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Euromed News

INSTITUTIONAL ACTIVITIES

* The 2nd EU-Egypt Association Council will be held in Luxembourg on 13 June 2006. During this council meeting, the current state of EU-Egypt relations with regard to the implementation of the Association Agreement under the Barcelona Process will be discussed. Future prospects related to the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan will be presented as well. The EU hopes that the Action Plan will be agreed with Egypt in the near future. The two sides will discuss internal political developments in the EU and in Egypt under the political dialogue. Subjects of common interest, including regional and global issues are also on the agenda. The council meeting will be concluded with a press conference.

* During the 10th Euro-Mediterranean Economic Transition (6-7 June in Brussels), European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, highlighted how the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) can bring neighbours closer and give them a stake in the EU internal market. “The core principle of the European Neighbourhood Policy is very simple – we want to extend the prosperity, stability, and security enjoyed by the EU’s members to our neighbours”, she said. Although the Barcelona Process offers an important multilateral forum for the Euro-Mediterranean area, the NEP goes further than the Association Agreements in the kind of relationship proposed. “The pragmatic approach of the ENP includes jointly agreed Action Plans signed with each country and therefore offers the opportunity to build a qualitatively better relationship with the EU”, Mrs. Ferrero-Waldner added. She further detailed the deeper political and economic integration into the EU offered by the enhanced bilateral relationship. http://www.europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/06/346&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

* Europe cannot be an “introspective bystander” the Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner stated during the 8th World Bank Forum in Hamburg on 2 June 2006, which focused on “Change and opportunities” in the Middle East. She quoted the UNDP’s Arab Human Development Reports to lay emphasis on the triple deficits of the Middle East and Mediterranean region: freedom, knowledge and gender. On the imperative of reform for Middle Eastern and Southern Mediterranean countries to become more stable partners on the international scene, the Commissioner stressed the need of structural reforms beyond the economic realm. “Economic and political reforms are two sides of the same coin in the longer run. Without security and an open political climate, based on functioning institutions and the rule of law, there can be no market economy. Vice versa, without a tangible economic perspective and fair access to opportunities, political progress will remain shaky, and the ground for ideological radicalization will stay fertile.” Mrs. Ferrero-Waldner said. The emphasis of EU cooperation on social reforms, human capital and trade liberalization was put forward. “Generally, the EU is the biggest donor in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. All in all, we spend about 3.5 billion Euros a year on economic reforms and budget support, on human rights and institution-building. As of 2007, we will introduce an “EU reform bonus” of an additional 10% for those countries who perform well.” Next to external support, the Commissioner underlined the need for a “stronger domestic platform for reforms”, both among leaders and among the population at large. http://www.europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/06/341&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

* The Euromed preparation meeting for the ministerial Conference “Towards a Plan of Action on Strengthening the role of Women in society”, which will take place in Rabat, Morocco from 14 to 16 June 2006, aims to facilitate dialogue between national Authorities and European and Mediterranean NGOs gender reforms in the Euro-Mediterranean area. The themes which will be discussed in the three panels are Women’s rights and their political participation, Women’s status and economic integration and Women’s role in the intercultural dialogue. The reports by EUROMESCO , FEMISE and the Anna Lindh Foundation will serve as as basis for these discussions. The preparatory conference will bring together actors of civil society as well as representatives of the governments and of Parliaments from the Member State and the Partner countries. Conclusions and recommendations will be presented during the final session and submitted to the Ministerial Conference which is planned in November 2006.

* European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner congratulated the European Parliament for the own-initiative report on “Measures to improve the situation of women in armed conflicts, and recommendations to allow women to take action in peace processes” which was adopted on 1st June. Members of Parliament highlighted the positive role that women play in conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction. They also draw attention to the vulnerability and special needs of women and girls in conflict situations and women as perpetrator of violence. Emphasise was further put on states responsibility to end impunity and to prosecute those responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including sexual violence against women and girls. The report also recalls the importance to reproductive health services in conflict situations and refugee camps. Finally, the Parliament supports the due implementation of human rights clauses in agreements with third countries and of the principles of international humanitarian law and related international agreements with specific reference to women's rights and needs. Press release: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/expert/infopress_page/014-8639-152-06-22-902-20060531IPR08615-01-06-2006-2006-false/default_en.htm. The report which will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union, is now available online: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?PUBREF=-//EP//NONSGML+REPORT+A6-2006-0159+0+DOC+PDF+V0//FR&L=FR&LEVEL=2&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y (French)
The Commissioner’s speech: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/06/342&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

