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Euromed News

MEETINGS

* European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten visited Syria on 15 and 16 September to give a boost to ongoing negotiations for a Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement. The Commissioner met Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, and members of the outgoing Syrian government, including Foreign Minister Farouq Al Shara, as well as the appointed new Prime Minister, Naji Al Otri. Bilateral EU-Syria relations were discussed, as well as the situation in the Middle East and Iraq. Both sides reiterated their commitment to completing the negotiations for an Association Agreement. “I think we are now at the beginning of what I call the end game”, Mr Patten said. The next negotiating round should be held in October. The Commissioner also met members of Syria’s business community.

* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for political and Security Issues will meet on 24 September in Brussels. The meeting will be held with a view to preparing the VIth Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers’ Conference scheduled for 2-3 December in Naples, Italy. Human Rights and Democracy in the Mediterranean Region will be discussed, as well as the European Union’s ‘Wider Europe’ Policy.

* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process will meet on 25 September in Brussels with the upcoming Naples Ministerial Conference as a backdrop. The Committe will hold a special session on the project of a Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the dialogue between cultures and civilisations. In addition, the European Commission will inform the Committee of the state of play of some MEDA funded regional programmes.

* Consultations on the Middle East between European Union and United States experts and academia will be held on 18 September in Rome, Italy. Such consultations take place regularly. Italy currently holds the Presidency of the EU Council.

* A Joint Parliamentary Meeting will bring together members of the European Parliament (EP) and the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) on 24 and 25 September in Strasbourg, France. The PLC Delegation will attend a plenary session of the European Parliament. The Palestinian Parliamentarians will have a working meeting with the EP Delegation for Relations with the PLC, as well as bilateral meetings with representatives of various EP political groups. The Palestinian Delegation might meet the Bureau of the EP Delegation for Relations with Israel.

* The EU-Morocco Working Group on Migration and Social Affairs will hold its 3rd meeting on 23 September in Brussels. A number of issues will be discussed, including Equal Treatment in Social Security Matters and Integration and Equal Treatment of Immigrants as provided for by the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, Equal opportunities for men and women, and Integration of Immigrants generally. Socio-economic progress in relation to migration will also be discussed, as well as Legal Migration, and Fighting Illegal Migration including Transit Migration.

* The MED Committee met on 17 September in Brussels. Committee members gave a favourable opinion on a project of Support to Palestinian Hospitals in East Jerusalem. The 2-year project aims at helping non-profit East Jerusalem hospitals other than Makassed to improve services and save costs through service-sharing and co-operation between them. The proposed grant of € 750,000 would complement a € 5 million allocation granted by the EU in 2002, which mainly benefitted Makassed hospital. The National Financing Plan 2003 for Tunisia, which includes a project called ‘Higher Education Modernisation’, was also discussed, and it was agreed that further consultations would take place in the coming weeks. In addition, the European Commission informed the Committee of the implementation of a € 25 million EU funded Air Cargo Terminal Project at Gaza Airport that will provide the Palestinian Territories with direct access to regional and world markets. Finally, Committee members had an exchange of views on the implementation of the gender mainstreaming principle to the Mediterranean region, with reference to a field study conducted in Jordan. The European Commission presented conclusions pointing to substantial progress while identifying shortcomings.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* LAUNCH OF EURO-MED YOUTH PLATFORM
Representatives of over 100 Youth organisations from the 12 Mediterranean Partners, as well as Youth organisations from the current and future EU Member States have gathered in Malta from 17 to 21 September to launch the Euro-Med Youth Platform, a meeting point for young people set up within the MEDA funded Euromed Youth Regional Programme. The Platform, located in Malta and co-ordinated by a light structure supported by the Maltese government, has already been joined by over 500 organisations from both shores of the Mediterranean. It will create a network of youth organisations, facilitate exchange of good practice and the emergence of new projects, and disseminate information.
http://www.euromedp.org and http://europa.eu.int/comm/youth/priorities/euromed_en.html

* EU PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE CALL FOR PROPOSALS
EU and Mediterranean NGOs and media organisations have only a few days left for applying for a grant under the EU Partnership for Peace Programme as the latest Call for Proposals under the programme expires on 22 September. ‘EU Partnership for Peace’ aims at assisting in the implementation of the Middle East Road Map in areas likely to have an impact on people’s everyday lives. It focuses on practical activities designed to promote communication and understanding. The overall indicative amount made available under the Call is € 5.8 million. All details are available from the ‘Funding Opportunities’ section below and the website
http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/cgi/frame12.pl

MISCELLANEOUS

* MEDITERRANEAN TRADE ON DISPLAY IN SYRIA
A photographic exhibition and other events held under the common title ‘The Meanings of Trade: Aleppo, Beirut, Tunis’ are taking place in Aleppo from 15 to 19 September under the patronage of Syria’s Prime Minister Dr Mohammad Mostafa Miro, and with the support of the European Commission Delegation in Syria. The same series of events, including a round table and a literary café, will be held in Damascus from 21 to 24 September.
http://www.delsyr.cec.eu.int

* EUROPEAN CONCERT IN AMMAN
Music by Albinoni, Beethoven, Bizet, and other European composers will be played on 21 September in Amman for the 9th annual concert held by the European Commission Delegation in Amman under the patronage of H.M. Queen Rania. The event will bring together musicians from the Orchestra of Jordan’s National Music Conservatory and the European Union Chamber Orchestra.

Brussels,09 22 2003
European Union Redaction
European union
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