Ministers of Industry from the Euro-Mediterranean region have launched a new Euro-Mediterranean Industrial Cooperation Work Program for the period of 2014-2015, which aims at developing the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
During the ministerial meeting on 19th February in Brussels, the ministers agreed on a common goal to create conditions for an effective mobilization, which will promote innovation, sustainable growth and strengthen the private sector in the region. It is expected, that the project will alleviate unemployment and boost the economy. Stefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy, stressed on the need of creating at least 5 million jobs.
The Mediterranean partner countries, with the help of the Commission (DG Enterprise & Industry, DG Trade and DG Health and Consumers, DG Development & Cooperation, the EU delegations) and the European External Service (EEAS) are obliged to conduct the activities.
According to UfM secretariat, the program consists of agreements between partners: "The next stage will for the contracting parties who have ratified the agreement to make it effective by referring to it in the protocols of origin of their free-trade agreements with their pan-Euro-Mediterranean partners’’.
Experience and synergies
It is further mentioned that the national stakeholders have to be involved in the activities: "The technical assistance projects conducted in the partner countries must constitute the basis on which to build up experience and know-how, following the European example. The partner countries will have the opportunity during study visits and training seminars to become familiar with the best European practices, and may also exchange experiences with each other on the adoption of the European system.”
"The challenge is not only an economic one’’
Among the economic perspective, the ministers underlined within their meeting the goal of decent living conditions for local populations as well. The project aims not only to strengthen the economy but tries also to reach political stability. "The challenge is not only an economic one; achieving higher, more inclusive and more sustainable economic growth is crucial for the success of the political transition processes that many of our partners have embarked upon.” Mr. Füle pointed out.