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In which way the EU is combating crimes in the Mediterranean?

Within the framework of many programs, the EU is cooperating with Arab Mediterranean countries to fight all forms of crimes: terrorism, illegal traffic, drugs, financial and cybercrime, etc. There is as well a specific program entitled Euromed Police that aims at strengthening local police forces and international police cooperation in order to improve fight against all forms of organized crimes.

Does the civil aviation program include a technical cooperation project?

We can mention in this framework the implementation of Global Navigational Satellite System II (GNSS) services in the Mediterranean region. The EU works on developing regulatory and institutional frameworks to pave the way for the introduction of operational services in the region, for the benefit of transport (air, maritime and road transport), with special emphasis on the development of adequate safety standards. More info

Is there a Euromed civil aviation cooperation?

Yes. An EU-funded program entitled Euromed Aviation aims at promoting the emergence of a Euro-Mediterranean airspace and facilitating further negotiations on Euro-Mediterranean aviation agreements. These agreements are meant to replace bilateral agreements concluded between the concerned countries. They’re designed to liberalize air transport services and to improve security and air safety in beneficiary countries. More info

How does the EU enhance civil society involvement in ENP implementation?

The EU is giving special attention to civil society. It cooperates with NGOs on their strong points and provides them with training and assistance to strengthen their weaknesses. There is a Euro-Mediterranean civil platform that operates at regional and local levels and offers counseling services, even if not constraining. In addition, through its program entitled Transmed, the EU aspires to improve the consultative role of economic and social partners and highlight their contribution to the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, through networking experiences, exchange and training sessions.

What does the EU program for civil protection consist of?

The Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters Program (PPRD) contributes in the development of stronger prevention, and response capacities in civil protection at international, national and local levels. Its purpose is to improve availability of tools and methodologies to increase the information and awareness of populations on risk exposure, prevention and response. More info

Besides declarations of intent, how is the EU promoting reforms in Mediterranean countries?

Within the framework of each Association Agreement concluded with Arab Mediterranean states and bilateral Action Plans designed within the European Neighborhood Policy, reforms seem to be a recurrent theme (political and economic reforms…). Many concrete actions are undertaken in this field, backed up by academic initiatives, among which the Femise program that aims at promoting research on socio-economic issues, through a network of research institutes and reform-related actions. More info

How does the EU promote urban development in the Mediterranean region?

Through CIUDAD “Cooperation in the field of urban development and dialogue”, the EU is helping Southern Mediterranean local governments to tackle, sustainably, urban development problems and promoting cooperation between local actors and their European counterparts.

What is the Euro-Mediterranean information society?

Through the “Regional Program for the support of information society development”, the EU aspires to ensure sustainability of its Research and Development systems and guarantee their effectiveness. Workshops and networking activities are being designed for national regulation authorities in the Mediterranean region and in EU member states. That being said, there is also an IT component included within European programs carried out in the fields of education, administrative reforms, etc.

Where to find reliable statistics on Europe and the Euro-Mediterranean region?

The EU program MEDSTAT was designed to provide the Mediterranean region with updated, timely, reliable and relevant high-quality statistical data. The program addresses mainly the following nine sectors: trade of goods and services, transport, migration, tourism, environment, national accounts, social statistics, energy and agriculture. More info

What about fashion: does it have its place in the Euromed partnership?

Yes. A Euromed Fashion City was created in 2005. It gathers fashion professionals from the Mediterranean region, and aims at encouraging innovation, promoting each partner’s capacity and enhancing synergy between all its members. The fashion city is based on 4 main poles of excellence, which are the basics of the fashion-textile-clothing sector: enterprise, training, creation and multimedia. More info

What about private investment in the Mediterranean region? How is the EU helping this sector?

Many initiatives are being undertaken in the field of private investment, as it is one of the objectives of the ENP. Among them Femip: “Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership”. Established in 2002 by the European Investment Bank and based on various funding sources, Femip aims at developing infrastructure in the Mediterranean partner countries, with special emphasis on private sector growth and the creation of an environment conducive to private investment.

