Two Agreements on Scientific and Technological Co-operation, one with Morocco, and the other with Tunisia were signed on 26 June in Thessaloniki, Greece by Greek Minister for Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos for the EU Presidency, European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, and Moroccan and Tunisian Ministers for Scientific Research Omar Fassi Fihri and Sadok Korbi respectively. The Agreements will facilitate participation by the two Maghreb countries in the activities of the sixth EU Research and Development Framework Programme (2003-2006). They will also improve Scientific Co-operation between the EU and these two countries in order to progressively integrate them into the European Research Area. As Mediterranean Partners, Morocco and Tunisia are now entitled to participate in the 7 thematic priorities of the sixth Framework Programme (where Community funding could be available). They can also take part in International Co-operation activities (INCO) for the region within the Framework Programme’s 1st Specific Programme, focusing on Integrated Management of limited Water Resources, Cultural Heritage Conservation, and Health. A total of € 25 million has been earmarked for those activities in 2003. In addition, researchers from the two Maghreb countries have the opportunity to benefit from the ‘Marie Curie’ international scholarships granted under the 2nd Specific Programme. Negotiations with Egypt for a similar agreement are ongoing,. Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, and Israel are already associated to the sixth Framework Programme. More on the sixth Framework Programme at
* The 3rd Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Trade Conference will be held on 7 July in Palermo, Italy. The meeting will be chaired by European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, and hosted by Italy’s Vice-Minister for Productive Activities Adolfo Urso. Euro-Mediterranean Trade Ministers are expected to give the green light to including all Mediterranean Partners in the Pan-European system of cumulation of origin. The new Pan-Euro-Mediterranean System will allow cumulation of origin for both industrial and agricultural products, enabling all Mediterranean Partners to benefit from preferential customs tariffs. Ministers should also agree on the approach to be followed to further open trade in services in the Euro-Mediterranean Region, and adopt a set of measures to simplify, harmonise, and rationalise customs procedures in the Mediterranean Partners. Participants in the Conference could also launch a new process of approximation of legislation in the fields of standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures. Other issues will be discussed, notably WTO talks under the Doha Development Agenda, and the implications of Wider Europe for the Mediterranean Partners.
* The 2nd EU-Palestinian Authority Joint Committee meeting took place on 26 June in Ramallah in the framework of the 1997 Interim Association Agreement on Trade and Co-operation between the European Community and the Palestinian Authority (PA). There was extensive discussion of the economic and humanitarian situation in the Palestinian Territories, and of practical measures aimed at improving the implementation of trade-related aspects of the Interim Association Agreement. Relevant Ministers of the Palestinian Authority updated EU participants on Palestinian Reform on enhancing the Rule of Law, combating violence and incitement, stabilising public finances, and preparing elections. There was also a useful exchange of views on the Peace Process and progress on the implementation of the Quartet Roadmap. The meeting was chaired by the PA’s Economy Minister Maher Masri, and the Palestinian delegation also included his colleagues in charge of Foreign Affairs Nabil Shaath, of Finance Salam Fayyad, of Planning Nabil Kassis, and of Education Naim Abul Hommos. The EU side was represented by Senior Officials from the European Commission and the Greek Presidency of the Council. The first such meeting was held in Brussels in May 2000.
* The 3rd meeting of the EU-Israel Association Committee will be held on 9 July in Brussels. It will start with an exchange of views on political issues of common interest, including the situation in the MiddleEast, Proliferation and Terrorism, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, and Wider Europe. Then the economic aspects of the Partnership will be discussed, notably the Investment Facility (FEMIP) on which all Mediterranean Partners are being consulted by the European Commission. Scientific and Technological Co-operation is also high on the agenda as the Agreement sealing Israeli participation in the sixth EU Research Framework Programme was signed on 10 June. Israel’s interest in taking part in the Galileo Project will be mentioned specifically. Rules of Origin will be discussed both as a bilateral and a regional issue, and a number of trade-related subjects will be looked at as well, including agriculture where negotiations for further liberalisation within the Association Agreement are ongoing. Discussions will also touch on competition, co-operation on fighting money laundering and trafficking in human beings, economic co-operation including statistics, the environment and the implications of EU Enlargement. Co-operation between Israel and the European Commission on energy at bilateral and multilateral level is also on the agenda, as well as Israeli participation in the educational Tempus and Erasmus Mundus Programmes.
* An EU-Tunisia Economic Dialogue will take place on 9 July in Brussels, to be followed on 10 July by a meeting on the impact of Enlargement on Tunisia. The Economic Dialogue meeting will start with presentations by the two sides of their respective macro-economic situations, with particular reference to managing external shocks. Discussions will then focus on the Economic Aspects of the EU’s New Neighbourhood Policy, and the Financial Sector in the EU and in Tunisia. The Enlargement meeting will look at the impact of EU Enlargement on Tunisia’s economy, and on entrepreneurs’ behaviour in the EU.
* The High-Level Advisory Group on Dialogue between Peoples and Cultures held its 3rd plenary meeting on 30 June and 1st July in Brussels under the co-chairmanship of Assia Alaoui Bensalah and Jean Daniel, and with the participation of European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy and his colleague in charge of Research Philippe Busquin. The Advisory Group of 19 intellectuals from both shores of the Mediterranean looked at the ‘North-South’ and ‘South-South’ aspects of the Dialogue. This involves re-defining the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership within the New Neighbourhood Policy, and developing regional and sub-regional ‘South-South’ relations.
* A debate on aid and development in the Palestinian Territories will be held on 9 July in Brussels on the initiative of the European Parliament’s Committee on Development and Co-operation.
