Remarks by Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi at the press conference presenting the Joint Communication on the Renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood

February 10, 2021
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I am very glad and happy to present to you the Southern neighbourhood communication we just adopted.


It is a renewed partnership and the reason for this is that we are still the most important economic partner of the region, both in terms of trade and investments, and we are still considered the most important political priority and partner for this region. And we want this to remain so, and we want to reinforce this role in the region, with the region.


We see that the biggest challenge for the region – and also for us because we are interdependent with this region – is instability. Instability, which has been further aggravated by the COVID crisis, be it social, be it economic or be it security.

In that, of course, we have at least two main areas where we need to concentrate on with our partners; and this is something that we have been developing together with them.

First is the economy, where we need growth in jobs, where we see that their economies are not diverse, where their economies are very reliant on single sectors and which created major economic difficulties and damage during the COVID crisis.

The second area is security, which has been a long-term problem, as we have seen terrorism, organised crime, illegal migration, including smuggler organisations, on the rise.


We have designed the partnership around five priorities. First is the human capital development, good governance, rule of law, where you will find the health sector, the education, which is a big challenge; the second is the economy; third peace and security; fourth migration and the fifth is the Green Deal.


What to look for in the proposal? You will find in the proposal an Economic and Investment Plan for the entire region. You will also find tailor made proposals for each and every single partner country, tailor made because this is a diverse region with different economic structures, different needs and different social situations. It is for that reason that we wanted to listen to them and front-load those areas they also considered to be the most important but which also fit in our internal agenda.


Thank you.


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Full remarks

Press conference video

Countries covered:

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Palestine *
  • Syria *
  • Tunisia