Is there a platform that promotes investment in Mediterranean countries?

Yes. It is called “Anima Investment Network: Together for a competitive Mediterranean”: a multi-country platform for the support of economic development in the Mediterranean region. Gathering around 70 governmental agencies and international networks, ANIMA aspires to contribute to a better investment environment and to increase capital flows into the Mediterranean region. More info

What is the Agadir Agreement? And what role is the EU playing in this regard?

Initiated by four Arab-Mediterranean countries (Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt), along with an open policy towards other countries, this Arab Mediterranean Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 2006, with the purpose of establishing a free trade area between its member states. The EU is supporting this initiative as it falls within the framework of its general policy that aims at promoting South-South cooperation. The main objectives promoted by Agadir Agreement are: reinforcing trade among member countries and with the EU; developing economic integration thanks to the Pan-Euro-Med rules of origin; and promoting European and international investments in Agadir countries. More info

Is there a specific EU program that aims at improving buildings’ energy efficiency?

Considering that improving energy efficiency and reducing effects of climate change are some of the most important challenges facing the world today, the EU carried out a project entitled MED-ENEC on energy efficiency in the construction sector. Its purpose is to reduce for instance the growing impact of air-conditioning on environment, and to introduce energy efficiency measures and the use of solar energy, among others, in the construction sector. Concrete examples can be seen in most Arab Mediterranean countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, etc. Reports are available on our website. More info

What is Anna Lindh Foundation?

Anna Lindh Foundation is an organization shared by more than 40 Euro-Mediterranean countries and has been active even before the launch of the Barcelona Process. Its purpose is to bring people together from across the Mediterranean to improve mutual respect between cultures and to support civil society working for a better understanding between cultures and defending human rights and democracy. More info.

Does the European Union play a role in reducing the very high unemployment rate in Mediterranean countries?

The European Union undertakes a series of actions and projects that create, directly and indirectly, employment opportunities in the Mediterranean. These projects could be economic, cultural or educational. They could work on creating technical and academic training programs that improve the qualifications of working force and executives. These projects also support start-ups and small and medium enterprises and work on the reinforcement of economic and cultural structures. Moreover, the opening up of European markets to products made in partner countries and European private investments in those countries clearly generate employment opportunities.

What does Europe do to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Launched in 1995, the Barcelona process comprises three components: economic and financial, socio-cultural and security. On the security level, efforts are deployed to create a common area of peace and stability, while finding a peaceful resolution to conflicts. This implies indirectly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The European Union is also a member of the Middle East quartet (with the United States of America, Russia and the United Nations), which endeavors to bring closer the points of views of the different parties in order to find a fair and just resolution to this conflict. It is true that the EU is sometimes accused by Arab governments and populations of having a lax attitude towards Israeli aggressions, however, the fact remains that its principled repeated positions as well as its actions are generally more advanced than those of the United States.

How does university exchange between both sides of the Mediterranean operate?

“Erasmus Mundus” is a cooperation and mobility programme in the field of higher education that aims at enhancing the quality of education in European and South Mediterranean countries. Other cooperation activities are included in this programme, namely: the issuance of double diplomas, the elaboration of integrated curriculum or the transfer of good practice. Each Erasmus Mundus partnership relates a minimum of 5 higher education institutions from at least 3 European countries with other institutions from the partner countries concerned by the calls for proposals. In order to benefit from these scholarships and university exchanges, it is wise to visit the website of Erasmus Mundus on regular basis (the partnership section) in order to get updated about calls for proposals for institutions as well as individuals.

What kind of programmes are planned to promote women’s rights in the Mediterranean?

