The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership started in 1995 with the name Barcelona Process, in the Barcelona Euro-Mediterranean Conference. The European Union stated that the intention of this "partnership" is "to strengthen its relations with the countries in the Mashriq and Maghreb regions". The partnership laid the foundations for what came to be the Union for the Mediterranean, an institution building on, but not replacing, the EuroMed Partnership.

The European Union enlargement of 2004 brought two more Mediterranean countries (Cyprus and Malta) into the Union, while adding a total of 10 to the number of Member States. As a result the union for the Mediterranean today comprises 43 members:
  • The 27 European Union member states, and
  • 16 partner countries which are: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.
The four chapters of cooperation developed in the framework of the Barcelona Process are:
  • Politics and Security
  • Economics and Trade
  • Socio-cultural
  • Justice and Interior Affairs
In addition to these four chapters of cooperation, six concrete projects that target specific needs of the Euro-Mediterranean regions and that will enhance the visibility of the Partnership are:
  • De-pollution of the Mediterranean. This broad project encompasses many initiatives that target good environmental governance, access to drinkable water, water management, pollution reduction and protection of the Mediterranean biodiversity.
  • Maritime and land highways. The purpose of this project is to increase and improve the circulation of commodities and people throughout the Euro-Mediterranean region by improving its ports, and building highways and railways. Specifically, the Paris and Marseilles Declarations refer to the construction of both a Trans-Maghrebi railway and highway systems, connecting Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
  • Civil protection. The civil protection project aims at improving the prevention, preparedness and response to both natural and man-made disasters. The ultimate goal is to "bring the Mediterranean Partner Countries progressively closer to the European Civil Protection Mechanism.
  • Alternative energies: Mediterranean solar plan. The goal of this project is to promote the production and use of renewable energies. More specifically, it aims at turning the Mediterranean partner countries into producers of solar energy and then circulating the resulting electricity through the Euro-Mediterranean region.
  • Higher education and research: Euro-Mediterranean University. On June 2008 the Euro-Mediterranean University was inaugurated in Piran (Slovenia), which offers graduate studies programs. The Foreign Ministers gathered at Marseilles on 2008 also called for the creation of another Euro-Mediterranean University in Fes, Morocco. At the Paris summit, the 43 Heads of State and Government agreed that the goal of this project is to promote higher education and scientific research in the Mediterranean, as well as to establish in the future a "Euro-Mediterranean Higher Education, Science and Research Area."
  • The Mediterranean business development initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to promote small and medium-sized enterprises from the Mediterranean partner countries by "assessing the needs of these enterprises, defining policy solutions and providing these entities with resources in the form of technical assistance and financial instruments."
Regarding the Higher Education and Research project in which the Department of higher and Tertiary Education, a Ministerial Meeting has taken place in Cairo on June 18th 2007. The second Ministerial Meeting, among other issues, is expected to broaden the Higher Education and Research project to “Higher education, research and Innovation” and to discuss the development of the Euro-Mediterranean University Institute and its recognition as a part of the Euro-Mediterranean University.