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European Commission


Brussels, 21 November 2013

EU reinforces its support to democratic and economic transition in the Southern Neighbourhood

The European Union has decided to allocate €150 million to the Support for Partnership, Reforms and Inclusive Growth (SPRING) programme for 2013. This financial contribution reflects the EU policy towards the Neighbourhood and its key principle of “More for more” ('More for more' means that the more a country progresses in its democratic reforms and institutional building, the more support it can expect from the SPRING programme). It reinforces the support allocated in 2011-2012 (€390 million).

SPRING 2013 will build on the work done by SPRING 2011-2012 and encourage partner countries in the southern Neighbourhood to pursue their efforts towards consolidating democratic reforms and institution building, as well as promoting inclusive economic development in support of sustainable democratic transition.

SPRING 2011-2012 was adopted by the Commission on 26 September 2011 in response to the events of the Arab Spring and supports partner countries of the Southern Mediterranean region in addressing their socio-economic challenges and in their transition to democracy. SPRING has resulted in an intensification of policy dialogue around political and economic reform.

SPRING funds support partner countries on the path towards democratic transition and address their needs in view of economic recovery and efforts undertaken to reduce inequality.

Although notable progress has been achieved since early 2011, that meaningful elections have been held and constitutional reforms are underway in a number of countries, changes of the magnitude of those initiated in the Arab Spring countries do not take place overnight. Moreover, external factors such as the Syria crisis have added a substantial burden on neighbouring countries and hampered their efforts to capacity to implement reforms.

Political leaders in the region, especially where new or transition governments have taken office, are faced with major challenges. They have to address a critical and still degrading economic situation which was a key factor in the upheavals as well as the legitimate expectations of the people in terms of opportunities and freedom. This is why the EU must and will continue to support the efforts undertaken.

Country allocations have been determined in the light of progress made in each country. Beneficiaries are: Libya (€5 million) in recognition of efforts already made on the path to democratic transition after 42 years of autocratic rule, Jordan (€21 million) which undertook encouraging political reforms, Lebanon (€21 million) which managed to preserve its stability and national unity and remained committed to its international obligations, Morocco (€48 million) and Tunisia (€55 million) which made progress in terms of governance, transparency and respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Tunisia is also the first country in the region which has initiated an inclusive transitional process after the 2011 revolution.

SPRING 2013 will be financed from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.

For more information

IP/13/1136: EU boosts support to democratic reforms and development in the Southern Neighbourhood

Website of the DG Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid:

Website of EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle:

On the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI):

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