Since 2012, based on an established long-lasting partnership, the Council of Europe and the European Union have been working in close partnership with beneficiaries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine*and Tunisia) from the Southern Mediterranean region to advance human rights and democratic governance based on the shared values of the two organisations, and in line with the national reform agendas.

Anchored in the Memorandum of Understanding of 2007 between the Council of Europe and the European Union, this partnership also derives from the Statement of Intent of 2014 in which both organisations recall their commitment to mobilise capacities and resources to further coordinate the implementation of their policy goals in the neighbourhood and enlargement regions.

Building on the success and lessons learnt from the successive phases of the South Programme1 [South Programme I (2012-2014), South Programme II (2015-2017), South Programme III (2018-2020) and the South Programme IV (2020-2022)], the South Programme V (2022-2025) will continue to support the ongoing democratic reforms and their successful completion. To reach its objectives, this new phase of the programme will continue emphasizing working regional co-operation, which is fundamental in achieving sustainable and strong democratic systems based in independent rule of law, human rights standards and good governance building, and will introduce the Quick Response Mechanism (QRM) by which expert advisory bodies of the Council of Europe provide ad-hoc legal advice to respond to requests for legislative analysis received from partners in their areas of competence.

The results achieved over a decade of implementation of the South Programme were assessed during a regional Conference “Building a common legal space: a decade of joint action in the Southern Mediterranean region”, the conclusions of which are available online.

*This designation shall not be construed as a designation of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of Council of Europe member States on this issue.

The South Programme is a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Union, financed by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.