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Network cooperation between EU and Mediterranean non-member countries

The European Commission, DG I, has published a call for proposals for cooperation in networks of local authorities and municipalities in the European Union and those in eligible Mediterranean non-member countries (MNCs).

As part of the European Union's policy of creating a Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the European Commission's Directorate-General for External Economic Relations developed the MED-URBS programme to promote decentralized cooperation between local authorities in the EU and those in eligible MNCs. These are:

- Algeria;
- Egypt;
- Israel;
- Jordan;
- Lebanon;
- Cyprus;
- Malta;
- Morocco;
- Syria;
- Tunisia;
- Turkey;
- The Occupied Territories.

The programme is intended to supplement existing measures in the field of development cooperation with the MNCs. Following a pilot phase in 1993, MED-URBS entered its consolidation phase in 1994. Project were co-financed on an annual basis. This call for proposals is aimed at selecting MED-URBS networks to be co-financed by the European Community from January 1996 onwards on a two-yearly basis. The co-financing of the second year is subject to an evaluation at the end of 1996.

MED-URBS aims at developing, by creating links between local communities in MNCs and the EU, the capacity of local authorities to pursue the main objectives of the European Union's Mediterranean policy. These are:

- Economic development;
- Social stability;
- Management of the environment and quality of life.

A clear focus is put on improving the quality of local management, increasing decentralization and strengthening democracy. To that end, MED-URBS seeks to promote the following:

- The creation or strengthening of trans-Mediterranean networks comprising European and MNC local authorities;
- The exchange within such networks of experience and know-how in urban management and development;
- The development of lasting cooperation between network partners;
- Efforts to encourage the active involvement of the civil society in the networks' activities;
- The dissemination of experience and results obtained in the framework of MED URBS networks.

The MED-URBS programme is open to networks formed for the execution of a cooperation project by European democratically elected local authorities and local authorities in the MNCs. A network must involve municipalities or local authorities from at least two MNCs and two Member States of the European Union. A network may comprise up to six partners, but only if the necessity of having more than four partners is made sufficiently clear in the proposal.

Networks which have taken part in the programme in previous years must submit new proposals if they wish to continue their work within MED-URBS. They must build on activities in previous years within the network and submit proposals which clearly use the experience gathered in the framework of MED-URBS. The European Commission particularly encourages cities and local authorities from MNCs to submit proposals and, if possible, to take on the role of project leader.

Projects must relate to urban management and development issues and must serve the needs of MNC local communities. The three main project fields are:
- Urban management;
- Urban social and economic development;
- Urban environment.

Projects should deal with the abovementioned fields and should clearly identify the final beneficiaries of their actions within the MNC population. Projects should show evidence of the context and the need for the proposed actions, must be supervised and executed by municipal staff, must have concrete and well-defined objectives and include a detailed and coherent two-year work plan.

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