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Euromed News

INSTITUTIONAL ACTIVITIES

* On the outcome of elections in Israel on 28th March, Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) congratulated Israel’s acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and encouraged persisting efforts for a peaceful, negotiated resolution of the Middle-East conflict. Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, commented that together with the recent Palestinian elections, the vote in Israel will have a shaping influence on the prospects for moving towards a peaceful resolution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The EU stands ready to work with the new Israeli Government to promote security and peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

* The EU attaches great importance to its relations with the Arab world and its determination to seek closer dialogue between cultures is signaled by Mrs. Benita Ferrero-Waldner’s visit to the Arab League Summit on 28 March. This is only the second summit to which non-Arab leaders have been invited. The Arab League has an important role to play in pursuing peace, democratisation, regional integration and cultural dialogue, and Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner will propose that this partnership should be strengthened. Bilateral meetings with Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya and Saudi Arabia are also planned. http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/378&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

* Europe’s major challenge in the years ahead will be its relations with the Muslim world, as stated by President Joseph Borrell who opened the Second Session of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) on 26th & 27th March. “On the one hand, the Mediterranean region is extremely dynamic, while on the other hand it is becoming increasingly fragile”, he added. According to Mr. Borrell, the extraordinary session in Rabat where common positions to both sides of the Mediterranean were adopted on sensitive issues, showed the added value of the EMPA to the Barcelona Summit. The President regrets the Danish cartoons incident, which “conjured up the spectre of a clash of civilisations” and reiterates that freedom of expression is a central value of the Barcelona Declaration. Despite the “gaping wound” caused by the Israel-Palestine conflict which “has always been the Achilles’ heel of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation”, M. Borrell insisted on the urgent need to replace an atmosphere of confrontation with one of dialogue and encouraged the Assembly to strive for mutual understanding and to “point to cases where the language of diplomacy or of governments is liable to conceal misunderstandings”.http://www.europarl.eu.int/president/defaulten.htm

* The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly ended with a call to the future Palestinian and Israeli governments to respect past commitments regarding the peace process and Euromed countries were urged not to interrupt or sabotage the dialogue process. In an effort to heal the rifts which arose between European and Muslim countries, the EMPA condemned the offence caused by the Danish cartoons as well as the violence which their publication provoked. Addressing the Assembly on this matter, Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said:“Freedom of religion is non-negotiable. Similarly, freedom of speech is central to Europe’s values and traditions. It is also non-negotiable. But it does come with responsibilities”. Three resolutions drawn up by the EMPA's political, economic and cultural committees were adopted by acclamation and President Josep Borrell, who had chaired the Euromed Parliamentary Assembly for the past year, handed over the gavel to Tunisian parliamentary Mr. Fouad Mebazaa. More information: http://www.europarl.eu.int/news/expert/infopress_page/030-6794-086-03-13-903-20060327IPR06793-27-03-2006-2006-false/default_en.htm

* Negotiations on services and investment during the 5th Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Trade Ministers in Marrakech on 24th March are an important step in realising more effectively the economic potential of the Mediterranean area, according to the Austrian Minister for Economic Affairs and Labour, Martin Bartenstein, who jointly chaired the conference with EU Commissioner Peter Mandelson and Moroccan Trade Minister, Mr Mustapha Mechaouri. The conference was attended by the Trade Ministers of the 25 EU Member States, the two EU acceding countries, Bulgaria and Romania, and the 10 Euro-Med countries. Conclusions: http://europa.eu.int/comm/trade/issues/bilateral/regions/euromed/pr240306_en.htm

* FEMIP: Launch of EuroMena Fund in Beirut. Under its Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), the European Investment Bank (EIB) is participating with EUR 10 million in the setting up of the EuroMena Fund. Focused on investments in mid-market companies in the Mediterranean Countries, the fund is promoted by Capital Trust. With a target of EUR 80-100 million, this private equity fund will be aiming at sectors in which to build regional groups. http://www.eib.eu.int/news/press/press.asp?press=3082

PRESS RELEASES

* Press releases issued by European Parliament groups after the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) :

* European People's Party and European Democrats (EPP-ED)
« Un dialogue ouvert sur la liberté d'expression et le respect des convictions religieuses » (French only)
http://www.epp-ed.org/Press/showpr.asp?PRControlDocTypeID=1&PRControlID=4707&PRContentID=8514&PRContentLG=fr
« Mme Kratsa, élue Vice-Présidente de la commission ad hoc sur les droits de la femme dans les pays euro-méditerranéens » (French only)
http://www.epp-ed.org/Press/showpr.asp?PRControlDocTypeID=1&PRControlID=4706&PRContentID=8513&PRContentLG=fr
« Towards a partnership on civil protection and prevention of natural and ecological disasters within the Barcelona Process »
http://www.epp-ed.org/Press/showpr.asp?PRControlDocTypeID=1&PRControlID=4705&PRContentID=8512&PRContentLG=en

