The European Union (EU) is set to allocate €7bn during 2021-2027, as part of its new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI).
This could, in turn, mobilise up to €30bn in private and public investment in the region in the next decade.
The financial allocation comes as part of the European Commission and High Representative’s adoption of a joint communication, on Wednesday, proposing an ambitious and innovative new agenda for the Mediterranean.
This will see the relaunch and strengthening of the strategic partnership between the EU and its Southern Neighbourhood partners.
The new agenda is based on the conviction that, by working together in a spirit of partnership, common challenges can be turned into opportunities. These will take place 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.
High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said, “This Communication sends a crucial message about the importance we attach to our Southern Neighbourhood.”
“A strengthened Mediterranean partnership remains a strategic imperative for the European Union,” he added, “A total of 25 years after the Barcelona Declaration and 10 years after the Arab Spring, challenges in the Mediterranean, many of which were resulting from global trends, remain daunting.”
Borrell also noted that, to address these challenges, there needs to be a renewal of the mutual efforts, and to act closely together as partners, in the general interest.
Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, said, “With the Renewed Partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood, we are presenting a new beginning in our relations with our Southern partners.”
He also said, “It is based on common interests and common challenges, developed together with our neighbours. It shows that Europe wants to contribute directly to a long-term vision of prosperity and stability of the region, especially in the social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”
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.
It renews the EU commitment to shared values, whilst jointly addressing forced displacement and migration.
The agenda also aims 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.
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 the partnership, and essential to ensure citizens’ trust in the institutions.
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.