Equality between men and women constitutes a fundamental objective for Euro-Mediterranean countries. Thus, several programmes are anticipated for this goal, namely, the regional programme “Enhancing equality between men and women in the Euromed region”, which aims at judicially and practically promoting this equality, fighting any form of violence against women and enhancing the image of women in the media. On the other hand, other projects are meant to support women on the educational and professional levels; for instance, the business incubator for rural women in Syria, the education initiative of girls in Egypt, the support for rural Lebanese women in producing local productions, as well as the centre that hosts assaulted women in Amman, and the centre opened in Algiers to sell hand-made traditional products made by women.

What do countries of the Mediterranean and the European Union do to develop cooperation between journalists of both sides of the Mediterranean?

The European Neighborhood Journalism Network was created by the European Union to develop networks and training opportunities which will enable journalists in the Euromed and Eastern European regions to exchange experience and learn from one another. The focus will be on developing the professional skills necessary to report on EU affairs. The objective is to provide training to journalists from the south of the Mediterranean, among others, and to help those journalists work with Brussels (the EU headquarters). The project manages 26 training sessions (of one week each), scheduled on 30 months (the duration of the project) in the European or neighboring countries. On the other hand, specific projects support journalists in their struggle for freedom of expression.

What importance does the European Neighborhood Policy give for the protection of heritage in Mediterranean countries?

Since 1998, the EU launched a programme called “Euromed Heritage” aiming at promoting the conservation of material and immaterial cultural heritage in the Mediterranean. This programme funded several projects and partnerships between heritage institutions in the Mediterranean and experts in the field. At this stage, the fourth phase of the programme (2008-2012) is in process and represents a further milestone in recognizing “culture” as a catalyst for mutual understanding between the people of the Mediterranean region. With a total budget of 17 million Euros, “Euromed Heritage IV” intends to facilitate the appropriation by people of their own national and regional cultural legacy through easier access to education and knowledge on cultural heritage. The programme offers to selected projects funding to execute rehabilitation works, a framework for exchange of experience, a channel for disseminating best practices, as well as new perspectives for the development of the cultural institutional environment at national and regional levels.

Does the European Union give any particular attention to the youth in the south of the Mediterranean?

The European Union is working on promoting education and exchange of youth between both sides of the Mediterranean, namely, through a project called “Euromed Youth”. This programme involves mobility projects, non-formal education as well as intercultural learning. This initiative aims at supporting the youth looking for scholarships, as well as start-up’s entrepreneurs. Three main actions are included in the Euromed Youth programme: Youth Exchanges (example: Erasmus programme), Voluntary Services and Support Measures (contact making seminars, study visits, trainings courses and seminars…). Other projects target as well the youth and offer them technical and professional training to facilitate their integration in the labor market.

How does the EU conceive immigration through ENP (both legal and illegal)?

ENP promotes human mobility by facilitating visa issue for short-term stays, even if this strategy is being implemented gradually. The same is true of work immigration, rather named « controlled migrations » when it offers advantages for origin and host countries. A project entitled "Migration II" (2008-2013) is conceived to facilitate on a case-by-case basis legal migration possibilities. On the other hand, illegal migration, with its human beings stream, is and will be much more strictly controlled.

Could the EU contribute towards conflicts’ resolving in concerned countries, through ENP?

ENP is not an instrument for the EU Foreign Security Policy. However, one of the Barcelona process pillar consists building a zone of stability and peace. Consequently, the whole ensemble, including all EU bodies and the numerous actions undertaken aims at contributing towards preventing conflicts and resolving them when they break out. One of the main manifest examples is the EU active contribution to the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even though these efforts did not reach yet.

Who is in charge of designing and implementing the EU funded projects? To what extent local parties in each country have their word to say?

European Neighborhood Policy is designed jointly between the EU and each partner country. EU funded projects are planned out in one commonly approved document, but also by the EC bodies in Brussels according to prior sectors. Local parties, in each country, can make suggestions and requests, be in charge of executing or controlling projects implementation… however, since EU funds derive from "European taxpayer money", projects supervision procedure remains within the EC bodies province.

What is the new financial instrument of the ENP? And how does it differ from previous instruments?

