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Euromed News

DECISIONS

* The European Commission on 17 July announced that it was taking action with € 100 million to improve conditions in Gaza and the West Bank, and accelerate the re-launch of the Palestinian economy. Following the recent positive developments in the Palestinian Territories and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from parts of the Gaza Strip and Bethlehem, the Commission is front-loading its financial assistance to support the implementation of the Road Map for Peace. This includes a € 30 million emergency programme to rebuild essential services, another € 40 million from the new Reform Support Instrument to pay Palestinian Authority arrears to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, and a further € 30 million in loans for SMEs to create employment.
http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/gaza/intro/index.htm

* A € 150 million loan to the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company was signed on 15 July in Cairo by European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive. The funds will go towards the construction of a second module for the Nubariya power plant, which is located on the Nile delta, 120 km north-west of Cairo. The loan follows on from an initial € 150 million granted by the EIB in September 2002 for the first phase of this gas-fired combined cycle plant, which is scheduled to enter into commercial operation in 2007. The project will serve to meet the growing demand for electricity by both private and business users in the Cairo and Alexandria regions (up 7.7% in 2002 alone). It will also facilitate the exploitation of domestic natural gas.
http://www.eib.org

* The EU Council of Ministers on 14 July decided to appoint Marc Otte as European Union Special Representative (EUSR) for the Middle East Peace Process to succeed Miguel Angel Moratinos who has held the post since 1996, and stays on till the end of this year. The EUSR’s mandate is based on the EU’s policy objectives regarding the Middle East Peace Process, which include a two-State solution with Israel and a democratic, viable, peaceful and sovereign Palestinian State living side-by-side within secure and recognised borders. The mandate also comprises the EU contribution to actions leading to a final settlement of the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese conflicts. The new EUSR, who has since 1999 worked as advisor on defence and security policy to EU High Representative Javier Solana, will act under Mr Solana’s authority and will support his work in the region, including in the framework of the Quartet. Marc Otte was Belgium’s Ambassador to Israel between 1992 and 1996.
http://ue.eu.int/

* A European Investment Bank (EIB) loan to Jordan worth around € 40 million ($ 45 million) was signed on 17 July during a visit to Amman by EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive. The funds will support educational reform in Jordan over the period 2003-2008. More specifically the loan will contribute to building 160 new schools, installing IT equipment in schools, and developing the Ministry of Education’s capacity to design, set up and monitor new educational programmes.
http://www.eib.org

MEETINGS

* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security Issues met on 16 July in Brussels. The meeting started with a presentation of the Italian EU Presidency’s priorities on the Political and Security Chapter of the Barcelona Process, among which the inclusion of a Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly in the Barcelona Process with a consultative role. The European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) was discussed, whereby the Partners showed a strong interest in the instruments and the initiatives of this policy. Within Political Dialogue there was a very free exchange of views on the European Commission’s Communications regarding ‘Wider Europe’ and Reinvigorating EU Actions on Human Rights and Democratisation in Mediterranean Partners. The Partners asked questions about the partnership and dialogue with the Arab world mentioned in the Conclusions of the Thessaloniki European Council. On the whole there was a consensus on the need to strengthen the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process met on 17 July in Brussels. The Italian Presidency made a presentation of its priorities for the Economic and Social & Cultural Chapters of the Barcelona Process. On the former the stress is on evaluating the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), on the latter the focus is on the project of a Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the dialogue between cultures and civilisations, which was the subject of an interesting debate. The main objectives of two proposed Ministerial Conferences (one on Agriculture and the other on Investment, Infrastructure and Energy) were discussed. The Committee was updated on the cultural aspects of the Valencia Action Programme. Finally the European Commission presented the state of play of the MEDA funded Regional ‘Programme in the field of Justice, in Combating Drugs, Organised Crime and Terrorism, as well as Co-operation in the Treatment of Issues relating to the Social Integration of Migrants, Migration and Movement of People’.

* The Ministers for Energy of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Joseph Paritzky and Azzam Shawwa respectively, will meet European Commission Vice-President responsible for Energy and Transport Loyola De Palacio on 23 July in Brussels. This will follow the 2nd Expert Meeting of the Trilateral Energy Working Group Israel/Palestinian Authority/European Commission scheduled for 22 and 23 July in Brussels. Experts will discuss the Israel/Palestinian Authority Energy Co-operation Agreement proposed on 13 June at the Jerusalem meeting, Gas and Electricity Interconnection Projects, and Renewable Energy Projects. There will also be an information session on energy supplies to water desalination plants projects of common interest and water sewage treatment.

