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Euromed News

INSTITUTIONAL ACTIVITIES

* During the Conference on “Protecting Europe: Policies for enhancing security in the European Union” held on 30 May, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, presented the EU’s role in protecting Europe’s security. “Globalisation can have negative effects on some segments of society, and our job is to counter those. But as a whole, globalisation has overwhelmingly positive effects for society. Yes, illegal migration and human trafficking are real problems. But we are taking steps to combat them and encourage the migration we need to maintain Europe’s global competitiveness. And yes, we did get a wake up call about our energy supplies earlier this year. But we hope the Member states will rally round the proposals we are about to put to them and so give Europe a more strategic approach”, the Commissioner said. She presented three aspects of the EU’s internal and external security approach, including the European Neighbourhood Policy, which “in essence, is a Security Policy”.She also highlighted the need for “human security” and the underlying human rights and fundamental freedoms. Finally, the Commissioner spoke of the importance of Europe’s integrated approach through security sector reform to be achieved with the existing EU instruments. Speech: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/06/331&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

* The MEDA-funded Euro-Mediterranean Conference on “Racism, Xenophobia and the Media: Towards Respect and Understanding of all Religions and Cultures” held on 22-23 May, was a success. The comprehensive set of constructive proposals that emanated from the four working groups as well as considerable domestic and international visibility and the quality of the debates at both the public and private sessions all added to the conference’s achievements. “Freedom of expression and the freedom of the press are the hard-won fruits of years of struggle in Europe […] They must under no circumstances be put at risk […] The right to freedom of expression must however be exercised with responsibility”, Austrian State Secretary Hans Winkler said in opening the Conference which gathered around 200 media and NGO participants from the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership countries. The need for intercultural and inter-religious dialogue was echoed by European Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner who called for action, urging the media to fully engage in the fight for mutual respect and understanding. Beate Winkler, Director of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) stressed the importance of dialogue between media, civil society, faith groups and policy-makers, which is “the way forward to eradicate racism”. Finally, the array of practical suggestions made by participants is encouraging for the future dialogue with the media. Conclusions from the Vienna conference will be published by the EUMC, in concert with the European Commission.
Press release: http://eumc.europa.eu/eumc/material/pub/MR/PR-06-05-06-euromed-EN.pdf
Speech by Austrian Secretary of State: http://www.eu2006.at/en/News/Speeches_Interviews/2205Winkler.html
Speech by EUMC Director:
http://eumc.europa.eu/eumc/material/pub/general/DIR-EUROMED-Vienna-22_May_06.pdf
Speech by Commissioner for European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/06/321&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

* The European Union expressed its concern following the prolongation of the State of Emergency in Egypt. The government of Egypt stated that it would not be used against political opponents but only to combat terrorism. Several demonstrations have taken place in the context of the recent prolongation of the State of Emergency and the EU is also worried about the ongoing disciplinary proceedings against two Egyptian judges for, inter alia, criticism relating to the conduct of the Egyptian Parliamentarian elections of 2005. European Union recalls the pledges of political reform contained in the election programme of President Mubarak in 2005, especially the promise to lift the State of Emergency. Declaration by the EU Presidency:
http://www.eu2006.at/en/News/CFSP_Statements/May/1505Egypt.html

* The European Union urges the Syrian authorities to reconsider all cases of political prisoners and immediately release all prisoners of conscience. The EU regrets that the positive steps taken in January 2006 regarding the human rights situation in Syria have not been continued and expresses its deep concern about the recent widespread harassment of human rights defenders, their families and peaceful political activists, in particular arbitrary arrests and repeated incommunicado detention. The EU calls on the Syrian government to fully respect freedom of expression and assembly as laid down in the Syrian Constitution and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Syria in 1969, which should be fully in force in light of the recent limitation of the emergency law to matters strictly concerning state security. Declaration by the Presidency: http://www.eu2006.at/en/News/CFSP_Statements/May/1905Syria.html

* A meeting of leaders and representatives of the leading world religions was held in Brussels on 30 May at the initiative of Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Austrian Chancellor and President of the Council, Wolfgang Schüssel. Several Christian denominations, Islamic and Jewish communities agreed to take part in the meeting organised by the Commission's Bureau of European Policy Advisers (BEPA). The meeting was also attended by Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. Jointly chaired by President Barroso and Chancellor Schüssel, it focused on the universal values shared by all the EU Member States: freedom, democracy and respect for human rights. Press release: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/652&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

