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* European Commission President Romano Prodi will visit Algeria on 30 March, and Tunisia on 31 March and 1 April to promote his recent ‘Wider Europe - Neighbourhood’ initiative, and to strengthen relations with the two Mediterranean Partners. In both countries the Commission President will highlight the significance of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, and Association Agreements with the EU. He will also express the Commission’s wish to see South-South co-operation in the Maghreb develop within the Agadir Process or the Arab Maghreb Union. In Algeria President Prodi will meet the country’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Prime Minister Ali Benflis. He will also deliver a speech in front of a gathering of the Algerian Parliament’s two Foreign Affairs Committees, that of the National Assembly, and that of the Senate. The deepening of democracy and respect for human rights will be specifically discussed. In addition, Mr Prodi will reiterate the EU’s interest in co-operation with Algeria on energy and transport, preferably in a framework encompassing the whole of the Maghreb. In Tunisia President Prodi will have talks with the country’s President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, Prime Minister Mohammed Gannouchi, and some of the Ministers whose portfolios are the most relevant to the implementation of the Association Agreement with the EU. The Commission President will be awarded an honorary doctorate at Tunis University, on which occasion he will deliver a speech. He is expected to explain that the forthcoming enlargement of the EU presents Tunisia with more opportunities than threats, and to stress the importance the EU attaches to trade in services, and the movement of people. International developments and Tunisia’s internal political situation will also be discussed during Mr Prodi’s visit.

* Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafik Hariri met European Commission President Romano Prodi on 25 March in Brussels as part of a trip that took him to Greece (the country currently holding the EU Presidency), France, Germany, and Italy. Mr Hariri was carrying messages on behalf of both Lebanon and Syria on the situation in Iraq, and prospects for the post-war period. The Prime Minister said both countries were eager to promote better and deeper co-operation and co-ordination with the EU, and he highlighted the present stability of Lebanon. Lebanon is opposed to the war in Iraq. On the Middle East Peace Process Mr Hariri expressed the wish of Lebanon and Syria to co-operate on the Road Map. President Prodi said that the EU was ready to step up co-operation with Lebanon and Syria, and asked Mr Hariri to encourage Syria to speed up negotiations for an Association Agreement.

* The Policy Dialogue and Co-ordination Committee of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) will hold its 2nd meeting on 3 April in Istanbul at Ministerial level. The meeting is a mid-term evaluation of the FEMIP, and it focuses on ‘Access to Finance for Private Investors in the Mediterranean Region’. It will be opened by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gül, and hosted by Turkish Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan. All Mediterranean Partners and most EU Member States should be represented by their Minister in charge of Economic Affairs.

* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security Issues met on 26 March in Brussels. The current situation in Iraq was discussed, and also the Middle East Peace Process. It was noted that the holding of the meeting, with all partners represented, demonstrated the common will to maintain progress in the Barcelona Process against the background of the very difficult situation in the region. Senior Officials also discussed the state of play of the political and security dialogue, and various ideas for taking this forward; they will revert to the subject at their next meeting. Representatives of the Euro-Mediterranean network of foreign policy institutes (EuroMeSCo) presented their recent work and proposals for future activity. There was also an exchange of views on the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, although the postponement of the 5th Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum (see below) means that this subject is not yet ripe for concrete action.

* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process meets on 27 March in Brussels. The main subjects for discussion are the Implementation of the Valencia Action Plan in the 2nd and 3rd Chapters of Barcelona, and the recent European Commission Communication on ‘Wider Europe – Neighbourhood’. The Committee also looks at the Guiding Principles of Dialogue between cultures and civilisations, and the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation. An assessment of past activities is being made. In addition, the European Commission informs participants on existing regional programmes.

* The 5th Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum, which was to take place on 28 and 29 March in Elounda on the Greek island of Crete, has been postponed in view of the situation created by the war on Iraq. The postponement decision has been taken on 20 March jointly by European Parliament President Pat Cox and the President of the Moroccan House of Representatives Abdelwahad Radi in consultation with the Greek Parliament. The parliamentary leaders involved hope the Forum can be held before the end of the EU Greek Presidency.

* The MED Committee will meet on 2 April in Brussels. Committee members are expected to give an opinion on the MEDA Regional Financing Plan 2003, and the Financing Plan 2003 for the West Bank & Gaza Strip. The proposed Regional Financing Plan 2003 comprises six programmes (Support to the implementation of the South-South sub-regional Free Trade Area of Agadir; Euro-Mediterranean Water Information System (EMWIS); Training of public administrations; Euromed Heritage III; Middle East Peace Projects 2003; and Support Fund to the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) ). There will be an exchange of views on the mid-term review of the National Indicative Programmes 2002-2004. In addition, the European Commission will inform the Committee on some ongoing MEDA Regional Programmes, and Support Programmes to the implementation of Association Agreements.

* The 5th SMAP Correspondents’ meeting will take place on 1 and 2 April in Brussels. The implementation of the Short and Medium-term environmental Action Programme (SMAP) will be reviewed with presentations being made by the SMAP Correspondents in the Mediterranean Partners, and European Commission (Directorate General ‘Environment’) and NGO representatives. The European Commission (Directorate General ‘EuropeAid Cooperation Office’) will on this occasion inform participants of progress made on the MEDA funded Euro-Mediterranean Regional Programme for the Environment, and on the forthcoming launching of the Sustainability Impact Assessment of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. Synergies with other EU supported activities, notably the LIFE-Third Countries Projects, will also be discussed.

* The Euro-Mediterranean Energy Forum, which was scheduled to be held on 2 and 3 April in Brussels, has been postponed to 29 April for logistical reasons.


The first network worldwide where partners use inter-active video-conferencing and satellite bandwidth-pooling technology for distance learning in heritage conservation will be inaugurated on 29 March in Malta by the country’s Prime Minister Dr Eddie Fenech Adami. The network has been set up, and the courses prepared under the MEDA supported IKONOS project, part of the EUROMED HERITAGE Regional Programme. The inauguration ceremony will see the launch of the Introductory Course on Conservation and Mediterranean Cultural Heritage, as well as the opening of the Information & Communications Technology Centre of the IKONOS consortium established by the project’s co-ordinator, the Malta Centre for Restoration. During the ceremony Dr Fenech Adami will use the video-conferencing system to greet the Prime Minister of Greece Costas Simitis. The inauguration will be attended by Malta’s Foreign Minister Dr Joe Borg, Finance Minister John Dalli, Minister of Education Louis Galea, and Minister for Telecommunications Censu Galea. IKONOS has received EU funding of around € 2.5 million. The project involves partners from Malta, Algeria, Cyprus, Jordan, Morocco, Greece, and the UK.

A Partnership Event on E-Business and E-Commerce will be held on 28 and 29 March in Nicosia within the EU funded MEDRESSA II Programme. The opening speech will be delivered by the Head of the European Commission Delegation in Cyprus Adriaan Van Der Meer. Various aspects of e-business will be addressed, notably e-procurement, e-travel, security, and infrastructure. MEDRESSA events bring together EU providers of IT products and services, and Mediterranean users.


‘Private Participation in Mediterranean Infrastructure’ (PPMI) is a MEDA regional project co-financed by the World Bank and the European Commission. It covers a variety of sectors, including transport, water, and energy, also providing technical assistance and training. It is also the name of a monthly newsletter summarising the project’s latest developments, providing information on relevant World Bank activities, and featuring articles on specific issues. The publication can be downloaded from the web site

Brussels,03 30 2003
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