* European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. On 1 June, the European Parliament has welcomed the European Commission's proposal that 2008 should be declared "European Year of International Cultural Dialogue". International dialogue already occupies an important place in many Community policies (e.g. education, youth, anti-racism, asylum policy) as well as in the EU's external relations. 2008 should be concluded with an Intercultural Forum in the European Parliament bringing together civil society and political and religious representatives. MEPs are also keen to bring intercultural dialogue into the mainstream of Community policies. They back the idea of raising the profile of all EU measures related to intercultural dialogue and making them more consistent. The campaign should also highlight the contribution of different cultures to Europe's heritage and lifestyles as well as helping promote intercultural dialogues in schools and a prize for intercultural dialogue should be awarded to a youth project carried out as part of Community programmes such as Socrates, Youth and Culture. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/expert/infopress_page/037-8631-152-06-22-906-20060531IPR08609-01-06-2006-2006-false/default_en.htm

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* MEDSTAT-ENVIRONMENT II FINAL FORUM, 13-14 JUNE, AMMAN, JORDAN The second phase of the MEDSTAT-Environment project (MED-Env II) was implemented within the regional MEDA statistics cooperation programme (MEDSTAT) and covered the period 2003-2006. Among others, it has put the emphasis on three specific topics: air pollutant emission, biodiversity and the calculation of environmental indicators for sustainable development. During the final forum, which will be opened by the Director of the National Statistical Office in Jordan next week, the national statistical publications produced by the Mediterranean National Statistics Institutes as well as the 2005 regional compendium on environmental statistics in the Mediterranean countries will be presented. Participants will discuss the project’s main results as well as the integration of environmental statistics in the new MEDSTAT II programme which was launched in January 2006. The objective of MEDSTAT II is to improve the quality and supply of services and statistical data that are required within the framework of the Association Agreements with the Mediterranean Partners. It also aims to provide users with updated, reliable and relevant statistical data necessary for political decision-making and to ensure good governance.

* SEMINAR ON THE INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION OF FINANCIAL PROCEDURES: FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC CRIMINALITY, IN PARTICULAR MONEY LAUNDERING, 12-15 JUNE 2006, ANKARA, TURKEY. The overall objective of the regional MEDA programme “EuroMed Justice Programme” is to create an inter-professional community of magistrates, lawyers and court registrars in the framework of an open and modern justice service, strengthening the rule of law and the effective pursuit of Human Rights. The current seminar on “Mechanisms and legal gaps allowing for opacity; recycling capital from criminal” is the third of four seminars falling under the third topic of the Euro-Med Justice Programme. Participants will work on International and European conventions as well as national law, and they will discuss in open debates and working groups the ways to improve judicial mutual assistance in this field. The seminar will be conducted in English, French and Arabic and will include case studies, where officials from the EU Member Sates and Mediterranean Partners will share their experiences in the areas covered. More information: http://www.eipa.nl/index.asp?option=EuroMedJustice

* ANIMA REGIONAL SEMINAR ON “INVESTMENT PROMOTION AND INVESTOR SERVICING: NEW TRENDS IN IPA STRATEGY”, 19-22 JUNE 2006, BEIRUT, LEBANON In the framework of the MEDA regional project “ANIMA”, the Euromediterranean Network of Investment Promotion Agencies (IPA), this workshop will present working methods for sector promotion, targeted approach of investors (via E-marketing), follow-up on investors (after-care and CRM systems) and the evaluation of results. Among others, the seminar will focus on setting up national goals, as well as developing marketing and communications strategies and case studies on agrofood and services will also be presented. Next to the seminar, a technical assistance mission will design an Overall Strategy that covers investor targeting, communications and evaluation matters for the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon – IDAL. More details: http://www.animaweb.org

