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In a speech to the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on 'Strengthening the Role of Women in Society' in Istanbul, External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner called upon governments to challenge traditional gender stereotypes and ensure that women's voices are heard in all spheres of society and at all levels. “Concrete steps have to be taken by governments to eliminate all legal and social obstacles to women’s equality,” she said. The Commissioner referred to the three priority areas of the Plan of Action that the conference later approved: women's political and civil rights, women's economic rights, and women's cultural rights, expressing her view that much still remains to be done on all three. “Let's turn our words into action and close the gap between policy and practice,” she urged. “And let's ensure that commitments made at this Conference become a cornerstone for progress in women's equal rights in the Euro-Mediterranean region. We are all aware that only through these and other actions will our countries be able to ensure that women can enjoy their legitimate rights and freedoms.”

The Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs culminated with the unanimous adoption of the "Tampere Conclusions" on Tuesday, 28 November. According to Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, this was in itself an important achievement, as it was only the second time that the Foreign Ministers had been able to adopt conclusions unanimously. The 8th Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs brought together foreign affairs ministers from the EU Member States and their counterparts from the Mediterranean basin, as well as figures such as the CFSP High Representative Javier Solana, European Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner and the Secretary General for the Arab League Amr Mahmoud Moussa. The positive evolution in the Middle East was welcomed by all the ministers present. The Head of French diplomacy made it quite clear that resumption in aid to the Palestinian Authority was now envisaged. “Strong” intentions have been imputed to the German presidency (in the first half of 2007), which would like to put its stamp on developments in this dossier. The lengthy final declaration made a traditional list of the different acquis and ongoing projects in all areas of activity including immigration, education (towards the creation of a EuroMed Erasmus), the strengthening of the role of “civil society”, women's rights, and above all real progress in essential sectors like transport, energy and, in particular, funding for cooperation. EIB vice president, Philippe de Fontaine Vive hoped that the EU would grant the banking institution, which manages FEMIP (the financial instrument used for EuroMed cooperation) “support in keeping with the political stakes at play”. This wish was granted the very day in Brussels by the Council of ministers of the economy and finance, which set out an envelope of €8.7bn for 2007-13 as part of a strengthened FEMIP contribution.

The Finnish Council Presidency expressed the European Union’s deep concern at the escalating violence in Gaza and in the West Bank in a statement to the 10th Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. “We strongly deplore the Israeli military action in Gaza resulting in a growing number of civilian casualties, including women and children, and deplore the unacceptable military operation in Beit Hanoun on 8 November 2006. The European Union calls on Israel to cease its military operations that endanger the Palestinian civilian population in the Palestinian Territory,” said Ambassador Kirsti Lintonen, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN on November 21. The EU urged Israel to exercise the utmost restraint and underlined that action should not be disproportionate or in contradiction to international humanitarian law. It also called on the Palestinian leadership to bring an end to the firing of rockets into Israel and repeated its call for the immediate release of an abducted Israeli soldier, as well as of Palestinian ministers and legislators detained in Israel.

The European Union remains deeply concerned at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and the West Bank, Ambassador Kirsti Lintonen, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN, told the UN Security Council during its debate on the situation in the Middle East. “We reiterate our call on Israel for the immediate resumption of transfers of withheld Palestinian tax and customs revenues. We encourage donors and others to make full use of the Temporary International Mechanism, said Ambassador Lintonen on behalf of the EU on November 21. She also called on countries in the region to refrain from any interference in Lebanon's internal affairs, in accordance with UNSC resolutions and to provide firm support to Lebanon's Government in reconstruction efforts. “The Presidency reiterates the EU's full support to the legitimate and democratically elected Lebanese government,” she said. At the beginning of her address, the Ambassador condemned the “brutal assassination” of Lebanese Industry Minister, Pierre Gemayel, noting that the attack had come “at a time when political situation in Lebanon is already critically tense.”

Current developments in the Middle East were discussed by Euromed Minsters at the EU-Arab group Troika meeting that took place in the margins of the Tampere Euro-Meditteranean Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs on 27 November. The ministers were optimistic about the ceasefire in Gaza. Finnish Foreign Minister and EU Council President, Erkki Tuomioja, said the Arab group had been a great support to the EU on the issue. He stressed the need for this cooperation to continue in pursuit of a lasting peace in the region.

