Press release - DC006(2012)

Secretary General Jagland and Commissioner Füle sign the Programme for strengthening democratic reform in the Southern Mediterranean

Strasbourg, 17.01.2012 - Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland and European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle today signed a € 4.8 million joint programme to strengthen democratic reform in the Southern Mediterranean countries.

The joint programme will support democratic reforms and, the independence and efficiency of the judiciary, whilst promoting good governance. It will also target corruption and human trafficking and aim to promote human rights and democratic values, working through government officials, future leaders, youth and civil society.  It will be rolled out initially in Morocco and Tunisia, and some initiatives will be implemented over three years throughout the region.

The signature is part of the Council of Europe’s efforts to consolidate democracy in the south Mediterranean region and marks a further step in the strategic partnership between the two organisations.

“The partnership with the European Union, enables us to combine our strengths in this important mission, and will benefit the neighbourhood countries with the expertise of the Council of Europe in supporting political and democratic transformation,” said Secretary General Jagland.

Commissioner Füle declared: "With this programme the EU complements its global response to the Arab Spring in supporting the countries willing to transform and to reform in order to answer their citizens´ call for democratic rights, dignity and prosperity. We want to build on long-standing expertise of the Council of Europe in providing guidance on sensitive political and governance issues to the fragile new democracies."

Press contact :

Giuseppe Zaffuto, Media officer, Tel. +33 6 86 32 10 24 ;

Council of Europe Press Division
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11