- Euro-Mediterranean Trade Ministers will hold their second meeting on 19 March in Toledo, Spain to continue developing the trade aspects of the Barcelona Process.
The European Union is expected to propose Mediterranean Partners' participation in the Paneuropean System of rules of origin, and to ask the Partners to build the necessary provisions into the respective Association Agreements.
On services the European Commission will propose that the current Working Group proceed with their tasks, and hold sectoral meetings on sea transport, tourism, telecommunications, and business services. Creation of a new Working Group on trade measures for regional integration will be proposed. Such a Working Group should focus on trade and investment facilitation. Multilateral trade matters will also be discussed, particularly the Doha development agenda.
- Senior Officials and Experts responsible for Justice and Home Affairs met on 8 March in Brussels.
Following a very interesting and in-depth discussion they reached an agreement in principle on a framework document aimed at preparing the Regional Justice and Home Affairs Programme. The document could be endorsed by the Euro-Mediterranean Committee for the Barcelona Process at their next meeting on 5 April in Brussels, and the Regional Programme's name could be chosen at the same meeting.
- The MEDA-funded Euro-Maroc-Entreprise Business Centre (EME) and Tangiers' industrial estate business association (AZIT) on 8 March signed an agreement on the launch of an electrical energy rationalisation programme.
The signing took place in Tangiers at a ceremony presided by Morocco's Minister of Trade, Industry, Energy, and Mining Mustapha Mansouri in the presence of representatives of the European Commission's Delegation in Rabat. The energy initiative is the second support programme designed by EME to benefit AZIT's 107 member companies.
· A Seminar on 'Women's Citizenship and Development Capacity' will be held on 16 and 17 March in Tunis within a Euro-Mediterranean project entitled 'Positive Actions on Citizen's Rights for Women, and Equal Opportunities in the Maghreb'.
The project is part of the EU funded 'European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights'. The Seminar is organised by the Italian Istituto per il Mediterraneo (IMED, a not-for-profit organisation specializing in the economic, social, and cultural enhancement of the Euro-Mediterranean region), together with the Association of Tunisian Women for Research and Development (AFTURD) in co-operation with their partners in Algeria, and Morocco.
The project aims at helping promote women's rights and the democratic development of North African society through strengthening civil society organisations. During its 3 years of operation (2002-2004) the project will help create meeting places for women, information centres for legal and psychological counselling, organise training courses, and stage cultural events. The project's agenda also includes crossborder training and information activities for women's organisations, as well as Trade Unions and NGOs. On 16 March, also in Tunis, AFTURD's Training and Communication Department will be officially opened.
Structural Adjustment Facility for Water in Morocco
A 3 year project on improving water management in Morocco which gets € 120 million under MEDA has been launched as the contract has recently been signed. The projet is entitled 'Structural Adjustment Facility for the Water Sector', and it aims at supporting adoption and implementation of legislative, regulatory, financial, and technical measures designed to increase the efficiency of water utilisation in Morocco.
Specific objectives of the project are to ensure effective implementation of the framework water legislation adopted in 1995, to reduce the cost of the water sector for the national budget, and to increase the efficiency of institutions in charge of water management. The immediate beneficiary is the Moroccan Ministry of Finance and Privatisation but in the last resort all present and future water users should benefit from the project as they should be guaranteed fair access to good quality water resources.
Tunisia's Industrial Modernisation Program
The European Commission and the Tunisian Ministry of Industry are currently identifying components for a € 50 million Industrial Modernisation Programme under MEDA, which would start in 2003. The financing convention could be signed at the end of this year.
External Assistance Annual Report 2000 on the web
The European Commission's EuropeAid Cooperation Office DG has just published the Annual Report on the implementation of the Commission's External Assistance in 2000 on the website http://europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/reports
It includes a 15 page chapter on the South Mediterranean, Near and Middle East, and features a number of tables.
Brussels,03 14 2002
European Union Redaction