* Socialist Group (PSE)
«The crisis in the Mediterranean must be overcome through political will»
http://www.socialistgroup.org/gpes/news.do?id=22803&focus=1&lg=en&pageref=home
ALDE - Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
« Dialogue is the key to bridging gaps »
http://alde.europarl.eu.int/1/MAHGGFIAMHKHFLCEBNBKDLAKPDBN9AF4F39DAG73BY9LI7TOA/docs/DLS/2006-STAFF-0399-01-EN.htm

* The Greens/European Free Alliance
«Se aprueba la creación de una comisión intercultural de sabios para prevenir futuras crisis como la de las vinetas de mahoma» (Spanish only)
http://www.greens-efa.org/cms/default/dok/116/116688.asamblea_parlamentaria_euromediterranea@en.htm

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* BILATERAL COOPERATION: LOCAL DEVELOPMENT IN 28 REGIONS IN LEBANON
The “Economic and Social Fund for Development” (ESFD) project is funded by the EU and managed by the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union in Lebanon. In this context, The President of the CDR, Al Fadl Chalak, signed on 29th March, 14 Memoranda of Understanding with representatives of 28 villages and urban areas for an amount of 4.2 millions euros intended to the implementation of local development projects. The signature took place in the presence of Ambassador Patrick Renauld, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission, and Mr. Haitham Omar, director of the ESFD.With a budget of 31 M€ of which 25M€ are granted by the EU, the ESFD aims at improving the economic and social conditions of low-income groups through two components: Job Creation and Community Development. More information on http://www.cdr.gov.lb or http://www.dellbn.cec.eu.int/en/eu_and_lebanon/project3.htm

* SPECIAL HOURS « D’UNE RIVE À L’AUTRE » WOMEN IN THE MAGREB ON RADIO FRANCE INTERNATIONAL (RFI) THIS FRIDAY 31ST MARCH
In the framework of the regional MEDA programme on Information and Communication, D’une rive à l’autre is a special programme on the Mediterranean, broadcasted by RMC-MO with financial support of the EC. The weekly broadcast of 20 minutes serves as an area for dialogue between Europe and the Mediterranean countries as well as a point of meeting for those who work towards the partnership. The topic of this Friday’s broadcast which is in Arabic will address women’s rights in the Magreb and will be presented by Soumayya AL ALAMI. The case of Morocco will be studies, with the participation of Mrs Amina LEMRINI, teacher and activist for women's rights, Mrs Rabia NACIRI, founder Member of the Democratic Women Association in Morocco, and Mr Abdelbari ZEMZEMI, legal adviser. A 2nd broadcast is scheduled on Saturday 1 April at 12h30 (Brussels time) and it will be possible to listen to the programme on http://www.rmc-mo.com/fr/Çuromed/index.asp

* TV5 MONDE: SPECIAL PROGRAMME ON ISRAELI ELECTIONS THIS SUNDAY 2ND APRIL AT 17H00 (BRUSSELS TIME)
In partnership with the European Commission in the framework of the regional Information and Communication MEDA programme, this edition of “Kiosque” will be broadcasted live from Jerusalem to comment on the results of the general election which took place on 28th March in Israel. During this one hour TV show Philippe Dessaint will receive journalists from various countries. The debates in French will be supplemented by various sequences, including a report on the press in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories, and one report on Brussels, with interviews of Mrs. Benita Ferrero Waldner and Mrs. Leila Shahid. More information: http://www.tv5.org/TV5Site/info/kiosque_sommaire.php

* TV5 MONDE WELCOMES MOHAMED CHARFI, ON MONDAY 3RD APRIL AT 18H20 (BRUSSELS TIME)
In the framework of the regional Information and Communication MEDA programme, since 2005 EuropeAid has been funding about twenty hours of TV programmes dedicated to the EU and Maghreb relationship. These programmes are produced by the French-speaking TV5 MONDE channel programme. “TV5 L’invité” is a programme to which one or more guests, witnesses, specialists or wellknown individuals are invited to highlight current hot topics. This time, the guest will be Mohamed CHARFI, highly skilled professor at the Faculty of Law Sciences of Tunis, former President of the Tunisian League of human rights and Minister for Education and Sciences between 1989 to 1994. (2nd broadcast on the “Orient” network on 10th April at 18h20 with Arabic subtitling).More information: http://www.tv5.org/TV5Site/programmes/guide_programmes.php