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* ‘NEIGHBOURHOOD PROGRAMMES’ PROPOSED FOR 2004-2006
The European Commission on 2 July proposed to better co-ordinate existing instruments for cross-border co-operation, including MEDA, through the creation of ‘Neighbourhood Programmes’ to be operated in 2004-2006. Other instruments concerned are INTERREG (border areas of current EU Member States and neighbouring countries), PHARE (Central and Eastern Europe), TACIS (former Soviet Union), and CARDS (Balkans). The Commission foresees that € 955 million could be re-allocated for this purpose. For the period after 2007 the Commission holds out a number of options, including the creation of a single New Neighbourhood Instrument.
* PREPARATORY MEETING FOR EUROMED AUDIOVISUAL II
A Preparatory Meeting for the second Euromed Audiovisual Regional Programme will take place on 9 and 10 July in Brussels. In a plenary session on the first day there will be presentations of the results of Euromed Audiovisual I projects, and both regional programmes will be discussed. The plenary session will bring together representatives of all Euro-Mediterranean partners, Euromed Audiovisual I project co-ordinators, representatives of the audio-visual private sector from the Mediterranean Partners, and other experts and observers. The second day will be devoted to narrowing down the choice of themes for Euromed Audiovisual II, with the sole participation of government and other public sector representatives. Discussions will touch on support to cinema, television, and radio, whereas cinema and film production for TV has been by far the main focus of Euromed Audiovisual I. Mediterranean Partners’ needs and views have been assessed prior to the meeting. The results of the meeting will serve as additional input. An amount of € 15 million has been earmarked for Euromed Audiovisual II in 2004 within the MEDA Regional Indicative Programme 2002-2004.
* WORKSHOP ON EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR EMPLOYMENT (ETE)
A thematic workshop entitled ‘Active ETE Measures and Institutional Strengthening’ is being held from 1 to 4 July in Brussels to define activities for the MEDA funded ‘Education and Training for Employment’ (ETE) Regional Programme. Themes to be discussed include qualifications, occupational integration of young people, institutional strengthening, and apprenticeship. Case studies relevant to each of those themes are presented by representatives of EU and Mediterranean countries. A plenary session will be devoted to presentations and discussion of activities identified and priorities for the Programme.
* CONFERENCE ON MEDITERRANEAN ELECTRIC RING
The achievements and future of the Euro-Mediterranean interconnected electric network called ‘Mediterranean Electric Ring’ or ‘MedRing’ will be discussed during a conference on 9 July in Rome in the framework of the MEDA supported MedRing Regional Project. The Conference is organised jointly by the Union of the EU Electricity Industry (Eurelectric) and its Mediterranean counterpart Medelec. It will bring together representatives of electricity companies of countries taking part in MedRing (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, France, Greece, and Spain), the EU Italian Presidency, and the European Commission. The key results of the MedRing 2001-2003 study will be presented and debated in a 1st session. The 2nd session will be devoted to ‘Interconnection Developments and Concrete Operation of the Ring’, while in the 3rd and last session participants will look at the way forward.
* FINAL SEMINAR FOR AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMME
The Final Seminar for the MEDA supported Regional Co-operation Programme in the Agricultural Sector (1998-2003) is taking place on 3 and 4 July in Catania, Italy. The Seminar aims at presenting and analysing the Programme’s main results, and discussing priorities for future actions. The Agricultural Programme’s activities included training, support to research networks and projects, studies and aid to decision-making, and institutional strengthening, focusing on four areas (Water Resources Management; Conservation and Management of Natural Renewable Resources; Agricultural and Food Policies; and Rainfed Agriculture). The Programme was co-ordinated by the Paris-based International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) with the active participation of its constituent Mediterranean Agronomic Institutes (MAI) in Zaragossa, Spain, Montpellier, France, Bari, Italy, and Chania, Greece.
* SEMINAR DEFINES CRITERIA FOR EURO-MED CULTURAL LABEL
A regional seminar held from 22 to 25 June in Istanbul has defined criteria for implementing the pilot phase of the ‘Cultural Development Products’ Label, which is effectively the first Euro-Mediterranean label for arts and crafts. The seminar was organised in the framework of the PRODECOM Project, part of the MEDA funded Euromed Heritage II Regional Programme, and brought together experts from 7 Mediterranean Partners (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, and Turkey) and 2 EU Member States (France and Greece). PRODECOM is co-ordinated by the Paris based Mediterranean Chamber of Fine Arts.
* TWO ISRAELI COMPANIES SELECTED FOR EU HIGH-TECH PRIZE
Two Israeli firms (Tadiran and Insightec) have been selected together with 18 other applicants as winners of the EU ‘Information Society Technology’ (IST) Prize. The Prize is awarded to groundbreaking products that represent the best of European innovation in Information Society Technologies. Tadiran’s project involves a wearable system that monitors human vital signs, and Insightec’s product destroys diseased tissues thanks to ultrasound energy. More on
* EURO-MEDITERRANEAN TRANSPORT NETWORK ON THE WEB
The European Commission Communication on the development of a Euro-Mediterranean Transport Network (see Euromed Synopsis No 232) is now available at
http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/transport/index_en.html (click on ‘Mediterranean’ on the right) or
* MEDITERRANEAN HARBOURS IN THE PICTURE
People aged between 18 and 35 who will on 11 July take photos relating to ‘The Trades of the Mediterranean Harbours’ can hope to win a prize in a photographic contest organised by ECUME cultural group under the aegis of the European Commission Delegation in Syria. The contest regulation and application form can be downloaded from the web site
Brussels,07 07 2003
European Union Redaction