* Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), issued a statement on 26 January welcoming the peaceful running of the Palestinian elections to which the EU has provided its support via the electoral observation mission. “We await confirmation of the results. These results may confront us with an entirely new situation which will need to be analysed by the Council next Monday. The EU will express its views and prospects for cooperation with the future Palestinian Government in the light of that discussion and of developments on the ground. The Quartet will also discuss this new situation at its ministerial meeting next Monday in London. The position of the EU in support of the recognition of Israel and a peaceful negotiated solution leading to two States is well known”. Despite the fact that the official results are not yet known, Members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs meeting today in Brussels in the presence of the Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy reacted cautiously to the Palestinian elections. While some already called for EU funding to stop should Hamas as a party in Government not renounce violence and its aim to destroy Israel, others called for the respect of the democratic process and continued dialogue as “denying talks with the legitimately elected government would be unwise”. Mrs Benita Ferrero-Waldner issued the following statement: “The Palestinian people have turned out in very high numbers to freely express their popular will. I am satisfied that the EU Election Observation Mission led by Véronique de Keyser MEP was able to play an important role in strengthening the confidence of Palestinians to exercise their democratic rights. In holding competitive and credible elections the Palestinians have shown their commitment to determine their political future via democratic means. Democracy however brings with it a responsibility to respect the rule of law, to end violence and to commit to peace by peaceful means through negotiations with Israel. I urge the new Palestinian Government to respect these values and to commit fully to a democratic and peaceful process in line with our longstanding principles for cooperation”.
* On 24 January, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner responsible for External Relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy, addressed the Conference on “Reinforcing the Area of Freedom, Security, Prosperity and Justice of the EU and its Neighbouring Countries” organised in Brussels by the International Organisation for Migration and the Belgian Government, under the auspices of the Austrian Presidency of the EU. In her speech, the Commissioner highlighted the Commission’s new approach to migration which has become one of the strategic priorities of the EU’s external relations policy. She mostly underlined the various aspects of migration as dealt with in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy and more specifically in the Neighbourhood Policy Action Plans. As she highlighted the bilateral, regional and multilateral frameworks within which dialogue has been initiated on migration issues more particularly with Maghreb countries and Sub-Saharian Africa. For the text of the full speech, please go to the following link: http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/06/30&type=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
* Third Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Higher Education, 27-29 January, Catania Following Catania I and II, this third Ministerial Conference on Higher Education will aim to ensure greater convergence among the various university systems in the Mediterranean region, thanks to cooperation among a Network of Centres of Excellence that have been set up over the last couple of years. On the basis of the Barcelona Principles, the Conference will approve a final Declaration in which education is recognised as a driving force for the development of human resources and dialogue among cultures.
* The Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs, Social Affairs and Education of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) is meeting in Lisbon on 30 January 2006. Euromed Parliamentarians will exchange views on the measures in which education contributes to economic development; on the role of social stability and the importance of social rights in economic development; on the impact of the increase in oil prices. For more information on EMPA, see http://www.europarl.eu.int/intcoop/empa/home/default_en.htm
* The European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Maghreb countries and Maghreb Arab Union (including Libya) is meeting on 31 January in Brussels to discuss the report of the EP Delegation’s visit to Tunisia in September as well as the preparation of a Delegation working group visit to Mauritania in February.
