* The Presidency of the European Union and the European Parliement strongly condemned the suicide attack perpetrated in Tel Aviv on 17 April and expressed their condolences to the families of the victims. The EU Presidency has taken note of the condemnation of the attack by the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and strongly urges the Palestinian Government to fully commit to all the principles requested by the International Community, including the renunciation of violence, in order to permit progress towards a peaceful solution.
* Austrian EU Council Presidency and the Republic of Lebanon warmly welcome the holding of the first EU-Lebanon Association Council, which will open a new era in the bilateral relations between Lebanon and the EU, leading to a further deepening of the existing political economic, cultural and social ties. As Lebanon has embarked on an ambitious reform programme to further strengthen its democratic system and modernise its economy, the Association Agreement which entered into force on 1 April will bring a significant contribution to its reform endeavour. http://www.eu2006.at/en/News/Press_Releases/April/1104plassniklibanon.html
* No taxpayers’ money to finance violence or terrorism says Ursula Plassnik at the General Affairs and External Relations Council held in Luxembourg on 10 April. With regard to the situation in the Middle East, the Council noted with regret the absence of any sign of a significant change of attitude on the part of Hamas. The Foreign Ministers therefore supported the Commission’s decision to suspend direct payments and technical assistance to the Palestinian Authority as a precautionary measure. Plassnik stressed that individual Member States will take the same approach. “Our policy is not to threaten or blackmail, nor is it about some kind of collective punishment. However, we owe it to our voters and the taxpayers to see to it that tax revenue is not used to finance violence or terror", Plassnik said. The EU will nevertheless continue to support the Palestinian people and to provide basic humanitarian assistance. “Our aim is not to bring about the failure of the Hamas government, but to persuade it to accept our criteria”, she added. Plassnik also said that the EU Foreign Ministers have agreed to refrain from any contacts at a political level with the Palestinian Authority. The full press release can be found at:www.eu2006.at/en/News/Press_Releases/April/1004PlassnikRAA.html Information on the EU Council position: www.ue.eu.int/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/gena/89215.pdf
* “Relations between Morocco and the EU have a long tradition”, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said during her meeting with Moroccan Foreign Minister Mohamed Benaïssa on 7 April. “Morocco was one of the first Mediterranean countries to enter into an intense political dialogue and deeper cooperation with the EU. It was also one of the first participants in the European Neighbourhood Policy, a key element of which concerns action plans facilitating cooperation with the EU specifically geared to the individual country”, she added. Their discussions centred on relations between the EU and Morocco, particularly in the framework of the European neighbourhood Policy. The two ministers also discussed bilateral and regional themes. http://www.eu2006.at/en/News/Press_Releases/April/0704PlassnikBena__ssa.html
* The 10th Euro-Mediterranean Economic Transition Conference will be held on 6 and 7 June in Brussels. The annual conferences provide an informal forum for open debate on key economic policy issues under the Euromed Partnership. This year’s focus will be on trade in services and the Internal Market aspects (regulatory harmonisation) of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The conference aims specifically to clarify the “stake in the EU Internal Market” and to enhance awareness of the potential economic benefits of that “stake”, as well as to explain how the ENP articulates with economic policies under the Association Agreements and the Barcelona Process. www.europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/etn/10mtg_0606/index.htm
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* PHOTOGRAPH COMPETITION “CROSSING GLANCES”. The regional Information and Communication Programme financed by MEDA with the objective of improving mutual comprehension in the Euro-Mediterranean region, launches a competition for young photographers North and South of the Mediterranean. Whether amateurs or professionals, this competition is open to young photographers born between 1 January 1975 and 3 July 1988. They should reside in one of the following countries: Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Malta, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Israel, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. The jury will choose the work of 17 winning photographs, one from each country, which will then be exhibited at the Palazzo Valentini in the historical centre of Rome. The exhibition will also be shown in some of the participating countries, including in Brussels. A TV documentary will also give the opportunity to the young winners to express their opinions on their work, their country and relations between the two shores of the Mediterranean. The work should be sent before 3 July 2006. The application form can be downloaded on: http://www.euromed-crossingglances.org/site/index.php?id_cat=31&id_pag=60 For more information on the competition: http://www.euromed-crossingglances.org/site/index.php?id_cat=31
* MEDINA INFORMATION DAY, 25 APRIL 2006, MALTA. Within the EUMEDIS regional MEDA programme, the “MEDINA” project is aiming at promoting cultural tourism in the Mediterranean area through the design and the development of a Portal and nine national websites (Algeria, Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Syria, and Tunisia). The Information day, which will be held on the 25th April 2006 at 2.00 pm at the Cavalier St James Centre for Creativity in Malta, will present the project’s results at this stage. It will also be an opportunity to inform partners, local decision-makers and stakeholders on the potentialities of the MEDINA Portal and of the national websites that aim at enhancing cultural tourism and local socio-economic development. For more information: http://www.medinaproject.net or http://www.eumedis.net/en/project/10
* INFORMATION MEETING ON MED-PACT CALL FOR PROPOSALS, 21 APRIL 2006, BRUSSELS.
