The European Commission launched a new regional project in the field of justice in the Euro-Mediterranean area, EuroMed Justice II (January 2008 – March 2011) with a budget of 5 million Euro. This project is implemented by a consortium led by the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) and composed of the International and Ibero-American Foundation of Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP) and of the Spanish General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ).
The European Centre for the Regions, EIPA’s Antenna based in Barcelona, will be the Programme Management Unit for the EuroMed Justice II Project.
The beneficiaries of this project are: the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, the Arab Republic of Egypt, Israel, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Republic of Lebanon, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Republic of Tunisia.
The modernization of the judicial system underpinning the principles of judges´ independence and the consolidation of the rule of law represent one of the important challenges faced by the Mediterranean Partners (MP), both being priority areas to all of them.
The project intends to collaborate with the MP in this effort aimed at stepping up and modernize their Judiciary and at developing a Euro-Mediterranean cooperation area in the judicial field. Moreover a leitmotiv can be found in all the components of the project, the major concern of the EC for the unprotected and most disadvantaged groups whose members have poor financial and technical resources: children, vulnerable groups, young prisoners, discriminated women, victims, etc.
The project will promote in the beneficiary countries and in the indicated areas the adoption of policy processes and strategies, including legislative reforms, in order to stimulate cooperation in the judicial field, strengthening further the capacity of the institutions in charge of putting into practice the said public policies in the three components covered by the project.
This project has a total duration of 36 months, between January 2008 and January 2011, with 3 Working Groups (12 meetings), 18 training seminars, 10 study visits and 5 technical assistance missions to be developed during this period.
A project website, www.euromed-justice.eu (public and restricted part), is created to disseminate the information and communication related to the project.
The overall objective is to contribute to the development of a Euro-Mediterranean area of cooperation on justice. To this end, the Project will:
- Support the improvement of the systems of access to justice, in particular by those persons belonging to socially excluded sectors;
- Contribute to modernization of the judicial systems, stepping up the capacity of the relevant authorities in charge of formulating and implementing public judicial policies;
- Contribute to further develop existing mechanisms of international legal cooperation in civil and penal matters;
- Support the setting up of two networks:
- the Euro-Mediterranean Inter-professional Judicial Network (Judges, lawyers and other legal professionals)
- the Euro-Mediterranean Network of Judicial Schools.
According to the objectives mentioned above, this project has as target groups decision-makers and policy-makers of public policies, high-level officials in the beneficiaries MEDA countries of this project in charge of the different topics addressed and magistrates and other members of the legal community in the Mediterranean countries having competences in the topics to be discussed.
The project revolves around three different components:
- Access to justice and legal aid: to remove obstacles to access to justice and legal aid, and to the due enforcement of delivered ruling.
- Resolution of cross-border family conflicts: their significance, their number and impact on the less protected groups.
- Transposition of international conventions on criminal and prison law.
Through these main components, this EuroMed Justice II Project has as major concern to strive to a major social cohesion through measures aimed at supporting the most vulnerable social sectors, supporting better governance in the judicial field and analyzing and studying measures to reform and/or modernize the judicial systems, as well as developing international co-operation through ratification and application of international conventions. Finally, another objective of the project is to develop networks.