The “European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument” (ENPI) is a financial mechanism set out in 2007 to support the ENP, replacing thus the MEDA instrument. However, in both cases, this instrument is designed for managing funds allocated to partner countries. Yet, the ENPI is much more consistent (an increase of 32% for 2007-2013 compared with previous period, that is €12 billion); it is also known for being much more flexible than MEDA, privileging a bilateral approach (drawn up with each beneficiary country), and much more simplified when it comes to European procedures.

Are Euro-Mediterranean relations limited to ENP ?

Besides ENP, the new Union for the Mediterranean constitutes as well a framework for cooperation between the EU and partner countries, even though its objectives and actions plans announced during the Paris Summit were decelerated due to regional conjuncture. From another point of view, each EU country maintains positive and solid relations with each partner country. Even with the ENP emergence, nothing tells us that these « bilateral relations » are in decline, considering ongoing projects. On the contrary, for example, EC funds still reaches in average 20% of the whole EU and EU member countries’ funding.

Is the European Neighborhood Policy a permanent or a time-limited strategy?

The European Neighborhood Policy constitutes the continuity of the Barcelona process (1995)… moving towards the same direction as previous partnerships and evolving in parallel with the Union for the Mediterranean. Closer EU-Mediterranean relations appear thus to be a self-sustainable concept, irrespective of specific conjunctures. As for the action plan, drawn up in collaboration with partner countries, it lasts 3-5 years and is renewable on a case-by-case basis.

What are the characteristics of a convenient or inconvenient environment that could affect positively or negatively the development of relations between the EU and each Mediterranean country?

There are many factors which, together, could constitute a convenient environment leading for developing relations between Mediterranean countries and Europe. Generally grouped in one document (Action Plan for most countries), these conditions covers same concepts: better democracy, adaptation of regulations (to those in force in the EU), free trade services, implementation of reforms when necessary. It happens that a country going beyond its commitments undertaken with the EU is rewarded with additional assistance, as it is the case now with Morocco.

Does the European Union sets out any sectoral priorities for projects funding in partner countries?

Indeed, in its successive reports (2006, 2007…), the EC stresses importance of supporting reforms in partner countries in specific fields, particularly: energy, transport, environment, new technologies, education, employment, fishing and the sea. This being so, execution of these priorities is made on a case-by-case basis between the EC and Mediterranean ENP partners, in accordance with a long-term plan. It also depends on occasional needs that could come into sight at specific moments.

Does the EU plan and execute its actions alone, or does it cooperate with other international organisms?

The decisions for the main big projects of the EU are taken in Brussels, according to some sectoral preferences. However, in each country, decisions can be taken through cooperation at different levels with other international organisms, when it comes to the choices to be taken or the funds needed to be allocated. These international organisms are (among others): the UN (and its different organisms), other donor countries, including the EU countries, which have, each one alone, a multitude of projects. The ENP is also acknowledged in the strategic plans of the World Bank. Furthermore, when a multilateral budget aid is foreseen for one country, the IMF is considered a reference (for the donors) regarding any evaluation of the financial progress of the concerned country.

What is the role of the private sector in this process and in the ENP in general?

The companies of the private sector benefit indirectly from the actions of the EU and from the partnership process as a whole. Many actions of the EU in partner countries are beneficial to businesses: openness of markets, industrial modernization, legislative reforms and several other aids. However, the majority of those aids go traditionally through public administrations, which are presumed to be more trustworthy. Recently, some actions began to target the business community directly. Businessmen requirements are more and more observed even if this relation is not yet officially set.

What measures could be taken against a partner country when it does not respect its engagements deriving from the agreements or the action plans adopted in the framework of the ENP?

These agreements and action plans have been agreed on prior to their signature. Subsequently, they normally have to be respected. There will be no major juridical sanctions in case of breach of those terms, and the European partner may tolerate some justified delays in implementing what has been agreed upon. When the breach is considerable and unjustified, this might have an effect on the political relations between the European partner and the country involved in this matter. The funding foreseen for some projects might as well be reduced, interrupted or totally cancelled. This is why budgets granted to projects are sometimes less than the numbers agreed on for a certain period of time.

