The “Enhancement of the Business Environment in the Southern Mediterranean” (henceforth called the EBESM project), is a partnership between the European Union (EU) and the ten countries of the South European Neighbourhood (ENP-South) region, namely, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria  and Tunisia. It aims to contribute to the improvement of the business enabling environment for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the ENP-South region in line with EU best practices through the strengthening of the technical expertise and capacity of targeted public and private stakeholders.
Additionally, the project aims at raising awareness and strengthening the policy dialogue around MSME development issues, including access to finance, in particular to give greater attention to SMEs as creators of employment. This is expected to expand the private sector in the region through the development of more robust, inclusive and sustainable growth.
The EBESM Project was initated in January 2014 and is planned to end on 31 January 2017. The Project is based in GIZ IS offices in Brussels with activities implemented throughout the ENP South Region and in the EU.
The EBESM Context
The Euro-Med industrial cooperation process
EBESM is a milestone in a twenty year long process that strengthens industrial co-operation between the EU and its strategic MED partners. The Euro-MED industrial cooperation process under the Euro-Mediterranean partnership is helping to create an area of shared prosperity between the EU and MED partner countries and is in place to support the enhancement of sound regulatory frameworks, conducive to business and entrepreneurship.
EBESM activities are linked to the Work Programme of the Euro-MED Industrial cooperation group and follows the assessment of SME policies in MED countries carried out in 2014 by the European Commission (EC), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Training Foundation (ETF) and in consultation with the European Investment Bank (EIB). This assessment was based on the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) and was coordinated by National Charter/SBA coordinators who are the main EBESM interlocutors at country level. A previous assessment (2008) was based on the Euro-Med Charter for Enterprise, used as policy framework before the 2011 decision by MED ministers of industry to align the Charter with the SBA.
EBESM will help countries implement the recommendations of reform priorities identified in the evaluation report “SME Policy Index: The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2014, Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe” to help unleash the potential of their SMEs.
Private sector development in the Southern Mediterranean programme
EBESM is also part of the €12m “Private sector development in the Southern Mediterranean programme”, which aims at fostering the development of a conducive business environment for MSMEs in the ENP South region, to develop quality Euro-Mediterranean networks providing adequate support and services for investing MSMEs, and to demonstrate the potential of cultural and creative industries (via pilot initiatives) in promoting inclusive growth. It targets SMEs by intervening at:
 The EU cooperation with government and public institutions from Syria is temporarily suspended.