* “THE CARAVAN OF THE EURO-ARAB CINEMA” - EUROMED AUDIOVISUEL II
In the framework of the regional MEDA Euromed Audiovisuel II programme, the caravan began its itinerant projections, as its name indicates, and is presently in Cairo until 4th April. It will continue its itinerary in Alexandria from 5th to 11th April before going to Amman (15th-20th April) and Beirut (27th Avril-1st May). The caravan aims to show a selection of European and Mediterranean films to the public and is accompanied by events, such as a focus on the Tunisian cinema and on the French cinema. Contact: caravane@sematcairo.com and www.cinemacaravan.com

* VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAMME - EUROMED AUDIOVISUAL II
The regional programme MEDA Euromed Audiovisuel II started in January 2006 and offers technical assistance and a vocational training to professionals and the authorities in charge of the audiovisual sector in the countries of the Mediterranean. Within this framework, the AFIC training (Audiovisual Financing and commercialisation), will be held in Paris from 2nd to 13th July and is addressed to young professionals and academics. The registration deadline is 21st April 2006. For more information contact: cdecroix@ina.fr or www.ina.fr/afic

* TRAINING ON PROJECT DESIGN IN MAY & JULY 2006
In the framework of the MEDA-funded Euromed Heritage Programme, the Regional Management and Support Unit (RMSU) is organising two new training sessions on project design, which will take place in Brussels from 29th May until 1st June and in Venice from 5th to 8th July. Each course will be addressed to 25 participants, chosen among partners of the Euromed Heritage Programme and other candidates interested in acquiring new knowledge through the proposed training. Partners who have already attended the past editions may not apply. For any additional information, please contact: training@euromedheritage.net or refer to http://www.euromedheritage.net/en/rmsu/rmsu_training.htm

* ANNA LINDH FOUNDATION JOURNALIST AWARD FOR CULTURAL DIVERSITY
Awarded by the Anna Lindh Foundation and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), this prize aims at encouraging journalism that effectively contributes to the dialogue between cultures and peoples by spreading awareness of diversity. The competition is open for journalists between the age of 25 and 35 and the first deadline for submitting articles is 1 June 2006. Every year, up to 4 young journalists, two from the EU countries and two from the Mediterranean partner countries will be awarded. The award ceremony will be held on 10 September in Alexandria. For information and application: www.euromedalex.org or www.ifj.org

* EURO-MED YOUTH PLATFORM PUBLICATION COMMEMORATING THE 10 YEARS OF THE BARCELONA PROCESS
Together with the regional MEDA Euro-Med Youth Programme, the Platform is an initiative of the European Commission and the Government of Malta and aims at bringing young people from the region together in an environment of tolerance and mutual understanding, facilitating networking between them, assisting in the capacity building of their organisations, increasing their participation, sharing of relevant information, and exchanging good practice. The publication, in English and French, comprises answers to the question ‘what is the situation of young people in your country’, given by participants in the Platform’s activities over the last two years. It also includes statistics provided by the UN on all the 25 EU member states and its 10 Mediterranean Partners. The Euro-Med Youth Platform has won the Newsropeans Grands Prix Award 2005 for contribution to democracy in the sector “youth and education”. http://www.euromedp.org/en/home.asp

* “ADOPT A MEDITERRANEAN HERITAGE” - EUROMED HERITAGE
The regional MEDA Euromed Heritage programme has launched a new initiative that aims at facilitating the interaction between international investors and Mediterranean tangible cultural heritage, to support its conservation and promotion. Adopt a Mediterranean Heritage is not a direct financing tool nor does it imply a contract with the European Commission. Regulations, application form and guidelines are available online: http://www.euromedheritage.net/adopt/en/download_area.htm

* RADIO BROADCASTS: RADIO FRANCE INTERNATIONAL (RFI) AND RADIO MONTE CARLO – MOYEN ORIENT (RMC-MO)
In the framework of the regional MEDA programme on Information and Communication, the radio programme “Rivages” was broadcasted by RFI on 26th March with regard to the water crisis, with focus on Jordan and Egypt, following the 4th World Water Forum in Mexico (16th–22ndMarch). To listen or download the programme (in French): http://www.rfi.fr/radiofr/emissions/072/archives_55.asp. The programme “D’une rive à l’autre” was broadcasted by RMC-MO on 24th March with regard to rural development in the Mediterranean region. It is still possible to listen to this programme and the past ones (in Arabic): http://www.rmc-mo.com/fr/€uromed/index.asp

Brussels,04 03 2006
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