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EU and Council of Europe join forces in €4.8 million programme for strengthening democratic reform in the Southern Mediterranean

The European Union and the Council of Europe today signed a €4.8 million joint programme to strengthen democratic reform in the Southern Mediterranean countries.
 
The ceremony took place in Strasbourg between CoE Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland and European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle.
 
The joint programme will support democratic reforms and the independence and efficiency of the judiciary, whilst promoting good governance. It will also target corruption and human trafficking and aim to promote human rights and democratic values, working through government officials, future leaders, youth and civil society. 
 
It will be rolled out initially in Morocco and Tunisia, and some initiatives will be implemented over three years throughout the region.
 
Commissioner Füle declared: "With this programme the EU complements its global response to the Arab Spring in supporting the countries willing to transform and to reform in order to answer their citizens´ call for democratic rights, dignity and prosperity. We want to build on long-standing expertise of the Council of Europe in providing guidance on sensitive political and governance issues to the fragile new democracies."
 
For CoE Secretary General Jagland, the signature marks a further step in the strategic partnership between the two organisations: “The partnership with the European Union, enables us to combine our strengths in this important mission, and will benefit the neighbourhood countries with the expertise of the Council of Europe in supporting political and democratic transformation.”
 
The programme will have the necessary flexibility to react to new and emerging priorities, which may result from the still developing political context in the region.  Strong complementarity and coherence will also be ensured with other EU initiatives such as the SPRING programme or the future ‘European Endowment for Democracy’. (ENPI Info Centre)
 
Read more
 
Press release
 
ENPI Info Centre – New EU programme to support political and democratic reform in Southern Mediterranean (22-12-11)
 
EC factsheet – The EU's response to the 'Arab Spring'
 
Council of Europe – website
 

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