For the past years, the Council of Europe and the European Union have been working closely with beneficiaries from the Southern Mediterranean region.
On a bilateral scale, the first co-operation priorities documents (Neighbourhood Co-operation Priorities, NPCs) were approved in 2012 for the period 2012-2014, in tandem with Moroccan, Tunisian and Jordanian authorities (see also Neighbourhood Co-operation), who identified a set of priorities in the field of human rights, rule of law and democracy.
Concrete results have been achieved; technical co-operation and political dialogue have been enhanced under the Neighbourhood Partnership documents agreed on with Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan for 2015-2017. In March 2018, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the Neighbourhood Partnerships 2018-2021, new frameworks that identify new priorities for action specific to Morocco and Tunisia respectively.
The Southern Neighbourhood scope encompasses not only bilateral activities but also regional issues. Regional activities are open to Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Palestine* in the framework of the South Programme.
The Programme’s current phase, South Programme IV (2020-2022), answers to needs jointly identified with partners of the region and builds upon the achievements and success of its first (2012-2014), second (2015-2017) and third (2018-2020) editions, as well as on the results of the Neighbourhood partnerships with Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan. The South Programme IV continues to support the ongoing democratic reforms and their successful completion. To reach its objectives, the programme places an even greater emphasis on regional co-operation, which is fundamental in achieving sustainable and strong democratic systems based on independent rule of law, human rights standards and good governance building. Particular emphasis is placed on actions preventing and combating violence against women and on combating corruption, which will be strengthened by focusing on the regional dimension of these issues.
Voluntary contributions from Council of Europe member States (Norway, Monaco, Estonia, France, Liechtenstein, Turkey, etc.) and other organisations, mainly aimed at Morocco,Tunisia and Jordan, have been used to finance other co-operation activities such as fighting violence against women and children, promoting freedom of expression and media freedom, or youth co-operation. These voluntary contributions constitute an important source of funding, 5 672 030€ were destined to co-operation with the Neighbourhood (Southern Mediterranean and Central Asia) in 2017, of which 86% were allocated to Southern Mediterranean beneficiaries.
*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.