Within the framework of the CoE policy towards its neighbouring regions, co-operation with the Southern Neighbourhood is the most advanced. The co-operation priorities documents (“Neighbourhood Co-operation Priorities”) for the period 2012-2014, approved in 2012 with the authorities of Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan (see also “Neighbourhood Co-operation”) identified a set of priority areas related to human rights, the Rule of Law and democracy. Concrete results have already been achieved (for further details, see Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan). Technical co-operation and political dialogue will be further enhanced under the “Neighbourhood Partnership” documents with Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan for 2015-2017.
Morocco and Tunisia were the main beneficiaries of the Joint Programme between the European Union (EU) and the CoE on “Strengthening democratic reform in the Southern Neighbourhood” (South Programme), with a total budget of 4, 8 million € over 3 years (2012-2014). Co-operation with the EU in the Southern Mediterranean will be pursued and strengthened under the new EU/CoE Joint Programme “Towards strengthened Democratic Governance in the Southern Mediterranean” (South programme II) covering 2015-2017 (total budget of 7,4 million €).
Building on the achievements of its first edition, the South Programme II will continue supporting democratic governance agenda in Southern Mediterranean countries by:
- Supporting the development of new constitutional and legal frameworks and independent democratic governance instances deriving from them;
- Contributing to the creation and expansion of a common legal space between Europe and the Southern Mediterranean through progressive accession to the CoE conventions and agreements;
- Fostering regional co-operation in the field of human rights, Rule of Law and democracy through the creation of and the support to formal and informal networks between Europe and countries of the Southern Mediterranean region, as well as within the region.
Other co-operation activities on, among others, fighting violence against women and children and promoting freedom of expression and media freedom, have been carried out thanks to voluntary contributions from CoE member States and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.
Besides bilateral activities, co-operation with the Southern neighbourhood is carried out also on a regional level. Regional co-operation activities are open to Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and the Palestinian National Authority in the framework of the South Programme. They aim notably at promoting and strengthening South-South co-operation, through the exchange of views and best practices among the countries of the region