|Communication from the Commission to the COuncil and the European Parliament - 10th anniversary of the Euro-mediterranean Partnership|
A WORK PROGRAMME TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
1. INTRODUCTION: THE EU IS FULLY COMMITTED TO THE EURO-MEDITERRANEAN PARTNERSHIP
The meeting of Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers in Barcelona on 27-28 November 1995 marked a turning-point in relations between the European Union and its neighbours on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean. A partnership was launched which is comprehensive, both in its geographical coverage and in its sectoral scope, and forward-looking in its political, economic and social ambitions.
The Barcelona Process has developed a strong partnership on a basis of joint ownership, dialogue and cooperation. It has been successful in creating long-term political and institutional links between Europe and Mediterranean Partners, and in engaging Mediterranean Partners in the path of reforms. More importantly, the partnership has been driven by a common political will to build together a space of dialogue, peace, security and shared prosperity. For the EU the Partnership has also reinforced what are historically and strategically strong links and solid relations with Mediterranean partners.
Today, in an increasingly globalised world, the EU remains the main partner of Mediterranean countries both in trade of goods and services. More than 50% of the trade of the region is with the EU, and for some countries the EU represents the destination of more than 70% of their exports. Europe is the largest direct foreign investor (36% of total foreign direct investment) and the EU is the region’s largest provider of financial assistance and funding, with nearly € 3 billion per year in loans and grants. The EU is also the main source of tourism and the first destination for migrants.
Brussels,04 18 2005