|Commission approves EUR 57 million package to reinforce regional co-operation with the Mediterranean area|
|The European Commission has approved a number of actions to reinforce the EU's regional co-operation with its Mediterranean neighbours in 2003. With a total budget of € 57 million, funded under the MED Regional Programme, the approved activities will encourage co-operation and dialogue between the 27 Euro-Mediterranean Partners in areas such as the Middle East Peace Process, training of public officials, water information systems, the South-South free trade area (Agadir Process), investment facilities and cultural heritage.
The Middle East Peace Projects (MEPP) 2003 (€ 10 million) will be a direct follow-up of the previous MEPP frameworks. They are to provide funding for the strengthening of civil societies in the Middle East, for enhancing peace initiatives on both the Israeli and Palestinian/Arab side, and to promote and explore ideas for a peaceful solution to the conflict.
The Training of Public Administrations programme (€ 6 million) will support the training of over 400 experts from public administrations in the Mediterranean Partners, and help set up a network of training institutes oriented towards public administrations. The training will also address EU related matters.
The support fund to the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), (€25 million) is designed to fund technical assistance activities complementing the European Investment Bank investment operations from identification to implementation, such as feasibility and other studies, training, monitoring, and advisory activities. € 19 million will benefit Mediterranean Partners other than Turkey and the remaining € 6 million has been earmarked for Turkey.
The Euro-Mediterranean Water Information System project (EMWIS/SEMIDE) (€ 2 million), which started in 1999, will be continued for a further 3 year period, focusing on assisting the Mediterranean Partners to organise their internal water information systems (intranet). It will be co-financed by France, Italy, and Spain.
The project Support to the Implementation of the South-South Sub-regional Free Trade Area of Agadir (€ 4 million), aims to assist the countries concerned (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia) in the areas of customs and sectoral studies, and to achieve their common organisational structure, as well as to raise awareness on the benefits of the Free Trade Area.
Euromed Heritage III (€ 10 million), is designed to promote heritage common to both shores of the Mediterranean as a tool for policies of tolerance, peace and stability. The programme will support 4 projects selected under the Euromed Heritage II Call for Proposals, and aimed at increasing the Mediterranean Partners' capacity in managing and enhancing their own heritage.
The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, a wide framework of political, economic and social relations between the 15 Member States of the European Union and 12 Partners of the Southern Mediterranean (Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey), was launched in Barcelona in 1995. The MEDA programme became its main financial instrument. From 1995 to 2002 has committed over € 5,7 billion has been committed under MEDA for co-operation programmes, projects and other supporting activities.
Within MEDA the regional programmes aim at promoting closer integration between the EU and its Mediterranean Partners. All these Partners can participate in the regional activities and not only those that benefit from MEDA bilateral funding (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria and Tunisia). Regional programmes cover a wide range of issues relating to all three chapters of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, namely the political and security chapter, the economic and financial chapter, and the social, cultural and human chapter.
Information on the MEDA regional programme:
Brussels,05 12 2003
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