* The European Investment Bank has issued a list of banks and financing institutions that are its intermediaries for credits financed in the framework of it's global loans. The list of these institutions in the 10 Mediterranean partner countries online: http://www.eib.org/news/News.asp?news=33&cat=-1

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* Launching of Three Institutional Twinning Projects in Lebanon on 31st May 2006. The Minister of Economy and Trade, H.E. Mr. Sami Haddad, the Minister of Finance, H.E. Mr. Jihad Azour, and the Head of the Delegation of the European Commission in Lebanon, H.E. Mr. Patrick Renauld announced the launching of three institutional twinning projects with United Kingdom, Spain and Italy, funded by the European Union in the framework of the Association Agreement that entered into force on April 1st 2006. The three twinning projects are the following: “Institutional Strengthening of the Consumer Protection Directorate” (€1,050,000), “Institutional Building of the Insurance Supervisory Authority (€995,500) and “Capacity Building / Modernisation of the Petroleum Warehousing Operations (€125,000). Twinning is a tool of knowledge transfer and capacity building, where EU Member States Administrations partner and Beneficiary Countries Administrations share their experiences in the purpose of enhancing their capacities within wider institutional reforms. More information: http://www.dellbn.cec.eu.int/en/index.htm

* Anima participates in the World Investment Conference, 6-9 June, La Baule, France. The regional MEDA-funded project “Euro-Mediterranean network of investment promotion agencies” (ANIMA) participates for the 3rd consecutive year in the World Investment Conference (WIC) which will be held from 6 to 9 June 2006 on the topic “Europe: building a bridge for the world”. This year, focus will be on Egypt, Russia, the United Kingdom and Hungary. Launched in 2002, the conference, to which more than 700 political, economic decision-makers investors and representatives of the media take part, gradually became a reference platform on the crucial question of the attractiveness of European competitiveness. For the past three years, increasing attention was given to investment under the Euromed Partnership and this year investment in the Mediterranean will also be discussed during a round table meeting, chaired by Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Minister for Egypt Investment. Programme and susbcription:http://www.world-investment-conference.com. For more information on the network activities: http://www.animaweb.org

* Regional Seminar on the International dimension of financial procedures: financial and economic criminality, in particular money laundering. Within the context of the regional MEDA programme “EuroMed Justice Programme”, this seminar on “the Exchange of non- judicial information and its procedural use - Launching the cooperation procedure” was held from 15 to 18 May in Brussels. It was opened by Belgian Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, Mrs. Laurette Onkelinx. An important number of high level representatives of the MED countries as well as, among others, experts from the Council of Europe, Europol and the United Nations attended the seminar. Among the topics which were discussed, emphasis was put on cross-border investigation and international standards for the exchange of information. Working groups also developed the use of non-judicial tools in the fight against Money Laundering and against financing terrorism. The final declaration of this seminar will be disseminated among the European Commission Directorates-General concerned, the EU Member States and the Mediterranean Partners. More information on the programme: http://www.eipa.nl/index.asp?option=EuroMedJustice

* regional closing conference of the 3rd phase of the EuroMed Market and extension of the programme. Within the framework of the MEDA Programme for industrial cooperation and Internal Market (“EuroMed Market”), the closing conference of the 3rd phase which covered the period 2005-2006 was held in Brussels on 16th May. In view of the creation of an Euro-Mediterranean free trade area by 2010 and given the positive actions of the past years, the participants selected 6 priority areas in order to deepen and consolidate their knowledge during a continuation of the present programme under the European Neighbourhood Policy: Customs, Taxation and Rules of origin; Public Procurement; Free Movement of Goods; Competition Rules; Intellectual Property Rights; and Protection of personal data and electronic commerce. Following this request, the European Commission has agreed to a one-year extension of the programme. www.eipa.nl

* SAFEMED launches its Website – The Regional MEDA programme “EuroMed Cooperation on Maritime Safety and Prevention of Pollution from Ships” (SAFEMED) which started in November 2005 has launched its new website www.safemed-project.org The primary objective of the Project, which is implemented by the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) with the support of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), is to mitigate the existing imbalance in the application of maritime legislation in the region between the EU Member States and the Mediterranean partners that are not members of the EU. This is effected through the promotion of a coherent, effective and uniform implementation of the relevant international conventions and rules aimed at better protection of the marine environment in the Mediterranean region by having safer shipping and preventing pollution from ships. To that effect, the Project will focus on the following activities: effective flag State implementation and monitoring of classification societies, safety of navigation through the development of traffic monitoring system, protection of the marine environment, Human element, and security of ships and port facilities in the Mediterranean region.

