‘Our bilateral relations have been particularly strong since the last meeting of the Association Council in June 2015. Progress has been made in many areas of cooperation, both bilateral and regional. We are committed to building a firmer and more substantial bilateral partnership' stated High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini.
According to the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, ‘The EU reiterates its support for Algeria in the process of political and macro-economic structural reforms on which it has recently embarked, which will further strengthen the ties that unite our people'.
This annual joint report of the European External Action Service and the European Commission assesses the progress and reforms recently embarked on by Algeria, the potential improvements and the priorities for cooperation between the EU and Algeria, focused on sectors of mutual interest, as identified in the new ‘Partnership Priorities', and financial cooperation.
The report notes that Algeria undertook reforms following the adoption of the constitutional review, which comprises democratic and institutional progress and should continue to be implemented. New laws should allow the organisation of the parliamentary elections to be held on 4 May 2017, for which the EU will send an election expert mission, at the invitation of the Algerian government.
The report notes that the Algerian authorities announced a ‘new model of economic growth' to promote economic diversification, improve the budget framework and modernise public finances. Since 2015, cooperation in the strategic field of energy has been very successful. The Algerian authorities have adopted several plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, environmental action, sustainable development and water, and have ratified the Paris Agreement on climate.
Algeria has high security capacities, enabling it to effectively fight terrorism and cross-border crime and has begun discussions with the European Union in these areas. Algeria continues to play a key role in mediation, particularly in Libya and the Sahel. It has become the first partner of the EU's Southern Neighbourhood to participate in the European Civil Protection Mechanism and has signed an arrangement with the European Commission.
As regards migration, the report states that Algeria has become a country of destination for sub-Saharan migrants and has concluded agreements with Niger and Mali. The Member States have issued many short-stay visas to Algerian nationals. There is still progress to be made on readmission. Several dialogues were held between the parties on these subjects, which they agreed to continue in 2017. Algeria is working on a draft asylum law.
The report indicates the progress made in cooperation and dialogue on research and development, higher education and the protection and development of Algerian cultural heritage. The entry into force of the protocol for the participation of Algeria in EU programmes on 1 February 2017 should allow Algeria to access programmes such as COSME (enterprises and SMEs), Horizon 2020 and Creative Europe.
The report will be made public at the 10thmeeting of the EU-Algeria Association Council in Brussels, and will serve as the basis for its discussions. This Council will also provide an opportunity for the two parties to officially adopt their ‘Partnership Priorities' approved in December 2016.
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