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Source:
24 November 2005
IP/05/1464 - Brussels, 24 November 2005

Mediterranean partners to benefit from over €850 million in EU grant support in 2005
The European Commission’s aid to Mediterranean partners will exceed €850 million in 2005. Most aid will be delivered through the MEDA programme. The aid package demonstrates the EU’s continued commitment to the region’s development. This is in addition to around €2 billion annually in loans.

The Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner said

 “Nowhere in the world do we have a better record! Our assistance to our Mediterranean partners is very substantial, underlining the importance we attach to our relationship with these neighbours of the EU. Around half goes to support crucial reform programmes promoting better governance and greater prosperity. We are now delivering this aid more efficiently than ever before, and more rapidly than in any other region”.

The highlights of the Commission’s 2005 support to the Mediterranean countries are:

Algeria, €40 million

The 2005 package covers the areas of water sector development (€20 million) and the modernisation of border police (€10 million). Building on an earlier successful project, new support to civil society (€10 million) has been agreed by means of funding over 150 projects proposed by local NGOs.

Egypt, €110 million

Egypt continues to be one of the main beneficiaries of the MEDA programme. In 2005, the MEDA allocation is €110 million, which bring total funding under MEDA since the year 2000 to €463 million. The main beneficiary of the 2005 package is the water sector which receives €80 million for its reform programme. The aim is to support institutional and legal reform of a sector which is key for the future development of the country. In addition €25 million has been made available in support of the implementation of the Association Agreement concluded between Egypt and the Union, with a view to the upgrading of the institutional capacity of the Egyptian administration in dealing with all aspects of the EU-Egypt Association Agreement.

Jordan, €58 million

Jordan’s endeavour to make its private sector more competitive is supported by a MEDA ‘sector reform facility’ for an amount of €40 million. The programme foresees concrete measures to strengthen the private sector as well as the government’s capacity to provide services in support of trade and investment. Jordan will also receive €15 million in support of the implementation of the EU-Jordan Association Agreement. Lastly, the reforms in the area of governance will be supported with €3 funds to promote human rights, independent media and the development of civil society.

Lebanon, €27 million

At the time Lebanon is entering a crucial phase following the June 2005 elections, the Commission has allocated €14 million to assist the Government in defining and implementing its reform priorities. Part of this support goes to reinforcing local democracy. Other components of the 2005 programmes are civil society support (€3 million), strengthening the management of the water sector (€5 million) and vocational training with a view to improve the functioning of the labour market (€5 million).

Morocco, €135 million

The main component of the 2005 assistance to Morocco is €90 million to fight precarious housing, which is complementary to a loan provided by the EIB; to continue supporting the Northern Province with an initial fund of €15 million to improve its rural roads; €15 million to continue supporting the implementation of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement; an extra allocation of €5 million to support the professional associations; and €2 million to provide training in developing a national democracy and human rights strategy, an EU priority.

Syria, €22 million

Building on the successful Syrian-European Business Centre Programme, creating a national SME (small and medium enterprises) support institution is the next phase in EU-Syria co-operation in this key area. The new MEDA project will support a new non profit making association that will be work to develop the SME sector (€15 million). Contributing to an environment conducive to an enhanced role of civil society is the main objective of a new Civil Society Development Programme (€2 million).

Tunisia, €118 million

With an amount of €118 million, Tunisia is one of the most important beneficiaries of the MEDA programme in 2005. Improving the environment for business, reforming the financial sector and reinforcing the macro-economic framework are the three components of a new joint programme with the World Bank and the African Development Bank; MEDA will contribute to this programme an amount of €78 million. Education remains a high priority in EU-Tunisia co-operation. After successful EU-Tunisia co-operation programmes in the areas of basic and higher education as well as vocational training, co-operation is now extended to secondary education (€30 million). The new sector reform programme will contribute to a better quality of as well as a more modern system of secondary education in Tunisia. Introducing ITC is also an element of the programme.

West Bank and Gaza Strip, €121 million[1]

As in earlier years, West Bank Gaza continues to an important recipient of EU aid. Under the 2005 MEDA programme an amount of €70 million has been made available in support of the World Bank-managed Public Finance Management Reform Trust Fund. In addition West Bank Gaza benefits from financial support of an amount of €50.75 million under the so-called Peace Process Budget line. With a view to addressing urgent infrastructure needs following Gaza disengagement, it has been decided to make available financial support for an amount of €40.55 million. Various health, education and cultural initiatives will equally be supported (€ 9 million)

It should also be highlighted that the Commission provides through various channels (Echo, UNWRA, NGOs) emergency assistance, and food and humanitarian aid. In total it concerns in 2005 an amount of approximately € 120 million.

Regional co-operation, €116 million

As in earlier years, regional MEDA initiatives continue to be a priority for co-operation. A key 2005 regional programme is a €60 million contribution to the EIB’s risk capital facility. Through this facility the EIB contributes to the development of financial markets in the Mediterranean partner countries. This comes in addition to a €25 million contribution for technical assistance under FEMIP.

Other important project under the 2005 regional strategy are: the support to the Anna Lindh Foundation (€5 million), a €5 million contribution to the Euro-MED Youth Programme, a new €10 million contribution for Middle East Peace Projects, and support to various New Neighbourhood Initiatives such as the promotion of a Euro-MED airspace (€5 million), a joint Israel-Palestine transport office (€2 million), a project that promotes co-operation between local authorities on both side of the Mediterranean (MED-PACT, €5 million) and a new transnational-cross border programme (€9.4 million). Finally, support to the TEMPUS programme continues under the 2005 MEDA’s regional co-operation programme with an allocation of €12 million.

Background

Since 1995 the European Union has been providing assistance to Mediterranean countries through the MEDA programme. For the period 1995 to 2006 it concerns a package of almost €9 billion in grant support. In addition the EIB provides loans to the countries of the region for an amount of €11 billion.


More information:
1 For detailed information on the Commission’s assistance to the WBGS during 2005 see:


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