On July 7, Finance Ministers from the European Union’s ten partner countries in the Mediterranean met at the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) Ministerial Conference in Brussels. As a financial instrument of the European Investment Bank (EIB), FEMIP “brings together the whole range of services provided by the EIB to assist the economic development of the Mediterranean partner countries[,]” with an emphasis on “support for the private sector and creating an investment-friendly environment.”

In a press release issued by the EIB, the bank reported that the conference attendees “examined the main operational priorities for 2009-11 and welcomed the high level of support for economic development that FEMIP was able to provide in 2008 despite a difficult economic context.” The Ministers also discussed FEMIP contributions to ongoing economic development projects, and, among other conclusions reached at the conference, “made reinforced commitments to avoid any new protectionist measures contrary to WTO rules, and counter-productive with regard to the current economic and financial challenges faced by the Euro-Mediterranean region.”

On the periphery of the conference, FEMIP renewed its partnership with FEMIS, a network of eighty economic research institutes from fourteen European countries. The groups agreed, as their next joint initiative, to study the impact of the global economic crisis on the FEMIP partner countries.

The Ministers will meet again in 2010 in a location and time to be determined.