EU commitments in its policy towards the Southern Mediterranean

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and Union for the Mediterranean

In November 1995, adopting the Barcelona Declaration, the then 15 EU Member States and 12 Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries launched the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP). This process aimed at achieving a common area of peace and stability underpinned by sustainable development, rule of law, democracy and human rights.

In 2008, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership was replaced by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). Yet this multilateral partnership has become stagnant due to the conflicts in the region. At the moment, the UfM deals mainly with promoting regional economic and infrastructure projects.

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership/ UfM has also held three ministerial conferences on strengthening the role of women in society and made commitments to working towards ensuring gender equality.

The European Neighbourhood Policy

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), launched in 2004, is a bilateral mechanism regulating the EU’s relationship with two regionally-defined areas: South and East. It has become the main foreign policy instrument guiding EU external action towards its neighbouring countries

The ENP-South is built on legally binding Association Agreements. On top of them, non-binding Partnerships Priorities have been mutually agreed following the ENP review published in November 2015. The stated priorities are: stabilisation and security, economic development and migration management. Human rights are at the margin.