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Euromed News

DECISIONS

* The European Investment Bank (EIB) on 11 November announced it was lending Morocco a total of € 180 million for investments in road and water infrastructure, as well as vocational training and micro-finance.The announcement was made in Naples by EIB Vice-President in charge of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), Philippe de Fontaine Vive. (see also 2 items below) A € 110 million loan will help complete the Marrakech-Tangiers motorway. Two loans of € 30 millions each will go towards improving water supply and waste-water treatment in the municipality of Oujda, and creating/modernising some 30 vocational training centres respectively. This is the first EIB operation in vocational training outside the EU. Finally € 10 million will be lent to Moroccan micro-finance associations.
http://www.eib.org
* The European Investment Bank (EIB) on 11 November announced it was providing € 90 million in loans to Tunisia for investment in natural gas infrastructure and the steel industry. € 55 million is lent to the Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company (STEG) for improving the supply, transport and distribution of natural gas across the country. Another € 35 million will help modernise Tunisacier’s metallurgical plant in the port of Bizerte.
http://www.eib.org

MEETINGS

* The 3rd Ministerial Committee Meeting of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) took place on 11 November in Naples, Italy. The meeting was held under the joint chairmanship of Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Giulio Tremonti, and European Investment Bank President Philippe Maystadt in the presence of EIB Vice-President in charge of FEMIP, Philippe de Fontaine Vive. Participants took stock of FEMIP’s first full year of activitiy during which the Bank has extended over € 1.8 billion of new loans and approved another € 1.8 billion of new investment operations. FEMIP’s future development was discussed in view of the decision to be taken in December by the European Council. The Ministerial Committee was preceded by a workshop for the discussion of policy issues, namely Infrastructure financing as support to private sector development, Facilitation of Foreign Direct Investment in the Mediterranean Region, and Financial instruments for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
More on http://www.eib.org

* The EU-Israel Association Council will hold its 4th meeting on 17 and 18 November in Brussels. The Israeli Delegation will be led by Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, and the EU Delegation by Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. The European Commission will be represented by External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten. Within Political Dialogue various issues of common interest will be discussed, including the Middle East Peace Process, the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian Territories, and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, on prospects for the forthcoming Ministerial Conference in Naples, and the Wider Europe Initiative. There will be an exchange of views on Israel’s economy and EU-Israel trade relations in the light of the relevant provisions in the Association Agreement, including on rules of origin. Preparations for the 3rd EU-Israel Economic Dialogue will be discussed. Co-operation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Energy will also be addressed. In the field of Scientific Co-operation, Israeli participation in the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme will be discussed.

* The EU Troika met an Algerian Delegation led by Foreign Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem on 3 November in Rome. The EU Council was represented by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, and Irish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Dick Roche. European Commission representatives were also present. A variety of political and economic subjects were discussed. On Wider Europe the European Commission made clear that the new initiative builds on the Barcelona Process, while setting more ambitious goals and proposing more flexible instruments. The Algerian side welcomed the recent decentralisation of MEDA assistance, and advocated a greater role for Mediterranean Partners in the management of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP). Algerian representatives also said they would like to see more EU investment in the country’s non-energy industries. On the WTO, the European Commission assured Algeria of its support in the accession process. Terrorism was also discussed, with the EU Italian Presidency stating its readiness to favourably respond to Algeria’s request that some organisations be added to the EU list of terror groups. On Human Rights the European Commission recalled how it values freedom of the press, and welcomed the setting up in Algeria of a working group on Family Law. On Foreign Policy the Algerian Delegation reiterated its view that the Arab Maghreb Union has an important role to play, and the European Commission confirmed its support to practical initiatives for co-operation among Maghreb countries.

