Euromed: Flexibility, funds needed for EU CBC Med program

Delegates to Rome conference lay out future guidelines

18 July, 16:09

(ANSAMed) - ROME, JULY 18 - The program needs more flexibility, cooperation, and money, delegates to the mid-term conference of the EU-financed Cross-Border Cooperation in the Mediterranean (CBC Med) program said on Wednesday. ''As demonstrated by the high number of applications, there is a lot of interest in this program, but not enough money to fund all the proposals we receive,'' European Neighborhood Partnership Instrument (ENPI) Director Anna Catte said, adding that after the initial trial stages, ''we have laid the foundations for a more balanced participation'' by European and Mediterranean partners.

More flexibility in choosing priorities and applying the rules is needed, given the ongoing upheavals and the fast-changing panorama in the southern Mediterranean basin, delegates said. And while freedom of movement is among the program's objectives, this has remained a dead letter as far as people are concerned, Steering Bureau for Egyptian-European Association and Action Plan leader Nehad Abdel Latif pointed out. ''This is a problem that must be solved on a national and not a regional level,'' said Abdel Latif, who is the former Egyptian ambassador to Italy.

Another problem undermining the CBC Med program is the ongoing hostility between Israel and the Arab world, according to Foreign Ministry official Marco del Panta. ''On more than one occasion, some Arab countries refused to participate in joint projects that also include Israelis,'' del Panta told ANSAMed. Algeria, Morocco and Libya declined to join the CBC Med program, but this was their own choice. ''The EU is ready to welcome them whenever they're ready,'' Catte said.

The ENPI CBC Med program involves 14 countries and 76 regions located along the Mediterranean coast. Its aim is to promote harmonious and sustainable cooperation in the Mediterranean Basin, to face common challenges together and to leverage the potential of each participating region. (ANSAMed).

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