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* MEDA SUPPORTS MAGHREB COUNTRIES’ PARTICIPATION IN INTERREG III - MEDOCC PROJECT. The European Commission decided in October 2005 to provide, in the framework of the MEDA Neighbourhood Programme, financial assistance to eligible MEDA countries in order to encourage their participation in projects financed by INTERREG. INTERREG aims to promote transnational and cross-border cooperation in the Mediterranean area via, inter alia, regional programmes such as MEDOCC (Western Mediterranean) and Archimed (Eastern Mediterranean). The Transnational Secretariat of the INTERREG-MEDOCC Programme is meeting on 6 February 2006 in Rome. The meeting, to be attended by EU Member States participating in the Programme as well as representatives of Maghreb countries which are eligible to MEDOCC, aims to present the state of play of ongoing projects financed by MEDOCC and to discuss the next stages of the MEDA-Neighbourhood Programme aiming at financially supporting the participation of the Maghreb region in the INTERREG-MEDOCC Project. http://www.interreg-medocc.org/fr/home_html.php
* EUROMED POLICE REGIONAL SEMINAR ON “THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM”, 22-26 JANUARY, AMMAN-JORDAN. This Seminar was organised in the framework of the MEDA-funded Regional Police Cooperation Project, managed by EuropeAid, Cooperation Office of the EC. The project aims at facilitating and reinforcing Euro-Mediterranean police cooperation on regional matters. The Seminar addressed various aspects linked to terrorism such as radicalisation, recruitment, financing, prevention and repression, crisis management, coordination among the various services dedicated to fighting terrorism, and adaptation of the legislation dealing with fighting terrorism. Presentations of case studies were made by experts from Euro-Mediterranean countries. King Abdallah of Jordan is expected to attend the closing ceremony. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
* TERRORISM AND INTERCONNECTION OF CRIMINAL NETWORKS – SEMINAR 3: CRIMINAL NETWORKS, 23-26 JANUARY, PORTO. This seminar is the third of four seminars under the topic “Terrorism and interconnection of criminal networks” of the MEDA-funded Euro-Med Justice Programme, managed by EuropeAid, Cooperation Office of the European Commission. During this seminar, participants (judges, magistrates, court registrars, lawyers, training officers and any other practitioners of the legal professions of the 10 Mediterranean partners and of the EU Member States) will work on the fight against criminal organisations through cross-border cooperation, they will analyse all the consequences and impact of the existence of criminal networks and they will discuss in open debates and working groups all the instruments to strengthen cooperation in this field. For further information, contact: email@example.com
* “EU ADVANCED COMPETITION POLICY”, 29 JANUARY – 3 FEBRUARY, ROME As part of the MEDA Regional Programme “EuroMed Training for Public Administration”, this seminar is being organised in order to offer participants from MEDA partner countries an in-depth knowledge, in this case in the field of EU Competition Policy, an area of interest to them in the framework of the Association Agreements with the EU; to enable them to acquire an expert's working knowledge on EU Policies that will qualify them to spread relevant information on these matters as well as to develop a working relation with the EU Institutions and EU Member States in this respect; to develop bilateral and multilateral administrative cooperation and to encourage an exchange of experience, knowledge and best practices. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
* “EUROMED JOURNALISTS AWARD 2006”. This an international press competition dealing with the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage. The competition is organised by EuropeAid, Cooperation Office of the European Commission, via the Regional Management and Support Unit (RMSU) of the MEDA-funded Euromed Heritage Program. It is open to journalists from EU and Mediterranean countries. Two Prizes will be offered, one to an EU journalist and one to a MEDA journalist. Furthermore, a special Prize will be offered to a journalist from a MEDA Partner Country by ANSAmed, an international press agency for the Mediterranean basin for the best article on an example of regional cooperation. The deadline for submitting articles is 31 March 2006. For more information, see: http://www.euromedheritage.net/award2006/en.htm
* ANIMA WORKSHOP ON “BUILDING AN IPA COMMUNICATION STRATEGY”, 6-10 FEBRUARY, MARSEILLES. This is the second of a series of regional seminars on ‘Training the Trainers” (see synopsis 342) organised by ANIMA (Euro-Mediterranean Network of Investment Promotion Agencies) with the aim to provide participants with the theoretical module and support material necessary to transfer the knowledge they have gained from the Seminars to their IPA colleagues. This training targets executives from IPAs dealing with marketing and communication. 7 MEDA countries will be represented: Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia. ANIMA is a MEDA-funded regional project managed by EuropeAid, Cooperation Office of the EC. For more information, contact: email@example.com , see : http://www.animaweb.org/
* « BYZANTIUM EARLY ISLAM » : FIRST SEMINAR, 6-10 FEBRUARY, ATHENS. This is the first seminar organised under the Project which brings together experts on cultural heritage from Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Cyprus to further enhance their professional expertise in preserving and promoting heritage in a sustainable way and bringing peace and understanding between the peoples of the region. 50 experts are expected, 19 from Israel, 19 from the Palestinian Territories and 12 from Cyprus. BYZANTIUM EARLY ISLAM, (BYZeIS), a Euromed Heritage III Project (EU-funded Programme managed by EuropeAid, Cooperation Office of the European Commission) is a multidisciplinary project aiming to bring to the fore the region’s Byzantine and Islamic cultural heritage and to modernise its ability to manage it intelligently through co-operation. It involves partners from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. This Project is lead by Elliniki Etaira – Hellenic society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage (Thessaloniki Branch). Fore more information on this project: www.byzantiumearlyislam.net
* FEMIP AND THE MEDITERRANEAN PARTNER COUNTRIES This brochure gives an in-depth summary of EIB activity in the Mediterranean partner countries. Pinpointing the eligible sectors for funding under the EIB’s financing programme, FEMIP (Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership), this publication offers an insight into the finance facilities available in the FEMIP region, as well as underpinning further EIB actions to foster links between the EU and the Mediterranean Neighbours. http://www.eib.eu.int/Attachments/country/femip_general_en.pdf
Brussels,02 06 2006