Foreign Ministers of the EU and Israel welcomed the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, considering it a positive development in the Middle East peace process. "However, a ceasefire is always fragile without a political process", warned Finnish Foreign Minister and Council President, Erkki Tuomioja. He was speaking at a press conference following the EU-Israel troika meeting on Monday, 27 November. The troika had a meeting with Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Taking part on the EU side were also External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

A resolution of the Middle East conflict remains paramount if the full potential of the new partnership developed within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is to be realised, External Relations and ENP Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told the plenary session of the EuroMed Foreign Affairs Ministerial Meeting on November 28. “We must maintain our resolve to achieve a lasting and just settlement consistent with the Road Map and to promote progress in the Middle East Peace Process on all tracks, Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese,” she said. The Commissioner insisted that the EU is “committed, despite the difficult regional situation, to implement the reform agenda that is so important for achieving our joint objectives of peace, prosperity and security for the region.”


A two-day discussion on the EU’s external energy policy and how to assure a high level of supply security was held in Brussels on November 20-21, at the initiative of the European Commission. Representatives from the Commission, Member States, key third countries, the industry and international organisations are debating the external aspects of European policies on energy matters focusing on oil and natural gas security supplies issues as well as trade and development related topics. Among the speakers was Javier Solana, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, who admitted that, despite research into energy savings and renewables, Europe’s dependency on oil and gas “will not diminish much. And these we will have to source, increasingly, beyond our borders.” The HR CFSP spoke of the “oil curse” and the fact that “Sitting on huge reserves of oil and gas gives some difficult regimes a trump card. They can use energy revenues for purposes which we may find problematic.”

Trade policy can have an important role in "calming some of the existing tensions" in global energy politics, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson told during this conference. He urged the use of bilateral and multilateral agreements to establish new rules for the trade in energy. "The fairness of the trading system will depend on its ability to develop balanced, equitable and negotiated solutions regarding the sharing of the world's resources, as well as its markets," he argued.

“The EU wants a new strategic partnership with Algeria in the energy field,” Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said on November 24, ahead of a visit to Algeria on the occasion of the Third Algeria Energy Week. He added that “Algeria is an important player in the world energy market with significant gas and oil resources and a key partner for the EU in the Mediterranean basin. Moreover, the EU remains Algeria's main export market for energy products, which is a good basis for strengthening our cooperation further."


The European Commission welcomed the outcome of the Council of Fisheries Ministers, which reached political agreement on three important Commission proposals related to conservation measures for Mediterranean fisheries, the use of new technology in deterring illegal fishing activities and the setting of fishing possibilities for deep sea species for 2007 and 2008. Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, said on November 22: “All three sets of measures are very important for sustainability. First, the protection of Mediterranean fish stocks and marine ecosystems will be substantially strengthened through tailor-made measures for the fisheries in the area. Second, the application of new technologies in fisheries will facilitate the fight against illegal fishing activities. Third, the agreement reached on deep sea stocks will lead to effective protection for vulnerable deep sea species while giving the fleets concerned time to adapt to the necessary constraints on their activities.”

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council has decided to enable €2.8 million for the EU police mission for the Palestinian Territories for the year 2007, according to the Conclusions of the 2763rd Council Meeting, held in Brussels on November 20-21, 2006. Reference is made to the budget under the heading “European Security and Defence Policy” in the Conclusions (p.31). Conclusions:

Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Environment met in Cairo on Monday, November 20 at the 3rd Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on the Environment. The main topic of discussion was the Horizon 2020 Initiative to de-pollute the Mediterranean Sea. Conference participants endorsed a timetable for the initiative and invited the European Commission to coordinate the Horizon 2020 partnership through the establishment of an efficient institutional steering mechanism with key representatives from the Euro-Mediterranean governments and other partners. The meeting was chaired jointly by the Egyptian Environment Minister, Maged George, EC Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas and Jan-Erik Enestam, the Environment Minister of Finland, the country currently holding the EU Presidency.

EU Finance Ministers believe that the best way forward to enhance the partnership with the Mediterranean partners is to develop the reinforced Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), the results of which have been assessed as positive. In the Conclusions adopted by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) today, the Ministers propose improving the linkages of FEMIP with the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) by a better integration of the EIB’s activities into EU country strategies and by better combining EIB loans and EU budgetary resources. To this effect, they say, adequate resources should be provided by the Community budget.

