* The Finnish Presidency’s positions on issues such as the Middle East crisis, the ENP, the Barcelona Process and migration were outlined on 12 July by Foreign Affairs Minister and Council President, Erkki Tuomioja. Presenting the ‘External Policy Priorities’ of Finland’s Presidency, at the European Parliament. He said developments over the last weeks complicated the launch of the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) prepared by the EC to ensure the direct delivery of assistance to the Palestinians.
* The Presidency of the European Union expressed its alarm over the deteriorating security situation on the Israel-Lebanon border. On 12 July, it called on all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from any action which would cause an escalation of the already tense situation
Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, has expressed his concern with the current situation in the Middle East and said he is in permanent contact with the different parties and the UN. In a brief statement, he said he envisages going to the region.
* The European Commission took its first action on 11 July using the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) in response to an urgent appeal from the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas. The TIM is providing fuel for hospitals in Gaza. Following the destruction by the Israel Defence Force of the six transformers of the Gaza Power Plant, 45% of the population of Gaza is without electricity.
* The EC has allocated € 34 million in humanitarian aid for vulnerable Palestinian populations in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon, Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner, Louis Michel, announced on 7 July. This will enable an urgent and forceful response to the worsening humanitarian situation, including the delivery of food, emergency employment, health and psycho-social support, water and sanitation services, shelter rehabilitation, protection and coordination. These activities will be implemented by UN agencies, NGOs and the Red Cross.
* Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy told the European Parliament on 5 July 2006 that she was gravely concerned about the situation in Palestine. She called on the Palestinian leadership to do all in its power to end violence and terrorist activities and on the Israelis to act with prudence. http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/06/434&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
* The Euro-Africa Conference on Migration and Development took place in Rabat. The EU and West, Central and North African countries discussed concrete ways to ensure migration flows are effectively managed and that migration positively contributes to the development process of countries of origin, transit and destination. Speaking at the opening of the conference on 10 July, External Relations and ENP Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner underlined the need to intensify action and cooperation in six areas, including frontier controls, legal migration and the rights of migrants and asylum seekers.
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/06/447&format=HTML&aged=0&language=FR&guiLanguage=en (available only in French)
Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister and EU Council President, Erkki Tuomioja, during his opening speech at the Euro-African conference on Migration noted the increasing link between migration and development and said the Rabat meeting demonstrates a will to find concrete solutions.
Vice-President Franco Frattini, closing the two-day Euro-African ministerial conference on migration on 11 July, said there was a need for a common global strategy to tackle migration.
http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/06/449&format=HTML&aged=0&language=FR&guiLanguage=f (available only in French)
* European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, made her second visit to Beirut on 7 July 2006, where she met with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and other members of the Lebanese government. She discussed the European Commission’s commitment to support Lebanon’s reform programme and the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan, recently agreed between the parties.
* The European Commission made public a list of its decisions, laws and activities to combat terrorism, beginning from 2004 and until the first semester of 2006. The document also refers to what remains to be done.
* MEPs adopted two non-binding reports on asylum and immigration on 6 July, 2006. The first report by Patrick Gaubert (EPP-ED, FR) is on mutual information procedures in the areas of asylum and immigration. The second report, by Stavros Lambrinidis (PES, EL), covers strategies and actions for the integration of third-country nationals in the EU.
* Parliament adopted on 6 July three reports on three “instruments” laying down the provisions for the financing of EU foreign policy under the financial perspectives 2007-2013. In final negotiations between the three institutions, the Commission and the Council agreed to Parliament’s wish to have another, separate instrument for actions in the field of democracy and human rights.
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* ISRAELI, PALESTINIAN AND TURKISH SOCIAL PARTNERS CALL ON CIVIL SOCIETY AS A KEY ELEMENT IN CONSTRUCTING A FUTURE OF PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST DURING THE TRESMED-2 MEETINGS HELD FROM THE 26TH TO 30TH JUNE IN ROMA AND BRUSSELS. Organised by the Economic and Social Council of Spain, financed by the MEDA programme, Israeli, Palestinian and Turkish top representatives of civil society held meetings in the CNEL in Rome and in the EESC in Brussels with the objective of sharing experiences of different types of consultative models and discussing the role of Economic and Social Councils in the Euro Mediterranean context. The TRESMED-2 project is a significant contribution to the strengthening and consolidation of links between trade unions, employers’ organisations and other representatives of economic and social interests of the European Union and the Mediterranean Partner Countries, who share experience and know-how regarding consultation and social dialogue. In a backdrop of escalating tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, the participants attended the meetings and expressed the wishes of the Israeli and Palestinian civil society to dialogue and collaborate. For further information: http://www.ces.es/TRESMED/tresmed_en.html
* EUROMED TRAINING OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIONS, BERLIN, 17-21 JULY 2006.
This seminar will be held in the context of the regional Training and Consultancy Programme on Public Administration for the Mediterranean Partners, which is financed by MEDA to provide training to civil servants on European affairs and to create a EuroMed network of training centres in public administration. This 5-day seminar is organised with the aim to give a clear overview of the MEDA Programme and its modalities of implementation and final evaluation, including Commission decision process, Programme Management Unit establishment, Project Cycle Management and procurement procedures. For more information: http://www.eipa.nl/?option=EuroMed&act=sem
* MEDA FILMS DEVELOPMENT SECOND SESSION IN MARRAKECH FROM JULY 12 TO 19 2006
Meda Films Development (M.F.D.), a project conducted under the MEDA-funded Euromed Audiovisual II programme, aims at accompanying producers and scriptwriters through the development of their feature-length film project.
For the beneficiaries of the programme, M.F.D. hosts three eight-day workshops in Marrakech. The objective is to allow scriptwriters and producers to adopt a new way in conceiving up collaborating on a feature-length film. The main topics are: script writing, the role of the producer, legal, artistic Aspect and marketing aspect of projects, and the distribution/exhibition of films.
Ten projects, selected for 2006, will meet again for this second M.F.D. session in Marrakech from July 12 to 19. For further information, please contact: Ms. Bahija Lyoubi firstname.lastname@example.org or www.mfd.ma
Brussels,07 24 2006