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Euromed News

DECISIONS

The European Investment Bank (EIB) on 9 October announced it was lending € 120 million to Tunisia's Motorway Company (STA) for the construction of a toll motorway between M'saken and Sfax. The project forms part of the North-South road axis, and represents a priority component of the Tunisian Government's Motorway Programme.

By improving links between Tunis and Sfax, the country's two main economic centres, the project will foster the development of southern Tunisia.
www.eib.org


MEETINGS

* European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten will visit Egypt on 13 and 14 October, and then proceed to Jordan where he will arrive late on 14 October and stay on the next day. The trip mainly aims at discussing the further development of relations between the EU and the two Mediterranean Partners. Mr Patten will also have exchanges of views on the situation in the Middle East, and on Euro-Mediterranean relations. In Egypt he is expected to meet President Hosni Mubarak, Prime Minister Dr Atef Ebeid, Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher, and other members of the government. He will also meet representatives of Parliament and of the private sector, as well as Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa. In Jordan Mr Patten will meet King Abdullah II, Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragheb, Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher, and possibly other personalities. Financing conventions could be signed with the Hashemite Kingdom.

* European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten will sign the 2002 Annual Grant Agreement with UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) on 15 October at the European Commission Delegation in Amman. UNRWA will be represented by Deputy Commissioner-General Karen Koning Abu Zayd. The Grant Agreement provides for a contribution of € 55 million to UNRWA's General Fund. This is part of a 4 year EU support package of € 237 million signed on 9 October in Brussels. Together with EU Member States' contributions this makes the European Union the biggest donor to UNRWA. The European Commission's overall humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians in 2002 amounts to around € 85 million. Total funding by the EU in 2002 is over € 230 million, including budgetary support for the Palestinian Authority and other projects.

* Jordan's MEDA funded Industrial Modernisation Programme (EJADA) will hold its 2nd Lending Skills Development Workshop from 13 to 22 October in Amman. The Workshop is a follow-up to a first session held last June. It aims to enhance senior credit staff appraisal skills in relation to the provision of 3 to 8 year loans to businesses operating in manufacturing or services to the manufacturing sector. The Workshop will be attended by credit staff of banks participating in the EJADA Loan Guarantee Scheme run by the Jordan Loan Guarantee Corporation (JLGC). The main topics will include Principles of Lending; Lending to Small and Medium-Sized Entreprises (SMEs); Credit Risk Assessment; and Financial Analysis. http://www.ejada.jo


PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* MEDA PAYMENT RATIO ON THE INCREASE
The MEDA Programme of support to the Mediterranean Partners has reached new record levels of payments. As of 7 October 2002 more than two thirds of funds available for operations have been disbursed, showing a record payment ratio of 66.97%. A total of € 270.99 million have been paid out since 1 January, 2002. On the commitment side 73.73% of funds available for operations have been committed, amounting to € 448.15 million.

* EUROMED AUDIOVISUAL ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN CAIRO
The 3rd Annual Conference for the MEDA funded EUROMED AUDIOVISUAL Regional Programme will take place on 18 and 19 October in Cairo. Presentations will be made of the results achieved so far within the six EUROMED AUDIOVISUAL Projects (Elles … aux abords de l'an 2000; Euromediatoon – Viva Carthago; MEDEA; Europa Cinémas; CapMed; and Cinemamed). The Conference will feature a workshop on improving conditions for the movement of films between the two shores of the Mediterranean, including a mini-market where European exporters will present their feature film catalogue to South Mediterranean distributors and cinema managers. The workshop will bring together more than 100 film industry people from the whole Euro-Mediterranean Region. Another workshop will take place in parallel to enable partners in EUROMED AUDIOVISUAL Projects that are networks of operators from North and South to hold co-ordination meetings designed to assess previous activities and plan future ones. EU support to EUROMED AUDIOVISUAL projects covers up to 80% of costs, totalling € 18 million over a period of 3 to 4 years.

* PROCUREMENT NOTICE FOR STUDY ON FREE TRADE AREA
A Service Procurement Notice for a Sustainability Impact Assessment Study of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area to be established by 2010 has just been published by the European Commission. The study falls within the wider exercise of Sustainability Impact Assessments carried out worldwide in the framework of WTO negotiations. It aims at providing conclusions with regard to the potential impact of trade liberalisation on sustainable development (i.e. economic, social, and environmental) in the Mediterranean region. The deadline for submitting applications is 15 November 2002. More details below (Funding Opportunities section).


PUBLICATIONS

*A HANDBOOK ON COASTAL MANAGEMENT IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
A book entitled 'Baseline research for the integrated sustainable management of Mediterranean sensitive coastal ecosystems' has been published recently following activities within the EU supported MECO project, part of the Euro-Mediterranean INCOMED Research Programme. The book presents concrete examples of integrated research on sites in Malta, Morocco, and Tunisia. It includes contributions in English and in French, and can be obtained on request from signora Felicità Scapini – Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e Genetica – via Romana 17 – I – 50125 – Firenze, Italy. Copies for libraries and public institutions are available from the Istituto Agronomico per l'Oltremare – sig. Bigazzi – via Cocchi 4 – I – 50131 – Firenze, Italy.


MISCELLANEOUS

* EASIER ENTRY AND RESIDENCE CONDITIONS FOR YOUNG MED VISITORS
Entry and residence conditions for young Mediterranean visitors coming to the EU to study, and in particular to take part in EU funded programmes such as EUROMED YOUTH will be eased if the EU Council and the European Parliament adopt a proposal for a directive put forward by the European Commission on 7 October. The proposed piece of legislation would establish common criteria for nationals of countries outside the EU worldwide. Adoption of the proposal would also facilitate students' mobility from one EU country to another.

* 12TH EUROPEAN FILM WEEK IN MOROCCO
The 12th European Film Week started on 10 October in Tetouan where it will last until 19 October. The Festival will also be held in Rabat from 12 to 21 October, in Casablanca from 14 to 23 October, and in Meknes from 16 to 25 October. The programme includes films by Pedro Almodovar, Ken Loach, and Nanni Moretti. The Film Week is organised by the European Commission Delegation in Morocco and the embassies of EU Member States under the aegis of Morocco's Ministry of Culture and Communication.

* ON SITE EXHIBITION IN JORDAN
A 3 week exhibition entitled 'Discover Al Lahun and the King's Highway' will be opened on 13 October on the heritage site of Al Lahun. It documents some 20 years of Belgian excavations in the area, and takes place under the patronage of H.M. Queen Rania in co-operation with the Belgian Embassy, and the Greater Amman Municipality with a contribution by the European Commission Delegation in Jordan.

Brussels,10 16 2002
European Union Redaction
European Union
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