* The EU-Jordan Association Council scheduled for 22 July will take place in September. The EU-Lebanon Economic Dialogue will be held in November, and the EU-Morocco Working Group on ‘Migration and Social Affairs’ will meet in September. No new dates have been fixed for these meetings.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* TAKING STOCK OF EUROMED AUDIOVISUAL ACHIEVEMENTS
A meeting took place on 9 and 10 July in Brussels to take stock of the achievements of the MEDA funded Euromed Audiovisual I Regional Programme, and to produce guidelines for the second Euromed Audiovisual Programme. Professionals of the audio-visual sector in the Mediterranean Partners and Euro-Mediterranean public sector representatives could freely exchange views on Euromed Audiovisual Projects, and prospects for future activities. A broad consensus emerged on the importance of preserving audio-visual heritage, training trades people, supporting development, distribution, promotion, and exhibition, and promoting synergies of expertise among Mediterranean Partners.
Two Training Seminars were held in the days preceding the Brussels meeting, marking the end of Euromed Audiovisual’s MEDEA and CINEMAMED projects as they were initially planned. The MEDEA Seminar took place in Toulouse, France and focused on the documentary work of independent producers. MEDEA has supported pre-production for feature films and documentaries, as well as training activities. A number of films supported within MEDEA were shown at international festivals, and a few were awarded prizes. One recent example is a documentary called ‘Algérie(s)’ (Algeria(s)), which received two awards. An Israeli documentary called ‘Paradise Lost’ got two awards. Another is Morocco’s feature film ‘Mille Mois’ (A Thousand Months), which received the ‘Un Premier Regard’ award in Cannes, and the Youth Prize awarded by France’s Ministry for Youth and Sports. http://www.programamedea.com
The CINEMAMED Seminar was held in Naples, Italy as the 3rd and last ‘Aristotle I’ training seminar for scriptwriters with a definite feature film project. A call for expression of interest for participation in Aristotle II has been published on the web site:
http://www.cinemamed.org

* GOOD PERFORMANCE OF JORDAN AT USING EURO-MED FUNDING
According to the Annual Report 2002 published on 13 July by the European Commission Delegation in Amman, Jordan absorbed over 67% of the committed grants, whereas the average disbursement rate (payments/commitments ratio) for all Mediterranean Partners stood at 39%. Commitments to Jordan under MEDA alone totalled € 381 million in 1995-2002, while total payments amounted to € 253.5 million over the same period. In addition, loans worth € 283 million were granted to Jordan by the European Investment Bank. A variety of EU supported programmes were implemented or launched in 2002 in the Hashemite Kingdom, including the Industrial Modernisation Programme entrusted to the Euro-Jordanian Action for the Development of Enterprise (EJADA), the Management Unit for the Greater Amman Water Improvement Programme, and Protection and Promotion of Cultural Heritage.
http://www.deljor.cec.eu.int

* ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF RESOLVING COMMERCIAL DISPUTES
Activities of information dissemination, training, technical assistance, and standardisation will start next year within a MEDA funded regional project aimed at promoting the use of International Arbitration and other Alternative Dispute Resolution Techniques in Mediterranean Partners, with a special focus on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). A Service Procurement Notice has been published on 12 July for the selection of experts who will be entrusted with those activities. The direct beneficiaries of the Project will be organisations such as Trade Promotion Agencies, Chambers of Commerce, Arbitration Chambers, and Lawyers’ and Magistrates’ Associations, whose participation is explicitly encouraged. For full details see p. 3 (Funding Opportunities Section) or go to
http://europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/cgi/frame12.pl

* WATER PROJECT IN SOUTHERN JORDAN BENEFITS 80,000
An EU funded water project has provided the 80,000 residents of the southern Jordanian town of Tafileh with regular domestic water supplies, the European Commission Delegation in Amman announced on 14 July. The € 8.2 million project that is currently pumping 404 cubic meters of water per hour has helped alleviate the burden on the citizens of Tafileh who had to spend extra money on getting water in by tanks to make up for irregular water supplies and weak pumping.
http://www.deljor.cec.eu.int

* REHABILITATION OF DROUGHT-STRICKEN AREAS IN JORDAN
A 3-year EU funded project for the rehabilitation of the drought-stricken areas in southern Jordan was recently handed over to the local communities now empowered to manage it, the European Commission Delegation in Amman announced on 16 July. The project, which received nearly € 1.5 million of EU funding, was implemented in the areas of Shobak, Maan, and Wadi Mousa by CARE International in co-operation with 37 community-based co-operatives and development societies, and the Ministries in charge of Social Development, Agriculture, and Water and Irrigation.
http://www.deljor.cec.eu.int

Brussels,07 21 2003
European Union Redaction
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