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  • Programmes
  • Financial and technical measures to accompany the reform of economic and social structures in the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, 1996-1999

Previous programme

IC-IMP

Programme funding

EUR 3 425,5 million

Official Journal Reference

L 189 of 1996-07-30

Legislative Reference

1488/96 of 1996-07-30
To support the efforts of the Mediterranean partner countries and territories to reform their economic and social structures and to mitigate any social or environmental consequences which may result from economic development.

Abstract

The purpose of this Regulation is to set out the rules for the administration of the new budget heading (B7-410) for the financing of technical and financial cooperation measures in favour of the Mediterranean region.

In the past, Community cooperation with the non-member Mediterranean partners was principally implemented by bilateral protocols on financial and technical cooperation. After a transitional period, these bilateral protocols will, for the most part, be replaced by the current Regulation.

In line with the Commission Communication "Strengthening the Mediterranean Policy of the European Union: proposals for implementing the Euro-Mediterranean partnership" (COM(95) 72), the priority axes of cooperation are: support to economic transition and the establishment of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area, support for a better socio-economic balance and support for regional cooperation. Measures will also be included to support the participation of women, good governance, and respect for democratic principles and human rights.

Subdivision

Three main fields:

- Section I: Support for economic transition and the establishment of a Euro-Mediterranean free-trade area. Measures include:

. Job creation and private sector development, including improvement of the business environment and support for SMEs;
. Promotion of investment, industrial cooperation and trade between the European Community and the Mediterranean partners, as well as among the Mediterranean partners themselves;
. Upgrading of economic infrastructure, possibly to include financial and taxation systems;

- Section II: Support for achieving a better socio-economic balance. Areas for support include, in particular, the following:

. Participation of civil society and populations in the planning and implementation of development measures;
. Improvement of social services, especially in the areas of health, family planning, water supplies, sanitation and housing;
. Fight against poverty;
. Harmonious and integrated rural development and the improvement of urban living conditions;
. Reinforced cooperation concerning fisheries and the sustainable exploitation of marine resources;
. Reinforced environmental cooperation;
. Upgrading of economic infrastructures, particularly in the sectors of transport, energy, rural development, information technology and telecommunications;
. Integrated development of human resources to complement Member States' programmes, notably with regard to continuing vocational training in the context of industrial cooperation, and improvement of the potential for scientific and technological research;
. Strengthening democracy and respect for human rights;
. Cultural cooperation and youth exchanges;
. Cooperation and technical assistance, through the above-mentioned measures, aimed at reducing illegal immigration, drug trafficking and international crime;

- Section III: Regional and cross-border cooperation. This is to be supported, in particular, by:

. Establishing and developing structures for regional cooperation between Mediterranean partners;
. Establishing the infrastructure necessary for regional trade, including transport, communications and energy;
. Improving the regulatory framework and small-scale infrastructure projects in the context of border-crossing facilities;
. Cooperation on the level of large geographic regions as well as measures complementary to those undertaken in this field within the Community, including support for connection between the transport and energy networks of the Mediterranean partners and the trans-European networks;
. Other regional activities including the Euro-Arab dialogue;
. Exchanges between civil society in the Union and the Mediterranean partners.

Implementation

The Commission is responsible for implementing the MEDA programme assisted by the "MED Committee" composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission. A representative of the European Investment Bank (EIB) may participate, without voting rights, in the proceedings.

For the purpose of the Regulation, beneficiaries under the MEDA programme comprise the following Mediterranean partner territories and countries: Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and the Occupied Territories of Gaza and the West Bank.

Community support under MEDA mainly takes the form of grants (up to 100% of the operational programme or project) or risk capital for measures aimed at implementing the programme's objectives. Provisions are also made for joint financing with other sources in the public and/or private sector. Interest rate subsidies (at a rate of 3%) may be granted by the EIB for cooperation measures in the field of the environment. The types of activities financed primarily take the form of: technical assistance; training; institution-building; information; seminars; studies; projects for investment in micro-enterprises, small and medium-sized undertakings and infrastructures; and action designed to highlight the Community nature of the assistance. An emphasis is to be placed on decentralized cooperation where this is deemed to be effective.

Three-year indicative programmes detailing the main objectives of, and the guidelines for, the priority sectors of Community support towards "achieving a better socio-economic balance" (see Section II of the "Subdivisions" section of this summary) are to be established. Serving as an instrument for the strategic management of MEDA, these programmes take into account the priorities identified with the Mediterranean partners and may be updated annually as necessary. The programmes will also include indicative budgets (overall and by priority sector) and list the criteria for funding the programmes concerned.

Invitations to tender and contract under the MEDA programme are to be open on equal terms to all natural and legal persons in the Member States and the Mediterranean partners. To this end, the Commission is responsible for ensuring:

- The widest possible participation under equal conditions in short lists and tenders for supplies, works and services;
- The necessary transparency in the application of the selection and evaluation criteria;
- Effective competition among firms, organizations and institutions interested in participating in the initiatives financed by the programme;
- Submission of a "procedures guide" concerning the detailed implementation of these objectives to the MED Committee.

An evaluation report, accompanied by proposals regarding the future of the Regulation is to be drawn up by the Commission before 31 December 1998. The Council is required to review the Regulation before 30 June 1999.
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