CBC programmes are a key pillar of the current neighbourhood policy of the EU, and will play an even stronger role in the next future. In this note a simple framework for the assessment of the relevance and impact of these programmes was proposed, and some preliminary findingswhere discussed, for the ENPI MED CBC and the Italy –Tunisia programme The neighbour regions were classified on the basis of structural heterogeneity and strength of interactions. In this framework, the Mediterranean neighbourhood, could be classified as “ separated” or “isolated” with a strong structural diversity, that generates a potential for intensive interaction, and strong risks of tensions and open crisis. Agriculture and rural areas are among the sectors where these features appear with the strongest intensity. In this scenario, CBC actions could contribute to the generation of a virtuous process of convergence, in the direction of declining structural dualisms, and increasing synergic flows. This role is not played, or at least is not significantly appearing yet in the ENPI CBC programmes. The ENPI CBC strategy doesn’t explicitly identify rural development issues as main priority. The only two programmes activated in the Mediterranean Basin MED and Italy Tunisia, show quite different focus on Rural Issues. In the ENPI MED, rural issues are still marginal, per quality and quantity of projects. The smaller, programme Italy-Tunisia seems much more focused on the theme, with a majority of projects directly targeting agro-food topics. A stronger impact of CBC programmes on rural development seems opportune, specially after the structural changes brought by the Arab Spring, that demand a new model of integration, and sustainable development in the Mediterranean Basin.


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