Does the ENP call for a modification of the political system in partner countries?

No, not in these words anyway. Nevertheless, democracy is a key element in the literature of documents signed between both parties. Second, other domains such as the rights of citizens, political and economic reforms are all clear objectives in the process. In this regard, it is well known that some countries in the South lack these aspects according to occidental standards. From the other side, many critics are addressed to the EU, saying that it is not sufficiently urging the authorities in each partner country to practice democracy. The EU, instead, relies on long-term actions and on the civil society, hoping that democratization will improve internally as a result of all those actions.

Does the ENP endanger social or religious local traditions?

Some observers in the countries of the South may fear such an attack, mainly when it comes to the European actions for the equality of gender to the benefit of women. Such interventions may not coincide with some local traditions of patriarchal societies. It is important to note that if such actions exist in one country, it is due to an agreement with this country and with the cooperation of a public administration and/or a private association. Furthermore, EU actions do not interfere with the purely religious traditions. Finally, every country involved in this process is supposed to have accepted a priori certain common values, such as human rights, individual and collective freedom, etc.

Could the ENP generate a cultural hegemony among its partners?

The ENP, in some of its actions, encourages cultural interaction among Mediterranean countries. It also finances some cultural projects inside each country to preserve its patrimony and encourage creativity. However, the ENP does not promote a unique cultural model, something that does not exist anyway with the cultural diversity of the 27 members of the EU.

Could the ENP partners expect to join the EU at the end of this process?

No, the final objective of the neighborhood policy is to reach a free circulation of capital, goods, services and human beings between both partners of the process. However, this is the maximum benefit that the countries of the South can take from the ENP, if they abide by the conditions required. Integration to the EU is not an option for them.

Is there any political condition imposed on partner countries to benefit from the help of the EU?

No, the support of the EU is not conditioned by any sovereign political position that a country may adopt in the framework of its foreign affairs. Nevertheless, these positions should not affect the peace and stability of the region. But internal reforms are theoretically required on the economic and political levels.

Does the ENP process risk of endangering the sovereignty of Arab partners?

Any integration process (political, economic or cultural) cuts away some of the national sovereignty of any involved country. This is applicable to the European Union as well. With the ENP and the Euromed process in general, the relation between partners is an exchange of benefits, and each country should strive to make this relation a win-win situation. Nothing is imposed at the end of the day, but each country that chooses to integrate the group should make some concessions. These concessions are sometimes criticized when they tackle reforms and good governance. Other observers, on the contrary, think that these reforms are advantageous for the countries applying them, and should be implemented regardless of the ENP.

Will the EU products invade the markets of neighboring countries with the implementation of the free-trade zone and the abolition of custom duties?

The products of Arab partner countries were immediately able to reach the European markets in a nearly unlimited pattern. From the other side, an adaptation period going up to 12 years was required for producers of Arab countries to gradually cope with the competition of European products. Quotas and exceptions were also anticipated to protect small industries and sensitive agricultural products in the countries of the South. It is important to note that free-trade zones tend to spread more and more (in the framework of the pan-Arab zone on the regional level or the WTO on the international level), something that will unfold difficulties in maintaining commercial protectionism.

What kind of agreements is concluded between Europe and its neighbors?

Association agreements have been concluded between the EU and each one of its neighbors. These agreements came to replace old ones signed in the seventies. These agreements stipulate the establishment of free-trade zones to facilitate the free circulation of products. However, the conditions of each one of them may be different. Such agreements arrange also for cooperation at different levels: economic, social, political, cultural, legislative, as well as reforms, etc. Joint commissions study every year the implementation of these agreements and decide, accordingly, the modalities of operation.

How does Europe benefit from the ENP?

