us and it should enable us to define more concrete measures and projects to strengthen our overall cooperation. This document contains ambitious commitments on all issues concerning EU - Algeria cooperation. It should also lead to a reinforced political dialogue at every level. We hope that we will conclude these negotiations swiftly.
We have high hopes for socio-economic reforms in Algeria which can stimulate business, private domestic and foreign investments and thereby create jobs. They are also crucial to ensure Algeria’s economic diversification. We exchanged views on Algerian legislation on investments, and reiterated the well-known EU position on limitations imposed on foreign participation. Not easy steps to take but it is vital that reforms are implemented.
Today the commission has decided on two new cooperation programmes to support Algeria's reform and modernisation. The first programme will support diversification of the economy and in particular the promising sector of fisheries and aquaculture. The second programme will focus on supporting the modernisation of public administration through twinning with EU member States. Altogether, the Commission allocates 45 million euro to these two programmes.
Finally, we touched on the situation in the Maghreb. We attach - based on our own experience - a high level of importance to regional integration. We believe there are opportunities for closer cooperation between the countries of the Maghreb. We are ready to support it - particularly in the area of trade, economy, energy and transport. There is much to be gained from closer regional integration – in terms of prosperity and security: both for the people of the region and for the EU. We have seen some encouraging signs recently and hope that the countries of the region, and in particular Algeria, which has a pivotal role, will continue to deepen this process.''