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.
Migration ranks high on the EU agenda with partner countries
As a response to the migratory emergency of 2015, the EU set up the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to support international partners in Africa in achieving the objectives of the Valletta Declaration. Similarly, in 2014 the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis (Madad Fund) was established to address the critical needs of Syrian refugees, their host communities and displaced populations.
Both Trust Funds officially ended in December 2021, with projects running until June 2025. However, as challenges remain, support continues under the newly established Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe (NDICI - Global Europe)
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.
- EU response to the coronavirus pandemic in the Southern Neighbourhood: English | French | Arabic
- The partnership between the EU and its Southern Neighbourhood
- Towards a renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood
- The EU and its neighbours: Tackling Security Challenges Together
- The EU and its neighbours: Tackling Security Challenges Together - Arabic
* 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.