* The annual summit of Economic and Social Committees and similar institutions of the Euro-Mediterranean Region took place on 6 and 7 November in Malta. The meeting was opened by Malta’s Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami, and chaired by the President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Roger Briesch. In the meeting’s Final Declaration, participants urge Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers meeting in Naples in early December “to strengthen arrangements for dialogue and representation of civil society, starting with the economic and social councils and similar institutions”. An EESC report to this effect points to problems in the fields of information and access to funding. Several representatives of Economic and Social Councils expressed the view that the social, human and cultural chapter in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership should be reinforced. The importance of creating Economic and Social Councils in the region, notably in the Palestinian Territories, was also underlined. Representatives of the Euromed Civil Forum Steering Committee presented the objectives of the forthcoming Civil Forum in Naples.
http://www.esc.eu.int

* The Euro-Mediterranean Energy Forum will meet on 20 November in Brussels to prepare the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Investment Promotion, Infrastructure Financing and Energy Supply Security. The meeting will be co-chaired by Algeria, and Italy as current holder of the EU Presidency. Sessions will be devoted to Infrastructure, Investment, and Logistical Support. On Infrastucture, presentations will be made of ongoing MEDA funded Regional Energy Projects, and the Wider Europe/New Neighbourhood Initiative. A report on the ongoing Euro-Mediterranean energy initiatives (Maghreb electricity market, Mashrak interconnections, Israeli-Palestinian co-operation, Turkey-Greece-Italy interconnections) will be presented. On Investment, representatives of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and of the Private Participation in Mediterranean Infrastructure Project (PPMI) will outline their activities in the field of energy. In addition, the Energy Forum is expected to adopt a Communication and a draft Ministerial Declaration.

* The 27th European Parliament (EP)/Israel Interparliamentary Meeting will be held on 19 and 20 November in Strasbourg, France. The Knesset Delegation should meet European Parliament President Pat Cox. Meetings are scheduled with the Chairman of the EP Foreign Affairs Committee, Elmar Brok, the Co-chair of the EP Working Group on budgetary assistance to the Palestinian Authority, Armin Laschet, and the Rapporteur of the Foreign Affairs Committee on ‘Peace and Dignity in the Middle East’. The Knesset Delegation will attend a plenary session of the European Parliament and meet representatives of EP political groups. Members of the EP Delegation for Relations with Israel and their Knesset colleagues will discuss EU-Israel Relations, notably in the light of the Association Council (see above), Relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and Relations between the EP and the Knesset.

* Two conferences bringing together representatives of EU and Mediterranean Regions will be held in the coming week in Italy on the initiative of the current Italian Presidency of the EU Council. One of them will address ‘Inter-regional Partnership and Mediterranean Cultural Heritage’ on 14 and 15 november in Palermo, and the other will take place on 19 November in Perugia under the title ‘Collaboration between local government authorities as a stabilising factor for the Peace Process’. The two conferences are part of a series of five events designed to improve dialogue between regions in the Euro-Mediterranean area. The first two conferences were held in October, dealing mainly with the Mediterranean and the Balkans. A closing event scheduled for late November will present the conclusions of the four conferences, and proposals will be submitted to the Naples Ministerial Conference in December.

* The EU-Morocco Sub-Committee on Justice and Security will meet on 20 November in Brussels. Subjects to be addressed include Justice, Civil Law and relevant Judicial Co-operation, Corruption, Drugs, Money Laundering, Terrorism, and the Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings. Presentations will be made of Moroccan and EU legislation in these areas. The Moroccan side will outline their reforms of the Judiciary and Family Law. On Justice the European Commission will present the state of play of the relevant MEDA Programme. There will be exchanges of views on opportunities for co-operation and assistance on family law issues, notably abduction of children and recognition of marriages, as well as fighting corruption, terrorism, and trafficking in human beings.

* A conference on ‘The impact of the Euro-Mediterranean Integration Process on the Financial Services Industry in the Mediterranean will be held in Valletta, Malta on 27 and 28 November. The conference will be held under the auspices of the current Italian Presidency of the EU. E-mail: info@medbanknet.com .
Web site: http://www.savings-banks.com

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* KYOTO IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
The EU funded ‘CDM ANVIMAR’ Project (Analysis of Viability of the Clean Development Mechanism in the Mediterranean Area) will hold a conference on 17 November in Rome to discuss ‘The Kyoto Protocol and Euro-Mediterranean Co-operation’. It will bring together representatives of energy agencies from the five Mediterranean Partners taking part in the project (Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia and Turkey), and the European Commission, Italian and Spanish officials, and the project co-ordinator ISNOVA (the Italian Institute for the Promotion of Technological Innovation).
E-mail: isnova@isnova.it
Web site: http://www.cdm.anvimar.info

Brussels,11 17 2003
European Union Redaction
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