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EU-Algeria: A new stage of more intense cooperation

European Union support for reforms and strengthening of bilateral cooperation are the main topics on the table as Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle begins a two-day visit to Algeria today.
 
“This is my third visit to Algeria and I am happy to say that there was good progress made in our relations since my previous visit last May,” the Commissioner said on arrival at Algiers airport.
 
“I would like to see this visit as opening ground for even more progress. Algeria is important partner for the EU and a key player in the region,” he said, adding the EU welcomed the ongoing reform process and was ready to support it – “because reform efforts are crucial in responding to the legitimate aspirations of the population and should bring benefits for all Algerian people.”
 
Earlier, before leaving Brussels, the Commissioner welcomed the fact that political dialogue with Algiers had become more intensive and that the government had announced its willingness to start exploratory talks towards drawing up an Action Plan in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).
 
He stressed that the EU was following the ongoing reform process very closely: "Reform efforts are crucial for Algeria to respond effectively to the legitimate aspirations of its population, in particular the youth. I welcome the steps taken to improve women´s representation in political life and to allow more political parties to take part in the upcoming elections. I also hope that the authorities will address the concerns raised by the civil society on the recent laws on freedoms of association and expression," Commissioner Füle said.
 
During his talks with Algerian counterparts the Commissioner will explain the support which the EU is ready to provide for the reform efforts based on the principles of the reviewed European Neighbourhood Policy, including the principle ‘more for more’.
 
He will also sign the EU-Algeria Cooperation Agreement on Science and Technology to improve cooperation in science, technology and innovation in areas of mutual interest.
 
During his stay in Algiers, Commissioner Füle is expected to meet with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and several other members of government. He will also meet representatives of civil society, underlining the high importance the EU attaches to discussions with non-governmental stakeholders, including civil society organisations, the private sector and trade unions.
 
Algeria announced its willingness to start exploratory negotiations for the elaboration of an ENP Action Plan in December 2011, and the government recently invited the EU to observe the legislatives elections on 10 May. This will be the first time EU observers will be present during elections in the country.
 
The EU and Algeria are linked by an Association Agreement signed in 2002 and in force since 2005. The 6th EU-Algeria Association Council took place on 19-20 June 2011 during which both sides acknowledged progress made in bilateral relations since 2010 and expressed willingness to reinforce cooperation. A 7th session of the EU-Algeria Association Council is foreseen in the second half of 2012. (ENPI Info Centre)
 
Read more
 
Press release
 
Füle comments on arrival
 
ENPI Info Centre webpage – Algeria
 
EU Delegation – Algeria
 
The EU Response to the Arab Spring – resource centre
 
ENPI Info Centre interview – The EU and the Arab Spring: helping a new generation build a new society
 

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