Cooperation in the Mediterranean goes on: ‘NextMed’ conference

The Committee of the Regions in Brussels hosted last 28th May the ‘NextMed’ Conference, of the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme, a multilateral cross-border cooperation initiative funded under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.  

This conference aimed to highlight the achievements and future challenges of the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme. During this conference, it was discussed the role of cross-border cooperation as part of the consultation on the new the European Neighbourhood Policy by political and institutional representatives from both sides of the Mediterranean, with a special attention on the on funded projects in fields such as environmental sustainability, social inclusion, innovation and business development.

Staff and officials working for EU institutions, Embassies, offices of local and regional administrations as well as associations, federations and think tanks were presented in this conference.

It should be highlighted the presence of Mr. Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. The Commissioner stressed the importance of the cooperation between the EU and other neighbouring countries to promote the economy and to give stability to some of these places, especially to all those countries sharing borders with the South of the Member States, and how relevant it is to make people feel that all the cooperation programmes are making their life easier.

In this sense, Mr. Raouf Saad, Ambassador, Chairman of the National Steering Bureau for the implementation of Egypt-EU Partnership Agreement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Egypt, underlined during his speech the role that those projects have played in his country, bringing peace and stability to the regions and countries, and claimed for more funds in Egypt.

Ms. Moufida Jaballah Srarfi, Director General of cross-border cooperation with the European Union, Ministry of Development and International Cooperation, Tunisia, stressed out the cooperation projects that could improve the quality of life of the citizens, such as all the action related to the visa management.

Projects of cooperation

The conference closed with an analysis of some of the projects of this cooperation programme, it was the case of the Ruwomed project, which promotes the participation of women in the economic life and the Lactimed project, which fosters the development of Mediterranean dairy sector.

The programme

Since 2007, the ENPI CBC Med Programme has been a platform for cooperation among public administrations, local institutions, universities, civil society, and the private sector from 14 EU Member States and Southern Partner Countries.

Having financially supported 95 projects in fields such as socio-economic growth, cultural dialogue, sustainable tourism, environmental challenges and development of human capital, the ENPI CBC Med Programme is now moving towards its second phase of implementation under the new European Neighbourhood Instrument 2014-2020.