The regional MEDA programme MED-PACT (“Local Authorities Partnership Programme in the Mediterranean”) aims to encourage understanding between civil societies from both sides of the Mediterranean, with a view to improve cooperation, exchange and dialogue between cities. The meeting will be held in order to clarify guidelines for potential grant applicants responding to the open MED-PACT call for proposal (with reference “EuropeAid/122713/C/ACT/Multi” and deadline for receipt of applications 2 June 2006) regarding the application’s procedures and eligibility criteria. Applicants can also refer to the EuropeAid website: http://europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/cgi/frame12.pl
* 2ND PREPARATORY MEETING FOR THE EUROMESCO ANNUAL CONFERENCE, 24-25 APRIL 2006, PARIS. The Euro-Mediterranean network of strategic research and foreign policy institutes (EuroMeSCo), financed by the MEDA programme, has as a principal objective the distribution of the analyses carried out by the institutes affiliated to the network for the construction of peace and stability space in the Mediterranean area. Within this framework, the meeting in Paris on “Democracy and Inclusion” will cover the implication and the role of the migrant communities in the political reforms and decisions in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. For more information about the programme: http://www.euromesco.net/euromesco/matriz.asp
* FIRST MEDA-ETE NEWSLETTER. The first newsletter related to the regional MEDA project “Education and Training for Employment” (MEDA-ETE) has been published on April 1 2006, with the aim of facilitating communication, exchanges of ideas at regional level and to inform on the latest progress in the project implementation. This first issue covers topics such as south-south cooperation, education and the labour market, and e-learning. View the Newsletter on http://www.meda-ete.net/
* SPECIAL HOURS « D’UNE RIVE À L’AUTRE » RADIO MONTE CARLO – MOYEN ORIENT (RMC-MO) FRIDAY 21 APRIL AT 17H30 (BRUSSELS TIME). 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 presented by Hassane TLILI 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 will address the scientific and technological Euro-Israeli partnership. A 2nd broadcast is scheduled on Saturday 21 April at 12h30 (Brussels time) and to listen to the programme on http://www.rmc-mo.com/en (in Arabic).
* « RIVAGES » - RADIO FRANCE INTERNATIONAL (RFI) SUNDAY 23 APRIL 2006 AT 18H40 (BRUSSLES TIME). The radio programme “Rivages” is broadcasted by RFI in the framework of the regional MEDA programme on Information and Communication. It aims to be an area of dialogue between Europe and the Mediterranean countries as well as a point of meeting for those who work towards this partnership. This Sunday, the radio programme presented by Brice Barillon will cover the European immigration policy, with a special report from Sarah Tissyere on “the broken dreams of immigrants in the Canary Islands”. Guests will be Mrs Helene FLAUTRE, member of the European Greens and President of UN Human Rights Commission of the European Parliament and Mr Ahmedou OULD ABDALLAH, special representative of Koffi ANNAN in West Africa. To listen or download the programme: www.rfi.fr/radiofr/emissions/072/accueil_55.asp (in French).
Brussels,04 24 2006