The recent FEMIP Conference recommended that the Union and its Member States be asked to support FEMIP’s research and technical assistance capacities in order to provide a better understanding of the challenges of regional economic development and encourage institutional reform. The Conference, organised jointly by the EIB and the Government of Monaco, under the patronage of HSH. The Sovereign Prince, brought together on November 9-10 some 250 experts and professionals in this sector from the 35 Euro-Mediterranean Partnership countries. In its conclusions, it also proposed that the ability of international financial institutions to take risks in financing infrastructure be enhanced or even that guarantee structures be established covering the “legislation risk”, and that access of private sector or semi-public operators to local currency financing be facilitated. In this connection the Conference encouraged the authorities of the partner countries to consider opening up their financial markets to non-resident borrowers in order to increase their ability to finance in local currency infrastructure that is in the public interest.

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council agreed ON November 28 on a general approach regarding a draft decision on the renewal of the EIB external lending mandates for the 2007-2013 period. According to the Conclusions, the draft proposal foresees lending of €8.7 billion for the Mediterranean countries.

The aim of a well-managed immigration policy should be to achieve – in an optimal case – a "triple win situation": both the host and home country as well as the migrant himself should benefit from migration, Commissioner Franco Frattini has said. Speaking at a conference in Germany on the “Chances and Risks of Migration and its Significance for the Security of the EU” on November 16, the Commissioner Responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security said that the European Union must step up its efforts and become even more effective in combating illegal immigration in order to improve the management of migratory flows. A communication adopted by the EC in July on policy priorities in the fight against illegal immigration from third countries identifies nine priority areas, including the strengthening of cooperation with third countries, ensuring security at external borders via a common approach for integrated management or via the use of new biometric techniques and enhancing the fight against human trafficking by ensuring the rapid implementation.

Migration is “a transnational phenomenon which calls for a transnational and global answer,” Franco Frattini, Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, told a conference in Lisbon on November 21. “The EU considers migration to be one of the most visible challenges of globalisation and our Heads of State and Governments have repeatedly emphasised the need to maximise the EU's ability to respond more swiftly and efficiently to those challenges,” he told the conference, noting that migration issues are high on the EU agenda. Speaking on “The EU’s comprehensive approach to migration policy”, he announced that on 30 November the EC would adopt two Communications in response to the need for a comprehensive strengthening of EU policies on migration. One deals with the management of the EU's external maritime borders, while the other is on “The Global Approach to Migration one year on: towards a comprehensive European migration policy.”

The EU and African States agreed on concrete cooperation in migration issues at the first high-level Conference on Migration and Development held on 22-23 November in Tripoli, Libya. The conference adopted the Joint Africa-EU Declaration on Migration and Development and the Plan of Action on Trafficking in Human Beings. They will provide a basis for cooperation between the EU and Africa in years to come, and support the EU's effort to strengthen political dialogue on migration and development issues with Africa. "It is in the interest of all States that migration is managed, controlled and fair. The best way of finding solutions is an open dialogue even on issues that are considered difficult. It is of crucial importance that the EU and Africa can cooperate openly to prevent illegal immigration. This conference has significantly advanced cooperation between EU and Africa," stressed Kari Rajamäki, Finnish Interior Minister in his closing speech.

The EU's inability to respond effectively to immigration challenges is due to the Member States' lack of commitment to a common migration policy, members of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee agreed on November 28. MEPs exchanged views on legal and illegal immigration issues with the Director of FRONTEX, which co-ordinates EU frontier management systems, and other invited experts. This exchange of views aimed at preparing two own-initiative reports, on legal and illegal immigration respectively.

The Euro-Mediterranean Summit of Economic and Social Councils and similar institutions, which took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia on 15-17 November 2006, called for policies and objectives aimed at raising the profile of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership to be implemented in a more determined way. The summit, co-organised by the Economic and Social Council of Slovenia and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), brought together representatives from the EU Member States and their Mediterranean partner countries, as well as representatives from national, regional and international institutions. Participants examined four essential elements for the development of the Euro-Mediterranean region: combating poverty, supporting young people, gender equality and strengthening European Union involvement through the European Neighbourhood Policy. The summit ended with the adoption of a joint declaration which sets out a number of commitments and recommendations on the role of civil society, the promotion of social dialogue and gender equality, youth policies, fighting poverty in the Euromed region, competitiveness and social cohesion and the situation in the Middle East. It was decided that the declaration would be presented to the eighth Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Ministers on 27-28 November 2006 in Tampere, Finland.


