The Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean

Market in Algier. Copyright: BMZThe Euro-Mediterranean partnership aims to create a zone of peace, demo­cracy, stability, cooperation and prosperity.

It was launched in 1995 at the Conference of Foreign Ministers in Barcelona, and is thus also known as the Barcelona process. Since then the partnership has formed the basis for relations between the European states and the Medi­terranean nations. 39 govern­ments, which together represent more than 700 million people, are involved.

In order to further improve the foundations of this cooperation, the states involved decided to take the Barcelona process one step further. On 13 July 2008 the new partnership " "Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean" was founded.

The Mediterranean Union is based on mutual respect for the sovereignty of all participating nations. Through regional cooperation and integration it is to help foster peace, democracy, stability and security in the region.


All EU member states, Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey – Libya has observer status.

Focus on joint projects

In future the Union for the Mediterranean is to focus less on joint conferences and more on partnership within the framework of concrete and tangible projects.

German development policy is playing a particularly active part in designing two of these planned projects: "Depollution of the Mediterranean" and "Mediterranean Solar Plan".

All in all the Union is to launch six initial pilot projects. In addition to the two already mentioned, these will create motorways and rapid sea connections, establish a European-Mediterranean University in Piran (Slovenia), improve disaster risk management and establish a Mediterranean initiative for business promotion.

The technical and institutional details of the Union have not yet been conclusively negotiated.

Integration into the existing policies of the European Union

The partnership "Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean" is intended to complement the existing relations that the EU maintains with its partner countries in the Mediterranean region. Along with the European Neighbourhood Policy it provides a platform for dialogue and regional projects and programmes. Existing Association Agreements, action plans and EU measures will be continued.

Until 2006, the Barcelona process received considerable financial support from the MEDA Programme (Mésures d’accompagnement financières et techniques, financial and technical support measures). Between 2000 and 2006 some 5.35 billion euros were made available within the scope of the MEDA II Programme.

Since 2007, relations with partner countries in the Mediterranean region have formed part of the European Neighbourhood Policy, and have been financed through the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI).

For more information on the European Neighbourhood Policy, click

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