Union for the Mediterranean: Commission increases its contribution to priority projects

The European Commission is releasing an additional €72 million for 2009-2010, for priority projects identified by the Euro-Mediterranean Heads of State and Government at the launch of the Union for the Mediterranean in Paris last year.
Speaking on the eve of Monday’s anniversary of the launch of the UfM, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and the ENP, acknowledged that the suspension of activities following the crisis in Gaza had prevented key political decisions necessary to allow the Union to gain top speed.
“It is important that we realise the urgency to start working and to deliver to our citizens the potential benefits of such a Union,” she said. “I am sure that today there is the political will to overcome the differences and hope that the recent meetings held between partner countries will allow us to clearly pave the way towards the gradual resumption of activities so we can move forward."
A Commission press release gave the following breakdown of the new allocation for priority areas:
  • Environment - De-pollution of the Mediterranean (€22 million for 2009-2010) The Programme ‘Sustainable Water Management and De-pollution of the Mediterranean’ will promote sustainable water management policies in the context of increasing water scarcity. Part of the funds will be dedicated to support the Mediterranean Water Strategy. €7 million will be dedicated to the implementation of the ‘Horizon 2020’ Programme from September 2009.
  • Maritime and Land Highways (€7.5 million) The ‘Mediterranean Motorways of the Seas, phase II’ and ‘Integrated Maritime Policy for the Mediterranean’ programmes will contribute to the development of an efficient and integrated Mediterranean Transport Network.
  • Alternative Energies: Mediterranean Solar Plan (€5 million) The creation of a Mediterranean Solar Plan is one of the major concrete initiatives of the UfM. To support this initiative, the Commission is carrying out studies to identify the most effective strategy for the Mediterranean Solar Plan.
  • FEMIP (€32 million for 2009-2010) The EIB’s Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership will contribute during 2009 and 2010 to the de-pollution of the Mediterranean, under Horizon 2020, to the development of renewable energy in the Mediterranean region under the umbrella of the Mediterranean Solar Plant, and to the development of sustainable transportation infrastructures, as foreseen in the Maritime and Land Highways priority project
The Commission is also providing a contribution of €1 million to the Euro-Mediterranean University in Portoroz (Slovenia) to allow non EU Mediterranean students to participate in the programmes, and is in the process of identifying the financial needs and possibilities related to the running of the UfM Secretariat in order to allocate funds.
This latest allocation brings the total community budget dedicated since July 2008 to the priorities identified by the Union for the Mediterranean to €90 million.
Press release
Commission decision approving the second part of the 2009 Annual Action Programme in favour of the Mediterranean region
Union for the Mediterranean – background memo
ENPI Info Centre – UfM Finance Ministers underline need for cooperation
ENPI Info Centre  – Neighbourhood Environment Cooperation Press Pack
ENPI Info Centre  – Twelve Questions about the Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation: The Barcelona Process explained
ENPI Info Centre – Euro-Mediterranean cooperation success stories     

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