The EU established its privileged partnership with the Eastern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean back in 1995 with the launch of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership at the Barcelona Conference, establishing the goal of an area of peace, stability, economic prosperity, upholding democratic values and human rights.
EU cooperation with the Southern Neighbourhood takes place in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and includes ten partner countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine*, Syria and Tunisia.
The ENP was launched in 2004 to strengthen the prosperity, stability and security for all. Currently, cooperation is suspended with Syrian authorities but the EU maintains direct support to the Syrian population.
To relaunch and strengthen the strategic partnership between the European Union and its Southern Neighbourhood partners, the European Commission and the High Representative adopted on 9 February 2021 a Joint Communication proposing an ambitious and innovative new Agenda for the Mediterranean. It includes a dedicated Economic and Investment Plan to spur the long-term socio-economic recovery in the Southern Neighbourhood.
How does it work?
These various EU cooperation programmes cover a wide range of key sectors such as good governance and rule of law, socio-economic development, migration and support to refugees, climate change, green and digital transitions, food security, energy, peace and security.
The EU also signed Association Agreements with Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine* and Tunisia that have deepened trade integration, encouraged political and technical dialogue and promoted cultural, economic, financial and social cooperation.
Following the several migratory crises that erupted in the past years, regional cooperation in the Southern Neighbourhood also includes activities specifically supporting vulnerable host communities, refugees or migrants through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis and the North Africa window of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.
From 2007 until 2020, the EU has allocated €20.5 billion for financing its cooperation in the Southern Neighbourhood through its successive European Neighbourhood financial instruments.
The new EU's Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) replaces the European Neighbourhood Instrument and will cover the period 2021-2027. Over these years, up to € 12 billion will be allocated to finance the European Southern Neighbourhood Policy’s objectives and priorities through various means: grants, blending and guarantees, with an expected leverage effect on mobilising additional public and private investment in the region.
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* This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.