* The 3rd Ministerial Committee Meeting of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) will take place on 10 and 11 November in Naples, Italy. Participants will assess progress a year after the establishment of the Facility within the European Investment Bank (EIB), and look at FEMIP’s future prospects. Specific policy issues of importance for growth and development in the Mediterranean Partners will be discussed, namely Infrastructure financing as support to private sector development, Facilitation of Foreign Direct Investment in the Mediterranean region, and Financial instruments for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. The meeting will be held under the joint chairmanship of Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance Giulio Tremonti and EIB President Philippe Maystadt, in the presence of the EIB Vice-President in charge of FEMIP, Philippe de Fontaine Vive. It will be attended by the 12 Mediterranean Partners, the 15 EU Member States, and representatives of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank Group, and the African Development Bank.
* An EU-Syria technical meeting will take place on 10 and 11 November in Brussels in the context of ongoing negotiations for an Association Agreement. Discussions will mainly focus on outstanding trade issues. The latest round of negotiations was held on 15 and 16 October, and the next one could take place in December.
* The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on 4 November approved an own-initiative report on the European Commission’s Wider Europe/New Neighbourhood Initiative. The report was drafted by Pasqualina Napoletano and was adopted by 37 votes to 0 with 3 abstentions. The report suggests three groups of common policies should be developed with the enlarged EU’ s new neighbours. The first one would include human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as well as the development of civil society, education, research, culture and the media. Policies in the second group should deal with the free movement of people, judicial co-operation, the fight against terrorism, and conflict prevention. The third group would encompass free movement of goods, services and capital, as well as employment. The Committee would like to see the geographical scope of the Wider Europe Policy extended to include Turkey (without affecting that country’s candidate status), the Western Balkans, the countries of the Southern Caucasus, and non-EU countries in Western Europe such as Switzerland. More on
* The annual summit of Economic and Social Committees and similar institutions of the Euro-Mediterranean Region is taking place on 6 and 7 November in Malta. The key issues on the agenda are ‘How to ensure greater involvement at both national and regional level of organised civil society within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership’, and ‘New knowledge, new jobs: the impact of new technologies’. A report has been prepared on each of those themes. Two other reports have been drawn up for discussion at the summit, one on ‘Trans Euro-Mediterranean Energy Networks’, and the other on the possible establishment of an Observatory on Public Debt.
* A European Investment Bank (EIB) Workshop with mainly Mediterranean NGOs was held on 31 October in Marseilles, France. Formal discussions focused on the balance between environment and development, as well as water and waste issues in the Mediterranean. In addition, a number of informal meetings took place between NGO representatives and EIB staff. Speeches delivered at the Workshop will be available as from 13 November on the EIB web site
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* € 35 MILLION TO SUPPORT JORDAN’S EMERGENCY BUDGET
The European Commission on 4 November disbursed € 35 million of MEDA funds in budgetary support to Jordan to help the Hashemite Kingdom cope with the economic difficulties caused by the war on Iraq. The bulk of the money will go towards helping economic sectors most affected by the conflict, such as tourism and transport. The European Commission has agreed to make available these funds that were previously allocated to other schemes, in response to a request by Jordan to help mitigate the impact of the war on Jordan’s economy. The Commission Decision to commit the sum had been taken in late August.
* FEMISE 2003 ANNUAL REPORT ON THE WEB
The 2003 edition of the Annual Report issued by the MEDA supported Euro-Mediterranean Forum of Economic Institutes (FEMISE) is now available in French on the Forum’s web site. The English version will soon be published on the same site. The 166 page report comprises two parts. In the first part six regional guidelines for development are presented (satisfying the need for jobs; consolidating macro-economic stability; making for more buoyant growth; strengthening competitiveness in trade in goods and services, as well as the attractiveness of capital; making the labour market more dynamic; and controlling poverty). The second part is made up of 12 chapters outlining the Mediterranean Partners’ macro-economic situation.
* AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE MEDITERRANEAN
For those who want to get acquainted with specific aspects of the Mediterranean region to-day or ten centuries ago, some 20 paperbacks have been produced and/or translated within the MEDA funded ‘Encyclopedia of the Mediterranean’ project, part of the Euromed Heritage I Regional Programme. Four volumes are available in English (“Honour and Shame in the Mediterranean” by C. Cassar; “Women in the Arab World” by R. El Kayat; “Popular Story-tellers in the Mediterranean” by E. M. Chadly; and “The Social Anthropology of Property in the XIXth and XXth century” by P. H. Stahl). They have been published by Midsea Books in Malta. Three volumes are available in Arabic from Alif Editions de la Méditerranée in Tunis and Zyriab in Algeria (“Television in the Mediterranean” by J. N. Dibie; “Women in the Arab World” by R. El Kayat; and “Popular Music and Sophisticated Music” by P. Scarnecchia). Seven paperbacks are available in French from Edisud in Aix-en-Provence, France. Six volumes have been published in Italian by Editoriale Jaca Book in Milan, and two more are available in Spanish from Cidob Edicions-Icaria Editorial in Barcelona, Spain.
* Jordan’s former Ambassador to the European Union and to Belgium, Ms Alia Hattough Bouran, is the new Minister of Tourism, Antiquities, and Environment in the Jordanian government sworn in on 25 October.
Brussels,11 10 2003
European Union Redaction