EuroMeSCo – the Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission – formally began in June 1996 with an inaugural conference in the Portuguese town of Sesimbra, organised by the Instituto de Estudos Estratégicos e Internacionais (IEEI), Lisbon, then in charge of the network’s Secretariat.
EuroMeSCo was based on an earlier initiative, MeSCo – the Mediterranean Study Commission – established by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Rome, with the support of the Cairo Office of the Ford Foundation in February 1994. MeSCo was an exclusively Mediterranean initiative bringing together institutes from the five Southern European members of the European Union and their Southern and Eastern Mediterranean counterparts (including Cyprus and Malta).
MeSCo was expanded into EuroMeSCo in the Sesimbra conference as a result of the signing of the Barcelona Declaration of November 1995. EuroMeSCo became a network encompassing institutes from the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean and the whole of the European Union. With the enlargement of the EU in 2004, institutes from the new EU member-states also joined the network.
EuroMeSCo was established with the encouragement of the European Commission and was mentioned as a confidence building measure in the Work Plan annexed to the Barcelona Declaration. Its activities have been funded by the European Commission by means of three research programmes between 1996 and 2005 and a service contract between 2005 and 2009. In 2010, IEMed (European Institute of the Mediterranean) was appointed as Academic Secretariat and is currently funding EuroMeSCo’s activities.