The European Commission adopted today the 2014-2020 cross-border cooperation (CBC) “Mediterranean Sea Basin” Programme with €209 million of EU funding under the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).
The Programme aims to foster fair, equitable and sustainable economic, social and territorial development in regions placed along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
“Cross-border cooperation plays a key role in avoiding the creation of new dividing lines. This new funding will further contribute to a more integrated and sustainable regional development in the neighbouring border regions and to a more harmonious territorial cooperation on EU’s external borders,” said Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn.
The Programme provides a framework for implementing cooperation projects in four main thematic objectives:
• Business and SMEs development, through support to start-up enterprises and the enhancement of Euro-Mediterranean value chains and clusters. Diversification of tourism into new segments and niches is also part of this objective.
• Support to education, research, technological development and innovation, with focus on technological transfer, commercialization of research results and enhancement of links between industry and research.
• Promotion of social inclusion and the fight against poverty, addressing the NEETS category (Not in Education, Employment or Training) as well actors from the social and solidarity economy.
• Environmental protection, climate change adaptation and mitigation, including efficiency in water, waste and energy management as well as conservation of coastal areas.
Women and young people are key target groups of the new Programme while people to people cooperation, institutional capacity building and respect of democracy and human rights are considered as cross-cutting issues to guide the implementation phase.
“The adoption of the Programme highlights the importance of the Mediterranean in the external relations of the European Union. Mediterranean regions are united by numerous common challenges and I am glad to witness that the European Commission confirmed its trust in the Programme, a unique framework for joint projects among public authorities, municipalities, universities, companies, and the civil society from both shores of the Mediterranean,” said Francesco Pigliaru, President of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia. As for the 2007-2013 period, this Italian region is the institution in charge of the day to day management and implementation of the Programme on behalf of the European Commission and the participating countries.
13 countries have already adhered to the Programme: Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Palestine, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia. Other eligible countries under the ENI will be able to join at a later stage.
Support to projects (grants) will be awarded through calls for proposals expected to be launched starting from mid-2016, following the signing of the Financing Agreements between the European Commission and Mediterranean Partner Countries.
The cross-border component of the European Neighbourhood Policy is made of 17 programmes, worth €1 billion, which aim at supporting social and economic development in regions on both sides of the Eastern and Southern external borders of the European Union.
A first group of programmes, including ENI CBC Med, was approved today by the European Commission, while others will be adopted tomorrow and by the end of the year.
Source: ENI CBC Med