A four-day regional seminar on the Implications of Dual Nationality, organised jointly by the Maltese Justice and Home Affairs Ministry and the Euro-Med Justice programme (a MEDA regional cooperation programme) was held in Malta on November 13-16. The seminar was the second to be held on this particular topic. Participants examined the issues of dual/multiple nationality, the impact of international law on national law, the precise status of refugees and the link between dual or multiple nationality on legal migration. The main objective of the MEDA Euro-Med Justice programme is to create an inter-professional community of judges, lawyers, clerks of the court and others working in the service of an open and modern judicial system, reinforcing the Rule of Law and the effective pursuit of human rights.

A regional seminar on: 'Intellectual Property Rights in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership’ took place in Brussels from 13 till 16 November 2006 in the framework of the 4th phase of the EuroMed Market Programme within the context of the Euro-Mediterranean policy of the EU funded by the MEDA Programme. The participants recognised that enforcement and effective protection of copyrights and related rights and industrial property rights are two essential conditions in order to achieve the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. The seminar has allowed to become familiar with the new legal acts and other initiatives adopted recently in the European Union in the field of copyrights and related rights and industrial property rights and the new legal initiatives adopted in the 10 MEDA Partners; to get to know the evolution in this field in the Mediterranean Partners as well as the developments which have been taking place since the beginning of the EuroMed Market Programme in May 2002 as far as legislative adjustments and institutional creation are concerned; to consolidate a network of expertise on copyrights and related rights and industrial property rights among the Euro-Mediterranean Partners; to make a first assessment of the impact that the EuroMed Programme has had in this field in the Mediterranean Partners since its beginning.
For further information, please consult the website http://www.euromedmarket.org

The Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures recently held what is thought to be the first teacher training course on ‘How to deal with religious diversity in classrooms’. Thirty-three teachers from 18 Euro-Mediterranean countries participated in the week-long training in Alexandria, Egypt from November 20-24, 2006. The five-day training course, organised in cooperation with the Council of Europe and the Swedish Institute in Alexandria, aimed to assist teachers to understand religious diversity and pluralism and introduce them to methods and tools of intercultural education that they can use both in class and out of school. The Anna Lindh Foundation Euro-Mediterranean Teacher-Training Programme was established in May 2006 in collaboration with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and the Council of Europe. It provides teachers from Euro-Med countries with teaching skills and materials on cultural and religious diversity, sustainable development and education for human rights and democratic citizenship. All materials developed for the training programme, selected materials from other partners and results from school-to-school projects are published in English, French and Arabic on the Foundation's website:

A regional seminar on the "Rules of origin in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership" took place in Rome on 27-30 November 2006, in the framework of the 4th phase of the EuroMed Market Programme, within the context of the Euro-Mediterranean policy of the EU funded by the MEDA Programme. The participants reiterated that the correct and smooth implementation of the Pan-EuroMed system of cumulation of origin is one of the key elements of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. The seminar has allowed to deepen the understanding and interpretation of the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Protocol on rules of origin, particularly through the analysis of examples from the explanatory notes; to promote a common approach in the interpretation and implementation of Pan-Euro-Mediterranean rules of origin among the 10 Mediterranean Partners; to consolidate a network of expertise on rules of origin among the Euro-Mediterranean Partners; to identify some of the difficulties which the customs administrations of all Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Partners will be confronted with when implementing the new rules of origin; and to assess the training needs related to the Pan-Euro-Med Protocol on rules of origin.
For further information, please consult the website http://www.euromedmarket.org

Innovation is perceived today as a main component of sustainable development in post-industrial economies. It is natural, therefore, that it should be central to the preoccupations of leading Euro-Mediterranean players: in their quest to find a way of differentiating their country from others, they count on innovation as the key to greater competitiveness and attractiveness. Aware of the stakes involved, ANIMA (Euro-Mediterranean Network of Investment Promotion Agencies), Medinnov (Euro-Mediterranean Network of Innovation) and Medibtikar (Euromed Innovation & Technology Programme) are organising, in collaboration with the Investment Department of Morocco in Rabat, the 4th annual conference on Euro-Mediterranean Fundamentals of Innovation at the Mohammed VI International Conference Centre in Skhirat on December 7-8, 2006. The objectives of the Forum, which will also serve as the Medinnov annual conference, are to review innovation development in the Mediterranean region, looking at human resource issues, identifying what is at stake and the broader impact of innovation in order to develop proposals for the creation of synergies between innovation players in the region. These issues will be considered by well-known international experts in the field from Belgium, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Morocco, Tunisia and the UK. The international conference on Fundamentals of Innovation has established itself as the Number One annual rendezvous for foreign investors in Morocco. Every year it attracts around 1,000 international participants from the political, economic and university spheres. For more information: www.lesintegrales.com

