The European Commission on 23 October approved a € 48 million programme to assist the Tunisian government in modernising the country’s higher education system. The four-year sectoral programme aims mainly at reinforcing graduates’ employability through supporting the creation or reform of vocational training centres, establishing resource centres in every university, and enhancing university autonomy. The Tunisian government’s plans in this area include setting up or improving full-length professional training courses and short vocational training courses in new fields and promising trades, as well as developing partnerships between universities and business. The programme is part of Tunisia’s National Indicative Programme 2002-2004. More on EU-Tunisia co-operation at
* EU and Moroccan negotiators on 25 October reached a final agreement in Brussels on revising the bilateral Agricultural Protocols as provided for in the Association Agreement. The two sides have agreed to liberalise mutual farm trade over the next four years. In practice 96% of Moroccan agricultural traditional exports will enjoy preferential access to the EU market, while the proportion of EU farm exports to Morocco benefiting from preferential treatment will rise to 62%. Moroccan tomatoes and EU soft wheat are among many products concerned. Negotiations had been launched in January 2001, and an agreement in principle had been reached on 29 September 2003. The new agreement now has to be submitted to the European Commission and the EU Council of Ministers for formal approval on the EU side, and to the relevant Moroccan authorities. For more information:
* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security Issues will hold an Ad Hoc Meeting on Terrorism on 6 November in Brussels. There will be an exchange of views on recent developments.
* The European Parliament on 23 October adopted a Resolution calling on both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority not to declare the Peace Process dead and to commit themselves to the implementation of the Road Map. The Resolution was adopted by 343 votes in favour, 19 against and 57 abstentions. More on
* The European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the Mashrak countries and the Gulf States will meet on 4 November in Brussels. A report about a visit to Syria and Lebanon by a Delegation Working Party last June will be discussed, and there will be an exchange of views with a former Beirut barrister, Dr Muhamad Mugraby.
* The European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Israel will meet on 6 November in Brussels. The Programme of a visit by a Knesset Delegation on 19-20 November in Strasbourg will be discussed.
* The ‘Euro-Mashrak Partenariat’ business event took place from 23 to 25 October in Damascus with support from MEDA. It brought together over 220 companies from Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, as well as around 190 enterprises from EU countries for some 2,250 scheduled business meetings and over 1,000 non-scheduled ones aimed at establishing various types of business co-operation. The opening ceremony was attended by Syria’s Prime Minister Dr Naji Otri, a number of Ministers from the countries involved, the Heads of the European Commission Delegations in Damascus and Beirut, Frank Hesske and Patrick Renauld respectively, and about 2,500 people, mostly representatives of companies and business organisations. The event received wide media coverage in the region and internationally.
* The next annual Summit of Economic and Social Committees and similar institutions of the Euro-Mediterranean Region will take place on 6 and 7 November in Malta. The Malta Summit has been prepared by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development, and the Economic and Social Council of Greece. The annual Euro-Mediterranean Summits of Economic and Social Councils, which have been held since 1995, seek to improve understanding of the major topics of interest to the Euro-Mediterranean partners and to exchange information on their respective economic and social situations. For further information, contact Michael.
* A Conference on ‘Innovation in Vocational Training – Exchange of Experience between Countries in the South and East Mediterranean and the European Union’ will be held on 4 November in Turin, Italy. The Conference is organised by the European Commission in co-operation with the Turin-based European Training Foundation. It will be attended by decision-makers, teachers and trainers from both shores of the Mediterranean. The main themes to be discussed are Training and Businesses’ Needs; Quality in Vocational Training; On-line Learning; and Training of Teachers and Trainers.
