* During a telephone conversation on 18 August with the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, which was mainly devoted to the Lockerbie case, European Commission President Romano Prodi also took note of Libya's willingness to normalise as rapidly as possible its relations with the European Union. Referring to the Euro-Mediterranean Process, in which the EU has invited Libya to take part, Mr Prodi said that this goal could now be followed up with concrete actions. Libya is also an integral part of the EU’s new neighbourhood strategy, in the context of the development of relations based on the respect of shared values.
* The Trilateral Expert Working Group on Energy made up of representatives of the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority and the European Commission held its 3rd meeting on 14 August in Jerusalem. That was in effect the 1st negotiating round on Israeli-Palestinian electricity co-operation. The two sides decided to complete negotiations for a first interconnection agreement by mid-September, and to set the time frame for a commercial agreement on electricity at the same time. They also determined which bodies would represent them in further talks. In addition, both sides agreed to create an energy co-operation office, to exchange information, and to examine ways of addressing the question of the losses incurred by the Palestinian electricity network. The meeting was a follow-up to the Trilateral Ministerial that took place on 23 July in Brussels.
* European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin will visit Tunisia on 11 and 12 September to get first hand knowledge of the country’s research activities. He will have meetings with Tunisia’s Minister for Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology Sadok Chaâbane, and with the Secretary of State for Scientific Research and Technology Sadok Korbi. The Commissioner will visit several research facilities, including a science park, and he will meet a group of Tunisian scientists. Mr Busquin recently visited Morocco. Both Maghreb countries have this year concluded agreements on research co-operation with the EU, which facilitate their participation in the activities of the sixth EU Research and Development Framework Programme (2003-2006).
* The High-Level Advisory Group on Dialogue between Peoples and Cultures will hold its 4th plenary meeting on 8 and 9 September in Brussels. The Advisory Group of 19 intellectuals from both shores of the Mediterranean will look at various contributions from some of its members, and consider some aspects of its final report, due to be presented to the European Commission later this year.
* The European Parliament (EP) Delegation for Relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union met on 3 September in Strasbourg. There was an exchange of views on the programme of a delegation working party due to visit Algeria in late September and early October. Another exchange of views took place with the Director of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), Costanza Adinolfi. The EP Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) met on the same day in Strasbourg. Delegations members discussed preparations for the visit of a PLC delegation to Strasbourg later this month, and heard a report by the Chairperson Luisa Morgantini on her recent visit to the Palestinian Territories. The EP Delegation for Relations with the Mashrak countries and the Gulf States will hold its next meeting on 10 September in Brussels. The agenda of the meeting is not yet available.
* A Partnership event on IT in Transport will take place on 11 September in Tunis under the EU funded MEDRESSA Initiative. IT product and service providers from the EU will have a chance to meet Tunisian users. Subjects to be addressed include IT in railways, multi-modal cargo transport, and logistics.
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* SEVEN HUMAN RIGHTS PROJECTS IN 4 MEDITERRANEAN PARTNERS
The European Commission on 1 September announced it had approved financing to support democracy, good governance, and the rule of law in 30 countries and territories around the world, among them four Mediterranean Partners (Israel, West Bank & Gaza Strip, Tunisia, and Turkey). The support is provided under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). Two projects will be implemented in Israel. One of them aims at improving the general and legal status of Arab Palestinian citizens in the Israeli media through the training of Arab Israeli journalists, lobbying and advocacy, awareness raising activities targeted at both Jewish and Arab journalists, and media education for 400 Arab Israeli children. The EU will contribute over € 550,000, i.e. 80% of the costs. The other Israel project is entitled ‘Campaign to raise awareness of women’s rights & services within the Palestinian Community in Israel’. It aims in particular at raising awareness of gender-based violence, and strengthening the capacities of NGOs working in this field. The EU contribution covers the entirety of the costs (over € 460,000). In the Palestinian Territories two projects will be implemented. Through one of them (€ 461,000, 80% of total cost) technical assistance will be provided to 12 radio stations in six towns and cities (Bethlehem, Gaza, Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, and Ramallah) with the aim of contributing to the emergence of an independent, politically diverse media sector in the West Bank & Gaza Strip. The other project (€ 400,000, 77% of costs) seeks to increase democratic participation at the local level in Hebron, particularly through seminars for key local people, and awareness-raising activities. The Tunisian project aims at improving access to justice for the most vulnerable groups, notably women in difficult situations through the provision of legal advice and a pilot system of judicial assistance. The costs (€ 730,000) will be covered entirely by the EU contribution. Two projects will be implemented in Turkey, one in the whole country and the other in the South East. The ‘Proper Functioning of the Rule of Law’ project will target national and local media professionals, human rights NGOs, and trade unions. Its main activities will include setting up an information network and monitoring media freedom. EU contribution is in excess of € 800,000, which covers 80% of the costs. The other Turkish project is called ‘Enhancing Access to Justice in Southern Turkey’, and it involves establishing a Legal Advisory Bureau and a Human Rights Centre under the aegis of the Diyarbakir Bar Association. The EU contribution is around € 455,000, which accounts for 80% of total costs.
* TRANSPORT IN THE EURO-MEDITERRANEAN REGION IN FIGURES
A statistical report on ‘Transport in the Euro-Mediterranean Region (1990-2001)’ has recently been released by Eurostat, the EU Statistical Office. It covers transport of passengers and goods by air, sea, and land, including pipelines. An introduction gives an overview of trade and tourism in the Mediterranean region. Data published in the report were compiled within the MEDA funded MEDSTAT Regional Programme of Statistical Co-operation. The report can be ordered from the web site
* WATER AND IT IN THE LATEST NEWSLETTER FROM DAMASCUS
EU-Syria water co-operation and the Information Society in the Euro-Mediterranean Region are some of the main issues addressed in the latest issue (No 3 – July-August) of the newsletter published by the European Commission Delegation in Syria.
* A STATISTICAL VIEW OF 2002 IN THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION
If you want to know about economic growth, employment and unemployment, inflation, foreign direct investment and trade in the Mediterranean Partners in 2002, you can find the main figures in a publication released recently by EUROSTAT, the EU Statistical Office, under the title ‘2002 in the Mediterranean countries: selected indicators’. Data presented in the publication were compiled within the MEDA funded MEDSTAT Regional Programme of statistical co-operation.
Brussels,09 08 2003
European Union Redaction