A seminar will be held in Paris on December 11-14, 2006 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 for civil servants on European affairs and to create a EuroMed network of public administration training centres. The seminar on EU Programmes is being organised with the objective of providing a clear overview of the MEDA Programme and its modalities of implementation and final evaluation, including Commission decision-making processes, Programme Management Unit establishment, Project Cycle Management and procurement procedures. For more information: www.eipa.nl

A seminar will be held in Paris on December 11-14, 2006 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 for civil servants on European affairs and to create a EuroMed network of public administration training centres. The seminar on EU Programmes is being organised with the objective of providing a clear overview of the MEDA Programme and its modalities of implementation and final evaluation, including Commission decision-making processes, Programme Management Unit establishment, Project Cycle Management and procurement procedures. For more information: www.eipa.nl

A thematic session on International Migration and Cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean Area will be held in Florence on December 11-15, 2006. The event is taking place in the framework of the EuroMed Migration I regional initiative which was launched in February 2004 as part of the MEDA JAI I Programme. The project aims at creating an instrument for observing, analysing and forecasting migration flows, their causes and impact, in Europe and in the Euro-Mediterranean area. The thematic session will review and discuss the various aspects of international cooperation that can help to make migration a win-win process, profitable to countries of origin as well as those of destination, and to the migrants themselves. For more information: www.carim.org

Curators and educational experts of museums participating in the Discover Islamic Art project will meet with education ministry representatives in Amman on December 15-17, 2006, to discuss the future of the project’s Virtual Museum. The Virtual Museum’s curatorial and educational board will select the projects to be realised when EU funding ends, using the resources of each partner and contributions from private sponsors. The meeting in Amman will culminate with the signature of a Cooperation Agreement by all partners, establishing the terms and conditions for the Virtual Museum’s maintenance and future development. The signing ceremony will take place under the patronage of HRH Princess Sumayya and will be chaired by the Minister of Tourism of Jordan. Museums With No Frontiers (MWNF) will also present the Virtual Museum’s Travel and Book platforms that provide information on travel and books related to the Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Exhibition Trails realised by MWNF and its Consortium of partners under the first phase of the Euromed Heritage programme. Discover Islamic Art is a Euromed Heritage III project (MEDA programme) The Virtual Museum’s permanent collection of 1,235 artefacts, monuments and archaeological sites from 40 museums and 14 countries was launched in December 2005. In spring 2007, a cycle of 18 Virtual Exhibitions will present the great Islamic dynasties of the Mediterranean, with descriptions in eight languages including Arabic and Turkish. The accompanying exhibition catalogue will also be published in eight languages, with a first edition of 32,000 copies distributed worldwide. For more information: http://www.discoverislamicart.org/

The German Federal Foreign Office, in co-operation with the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation, invites young adults from Mediterranean and EU member states to participate in a “Euro-Mediterranean Youth Parliament” in Berlin from May 26-June 3, 2007. The event is organised by the Goethe-Institut and the Heinz-Schwarzkopf-Stiftung, in close cooperation with Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures. Two participants will be selected from each of the current 25 EU member states plus the acceding countries Romania and Bulgaria. Four young people will be selected from each of the 12 Mediterranean countries taking part: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Libya and Mauritania). Applicants should be aged between 18 and 25 years, nationals of one of the countries listed above and fluent in English. The 102 participants will meet in Berlin for seven days and go through a simulation of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly. They will discuss current global political and social topics such as migration, globalisation, the role of the media, or the future of energy resources in 10 mixed “working groups”. Each working group will draft a common resolution, which will be debated in the parliamentary assembly with all participants. Those interested should send a completed application form and a copy of their passport or ID-card to info@cairo.goethe.org AND youth-parliament@cairo.goethe.org before 04 January 2007 at 12:00 noon (GMT). To download the application form:

Brussels,12 04 2006
European Union
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