A New Agenda for the Mediterranean

To relaunch and strengthen the strategic partnership between the European Union and its Southern Neighbourhood partners (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia), the European Commission and the High Representative have  adopted a joint communication proposing an ambitious and innovative new Agenda for the Mediterranean.

In 1995, the Barcelona Declaration launched the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership with the objective to create an area of peace, shared prosperity, and human and cultural exchanges. 25 years on, the Mediterranean region is facing a number of governance, socio-economic, climate, environmental and security challenges, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the start of the Barcelona Process, the EU and its southern neighbours have established Association Agreements that have deepened trade integration, encouraged political and technical dialogue and promoted cultural, economic, financial and social cooperation.

The European Council in December 2020 highlighted the need to develop a new Agenda for the Southern neighbourhood to guide the EU’s policy towards the region and the multi-annual programming under the EU’s new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) at the regional and bilateral levels. The EU will carry out a mid-term review of the Joint Communication by 2024.

The new Agenda is based on the conviction that by working together and in a spirit of partnership, common challenges can be turned into opportunities, in the mutual interest of the EU and its Southern neighbours. It includes a dedicated Economic and Investment Plan to spur the long-term socio-economic recovery in the Southern Neighbourhood. Under the new EU’s Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), up to €7 billion for the period 2021-2027 would be allocated to its implementation, which could mobilise up to €30 billion in private and public investment in the region in the next decade.

The new agenda draws on the full EU toolbox and proposes to join forces in fighting climate change and speeding up the twin green and digital transition and harness their potential, to renew our commitment to shared values, to jointly address forced displacement and migration, and to strengthen the unity and resolve of the EU, its Member States and Southern neighbourhood partners in promoting peace and security in the Mediterranean region. It focuses on five policy areas:

  • Human development, good governance and the rule of law: Renew the shared commitment to democracy, the rule of law, human rights and accountable governance,
  • Resilience, prosperity and digital transition: Support resilient, inclusive, sustainable and connected economies that create opportunities for all, especially women and youth,
  • Peace and security: Provide support to countries to address security challenges and find solutions to ongoing conflicts,
  • Migration and mobility: Jointly address the challenges of forced displacement and irregular migration and facilitate safe and legal pathways for migration and mobility,
  • Green transition: climate resilience, energy, and environment: Taking advantage of the potential of a low-carbon future, protect the region’s natural resources and generate green growth.

A dedicated Economic Investment Plan for the Southern Neighbours aims at ensuring that the quality of life for people in the region improves and the economic recovery, including following the COVID-19 pandemic, leaves no one behind. The plan includes preliminary flagship initiatives to strengthen resilience, build prosperity and increase trade and investment to support competitiveness and inclusive growth. Respect for human rights and the rule of law are an integral part of our partnership and essential to ensure citizens’ trust in the institutions.

For More Information

Joint Communication on the renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood
Economic and Investment Plan for the Southern Neighbours
Factsheet – Towards a renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood
Factsheet – The partnership between the EU and its Southern Neighbourhood

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