Joint communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Renewed partnership with the southern neighborhood: a new agenda for the Mediterranean – World


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Brussels, 9.2.2021
REGISTRATION (2021) 2 final

{SWD (2021) 23 final}

introduction

25 years ago, the European Union and the southern Mediterranean partners pledged to make the Mediterranean basin a space for dialogue, exchange and cooperation, guarantor of peace, stability and prosperity. . The 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration reminds us that a the strengthened Mediterranean partnership remains a strategic imperative for the European Union, because the challenges that the region continues to face require a common response, in particular ten years after the Arab Spring. By acting together, recognizing our growing interdependence and in a spirit of partnership, we will turn common challenges into opportunities, to our mutual benefit.

To this end and within the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy this joint communication proposes a new, ambitious and innovative Agenda for the Mediterranean, by building for the first time on the EU’s comprehensive toolbox and on the revolutionary opportunities of the twin green and digital transitions, in order to re-launch our cooperation and realize the untapped potential of our common region. Perspective of post-COVID-19 recovery offers rare opportunity for Europe and Mediterranean region commit to a common people-centered program and the actions necessary for its implementation.

The southern Mediterranean region faces governance, socio-economic, climatic, environmental and security challenges, many of which stem from global trends and call for joint action by the EU and southern neighborhood partners. Protracted conflicts continue to inflict terrible human suffering, trigger significant forced displacement, weigh heavily on the economic and social prospects of entire societies, especially for countries hosting large refugee populations, and intensify geopolitical competition and external interference. Too many people risk their lives trying to enter the EU illegally, fueling a ruthless, criminal and destabilizing contraband industry for local communities. Threats from terrorism, organized crime and corruption continue to fuel instability and stifle prosperity. Economic growth in the southern neighborhood has not kept pace with population growth. The region has one of the lowest levels of regional economic integration in the world. Unsustainable use of natural resources and climate change compromise access to water, food and energy, accelerate desertification and biodiversity loss, and threaten lives and livelihoods. Significant economic and gender inequalities persist and governments struggle to meet the aspirations of today’s youth.

The urgency of addressing these challenges is further heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which exemplified strongly shared vulnerabilities and our mutual interdependence. The new Agenda for the Mediterranean integrates new areas and forms of cooperation identified during the crisis. The new Mediterranean Agenda offers opportunities for new partnerships on the strategic priorities of the green and digital transition and is based on the conviction that sustainable prosperity and resilience can only be built in a strong partnership across the Mediterranean. Our partnership will be based on common values ​​and dialogue, and on progress on our common socio-economic and political agenda, including reforms in areas such as governance and the rule of law, macroeconomic stability and development. business environment. The new agenda aims for a green, digital, resilient and fair recovery, guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal.

This communication sets the goal for the years to come to build fairer, more prosperous and more inclusive societies for the benefit of people, especially young people.

To capture this momentum, the joint communication proposes the following Key orientations of our partnership:

– A “Economic and investment plan for the neighbors to the South” will help stimulate long-term socio-economic recovery, promote sustainable development, remedy the region’s structural imbalances, and harness the economic potential of the region. The plan includes concrete flagship initiatives in priority sectors. It aims to increase the attractiveness of the region to investors. We will seek strategic engagement with international financial institutions (IFIs), in particular the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, as well as regional banks and the private sector. A renewed commitment to implement and support inclusive socio-economic reforms, in particular of the business environment, sustainable economic growth and stability-oriented macroeconomic policies supported by a long-term strategy, is essential for that these initiatives succeed.

The economic and investment plan is indicative and not exhaustive and may change depending on progress on political and political issues and in bilateral relations between partner countries. During the period 2021-2027, subject to the entry into force of the relevant legal bases under the next multiannual financial framework and without prejudging the outcome of the programming process, the Commission proposes to mobilize up to 7 billion euros within the framework of the Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). This support includes provisioning of EFSD + guarantees and blending under the Neighborhood Investment Platform, which would help mobilize private and public investments of up to 30 billion euros in the southern district.

Join forces to fight climate change, reduce harmful emissions, use resources in a sustainable manner and accelerate the green transition. We need to prepare for long-term scenarios where new forms of low-carbon energy gradually replace fossil fuels. To this end, the Commission will propose to partner countries comprehensive initiatives promoting carbon neutral, low carbon and renewable energies, building on key elements of the European Green Deal such as the hydrogen strategy. Fostering investments in energy efficiency, renewable energies and a new focus on the production of clean hydrogen, in particular through adequate regulatory and financial incentives, and regional integration of electricity markets and networks will be priorities . This will help to preserve our Mediterranean common goods for the benefit of all. We will also help our partners to increase their resilience to climate change by strengthening our action on adaptation especially in key vulnerable sectors such as agriculture and water.

A renewed commitment to the rule of law, human and fundamental rights, equality, democracy and good governance as the foundation of stable, just, inclusive and prosperous societies, respecting diversity and tolerance. Respect for human rights, including social and labor rights, gender equality and children’s rights, builds the confidence of citizens. The rule of law and strong institutions that protect rights and fight inequalities, serve human and economic development by contributing to a secure and predictable business environment, help attract foreign direct investment, increase economic resilience and fight poverty and inequalities. Democratic governance and responsive state systems, accountable institutions and the fight against corruption reinforce this commitment. The fight against manifestations of intolerance, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred and other forms of xenophobia as well as the protection of minorities must remain a shared priority throughout the region. Particular attention will be paid to promoting the role of women in society and the economy.

Jointly address the challenges of forced displacement and irregular migration and seize the benefits of legal migration effectively and efficiently, through comprehensive tailored and mutually beneficial partnerships, protecting the rights of migrants and refugees, in accordance with the New Compact European Commission on Migration and Asylum. This is crucial for Europe and the southern Mediterranean, where migratory flows affect both host societies and transit countries. The increased opportunities and jobs that will be generated by the economic and investment plan, especially for women and youth, will help reduce the factors that lead to irregular migration. Acting together as partners is essential.

A renewed commitment to unity and solidarity among EU Member States, as well as mutual and shared commitment and joint actions with Southern Neighborhood partners, is a precondition for the effective implementation of the Agenda for the Mediterranean. This applies to efforts to resolve conflicts and address common security concerns, as well as to economic and sectoral cooperation. The full engagement of EU Member States is particularly important. Their diplomatic networks, their long-standing security and development cooperation and their ability to mobilize the private sector will be essential to achieve the ambitious goals set out in this Communication. To build such a unified effort, we propose to significantly strengthen political and political dialogue across the Mediterranean. Efforts will continue to strengthen regional cooperation, with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) as the focal point, and support subregional and interregional cooperation, in particular with African partners. The EU will also be ready to further explore regions, sub-regions or trilateral cooperation and joint initiatives between partner countries at all levels, including in the light of the recent normalization of relations between Israel and a number of Arab countries.

The renewed partnership for the Mediterranean and the accompanying economic and investment plan will enable the EU and its southern neighborhood partners to meet the many challenges facing our common region today.

The New Mediterranean Agenda proposes a series of actions in the following key policy areas:

1) Human development, good governance and the rule of law
2) Strengthen resilience, build prosperity and seize the digital transition
3) Peace and security
4) Migration and mobility
5) Green transition: climate resilience, energy and the environment

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