* The EU Council of Ministers on 21 July adopted a proposal to Jordan on the creation of a number of sectoral sub-committees for facilitating the implementation of the Association Agreement. The proposal is to be presented to the Jordanian side at the EU-Jordan Association Council due to meet in the autumn. A similar structure of sub-committees has been put in place recently in the framework of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement.
* The EU Council of Ministers on 14 July appointed Ambassador Marc Otte as European Union Special Representative (EUSR) for the Middle East Peace Process in replacement of Miguel Angel Moratinos who left the post on 30 June. The mandate of EUSR has been extended to the end of 2003. On 21 July the Council congratulated Ambassador Marc Otte on his appointment and underlined its full support for his work. Erratum: Mr Moratinos is not staying on until December as we mistakenly reported last week in issue No 235, but his mandate as EUSR has been taken over by Mr Otte. We apologize to our readers.
* The EU Council of Foreign Ministers held successive meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Israel, Silvan Shalom, and the Palestinian Authority, Nabil Shaath, on 21 July in Brussels. The Council adopted Conclusions on the Middle East stressing that “there is no alternative to a swift and full implementation, in good faith by the two sides, of the road map”. (see Euromed Report No 65 of 22 July).
This was the first External Relations Council Meeting held under the current Italian Presidency of the EU. Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini stated that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority want more Europe in the Middle East Peace Process.
* The Ministers in charge of Energy in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Joseph Paritzky and Azzam Shawwa respectively, met their Italian counterpart Antonio Marzano, representing the EU Presidency, and European Commission Vice-President responsible for Energy and Transport Loyola De Palacio on 23 July in Brussels to boost Israeli-Palestinian Energy Dialogue. The three Ministers and the Vice-President endorsed the results of the 2nd Expert Meeting of the Trilateral Energy Working Group Israel/Palestinian Authority/European Commission held on 22 and 23 July in Brussels to strengthen trilateral energy co-operation. The experts agreed that in the electricity sector negotiations would re-start between Israeli and Palestinian officials, aiming to reach a commercial agreement, an interconnection agreement, and a bilateral master plan set to be later incorporated into the Euro-Mediterranean Electric Ring. The working group also agreed that a joint group of experts would examine joint projects of common interest on Energy Demand Management and Renewables, as well as market scenarios and interconnections for development in the context of the Euro-Mediterranean Gas Ring. In all those sectors meetings are planned for August and September, to which European Commission representatives are invited. In addition, the expert working group recommended to envisage the creation of a joint technical Israel-Palestinian Authority body to support the energy co-operation, and, over the medium term, the setting up of an energy infrastructure development programme. Other recommendations include concluding the electricity agreements before the end of October 2003, when Ms De Palacio plans a visit to the region, and drawing up a list of projects of common interest in the gas, electricity and renewables sectors by December for presentation at a Euro-Mediterranean conference on Investment Promotion, Infrastructure Financing and Energy Supply Security. At a press conference held after the meetings the Israeli and Palestinian Ministers underlined that a lot of technical work had to be done to implement the agreements, but they also stressed the potential wider political impact. Mr. Shawwa described the agreements reached as "a commitment to the Peace Process in general", and Mr. Paritzky stated that they represent "an important step forward for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and for all the Mediterranean Region". "If we share interests together, we will live together", added the Israeli Minister, echoed by his Palestinian counterpart: "If we can work together on a day-to-day basis, it will lead us to peace". Both Ministers expressed their gratitude to the European Union. Vice-President De Palacio said the new agreements were filling the gaps left in the maps for future Trans-Euro-Mediterranean Energy Networks circulated at the Athens Ministerial Conference in May.
* The MED Committee will meet on 25 July in Brussels. Committee members are expected to give an opinion on a number of measures. These include the Mid Term Review for Morocco’s National Indicative Programme 2002-2004, the National Financing Plans 2003 for Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco, the conversion into grants of the ‘Special Cash Facilities’ for the Palestinian Territories, and the restructuring of Egypt’s Industrial Modernisation Programme.
* The Follow-up Committee for the MEDA supported project called "Energy and Urban Environment in the Mediterranean Countries" will meet on 28 and 29 July in Barcelona, Spain to take stock of activities carried out by Mediterranean and European partners. The 33 month project, which started in 2001, involves training and other seminars, i.a. on co-generation and financial instruments, as well as studies and workshops on various aspects of energy use and urban energy planning. It is co-ordinated by Spain's National Agency for Renewables and Energy Efficiency (IDAE).
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* Song Theatre and Dance for Human Rights in Amman
The key principles of democracy and human rights can be demonstrated through song, theatre, and dance, as the Noor Al Hussein Performing Arts Centre in Amman has done within a project financed by the European Commission Delegation in Jordan under the MEDA funded Programme for Democracy and Human Rights. The project aims to make children and young people more aware of their fundamental rights and freedoms. It includes various performances and workshops involving educators, teachers, and theatre and media specialists, mainly in Jordan, but also in Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, and Israel. TV episodes have also been produced for broadcasting on Jordan’s national television station, and on Israeli, Lebanese, and Palestinian TV channels. The project started in February 2001 and will end in February 2004.
* Comment on the Road Map and Survey on the Euro-Med Partnership
An analysis of the prospects for and obstacles to the implementation of the Road Map has been recently published on the web site of the MEDA supported Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission (EuroMeSCo), the Euro-Mediterranean Network of Foreign Policy Institutes. The comment is entitled ‘On the road again? Challenges for peace-making in the Middle East’. On the same web site you can give your opinion on the priorities of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnershi. The results of the survey will be forwarded to the European Commission.
Brussels,07 28 2003
European Union Redaction