Europe has a vital interest to live in an environment of peace and stability. Europe is also aware that it cannot stay isolated and indifferent towards any instability factor that may erupt at any moment on its borders, such as armed conflicts, terrorist and criminal ideas and actions, as well as poverty and under-development. Europe can also benefit indirectly from its neighbors’ socio-economic development and growth: first through the exportation of its products and services to the neighboring countries, and second, by the slowdown of migration movements from neighboring countries to its territories.

Who are the beneficiaries of the actions financed by the EU?

According to the EU, the final beneficiaries are the citizens of partner countries in their different stratifications: farmers, manufacturers, businessmen, poor people, rural populations, kids, women, different kinds of professionals, etc. Moreover, projects are implemented through state institutions in partner countries, sometimes by NGOs, educational institutions, coops…

What kind of activities is financed by the EU through the ENP?

Actions and projects financed by Europe in Arab Mediterranean countries (among others) did not start with the launching of the ENP in 2004, neither with the signature of the Barcelona process in 1995. But, with these new instruments, the European support got a different dimension and covered practically all sectors and aspects: infrastructure, development, agriculture, industry, environment, education, public administration, legislative reforms, etc. Moreover, two main aspects were added: the different facets of cultural interaction from one side; and the promotion of democracy, human rights (and women’s empowerment), rule of law… from the other side.

Is the ENP in contradiction with the Arab League?

The main goal of the Arab League is to draw closer the relations between Arab States and enhance collaboration between them. This is why some Arab leaders and observers think that the partnership with Europe is a possible “competitor” to the League, as well as an attempt to foster a euro-Mediterranean identity that does not exist. However, in reality, both tracks complement each others: pragmatic bridge-building among neighbors from one side and the search of an age-long “Arab” identity from the other. The common denominators between both concepts remain: the free–trade zone, stability, security, economic integration, etc.

How does the ENP practically work?

Each partner country presents an “Action Plan” inspired from the objectives of the ENP. Negotiations are then conducted with the EU to finalize the plan and adopt it. Follow-up reports describe the gradual implementation of the plan and suggest adjustments when needed.

Who manages the ENP?

The Commission of Foreign Relations within the European Commission is responsible for carrying out the European Neighborhood Policy. The central management and decision-making come from Brussels, as well as the gestation of programs, actions, budgets, etc. Bilateral commissions, formed with each partner country, work on the development of the policy, according to priorities established in common between the EU and the concerned country.

What is the link between the ENP, the Barcelona process and the Union for the Mediterranean (UPM)?

The Barcelona process was launched in 1995 with the aim of strengthening the relations with the Mediterranean countries of the South and the East, without the East European neighbors. This process proposed partnerships in the form of Association Agreements with the countries that wished to integrate the process. These agreements have commercial, political, cultural and economic aspects. Maintaining the same objectives, the ENP is a continuation of the Barcelona process, but is geographically larger than the first one, and with a different “personalized” approach. Finally, the Union for the Mediterranean, launched by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, maintains the same main objective of euro-Mediterranean cooperation, but privileges certain fields (environment, energy, education, etc.); these interventions are still in course of elaboration.

What are the countries involved in the ENP?

All the frontline countries of the European Union could be involved in the ENP. However, some of these countries are special cases and did not join the ENP, yet. More precisely, the countries involved presently with the ENP are: 9 Mediterranean countries from the South and the East (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the autonomous Palestinian Territories); and 6 other eastern European countries (Ukraine, Moldavia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Byelorussia). Turkey, another neighbor, is in the state of negotiating its adhesion to the EU; and Russia prefers to build a separate “strategic partnership” with the EU. On the other hand, the ENP is not effective yet for Syria, Libya, Algeria or even Byelorussia for multiple reasons.

What is the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP)?

In 2004, 10 countries from Central and Eastern Europe joined the European Union. The EU, thus, found itself in the presence of new neighbors with whom she was eager to build good relations and avoid possible divisions on the political, economic or cultural levels. This is when the “European Neighborhood Policy” was born, with the idea of building a common space of prosperity, stability and peace.