* Ceremony for the « Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press » on 2nd June 2006 in Beyrouth . The “Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press” is intended to perpetuate the commitment of the journalist and writer assassinated on 2nd June 2005, as well as his action of “resistance of words against weapons, against obscurantism and against cruelty”. It will be granted each year on the anniversary of the writer’s death to mark the birth of new talents in the Mediterranean region. The first ceremony will be next Friday 2nd June and the Delegation of the European Commission in Lebanon will award a journalist (€ 15,000) and a young researcher (€ 10,000) for their work on a theme related to the rule of law or the freedom of the press. The jury was composed of 9 voting members, representing Mediterranean and European Media and organisations. More information: www.prixsamirkassir.org

* Special broadcasting hours for the Samir Kassir award- on Friday 2 June 2006 - 08H00 GMT “Sabah al Khier Ya Qods” (Palestinian Television) between Paris, Beirut and Ramallah with as special guests, in Ramallah: Yasser Abed Rabo former Minister for Culture and Information and Hassan Ballawi journalist and member of the jury of the Samir Kassir award; in Beirut: Gisèle Khoury, Elias Khoury, journalist and writer and Patrick Renauld Head of the European Commission Delegation in Lebanon; and in Paris: Elias Sanbar, editor of the “Revue d'Etudes Palestiniennes”. 14H30 GMT - Europe by Satellite » (EbS) Footages of the ceremony and interviews will be available on the EbS network. For information, contact: Frederic de HONDT - Tel + 32.2.292.14 53. 15H30 GMT – “Entre deux rives” (Radio Monte Carlo-Moyen Orient). Within the framework of the regional Information and Communication programme financed by MEDA, this weekly magazine serves as an area for dialogue between Europe and the Mediterranean countries. On Friday, the programme presented by Hassa Tlili from Beirut will be devoted to the theme “Samir Kassir award: hope for the journalists of tomorrow?” with, as special guests, both laureates of the Samir Kassir award. On Saturday 3 June 2006 - 10H40 GMT – “The Arab Kiosk” (Radio France International), presented by Frédéric Domont, will invite Elias Khoury, Patrick Renauld and the laureates of the Samir Kassir award.

* « Rivages » - Radio France International (RFI) – Sunday 4 June 2006 at 18H40 brussels Time (16H40 GMT). 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 in French by Brice Barillon will cover the Lebanese reconciliation and will analyze the problems encounters by Druze and Christians living in the Chouf, with a special report by Lucas Menget. To listen or download this programme as well as previous editions: www.rfi.fr/radiofr/emissions/072/accueil_55.asp

* TV5 WORLD “CIVILISATION BETWEEN TWO BANKS” - 8 JUNE at 22H20 (Brussels time). The regional Information and Communication MEDA programme finances about twenty TV broadcasting hours on the relations between the EU and the Maghreb, which are produced by TV5 Monde. This programme of 95 minutes will be filmed from the “Spasimo” church in Palermo, Sicily, on the site of an old Arab citadel. The town of Palermo, where Moslem, Christian and Jewish cohabited under Arab sovereignty, corresponds to the programme’s topic which will cover the lack of understanding prevailing between the north and the south of the Mediterranean. Around Paul Germain, guests will be: Rodrigo de Zayas, writer and Spanish historian, Thierry Fabre, coordinator of the RAMSES network and responsible for the Euromed pole to the Mediterranean House of the Sciences of Man (Aix-en-Provence) and editor of the review “La pensée de midi ”, Khadija Mohsen-Finan, research worker, author of “Musulmans de France et d'ailleurs” (CNRS Editions), Paul Balta, author of “Boire et manger en Méditerranée” at Acte Sud and Roberto Alajmo, writer from Palermo. Broadcasts will be repeated on the Europe network on 6 June at 23h15 (Paris time) and on the East network with Arabic subtitling: on 6 June at 22h30 and 10 June 2h20 (Paris time).

* Cultural Heritage in Algiers. Within the framework of the European cultural festival in Algiers and the regional programme MEDA Euromed Heritage II, the exhibition “Algiers: images of an inheritance” took place from 18 to 24 May 2006. It closes the research project “patrimoines partagés” launched in November 2005 in collaboration with the architecture department of the Université Mouloud Mammeri in Tizi-Ouzou. This exhibition also supplements a previous exhibition on the architectural heritage of the XIX and XX century “Algiers: Glances on a heritage”, carried out and presented on the occasion of the month of the heritage in May 2004. It falls under the development and awareness-raising activities for the architectural and urban heritage. For more information: www.patrimoinespartages.org

Brussels,06 06 2006
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