In November 1995, at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Barcelona, foreign affairs ministers of the EU and Mediterranean partner countries concluded a regional partnership, the aim of which was to establish a common area of peace and stability, create an area of shared prosperity, develop human resources, promote understanding between cultures and foster exchanges between civil societies. The Barcelona process was born and provided the foundation for broader cooperation across the Mediterranean. This process was complemented by the EU's introduction, in 2004, of its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). This policy, which has been revised since the "Arab Spring", facilitates the EU's bilateral relations with its partners, based on the EU's Association Agreements with individual southern partner countries, and allows the EU to take into account the specific situation of each country.
The EESC's mission both in the past and the present has been to involve socio-economic players and other civil society representatives in policy-making in the region. The EESC firmly believes that this is vital for the overall success of policies and is fully committed to developing the civil society dimension of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, even more so now that many countries in the region are undergoing a transition to democracy.