EU provides €365.5 million to support Southern Mediterranean countries
This Tuesday, the EU provided €365.5 million to promote private sector development, democratic reforms and better living conditions in Southern Mediterranean partner countries namely Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco.
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, commented: “Today’s new EU assistance package will directly benefit citizens in partner countries by creating jobs, stimulating growth and improving living standards, including among the most vulnerable. This EU support is crucial given the various challenges our Southern Mediterranean partners are currently facing".
Out of this package, €237 million will support private sector development in all four countries. This includes improving the global business environment and promoting economic diversification. The funding will also assist partner countries in creating job opportunities, conducting vocational training reforms and boosting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
€100 million will contribute to improving citizens’ living conditions, including through poverty reduction initiatives and better access to basic health services. Moreover, it will address effects of climate change through the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency actions.
The remaining €28.5 million will support democratic reforms in Algeria, Lebanon and Morocco. It will notably target the promotion and strengthening of civil society, citizens’ participation in public local life and support judiciary and penitentiary system reforms.
In effect, these newly-adopted programmes will benefit the following Southern Mediterranean countries as follows:
Algeria will get €25 million to enhance the global business environment of private companies, notably in the industrial sector. This funding will also improve citizen's participation, in particular young people and women, in local governance activities.
Jordan on the other hand will benefit from support programmes totalling €135 million to target renewable energy and energy efficiency reforms, thus contributing to poverty reduction and fight against climate change. Furthermore these actions will foster job creation through support to the private sector – a key element for the country’s stability at times of multiple challenges.
Through €25 million assistance, the EU will support Lebanon's effort to make micro, small and medium-sized enterprises more competitive. It will also aim at improving the capacity of civil society organisations to monitor and promote reforms and public accountability. This support will also provide technical assistance to the government in tackling current challenges, including the Syrian refugees’ crisis.
And as regards Morocco, support worth €180.5 million will boost the country’s competitiveness and increase economic growth through diversification and vocational training reforms. It will also assist the country in its democratic reforms of the judiciary and penitentiary systems. This funding will further benefit the citizens through reforms allowing for fair access to better quality basic health services.
EU bilateral and regional cooperation with the Southern Neighbourhood takes place in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and includes the following ten partner countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine*, Syria and Tunisia.
Cooperation covers a wide range of sectors; including democratic development, rule of law and good governance; economic development; social sectors and social protection; human development and migration.
In addition the EU reviewed and adjusted cooperation programmes to ensure that they responded to the immediate challenges in the region. This included an in-depth review of the EU bilateral cooperation with the different Southern Neighbourhood partner countries but also mobilizing substantial financial resources (over €4.2 billion during 20112013 under the ENPI alone) to support the countries undergoing transition. The SPRING (Support to Partnership, Reform and Inclusive Growth) programme was launched to operationalize the newly created incentive-based approach, making additional funds (€540 million for 2011-2013) available to partner countries making progress in democracy-related areas and respect for human rights. Finally, a financial facility was launched to support civil society organisations active in partner countries.