Transport Cooperation between the EU and its Mediterranean Partners

Introduction – A Partnership priority
A Regional Transport Action Plan (RTAP)
Spotlight: the Euromed Transport project
A panorama of regional transport projects
EuropeAid: Transport key to sustainable development
The EIB: facilitating transport
Useful links
Moving in the same direction
A Partnership priority
The establishment of an integrated, efficient, safe and secure transport system in the Mediterranean has been a key priority in the relationship between the European Union and its Southern Partners since relations were established back in 1995, in Barcelona. The Euro-Mediterranean partnership or Barcelona Process, as it was then named,recognised it as a key factor for development and stability and the increase of intra-regional trade. 
Both the EU and the Mediterranean Partner Countries consider transport cooperation as essential to regional economic integration, especially in view of the aim for a Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area, believing it also leads to increased trade and growth.
The need for transport cooperation and the aim of a Free Trade Area has been reconfirmed in the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean, launched in Paris in 2008 by Heads of State or government in a bid to give a new impulse to the Barcelona Process. Transport is one of the six UfM priority fields.
Outlining in simple terms what the EU wants to achieve in its international relations, DG Transport says on its website: “Transport is an area for which relations with third countries are crucial. Transport is essential in order to ensure smooth movements of people and economic operators within the EU but also with the outside world. Its importance becomes even more apparent in a period characterised by globalisation.”
“The world is becoming increasingly global,” said Siim Kallas,Vice-President of the Commission, responsible for Transport in a speech. “This is especially visible in the developments in transport. We in the EU are convinced that working towards cross-border and global solutions, as well as removing barriers, is beneficial for everybody.”
A Regional Transport Action Plan
In a bid to intensify transport cooperation between the EU and its Southern Partners, but also between the Mediterranean Partner Countries themselves, the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference of Marrakech commissioned a Regional Transport Action Plan (RTAP) for the Mediterraneanfor the period 2007-2013.
Adopted in 2007, the RTAP stresses that a safe and efficient integrated transport system is vital for the development of inter-regional trade in the area and, more generally, for economic integration in the Mediterranean Basin. It seeks to identify and prioritise short and medium-term actions in institutional reform and transport networks.
The RTAP is concentrating on the development of infrastructures, especially at regional level, and contributes to the establishment of an integrated, efficient, safe and secure transport system in the Mediterranean. It backs the work of the EuroMed Transport Forum and its working groups dealing with Infrastructure and Regulatory Issues, as well as other relevant sectors, namely aviation, GNSS, maritime affairs, ports and short sea shipping and the sub-groups on Road and Rail Regulatory Issues, Motorways of the Seas and Maritime Safety.
In the Spotlight
The Euromed Transport Project: more safety, increased trade, better environment
“The development of inter-Mediterranean transport is the cornerstone for regional economic integration. It will lead to an increase in trade and a greater movement of passengers between north and south of the Mediterranean,” Dalila Achour Limam, Assistant Manager and Event Coordinator of the Euromed Transport Project in Tunis told the ENPI Info Centre in an interview.
The Euromed Transport Project she works for was launched in 2010 to support the implementation of the RTAP and in this way contribute to the establishment of an integrated, efficient, safe and secure transport system in the region. With a €6 million budget from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), that turns decisions taken in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) into actions on the ground, this Project runs until 2012. It is a follow up to the important Euromed Transport Programme, funded by the EU between 2003 and 2009, with a budget of €9.7 million.
Achour Limam underlines: “Not only will people of the Southern Mediterranean countries benefit from a more modern, comfortable and safer transport system but the project’s impact goes beyond the transport sector and benefits other sectors such as trade, industry and the environment.”
The Euromed Transport Project pursues the modernisation and strengthening of administrative capacities, improves infrastructure networks, ensures technical and administrative interoperability, mobilises national, regional and international sources of funding, and enhances safety and security, especially in road and maritime sectors.
Its actions focus on: updating infrastructure maps, assembling and analysing transport data and forecasting scenarios for the Mediterranean. The Project also monitors implementation of the RTAP in each beneficiary country, conducts pre-feasibility studies, offers technical and logistical support to the Transport Forum, facilitating meetings, conferences and workshops with stakeholders and International Financial Institutions and organises training and information seminars.
A panorama of regional transport projects
Apart from the Euromed Transport Project, EuropeAid’s Regional Programme funds a number of other related projects, that also support actions related to the Regional Transport Action Plan (RTAP), a road map for transport cooperation adopted in 2007 and covering 2007-2013.
These are:
  • EuroMed Aviation Project: promotes the emergence of a Euro-Mediterranean Common Aviation Area and facilitates any future negotiations of comprehensive Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreements. It seeks to reinforce air transport cooperation and improve aviation safety and security in the beneficiary countries.
  • Mediterranean Motorways of the Seas (MEDAMOS): promotes the creation of better maritime transport connections in the Mediterranean through support to Ministries, port authorities, customs and relevant private sector stakeholders. A second phase was launched in December 2010. During the next three years MEDAMOS II will support the partner countries with developing a full Motorways of Seas network in the Mediterranean, also as integral part of the future Trans Mediterranean Transport network (TMN-T)
  • SAFEMED II – Maritime Safety and Pollution Prevention: promotes cooperation in maritime safety and security and prevention of pollution from ships by providing technical advice and support. It seeks to mitigate the existing imbalance between the participating partners that are EU Mediterranean member states and the non EU members from the region in the application of maritime legislation.
  • GNSS II – Euromed Satellite Navigation: undertakes actions towards the operational introduction of sustainable Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) services in the Euro-Mediterranean region as a follow-up to the preparatory work carried out during the GNSS I project. It seeks to develop a suitable institutional, regulatory and service framework for the application of GNSS services in the aviation and maritime transport domain, achieving interconnection with the European infrastructure at an equivalent level of safety standards.
EuropeAid: Transport key to sustainable development
Good quality infrastructure is a key ingredient for sustainable development, as DG EuropeAid and Development Cooperation notes on the transport section of its website. It says: A significant proportion of Commission development funding is used to help partner countries improve their transport systems. Good quality roads, railways, ports and airports are essential for the smooth running of many key economic sectors in the developing world including agriculture, industry, mining and tourism. Efficient transport infrastructures can also improve the delivery of and access to vital social services, such as health and education.
The Commission aims to help partner countries improve transport as a means of achieving the broader goals of reducing poverty, sustaining economic growth and stimulating social development. There is no doubt that improved transport infrastructure will also help developing countries to integrate into the global economy.
To achieve its aims, the Commission works in partnership with country stakeholders and other aid donors. The goal is to make improvements that meet local needs in a safe, affordable and efficient way, and that has a minimal impact on the environment.
With regard to its Regional Dimension, in the Neighbourhood South, EuropeAid recalls that “in the Neighbourhood region, the Commission has created the Neighbourhood Investment Facility to support investments projects for infrastructures’ in sectors including transport.”
The EIB: facilitating transport
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the Mediterranean region’s main financial partner, with more than €10 billion invested between October 2002 and December 2009. Since October 2002, the European Investment Bank (EIB)’s operations in the Mediterranean partner countries have been brought together under the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP).
In October 2008, the EIB was asked by the Euro-Mediterranean finance ministers to support three of the six priority initiatives of the UfM, namely cleaning up the Mediterranean Sea, the Mediterranean Solar Plan and land and sea motorways.
ENPI Info Centre Transport resources
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