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Euromed news

DECISIONS

The European Parliament on 3 September approved a resolution on the conclusion of a Convention between the EU and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) concerning aid to those refugees in 2002-2005.

The 11th EU-UNRWA Convention provides for a € 237 million EU contribution to UNRWA’s budget over 4 years, as against € 120 million over 3 years within the 10th such Convention. A decision by the EU Council is now awaited for the new Convention to be signed. UNRWA’s programmes are in the fields of education, health, and social services.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced recently it was lending a total sum of € 165 million to the Algerian Development Bank for various infrastructure projects. A € 45 million amount is earmarked for rebuilding some infrastructures damaged by the flooding of last November in Greater Algiers.

A further € 70 million will help finance the Bouira-El Adjiba section of the East-West Motorway which is going to play a crucial role in the Algerian economy and become part of the Trans-Maghreb Motorway , and the remaining € 50 million will go towards improving the road network in Greater Algiers. http://www.eib.org

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MEETINGS

* The Task Force on Palestinian Reform, composed of representatives of the Quartet (EU, United States, Russia, and the UN Secretary General), Japan, Norway, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, met on 22-23 August in Paris. The Task Force reviewed status reports drawn up by its 7 working groups called Reform Support Groups (Civil Society; Elections; Financial Accountability; Judicial Reform; Local Government; Market Economics; and Ministerial and Civil Service Reform). The Task Force met Palestinian Authority Ministers and Israeli government representatives to examine the steps which need to be taken to facilitate the reform process. The text of the Task Force Statement is available on the web (http://ue.eu.int/newsroom).

* A Training Seminar will be held from 9 to 12 September in Montpellier, France under the EU funded MEDA Project “New Approaches to Telecommunications Policy in the Mediterranean countries”. Sessions will be devoted to institutional arrangements, pricing and regulatory issues, and infrastructures. Presentations will be made of experiences in EU countries and Mediterranean Partners. For further information r.douine@encip.org .

* The launching event for the EU-Mashrak Partenariat took place on 28 August in Damascus. The EU funded Partenariat itself will be held from 11 to 13 April 2003, also in Damascus to help introduce European technology into Arab companies and to create business opportunities. More than 700 companies are expected to take part in the Partenariat, 350 of them from Europe, and the rest from Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. The Partenariat is being prepared by the MEDA funded Syrian-European Business Centre (SEBC) in co-operation with the Federation of the Syrian Chambers of commerce.

* EuroMeSCo’s Working Group No 3 (European Security and Defence Policy: impact on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership) will meet on 8-9 September on the Greek island of Halki. EuroMeSCo is the MEDA funded Euro-Mediterranean network of foreign policy institutes. http://www.euromesco.org

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PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* RECORD COMMITMENT AND PAYMENT RATIOS FOR MEDA
The MEDA Programme of support to the Mediterranean Partners has reached record levels of commitments and payments. As of 31 July 2002 no less than 73.73% of available funds have been committed, accounting for € 448.15 million. A year before the commitment ratio was only 10.2%, and on the same date in 2000 it was a bare 3.8%. On the payment side more than half the available amounts (50.3%) have been disbursed as of 31 July 2002 as against 44.4% a year earlier, and a mere 22.8% as of 31 July 2000. A total of € 243.7 million have been paid out during the first 7 months of 2002.

* CALL FOR PROPOSALS UNDER DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS INITIATIVE
A € 40 million Call for Proposals has recently been launched by the European Commission under the worldwide European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). NGOs and some public sector entities in the EU and 29 ‘focus countries’ including 5 Mediterranean Partners may apply for a grant of between € 300,000 and 1,500,000. EIDHR support will be given to projects promoting democratisation, good governance and the rule of law. The Mediterranean ‘focus countries’ are Algeria, Israel and the West Bank/Gaza Strip, Tunisia, and Turkey. The deadline for submitting applications is 5 November. EIDHR has a total annual budget of € 100 million, and 4 other calls for proposals were launched earlier this year under the Initiative’s priorities for 2002-2004. For further information: http://europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/tender/index_en.htm .

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PUBLICATIONS

* THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION IN 2001
There was an overall slowdown in growth in the Mediterranean Partners last year. In most Partners unemployment was high but inflation contained, while trade with the EU declined. And the attacks of 11 September resulted in a downturn in tourist arrivals. This is the overall picture of the year 2001 as described with figures in the latest bulletin published on the region by Eurostat, the EU Statistical Office under the title ‘The Mediterranean countries in 2001: selected indicators’. Figures on developments in the Partners have been transmitted to Eurostat by national statistical institutes as part of MEDSTAT, a MEDA funded regional Programme for statistical co-operation. The publication is on the web: http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat

* THE EU & THE MIDDLE EAST ON THE WEB
The European Commission’s replies to the most frequently asked questions on the EU’s position and policies as regards the Middle East conflict have recently been put on the web. The document deals with issues such as support to the Palestinian Authority, and the EU position on terrorism and the idea of sanctions against Israel. In addition it provides links to official texts and statements. http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/mepp/faq/index.htm .
* TRADITIONAL MEDITERRANEAN ARCHITECTURE
A 140 page brochure entitled ‘Traditional Mediterranean Architecture’ has been published recently as a tangible result of the CORPUS project, part of the MEDA funded EUROMED HERITAGE I
Programme. The project brought together experts from 15 European and Mediterranean countries. Enclosed in the brochure is a CD-ROM presenting the data collected by CORPUS partners in a set of technical files. A website has also been created under the project (http://www.meda-corpus.net).

* NEWS FROM EURO-TUNISIE ENTREPRISE
Two issues of the ‘ETE-NEWS’ newsletter have been published lately by Euro-Tunisie-Entreprise, Tunisia’s MEDA funded Private Sector Development Programme. No 2 focuses on the INFONET partnership operation in the IT sector held last spring, and No 3 highlights support to small business in Tunisia. http://www.ete.intl.tn

* NEWSLETTERS FROM EGYPT, MOROCCO AND SYRIA
Issues of the European Commission Delegations in Egypt, Morocco, and Syria have been published over the summer. The Egypt newsletter (issue 3) highlights EU-Egypt co-operation on trade enhancement, higher education, and in the fields of health and population. http://www.delegy.cec.eu.int The Morocco newsletter (No 171) focuses on support to the North of the country, and cultural programmes. http://www.delmar.cec.eu.int The newsletter of the Delegation in Syria (No 4) underlines MEDA regional programmes, and EIB support. http://www.delsyr.cec.eu.int



Bruxelles,09 11 2002
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