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EUMEDIS - Euro-Mediterranean Information Society

EUMEDIS: Developing the Information Society in the Mediterranean Region

Globalization and technology advancements are bringing fundamental changes to the local and global socio-economic environments. Established structures and reference points are being displaced at a fast pace as a consequence of the flows of people and ideas, of goods and services. The only way for any society or or a country to survive and thrive is to creatively partner and build a common future with other societies and economies.  Initiated in the Barcelona declaration in 1999, the MEDA Programme is the principal financial instrument of the European Union for the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership activities. The support it provides for the Mediterranean countries, as a central part of the EU’s role in the world, has three main objectives: to strengthen political stability and democracy in a common area of peace and security; to create an area of shared prosperity and to support the creation of a free trade-area between the EU and the Mediterranean Partners by 2010; and to create closer ties between people of these countries through cultural, social and human partnership.

Regional co-operation is an innovative aspect of the Barcelona Process which itself is essentially a regional response to the opportunities and challenges resulting from the proximity of the Mediterranean area to Europe. Regional co-operation has a considerable strategic impact as it deals with problems common to many Mediterranean Partners while emphasizing national complementarities.

The Barcelona Euro-Mediterranean Conference of 27-28 November 1999 stressed in its economic chapter that support for the development of the Mediterranean scientific and technological community, together with the upgrading and modernization of local telecommunications infrastructure, are two pivotal elements for the success of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

In February 1999, the European Commission approved a comprehensive regional MEDA initiative for the development of Euro-Mediterranean Information Society (EUMEDIS) specifically designed to reduce the region’s information and technology gap with the neighboring countries. EUMEDIS, through the funding of different projects and initiatives, aims at developing regional applications with user communities in the largest possible number of Mediterranean Partners.

In 2000, the European Commission launched the EUMEDIS request for proposals, with the objective of:

  • accelerating the economic growth in the Euro-Mediterranean region
  • improving the quality of life of the region’s inhabitants
  • stimulating Euro-Mediterranean cooperation
  • facilitating mutual understanding in a multicultural environment
  • promoting innovative public services
  • increasing Internet connectivity between the Euro-Mediterranean partners
  • creating electronic platforms oriented towards end-users. 

For the peoples of the North and South of the Mediterranean, the immediate concern is to stop tackling uncertainties and international change separately, but together, while also respecting their differences. The dialogue between people and cultures must therefore play a decisive role in creating a Mediterranean area which “holds together and makes sense”.  

Information and communication technologies (ICT) can play an important role in this process: today they form not only an essential feature of a competitive economy, but also an indispensable ingredient of any modern society. The EUro MEDiterranean Information Society (EUMEDIS) initiative, launched in 1998 with a total budget of 65 million euros, is a pilot demonstration of the concrete advantages ICT can offer in priority sectors of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. Its timeliness and success was confirmed by the large participation in the 2000 call for proposals (over 160 were presented from 24 countries, including all 12 of the non-EU Mediterranean partner countries). Twenty Pilot Projects have been accepted to receive the EU support and have been active since either 2001 or 2002.


Research Projects

EUMEDIS - Euro-Mediterranean Information Society



To contribute to the expansion and qualitative improvement of the Euro-Mediterranean Information Society in the pursuit of the overall economic development, quality of life and mutual comprehension, and understanding the objectives of the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation.

Overall Objectives

  • The acceleration of the overall economic development through the modernization of the most strategic sectors and the most active layers in the non-EU countries covered by the MEDA programme.
  • The reinforcement of the tools and methodologies to support mutual comprehension and understanding of the different MED countries’ and territories’ cultures.
  • The overall improvement of the quality of life as a direct consequence of the large scale deployment of regional Information Society initiatives in various fields of activity in the MED countries and territories.

Expected Results

  • Harmonious development of ICT technologies across the MEDA region.
  • Improved telecommunication resources available for research and academic institutions.
  • Increased networking between EU and MED actors in selected sectors through updated technologies.
  • New professional competencies/new electronic platforms available to extend ICT application in MED countries and territories.

First Steps

Strand one funded the establishment of focal points in each of the 12 non-EU Mediterranean Partner countries with the purpose of developing an information exchange network. Further under the Strand one, resources have been allocated to support the interconnection between EU and non-EU Mediterranean research networks.

Strand two focuses on networking to promote contacts and collaboration between institutions in different countries, developing the dissemination of new technologies and contributing to improved integration of the non-EU Mediterranean Partners into the Information Society environment.

Strand two has funded regional pilot Information Society projects in five priority sectors of intervention:

  1. Healthcare networks (E-Health Networks) 
  2. Electronic commerce (E-Commerce)
  3. Tourism and cultural heritage (E-Tourism) 
  4. Industry, research and innovation (E-Industry) 
  5. Education (E-Learning) 

The primary targets of the EUMEDIS initiative are hospitals and other medical research Institutes; chambers of commerce and industrial federations; universities, research and professional institutions; public and private research centers; museums (including NGOs promoting cultural heritage); The secondary targets are other organizations and the public at large who will benefit from the services provided by the above mentioned national bodies and institutions.  

For more information, download EUMEDIS (PPT/PDF ~ 350KB)

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