Tunisia is among the countries that are set to benefit from the 70 million Euros from the European Commission as part of their financing of investment projects in partner countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The projects concern the sectors of energy, transport and the environment, as well as the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and the social sector. The sum that has been allocated is included in the 2009 budget that the European Commission has made available to the Neighbourhood Investment Fund (NIF). Alongside Tunisia, operations involving NIF and based on an action plan with the EU in the area of the ENP, include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Jordan, Lebanon, the Republic of Moldova, Morocco, the occupied Palestinian Territories and Ukraine.
Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner commented: ‘We are encouraged by the positive results already achieved through the NIF. This year’s substantial increase of the NIF allocation further underlines our commitment to support our neighbour’s reforms in key sectors. The participation of two additional Development Finance Institutions of our member States in the mechanisms of the NIF further underlines its role as a catalyst of co-ordinated EU financing. I am happy to see that during the first year of its existence alone NIF has approved 15 projects critical to the improvement of basic infrastructures like water, health and urban transport”.
Officially launched in May 2008, the NIF was created under the aegis of Commissioner Mrs Ferrero-Waldner in order to strengthen Community and Member States’ grant support for lending operations carried out by European multilateral and bilateral development finance institutions in ENP partner countries.
The 15 projects approved by NIF in its first year of operation have a total grant contribution of €71 million. In addition to improvement of basic infrastructures the NIF also provided support to some major investments in the environment sector, directly or indirectly tackling common environmental challenges