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Two Mediterranean Partners, Cyprus and Malta, are set to join the EU on 1 May 2004, having signed the Treaty of Accession on 16 April in Athens, Greece, along with 8 Central and Eastern European countries. The signing took place at a ceremony attended by the Heads of State or Government, and the Foreign Ministers of the 15 current Member States, and the 10 acceding States.

The 3 candidate countries, which include Turkey, were also represented. The Presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament, Romano Prodi and Pat Cox respectively, were also present. Ratification procedures have to be completed in the countries concerned to formalise membership of the EU. From now on the acceding countries will take part in Euro-Mediterranean Meetings as active observers, and membership of the Partnership will grow from 27 to 35.


* The EU Council of Ministers meeting in Luxembourg on 14 April discussed the European Commission Communication on Wider Europe – Neighbourhood, which deals with future relations between the enlarged EU and countries to the East and the South (Mediterranean Partners). The Council’s debate highlighted “the need to take account of the specific situations within individual Eastern and Mediterranean neighbours and relations between them while strengthening co-operation and interdependence. There was broad agreement … on the need for a differentiated approach and the use of benchmarking to assess progress towards established objectives. The debate further confirmed that criminality including human trafficking and illegal immigration, as well as the promotion of human rights are important issues that will require careful examination in the framework of future work on ‘Wider Europe’ ”.

* Egypt’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (International Co-operation) Fayza Aboulnaga will visit the European Commission in Brussels on 28 and 29 April. She will meet External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten, as well as Senior Officials in the External Relations and EuropeAid Cooperation Office Directorates General. A wide range of issues will be discussed, among them overall Egyptian developmental policy priorities, the impact of the Iraq war on Egypt, and the follow-up of suggestions made during Prime Minister Obeid’s visit to the Commission last October to improve implementation of EU-Egypt co-operation under MEDA. More specific discussions will touch upon the existing Industrial Modernisation Programme, the proposed Spinning and Weaving Restructuring Programme, and the finalisation of the National Financing Plan for 2003.

* Experts on Economic Transition in the Southern Mediterranean held their 7th annual meeting on 23 and 24 April in Brussels to discuss the Economic Impact of EU Enlargement on the Mediterranean Partners. Participants were representatives and academics from EU Member States and Mediterranean Partners, as well as acceding and candidate countries. Some of their main conclusions were that “The main economic problems of poverty and unemployment in the Mediterranean economies need to be addressed by an acceleration of economic policy reforms…. The Association Agreements with the EU can provide an ‘anchor’ that reinforces the commitment to reforms and enhances the credibility and prospects of the reform process”. Experts noted that enlargement could have an ‘example effect’ on the Mediterranean Partners, given that the acceding countries have themselves gone through successful economic reform. The European Commission’s recent proposals on ‘Wider Europe – Neighbourhood’ can launch a process that will also encourage regulatory reform. Finally “All opportunities should be taken to develop relations between the Mediterranean Partners and the acceding countries to ensure that… the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership will be reinforced by this expansion”.

* The Euro-Mediterranean Energy Forum will meet on 29 April in Brussels to discuss and adopt priorities for 2003-2006. Co-ordinators of the three Ad Hoc Working Groups supporting the Forum (in charge of Energy Policy, Energy Economics, and Interconnections respectively) will present their conclusions. The Energy Forum is also expected to finalise a Communication to be examined at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Energy Ministers scheduled for 20 and 21 May in Athens, Greece, as well as a Draft Ministerial Declaration.
Contact Point: Catherine.Cornuel@cec.eu.int

* The 14th half-yearly Information and Training Seminar for Euro-Mediterranean diplomats will take place from 25 to 28 April in Malta. The impact of EU enlargement on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership will feature prominently among issues to be addressed. Dialogue between Cultures and Civilisations is also on the agenda. For the first time participants will include diplomats from the acceding countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The Malta Seminars provide participants with regular and updated information as well as issues for discussion on relations between the EU and the Mediterranean Partners, covering all three chapters of the Barcelona Process.


Researchers in Egypt, Israel, the West Bank & Gaza Strip, Cyprus, and 4 EU Member States (Greece, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands) have pooled resources thanks to an EU funded project to devise a common strategy for sustainable water use in horticulture. The € 1 million ‘Hortimed’ project, part of the EU’s 5th Research Framework Programme, will provide guidelines for Mediterranean farmers who suffer from the adverse effects of low quality water with high saline content. The 4-year project is co-ordinated by the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece. Contact Person: Professor Sofronios Papoutsoglou,
tel +30 210 3422292,
fax +30 210 3422272 ,
e-mail: sof@auadec.aua.gr


What impact can the forthcoming EU Enlargement have on trade, investment, and migration in the Mediterranean region? Some of the answers can be found in a set of nine papers prepared for the 7th Conference on Economic Transition (see above). Two of them were drafted by European Commission Services, focusing on economic and financial issues respectively. Another paper written by Professor Bichara Khader addresses the migratory impact of enlargement on Arab and Mediterranean countries. The MEDA supported FEMISE Network of Economic Institutes also contributed a study, as well as the World Bank, the IMF, and the World Economic Forum. Two further contributions focus on a particular Mediterranean Partner, namely Israel and Tunisia. All nine papers can be downloaded from the web site

The latest issue of the Euromed Special Feature, published on 23 April, presents ‘A First Assessment of MEDA Economic Co-operation’, i.e. structural adjustment and operations for the private sector. An annex reproduces highlights of the Report of the Business Centres Conference held in Brussels earlier this year.


What impact is the Iraq Crisis going to have on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership? You can express your views by participating in the first EuroMeSCo Survey launched by the MEDA supported Euro-Mediterranean Network of Foreign Policy Institutes. All participants are guaranteed anonymity. Results will be passed on to the European Commission.
http://www.euromesco.net . (Click on ‘Surveys’)

Brussels,04 28 2003
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