From Barcelona Process to EuroMed Youth Programmes

A short overview on the origins of the Euromed Youth programme and its regulations

Where everything comes from: the Barcelona Process

The Barcelona Process is the result of the political will of originally 27 partners to provide a framework for strengthened dialogue and comprehensive cooperation in the Mediterranean region.

Since the enlargment of the European Union in May 2004 this process is involves the 25 Member States of the European Union as well as 10 Mediterranean partner countries : Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine Territories, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.

The Barcelona Process in 1995 stressed that "youth exchanges should be the means to prepare future generations for a closer cooperation between the Euro-Mediterranean partners. A Euro-Mediterranean youth exchange cooperation programme should therefore be established based on experience acquired in Europe and taking account of the partners' needs".

The Euro-Med Youth programme is one of the regional programmes set up in the third chapter of the Barcelona Process entitled « partnership in social, cultural and human affairs ».

This third chapter of the declaration proposes a permanent dialogue between young people from the Euro-Mediterranean partners. This will help to foster mutual understanding among the people of the region, to integrate young people into social and professional life, and to contribute to the process of democratisation of the civil society.

Under the Directorate-General for Education and Culture and in close cooperation with the EuropeAid Cooperation Office and the Directorate-General for External Relations, the implementation of the Euro-Med Youth programme is regarded as a main priority which also falls under other priorities featuring in the YOUTH programme, such as the fight against racism, discrimination and xenophobia, a facilitated access to the Programme for young people with less opportunities, dialogue with other world cultures and the promotion of a greater mutual understanding between European countries and the rest of the world. In addition, a training strategy for Euro-Mediterranean partners has been developed by the SALTO-YOUTH EuroMed Resource Centre.

Short chronology

Since 1992, the dialogue between young people and youth exchanges all over the Mediterranean has been supported within the framework of the Community Programme "Youth for Europe", as well as since 1996 within the "European Voluntary Service" programme.

In June 1996, a conference held in Amman on "Youth Exchanges between the European Union and its Mediterranean partners", gathering officials and NGO representatives, further elaborated the objectives of a new cooperation scheme under the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

The second Euro-Mediterranean Conference held in Malta in April 1997 reiterated that a programme of activities for youth should be put forward shortly

In September 1998, the first Euro-Med Youth programme was adopted by the European Commission and the Euro-Mediterranean (MED) Committee

In November 2001, a second phase of the Euro-Med Youth programme was finally adopted by a decision of the European Commission and the MED Committee.

Euro-Med Youth Programme I

The Euro-Med Youth programme I (1999-2001) was adopted by the European Commission and the Euro-Mediterranean Committee for the Barcelona process. This Programme represents a concrete initiative prompted by the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. It also means an extension of the YOUTH programme’s activities. It involves three actions of the YOUTH programme: Youth Exchanges, Voluntary Service and Support Measures (Actions 1, 2 and 5).

This first phase of the Euro-Med Youth programme was subject to an evaluation carried out by external experts. Goals to be achieved in the second phase of the Programme were inspired by this evaluation.

In order to implement the Euro-Med Youth programme, a system of National Coordinators has been set up with the nomination of one Coordinator in each Mediterranean partner country.

Euro-Med Youth Programme II

On the 22nd November 2001 (Decision n°2001/2347), the European Commission adopted, following the MED Committee approval in September 2001, a second phase of the Euro-Med Youth programme.

This Euro-Med Youth programme II is provided with a budget of € 14 million for 2002-2004 (10 million Euro from MEDA and 4 million Euro from Youth), in other words an annual budget of 4.333 million Euro for the period 2002-2004. This represents a budget increase of 40% over Euro-Med Youth I.

The Programme beneficiaries are young people and other actors in the youth field in the 12 Mediterranean partner countries and in the 15 EU Member States.

The Commission has defined some thematic priorities especially focused on theMediterranean needs. Projects tackling the following subjects are welcomed:

  1. combating racism and xenophobia, which is already one of the general priorities of the YOUTH programme;
  2. active citizenship and the development of civil society;
  3. the role of women in society;
  4. minority rights;
  5. protecting the environment and cultural heritage.

