Femip's first new supervisory ministerial meeting welcomes results achieved in private sector development under the strenghtened financial partnership and prepares future action.

Hosted by the Prime Minister of Egypt Dr Atef Ebeid, the Meeting was held at Ministerial level under the joint chairmanship of the Egyptian Minister of Finance Dr Medhat Hassanein, and EIB Vice-President with special responsibility for FEMIP, Mr Philippe de Fontaine Vive.

The Ministerial Committee Meeting of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) took place at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in Alexandria on 7 June. This was the first Meeting to be held in its enhanced role, through which it is set to become the Mediterranean Ecofin Council. Being also the first one after EU enlargement, it was attended by the representatives of 25 EU Member States. The discussion was based on practical and operational recommendations concerning the two subjects of privatisation and private companies' access to the various sources of finance, prepared and put forward by the first FEMIP Experts Committee Meeting held in Marseille on 16-17 February 2004.

The Ministerial Committee Meeting also discussed policy issues concerning the creation of the FEMIP Trust Fund (FTF) and greeted progress on the FEMIP Technical Assistance (TA) Support Fund with a forecast of EUR 54.7 million of commitments in 2003-2004 in environment, human capital, infrastructure, as well as industry and finance.

FEMIP's Ministerial Committee Meeting reaffirmed the strong commitment of the 35 European and Mediterranean Finance and Economy Ministers to forge a closer economic partnership and greeted with satisfaction the first concrete results of FEMIP's activity for private sector development in the MPCs, examining in particular the example of Tunisia. The participants also expressed satisfaction on the new format of dialogue between the MPCs and European representatives, notably extended through the Experts Committee.

FEMIP'S Ministerial Committee Meeting concluded that FEMIP should fully participate to the major step up of small and medium size enterprises' support called by the G8, as one of the leading financial institutions active in the Region. Participants warmly welcomed the initiative taken by the Finance Ministers of the Region to group themselves to propose by end of September their own economic reform agenda to support enhanced and sustainable growth in the Region.

Mr Philippe de Fontaine Vive, in his opening address stated: The commitment to creating a free-trade area between the southern and northern shores of the Mediterranean by the year 2010 requires not only substantial financial support but also an unswerving political will on all sides of the Mediterranean to bring about far-reaching reforms: establishing in the MPCs a new pattern of development based on economic liberalisation, a flourishing private sector and growing foreign trade earnings, reforms for creating an efficient market economy. To this end FEMIP will assist quantitatively with a EUR 2 billlion annual lending volume, but also qualitatively with new lending instruments and techniques, particularly in support of privatisation programmes in the Mediterranean Partner Countries, including larger privatisation of public services and utilities. The FEMIP menu of options for privatisation' available to the MPCs, ranges from setting a framework agreement with the local authority concerned, assistance to the privatisation programme through the FEMIP Support Fund (grants), provision of equity or quasi equity finance to the provision of loans and other finance to new investments after privatisation.

In an effort to achieve complementarities through inter-institutional cooperation, the Meeting was also attended by representatives of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank group (WB and IFC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Their participation in the Meeting builds on the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 3 May between the European Commission, World Bank and EIB. FEMIP is confident that such agreements will be followed by increased cooperation with other international and European bilateral institutions active in the Region.

With some EUR 2.1 billion total lending in the MPCs in 2003, the first operational year since its launch, FEMIP is the leading player in fostering sustainable development in the region. Most notably, about half this amount went to finance private sector projects through Foreign Direct Investment (Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey), joint ventures resulting from cooperation between MPC promoters (Algeria) and Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) financing (Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and creation of a regional venture capital fund).

On the occasion of the Ministerial Committee Meeting in Alexandria, the EIB signed two loans: a EUR 100 million loan to the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) for a regional gas pipeline (see relevant press release dated 7 June 2004) and a EUR 65 million loan for priority road schemes improving the urban infrastructure in Tunisia. The latter has been signed by Mr Hamouda Hamdi, Tunisian Secretary of State for International Cooperation as well as Foreign Investment, and Mr. Ph. de Fontaine Vive, EIB Vice-President, with special responsibility for FEMIP.

The project consists of 9 schemes in the Greater Tunis area, and 4 schemes in the main cities of Monastir, Sfax and Sousse. In Tunisia, the Bank has been providing ongoing support for investment in urban road networks totalling more than EUR 180 million, principally in Tunis but also in other major urban centres of the country. In addition, the EIB advanced EUR 30 million for the construction of a new light metro line in the Tunisian capital extending urban rail services to commuters in the south of the conurbation.

The next Ministerial Committee will take place in Morocco during Spring 2005 and will be prepared by two Experts Committee Meetings to be held in Amsterdam in October 2004 and in Luxembourg in March 2005.


  • FEMIP Progress Report - No. 3 (EN, FR)
  • Creation of a FEMIP Trust Fund (EN, FR)
  • Report on FEMIP Technical Assistance (TA) Support Fund: Objectives, Strategy and Scope of Activities (EN, FR)
  • What has been done in MPCs to assist privatisation (EN, FR)

European Investment Bank (EIB) lending in the Mediterranean Partner Countries is provided under the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP). Through FEMIP, the Bank focuses particularly on developing the private sector and financing socio-economic development infrastructure.

FEMIP was set up in response to the conclusions of the Barcelona European Council (15-16 March 2002) and Valencia Euro-Mediterranean Conference (22-23 April 2002). It was reinforced according to the Brussels European Council decision in December 2003, with the following new features mainly in support of private sector development:

  • stepping up financial support in the region through a special facility for risk financing for the private sector (the SFE) and by setting up a trust fund;
  • diversifying the range of financial products offered, notably by seeking possible ways of providing local currency financing;
  • intensifying dialogue with the MPCs by organising meetings of the Committee of Experts to prepare the ground for the deliberations of FEMIP's Ministerial Committee and by establishing local offices in the Mashreq - where the Cairo office was established in June 2003 - and, some time in 2004, in the Maghreb.

Its purpose is to help the Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPCs) meet the challenges of economic and social modernisation and further regional integration in the run-up to establishment of a free trade area between the EU and those countries foreseen for 2010.