EU regional cooperation

Regional cooperation inside the Union and with regions in other continents, primarily Asia and Africa, is of great importance to the European Union. In order to promote interregional cooperation, there are various formats and financial instruments in the EU that help to develop interregional ties in different fields, including economic and financial sectors.

The ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) is a forum of informal cooperationfounded in 1996 and currently comprising 53 members. All EU Member States, 2 European countries (Norway and Switzerland), the European Commission, 21 Asian countries and the ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) Secretariat are the members of the ASEM.

The main goal of the ASEM is to strengthen the relationships and interregional cooperation in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership. The functions of the ASEM are divided into political, economic and social pillars. In the economic pillar the purpose of the ASEM is to adjust to economic globalization, enhance interregional business frameworks, develop innovative ideas in the field of finance, promote the role of the euro and reduce barriers to trade and investment.

The members of the ASEM cooperate in various formats of which supreme is the Summit of Heads of States and Governments that is held every two years and makes strategic political decisions on the course of future development. These meetings are held in Europe and Asia alternately.Meetings of Ministers of Finance of the ASEM member countries are also held every two years.

The Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership(FEMIP) was founded in 2002 with the aim to assist the economic and social development of the Mediterranean partner countries. The FEMIP is comprised of EU Member States and 9 countries of the Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypt, Gaza/ West bank, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia).

Priority areas of the FEMIP are support for private sector (especially small and medium-sized enterprises and industrial sector) and creating an investment friendly environment by improving infrastructure in energy, transport and telecommunications, environment, human and social capital. These tasks aim at promoting growth of business and employment. The FEMIP resources are used to finance projects of private and public sector, investments in own capital of private companies and technical assistance to the Mediterranean Region.

The main decisions in the FEMIP format are taken in annual ministerial meetings of Finance Ministers of EU Member States and the Mediterranean countries that are held in one of the member countries of the partnership. These meetings are devoted to presentations of annual reports, discussions of investment strategies and guidelines of future activity.

The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region unites the countries of the Baltic Sea Region (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland) sharing the goal to enhance their cooperation and tacklecommon challenges and threats. The Strategy comprises 15 priority areas, many horizontal actions and approximately 90 flagship projects aimed at achieving goals in the areas of energy, transport, environmental protection, research and innovations, fight against criminality, education, tourism etc. The Strategy Action Plan is updated on a regular basis.

Last updated: 03-08-2015