As in the first phase of the Programme, Euro-Med Youth II also focuses on the three main actions of the YOUTH programme: Action 1 (Youth Exchanges), Action 2 (Voluntary Service) and Action 5 (Support Measures).

Its major goals are:

  • to facilitate the integration of young people into social and professional life and to stimulate the democratisation of the civil society of the Mediterranean partners.
  • to improve mutual understanding and cohesion between young people across the Mediterranean region, based on and committed to mutual respect, tolerance and dialogue between the various cultures.
  • to increase the importance of youth organisations, developing young people’s active citizenship, especially that of young women, and promoting the exchange of information, experience and expertise between youth organisations.

The Euro-Med Youth programme II will focus on the consolidation and reorientation of the following five main areas:

  1. Consolidation of the National Coordinators’ role
    The Programme is implemented locally by a National Coordinator. For the effective and efficient implementation of Euro-Med II, the competent national authorities in each Mediterranean partner country, upon request from the European Commission, have designated a National Coordinator with good knowledge of local non-profit associative life as well as the needs and realities of youth work.
    An initiative taken by the European Commission will ensure that support and training actions are offered to National Coordinators. Necessary advice and guidelines will be provided through the YOUTH National Agencies (NAs) network (twining/tutor system). Furthermore, the support system aims to create a network of partners.


  2. Strengthening and improvement of the supported activities
    In this context, the European Commission gives high priority to training activities. These are very important for the development of the national human resources that will guarantee the duration of the activities and the diversification of the priority themes (for instance: women’s role in the development of society). This will also ensure a better involvement of all partners. This is reflected by the creation of a SALTO Resource Centre Euro-Med to support the implementation of the programme through training activities not only focused to beneficiaries but also to National coordinators, national agencies and Commission. The development of cooperation on training with the Council of Europe’s North-South Centre in Lisbon has also been achieved in the form of a covenant.
  3. Increase the quality of the projects as well as the number of youth exchanges and voluntary service projects
  4. The Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform
    The launch of the Euro-Med Youth Platform took place in September 2003 in Malta. Its activities involve mainly promoting partnerships between organisations in the Member States and countries of the southern Mediterranean basin, the exchange of best practices and the development of new projects.
  5. An improved programme through increased debate and communication
    The results of the second phase of Euro-Med Youth Programme was presented in the 41st meeting of the Euro-Med Committee held in the Council of the European Union.
    The impact of these measures are reflected in the almost 13.000 young people that have been involved in the Euro-Med Youth Programme since 1999. More than 500 projects have been approved and the quality of the projects has also increased (figures September 2003).

How to participate in the Euro-Med Youth Programme?

Due to the ongoing review of the current centralised management procedures, the centralised selection of Euro-Med Youth projects by applicants from Mediterranean partner countries is temporarily suspended from January 2005 until further notice. European NGOs can reapply from June 2005 on.

Follow these links in order to know more about:

If you are interested in more background information we can recommand you:

  • EuroMed info spreads out some more general information regarding the EuroMediterranean cooperation (beside our beloved ”EuroMed Youth Programme”!). It deals with some more political and cultural aspects by proposing some useful publications, some links or website and, last but not least, by suggesting some interesting events you may wish to follow!
  • List of National Agencies and National Coordinators (external link)
  • Mid-Term Evaluation of The Euro-Mediterranean Youth Programme (Euro-Med) 2001-2003
    Final Report, December 2004 :
  • Executive summary of the mid-term evaluation report of EuroMed Youth Progamme I
  • Regular information on the Euromed co-operation (beyond the EuroMed Youth Programme) provided by the European Commission - DG External Relations
    • Euromed Synopsis is a weekly newsletter that covers all aspects of the Barcelona Process. It also includes news on important developments in the Middle East Peace Process that involve the EU. The Synopsis includes announcements about decisions, events, meetings, as well as the latest news about the MEDA programme. There are also sections on new publications relating to the Barcelona Process as well as a section called ‘Funding Opportunities’, which lists all open tenders under MEDA.
    • EuroMed Report reproduces certain official EU documents (Council Declarations, Ministerial meeting conclusions, etc.) that relate to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Euromed Reports are published when the relevant documents are released.
  • The Barcelona Declaration
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