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* GOOD START FOR NETWORK OF INVESTMENT PROMOTION AGENCIES (ANIMA)
The MEDA funded Euro-Mediterranean Network of Investment Promotion Agencies (ANIMA) held its 2nd conference from 22 to 24 October in Marseilles, France to take stock of results achieved within the first phase of the project. Participants noted the remarkable co-operation spirit between representatives of all Mediterranean Partners, and the excellent work done on networking, notably the web site and newsletter. Phase 1 of ANIMA included capacity building operations, conferences, a study trip, and business events. ANIMA is part of the Regional Industrial Co-operation Programme
* EURO-ARAB PRESS ON TV
A TV Programme called ‘A Look at the Euro-Arab Press’ and produced within the MEDA funded Project ‘Unimed Cultural Heritage II’ will be on the air as from 31 October. The Programme is produced by the Mediterranean Universities Union in co-operation with Rainews 24, the multimedia news service of Italy’s public broadcaster RAI. It will be broadcast on Rainews 24 every Friday at 7.17 p.m., and on Rai Med every Saturday at 10.48 p.m. in Arabic and at 9.48 p.m. in Italian. ‘Unimed Cultural Heritage II’ is part of Euromed Heritage II Regional Programme. Unimed (Mediterranean Universities Union) is a network of universities in all 12 Mediterranean Partners, 6 EU Member States (Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain), and Croatia.
* CONFERENCE ON EURO-MEDITERRANEAN CULTURAL IDENTITY
A Conference on the Euro-Mediterranean Cultural Identity will be held from 6 to 8 November in Mytilini on the Greek island of Lesbos within the MEDA funded project ‘Defence Systems on the Mediterranean Coasts’(SIDLIM), part of the EUROMED HERITAGE II Regional Programme. It will be attended by participants in the project and experts from both shores of the Mediterranean. Contributions are welcome from around the world. More on
The SIDLIM Project is dedicated to studying and enhancing historic military buildings on the Mediterranean coasts. It is co-ordinated by Spain’s Research Centre for Development, and also involves various bodies and organisations in Egypt, Syria, Greece, Italy and Portugal.
* CONCLUSIONS OF EURO-MED ECONOMIC DIALOGUE ON THE WEB
The Conclusions of the 2nd Euro-Mediterranean Regional Economic Dialogue, which was held on 20 October in Rome, are now available on the web at the following address
The meeting focused on the Overall Macro-economic Situation in the Region, Economic Reform Issues in three fields (fiscal reform; financial sector; competition policy), and the Association Agreements complemented by the Wider Europe Policy.
* EU-MASHRAK TRADE IN 2002
Oil last year still dominated EU imports from the Mashrak, accounting for 55% of the total. Machinery and vehicles took first and second place in EU Exports to the region. Egypt is the EU’s main trading partner in the Mashrak while Germany, France and Italy are the region’s most important trading partners among EU Member States. More information is to be found in the latest publication issued by Eurostat, the EU Statistical Office, under the title ‘The Mashrak Countries and the European Union’. Data released in the publication have been compiled within the MEDA funded Medstat Regional Programme. Issn 1024-6878, Catalogue Number ks-NO-03-001-EN-C.
* SEVEN YEARS OF SEMINARS FOR EURO-MED DIPLOMATS IN A BOOK
The 14 MEDA funded Information and Training Seminars for Euro-Mediterranean Diplomats held between 1996 and April 2003 in Malta have been recorded in one book, which was presented during the 15th edition of the seminars that took place from 24 to 27 October, also in Malta. The book was produced by Malta University’s Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies under the title ‘Euromed Information and training Seminars’. ISBN: 99932-0-262-2. Euro-Med Seminars Web Site:
* ISLAMIC ART IN THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES AND SICILY
Two new books on Islamic Art in Mediterranean regions have recently been issued in the ‘Museum with No Frontiers’ series within the MEDA funded project of the same name. “Pilgrimage, Sciences and Sufism /Islamic Art in the West Bank and Gaza”, and “Arab-Norman Art /Islamic Culture in Medieval Sicily” have been published in English by Art Books International, London, UK. The ‘Museum with No Frontiers’ project, part of the Euromed Heritage I Regional Programme, has produced seven other books, most of which are also catalogues of on-site exhibitions organised within the project. More details at
Brussels,11 03 2003
European Union Redaction