The European Commission on 25 June announced it would launch a number of small-scale operations (maximum € 2 million each) with a total budget of € 25 million from the MEDA Programme to prepare future projects and programmes already identified within the National Indicative Programmes and the Regional Indicative Programme. Operations to be funded include studies, grants for cultural or information activities to promote peace and dialogue in the region, and organisation of meetings within the scope of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.
* The European Council of EU Heads of State or Government meeting on 19 and 20 June in Thessaloniki, Greece adopted four statements particularly relevant to the Barcelona Process. One of them endorses the EU Council’s Conclusions on Wider Europe/New Neighbourhood. Another envisages a work plan for strengthening relations with the Arab world. On the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership as such the European Council stresses the role of civil society. Finally a declaration on the Middle East details the EU position on current prospects for peace (see Euromed Report No 63 of 23 June).
* Two European Parliament Delegations for relations with Mediterranean Partners will meet on 2 July in Strasbourg, France. They are the Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union, and the Delegation for relations with Israel. The former will have exchanges of views on the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum, and on a visit to Morocco by a Delegation working group last March.
* The Working Group on the Follow-up to the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum will meet on 26 and 27 June in Brussels. Members of the Group will discuss the situation in the Euro-Mediterranean Region, and the implementation of the Road Map in the presence of EU High Representative Javier Solana, EU Special Representative for the Middle-East Miguel Angel Moratinos, and European Commission representatives. The results of the mid-term Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Meeting in Crete will be discussed in the presence of EU Council representatives. The Working Group will also, in the presence of European Commission representatives, assess the implementation of the Association Agreements in force, and of MEDA II, and have an exchange of views on the Commission Communication on Wider Europe/Neighbourhood.
* The High-Level Advisory Group on Dialogue between Peoples and Cultures will hold its next plenary meeting on 30 June and 1 July in Brussels. The Advisory Group comprising 17 intellectuals from both shores of the Mediterranean was set up in January on the initiative of European Commission President Romano Prodi.
* A Seminar for journalists from Southern Europe and the Mediterranean will take place from 29 June to 5 July in Athens, Greece on the initiative of the current Greek EU Presidency. The Seminar, entitled ‘The Mediterranean and the EU: The Role of Mass Media’, will bring together journalists from all 12 Mediterranean Partners, as well as Greece, France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Sessions will cover ‘The Greek EU Presidency and the Euromed Prospects’, ‘European Security – Security in Eastern Mediterranean – Conflict Prevention – Civil Society – Dialogue of Cultures’, and ‘EU Immigration Policy’. The programme includes visits to Greek media.
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PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* EUROPEAN COMMISSION PREPARES EURO-MEDITERRANEAN TRANSPORT NETWORK
Safety, security, and funding will be crucial to the development of a reliable and competitive Euro-Mediterranean transport network, according to a European Commission Communication adopted on 24 June. The document, which analyses the economic, political, financial and reliability aspects of the future network, aims at defining the challenges and alerting the public and private players concerned. The Communication recalls that the planning of the network and identification of priority infrastructure projects has been launched within a MEDA funded Regional Programme, and stresses the key role of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) in the funding. Euro-Mediterranean transport policy priorities include approximation of the laws of the Partners with EU rules on Safety and Security in Maritime and Air Transport, and participation of the Partners in the Galileo joint undertaking set up to establish a European navigation satellite system.
* REGIONAL WORKSHOP ON OIL AND GAS
A Regional Workshop on Oil and Upstream Gas is taking place from 23 to 27 June in Brussels within the MEDA funded ‘Reform of the Legal and Institutional Energy Sector Framework’ Project, which involves the 12 Mediterranean Partners, as well as Germany, France, Italy, and Portugal. The workshop aims at enhancing skills in economic analysis, identifying the main issues for reform, developing concepts for national reform strategies, proposing options for solutions, and stimulating regional dialogue. Participants are Senior Officials from Partners’ Ministries in charge of oil and gas, and representatives of energy companies. The workshop programme comprises lectures on economic and legal aspects of the oil and gas sectors, including taxation, privatisation, and pricing, as well as Country Working Groups.
