Where does the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership stand?
Jul 01 2021
The European Union, which has been involved in financing third countries in the Mediterranean since the 1970s, significantly improved its offer of aid for regional integration with the Barcelona Agreements of 25 November 1995. In the wake of the Oslo Accords, signed in Washington between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on 13 September 1993, the EU’s ten Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPCs)were offered a global partnership based on three components: firstly, a political component aimed at creating an area of peace and stability shared between the shores of the “common sea”; secondly, an economic component, aimed at creating a regional free trade area and joint management of the major risks in the region and, finally, a social and cultural component focusing on the mobility of civil societies and the development of cultural cooperation between the two shores of the Mediterranean basin. • For fifteen years, from 1995 to 2010, the “Barcelona Partnership” has had tangible effects, bringing the economies of both shores closer together and initiating a significant reduction in poverty in the MPC. The resources put on the table by the EU were significant both in volume (more than €4 billion per year) and in kind, the range of products being adapted to the different facets of the development of emerging economies. Implemented by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB), the “financial arm of the European Union”, the financial offer included grants to support the modernisation of non-market sectors, technical assistance funds for reforms and for the design and implementation of investments, long-term loans at below-market rates for enterprises and public services, credit lines to the local banking sector for the financing of SMEs and the development of microfinance and, finally, equity or profit-sharing loans for the creation or development of start-ups, especially those working on exports or those created by entrepreneurs from the MPC diasporas established in Europe.