JMA participates in the Med Programme annual event

On the occasion of the Territorial Cooperation Med Programme annual event (Thessaloniki, 23rd September), the Joint Managing Authority (JMA) took part in the round table on “Future perspectives for cooperation in the Mediterranean”. Representatives of the European Commission, local authorities (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region), research institutes (Institut de la Mediterranée and European Institute of the Mediterranean) and Med Programme also attended the debate.

The JMA tackled 3 key points that could be discussed in the framework of the coming mid-term review of the ENPI CBC programmes:
1. Balanced participation between EU Member States and Partner Countries.
2. The topic of rules and procedures ensuring good governance of the programmes.
3. The increase of financial resources.

Ensuring balanced participation of the Partner Countries is one of the main challenges of cross-border cooperation. Based on a preliminary analysis of the first call for standard projects, Applicants from EU countries seem more active in terms of proposals submitted.

Three comments can be made in this regard:
- this trend is less significant regarding the composition of the partnerships. The “50%” rule – i.e. the obligation to dedicate at least 50% of the project budget to activities implemented in Mediterranean Partner Countries - has positively impacted the involvement of Partner Countries, guaranteeing common benefits for both shores of the Mediterranean;
- a particular attention to technical assistance activities could raise the awareness of the Partner Countries on existing financial instruments;
- strategic projects, based on the top-down approach, seem to support a more balanced participation given the constant involvement of the participating countries during the entire process, starting from the selection of the topics of the call.

Governance could also be addressed in the mid-term review. The full recognition of the key role of the governing bodies - Monitoring Committee and Managing Authority - within the set of rules and procedures which regulates the ENPI CBC would probably foster more efficiency in the decentralized management of the Programme.

The encouraging results of the first call (598 proposals submitted) and high-quality of the projects speak in favour of an increase of the financial resources available for cross-border cooperation. For instance, since the programmes involving Morocco and Spain did not start, the unused funds could be re-injected into the Mediterranean area.

As a conclusion, starting from a capitalization of the experience of the ENPI CBC stakeholders and the coordination with other ongoing initiatives, in particular the Med Programme, cross-border processes can support the territorial dimension of cooperation as well as the definition of an integrated multilevel strategy in the Mediterranean.