* WASTE MANAGEMENT IN THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION
National and local authorities’ representatives from around the Mediterranean will meet international and regional experts in Egypt from 29 June to 2 July to exchange experiences and best practices during two events focusing on Waste Management in the region. Both events will be held within the MEDA funded Mediterranean Urban Waste Management Programme (MUWMP), which has been implemented since December, 2001 in Alexandria (Egypt), Zarqa (Jordan), and Limassol (Cyprus). MUWMP is part of the Regional Euro-Mediterranean Programme for the Environment (REMEPE). The first event is entitled ‘Capacity Building in Solid Waste Management: Policy Dialogue on Management and Financing Tools’. It will be held on 29-30 June in Cairo in co-operation with another REMEPE funded project entitled ‘Regional Solid Waste Management Project in Mashrak and Maghreb countries’, implemented by the Mediterranean Environmental Technical Assistance Programme (METAP) under the responsibility of the World Bank. It involves Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and the West Bank & Gaza Strip. The second event will be the Final Regional Workshop of MUWNP, and will include a visit of the Alexandria sub-project. The events are organised jointly by UNDP, MEDCITIES, and the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region (CEDARE).
* IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL STATISTICS
National Environment Co-ordinators from 10 Mediterranean Partners’ National Statistical Institutes recently met officials from the EU Statistical Office (Eurostat) and EuropeAid Cooperation Office in Luxembourg to look at the objectives and expected results of the MEDA funded MED-Env II sub-programme, part of the MEDSTAT II Regional Programme. Mediterranean Partners’ representatives have been asked to reflect on the opportunities provided under MED-Env, and the benefits each Partner could derive. Country ‘roadmaps’ will be developed as a result so as to improve convergence between MED-Env’s objectives and the Partners’ national priorities.
* CLOSING CONFERENCE FOR 1ST PHASE OF EURO-MED MARKET
The Closing Conference for the first phase of the MEDA funded Euro-Med Market Regional Programme will take place on 30 June and 1 July in Brussels. Representatives of all 12 Mediterranean Partners and the European Commission will assess the work done within the first phase, and determine priorities for the second phase of the Programme. Euro-Med Market aims at helping the Mediterranean Partners prepare themselves for the future Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area.
* ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN ENERGY CO-OPERATION LAUNCHED
Experts from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the European Commission agreed priority axes of co-operation in the energy sector at the first meeting of their Trilateral Technical Working Group, held recently in Jerusalem. The priorities include developing gas interconnections between Israel and the Palestinian Territories, concluding an electricity trade and co-operation agreement, setting up a co-operation mechanism to boost the use of renewable energy, and preparing an Israeli-Palestinian Energy Framework Agreement. The Group also defined a timetable for their future work, and decided that ministerial meetings should be held by the end of 2003. The Technical Working Group meeting follows from an Israeli-Palestinian initiative announced in the margins of the Euro-Med Energy Ministerial meeting in Athens in May. It is open to other Mediterranean Partners.
* INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SEMINAR IN CAIRO CALLS FOR DIALOGUE
Participants in an International Media Seminar held on 24 June at the European Commission Delegation in Cairo adopted recommendations, which call for developing “a new view for the future of the Arab media”. They stressed the need to “foster Euro-Arab relations in the media and the cultural dialogue between the two regions by seeking to promote exchanges between journalists.” The 22 media professionals and academics from the EU and the Arab world also said they would like the Seminar to become a yearly event. In a separate Declaration, participants in the Seminar “acknowledged the need… to free the media from a one-sided view of the world, … the importance of increasing the number of media programmes dealing with cross-cultural dialogue,…and the importance of promoting the independence of the media from government. The need for the media to invest more in IT and the value of promoting equal opportunities for female journalists were mentioned as well. The Seminar was organised jointly by the European Commission Delegation in Egypt, and the Arab Media Society, Dubai (United Arab Emirates).
* ARTISTS IN TOWN IN DAMASCUS AND AMMAN
Two cultural events entitled ‘Artists in Town’ are currently being run in Damascus and Amman respectively, with support from the European Commission Delegations there. In both cities 12 artists from European and Mediterranean countries work together, and the result of their collaboration is then shown to the public. In Damascus the exhibition was opened on 19 June to last until 10 July. In addition, concerts and poetry reading are taking place from 23 June to 3 July, and workshops for Syrian young people are being held.
For more information: http://www.delsyr.cec.eu.int
In Amman the ‘Artists in Town’ exhibition will be opened on 3 July. Both series of events are organised by a non-profit organisation for cultural exchanges in the Mediterranean (ECUME) based in Marseilles, France.
Brussels,06 30 2003
European Union Redaction