* EMWIS COORDINATION SEMINAR AND REGIONAL WORKSHOP ON “NATIONAL WATER INFORMATION SYSTEMS” IN ALGIERS, 26-27 JUNE Within the framework of the regional MEDA programme on local water management, the Euro-Mediterranean Information System on the know-how in the Water sector (EMWIS) is organising a regional workshop on "National water information systems - NWIS" with its Algerian partner. Highlighting the importance of improved knowledge about water resources, the environments and uses for decision-making and sustainable management, the workshop mainly aims to promote the exchange of experiences between the countries on the implementation of NWIS. It will include plenary sessions with presentations of experiences and 3 working group sessions focusing on: Organisational and legislative aspects; Access to data; and Enhancement/Added value of final information products. The results of the NWIS studies in 10 Euro-Mediterranean countries, the output from the 4th World Water Forum on shared water information system and the proposal of Mediterranean mechanism of observation on water and sanitation will further provide inputs for the workshop. This event will be followed by the 6th Coordination Committee seminar of EMWIS National Focal Points. See EMWIS website for details and programme of both events: www.emwis.org/documents/html/algeria'06.htm, and www.emwis.org/documents/html/6th_c_c__'06.htm

* EMISPHER AND ITS VIRTUAL HOSPITAL INITIATIVE PRESENTED AT THE HIGH-LEVEL EUROPEAN EHEALTH CONFERENCE, MAY 10-12 IN MÁLAGA, SPAIN. The Euro-Mediterranean Internet-Satellite Platform for Health, Education and Research (EMISPHER) is a project co-funded by the EC in the framework of the regional MEDA-funded EUMEDIS programme. This meeting on “eHealth and Health Policies: Synergies for better Health in a Europe of Regions”, was organised by Spanish health authorities and the Austrian EU-Presidency and brought together over 900 international experts, representatives from industry and authorities in the field of health, innovation and information technologies, among which Ministers and high-ranking officials. At the request of the German Federal Ministry of Health, EMISPHER and its initiative for the Virtual Euro-Mediterranean Hospital – VEMH – were presented at the official German booth for best-practice examples. Various international networks were presented for e-Health and u-Health over satellite as well as the concepts for the VEMH which should become the key structure for lasting and sustainable international cooperation for the improvement and globalisation of Health care in the framework of the new European Neighbourhood Policy Instruments (ENPI) of the EC and as part of the upcoming eHealth roadmaps of the European Member States. More information: http://www.ehealthconference2006.org and http://www.emispher.org.

* TRAINING OF YOUNG JOURNALISTS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN BASIN RFI TALENT + AND RMC MOYEN ORIENT, ON 3-12 JULY 2006 IN PARIS. Within the framework of the regional MEDA programme for information and communication, the Radio France International training service (RFI Talent+) and Radio Monte Carlo Moyen Orient (RMC-MO) organise radio training for French-, English- and Arabic-speaking journalists of less than 30 years in the Mediterranean basin. This training aims to increase their professional capacities as regards preparation and presentation of radio broadcasted information. Thirty young journalists were selected on the basis of a radio production on the topic: "The media in Euro-Mediterranean space". During the 10-day training the young journalists will be stimulated by writing workshops and by the production of radio coverage. The three best coverage (one by language), will be broadcasted on the RFI and RMC-MO antennae. Contact: emilie.laot@rfi.fr

* THE “SAMIR KASSIR AWARD FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS”: AN EGYPTIAN JOURNALIST AND A LEBANESE JOURNALIST, WINNERS OF THE 2006 CONTEST, on 2nd JUNE IN BEIRUT, LEBANON. Dina Adbel-Mooti Darwich, an Egyptian journalist at Al-Ahram Hebdo weekly, is the winner of the first edition 2006 of the Samir Kassir Award in the “journalists” category (€ 15,000), granted by the Delegation of the European Commission in Lebanon for her article “Plumes contre biceps” published on 10th January 2006. The jury “saluted the courage of her article in a particularly difficult context and appreciated the quality and the rigour of information treatment as well as the subject pertinence to the theme of the rule of law”. During deliberations, the jury decided unanimously not to grant the “young researchers” award for the 2006 edition. It estimated that “the pertinence and the quality of the candidates' work were not satisfactory.” After deliberations, the jury members wished to grant a second award (€ 10,000) to another journalist. Habib Battah, Lebanese, was designated with a majority vote for his article “For an election reality check, visit your local mukhtar," published on June 18th, 2005 in The Daily Star daily. The jury appreciated “the exemplary and original treatment of a society problem which tackles, through testimony, the question of political feudalism, electoral system, corruption and confessionalism.” Ten out of fifteen candidacies files judged to be administratively compliant were nominated in the “journalists” category and two in the “young researchers” category. More information: www.prixsamirkassir.org

Brussels,06 13 2006
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