The South and East Mediterranean and the Middle East is an area
of vital strategic importance to the European Union, which both
the EU Council and the European Commission have identified as key
external relations priority for the EU.
The aim of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is to turn the Mediterranean
basin into an area of dialogue, exchange and co-operation guaranteeing
peace, stability and prosperity; strengthen the political dialogue,
development of economic and financial co-operation, social, cultural
and human dimension, and by 2010 establish a free-trade area. It
makes economic transition and free trade the central issue of the
EU financial co-operation with the Mediterranean region.
The EU's proximity policy towards the Mediterranean region is governed
by the global and comprehensive Euro-Mediterranean Partnership launched
at the 1995 Barcelona Conference between the European Union and
it's 12 Mediterranean Partners (called the Barcelona Process). The
partners are Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia (Maghreb); Egypt, Israel,
Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria (Mashrek); Turkey,
Cyprus and Malta; Libya currently has observer status at certain
The programme may apply to States, their local and regional authorities
as well as actors of their civil society.
Main principles of the Barcelona Declaration:
- Establish a common Euro-Mediterranean
area of peace and stability based on fundamental principles including respect
for human rights and democracy (political and security partnership).
an area of shared prosperity through the progressive establishment of a free-trade
area between the EU and its Partners and among the Mediterranean Partners themselves,
accompanied by substantial EU financial support for economic transition in the
Partners and for the social and economic consequences of this reform process (economic
and financial partnership).
- Develop human resources, promote understanding
between cultures and rapprochement of the peoples in the Euro-Mediterranean region
as well as to develop free and flourishing civil societies (social, cultural and
Policy issues and programming of aid are
the responsibility of External Relations DG, while on the basis of the programme
documents EuropeAid Co-operation Office is managing the projects from identification
The MEDA programme
The MEDA programme is the principal financial instrument of the
European Union for the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean
Partnership. The Programme offers technical and financial support
measures to accompany the reform of economic and social structures
in the Mediterranean partner countries.
The first legal basis of the MEDA programme was 1996 MEDA Regulation
(Council Regulation no1488/96) for the period of 1995-1999 where
the programme accounted for € 3.435 million. On November 2000
a new improved regulation (Nr.2698/2000) establishing MEDA II for
the period of 2000-2006 was adopted. The funding of the new programme
amounts to € 5.35 billion. The main areas of intervention and
objectives are directly derived from those of the 1995 Barcelona
The MEDA programme has a double vocation: bilateral and regional.
bilateral level the priorities for MEDA are: |
- support to economic transition: the aim is to prepare for
the implementation of free trade through increasing competitiveness
with a view to achieving sustainable economic growth, in particular
through development of the private sector
- strengthening the socio-economic balance: the aim is to alleviate
the short-term costs of economic transition through appropriate
measures in the field of social policy.
The priorities are to
be decided taking into account the stage of the development of each country's
economy and society as well as the capacity of it's institutions, i.e. promotion
of programmes that could contribute to the development of democracy and respect
of human rights.
|Regional and multilateral co-operation reflects the
progress made in the framework of the Barcelona Process in taking action at a
multilateral level on issues of common concern, as laid down in the agreed declaration,
and strengthening activities in support of decentralised co-operation. The regional
programmes cover the three domains of the Barcelona Declaration.|
MEDA programme procedure
The Commission's External Relations Directorate-General
is responsible for drawing up the strategy papers and the three-year indicative
programmes. Based on this input, the Commissions EuropeAid Co-operation Office
establishes the annual financing plans and manages the projects and programmes
from the identification to the evaluation phase.
The national and regional
indicative programmes take account of the priorities determined with the Mediterranean
partners, in particular the conclusions of the economic dialogue, and define the
main goals, guidelines and priority sectors of Community support in the fields
The financing plans are drawn up at national and regional level
and are based on the indicative programmes. These plans contain a list of the
projects for financing and are generally adopted annually. Projects involving
interest rebates are included in the national financing plans and those involving
risk capital in the regional financing plans.