The economic context in the Southern Neighbourhood remains difficult, with low levels of regional economic integration and diversification. Limited growth, high unemployment, especially among the young and women have been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic crisis. As the region faces big challenges and strives to address the ongoing economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis, the capacity of partner countries to restore and support their economic development is being increasingly constrained.
The European Union is trying to encourage and implement programmes in the region that focus on innovation and industry development and that can successfully convert research into goods, services, or processes. The EU’s approach to cooperation with the Neighbourhood South countries largely draws on policies and initiatives implemented successfully at EU level, even though some adaptations are needed.
To this end, a new Call for Proposal to strengthen innovation through supporting cluster cooperation & start-up ecosystems in the Southern Neighbourhood countries is launched. The global objective of this call for proposals is to contribute to the creation of sustainable jobs in the Neighbourhood South by increasing competitiveness of SMEs and stimulating an environment conducive to innovation and economic growth.