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The European Commission on 28 October announced it was providing € 29 million in support of Palestinian reform efforts and in response to the deteriorating situation on the ground. Humanitarian assistance worth € 7 million will be channelled through the EU Humanitarian Office (ECHO) to be used in support of the most vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Food aid, medical assistance, and other projects will be implemented by NGOs, and Red Cross and United Nations organisations. A further 4 projects totalling € 22 million will continue support to the Palestinian reform process, and bilateral co-operation with the Palestinian Authority. These will be channelled through the European Commission's EuropeAid Cooperation Office. Judicial reform is receiving € 7 million; the health sector in East Jerusalem gets a € 5 million support package. Another € 5 million is devoted to strengthening the capacity of the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Health, and € 5 million is granted in financial assistance to Palestinian small businesses in East Jerusalem.


* Egypt's Prime Minister Atef Obeid visited the European Commission in Brussels on 30 and 31 October. He had a very warm bilateral meeting with Commission President Romano Prodi in the presence of Ministers Dr Ahmed Nazeef, and Youssef Boutros-Ghali (see also below). Over a working lunch with the College of European Commissioners, Mr Obeid spoke on Egypt's commitment to the Association Agreement, and his plans for further development of warm relations with the EU. He then had four separate meetings with individual Commissioners. With Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin he discussed the potential for collaboration on Scientific Research and Innovation. With his colleague in charge of Health and Consumer Protection David Byrne he had a positive and instructive discussion on food and health issues, and he expressed Egypt's intention to bring its phyto-sanitary standards to the highest level to ensure the success of its increasingly competitive agricultural and food sector. With Commissioner for Trade Pascal Lamy Mr Obeid had a highly constructive meeting on trade issues of common interest. Finally with External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten the Prime Minister carried forward the discussions of 13-14 October in Cairo on a wide range of issues, including how to deepen EU-Egypt relations in the spirit of the Association Agreement which should be ratified by the Egyptian Parliament in its coming session.

* Moroccan Foreign Minister Mohamed Benaissa will visit Brussels on 5 November. He will be received by European Commission President Romano Prodi, and European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten. Various aspects of EU-Morocco relations will be discussed.

* Egypt's State Minister for Communication and Information Dr Ahmed Nazeef met European Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society Erkki Liikanen on 28 October in Brussels. The general situation in the Telecommunications and Information Technology areas was discussed. The Egyptian Minister said he would like to see Information and Communications Technologies given a higher degree of priority in EU programmes in his country, and both sides examined how closer co-operation could be introduced in these areas. There was also an exchange of views on the World Summit on Information Society due to take place in December, 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland with a second phase in Tunis in 2005.

* Egyptian External Trade Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali met European Commissioner for Trade Pascal Lamy on 29 October in Brussels. They discussed both multilateral and bilateral issues. On multilateral trade issues they had an exchange of views about ongoing WTO negotiations, notably Egypt's proposals and EU positions. Both parties concurred on the need to actively participate in the process by tabling proposals on the different issues, thus contributing to concluding the negotiations by the agreed date of December, 2004.Within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership the Agadir Process was discussed, and Mr Lamy stressed the need for Egypt to play a leading role in the on-going process of regional integration. On bilateral relations Mr Boutros-Ghali said that ratification by his country of the Association Agreement would be carried out as soon as possible. In addition trade irritants between the two sides were discussed so as to allow for adequate and early solutions to be found. The Egyptian side raised concerns about EU measures on steel, and the EU side mentioned Egypt's customs and administrative procedures.

* The 1st EU-Jordan Association Committee will be held on 7 November in Brussels. There will be an exchange of views on political issues of common interest. Within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership the EU side will give an overview on the follow-up to Valencia, and the Jordanian side will update the Committee on the state of play of the Agadir initiative. Various trade issues will be discussed, notably the implementation of tariff dismantling in both the EU and Jordan, and the state of play of preparations for the review of the agricultural chapter. Rules of origin, Competition Policy, and the Environment are also on the agenda, as well as Financial Co-operation, and Co-operation in the fields of Justice, Migration, Fight against drugs, organised crime and terrorism. In addition there will be exchanges of views on Social matters, and Inter-cultural co-operation.

* An EU-Jordan Economic Dialogue Meeting will take place on 8 November in Brussels. Presentations will be made of Macro-Economic Developments in Outlook in Jordan and in the EU. The Impact of investment policy and competitiveness on growth will be discussed, as well as Jordan's experience with the benefits of Free Trade Arrangements with the EU, the United States, and other Arab countries. Also on the agenda are the prospects for EU enlargement and the possible impact on Mediterranean Partners.

* The 22nd meeting of the EU-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee will take place on 4 and 5 November in Brussels. Discussions will mainly focus on the political situation in Cyprus, EU-Cyprus relations, and Cyprus' application for membership of the EU. European Commissioner for Enlargement Günter Verheugen, and Cyprus' Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides will take part in the discussion. There will be exchanges of views on other subjects, notably EU policy on renewable energy sources.


Three National Financing Plans 2002 for Lebanon, Morocco, and Syria, accounting for a total of € 155 million, and three 12 month projects for the West Bank/Gaza Strip totalling € 50 million were given a favourable opinion by the MED Committee on 25 October in Brussels. In the National Financing Plan for Lebanon (€ 15 million) an amount of € 12 million is earmarked for a programme of Support for the Implementation of the Association Agreement, and € 3 million will be used for the extension to Lebanon of the Tempus programme of higher education exchanges. The National Financing Plan for Morocco comprises 5 programmes: Support Programme for Businesses (€ 61 million); Support for the development of vocational training in tourism, textiles, and new technologies (€ 50 million); Extension of Tempus to the country (€ 8 million); Enhancing the role of women and developing sustainable management in the extraction of oil from the argan tree (€ 6 million); and Support for the Implementation of the Association Agreement (€ 5 million). The National Financing Plan for Syria is made up of the Preparatory phase for an Industrial Modernisation Programme (€ 6 million), and of the extension of Tempus to Syria (€ 4 million).
The main project for the West Bank & Gaza Strip in financial terms is the Emergency Municipal Support designed to help Palestinian municipalities re-establish acceptable living conditions in the areas troubled by the conflict (€ 30 million). Another project is Financial Support to the Palestinian electoral process (€ 10 million). Lastly the Emergency Support Programme for SMEs (€ 10 million) will provide small businesses with financial assistance to address the situation resulting from the conflict.

The MEDA supported project of a ‘Mediterranean's Virtual Library' will be presented on 5 November in Beirut. The initiative aims at providing librarians in the Mediterranean Region with a set of modern tools, including information technologies. It is part of the MANUMED project supported under the EUROMED HERITAGE I Regional Programme. It is co-ordinated by the Book Preservation Centre in Arles, France and involves libraries in Algeria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Turkey, as well as French librarians' associations. The Virtual Library Project also receives support from UNESCO, and the French south-eastern region of Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur. The 1st phase of the project covers the period 2002-2004.

A Training Seminar on "Vision and Strategy" for business executives will be held on 3 November in Aleppo. It is organised by the MEDA funded Syrian-European Business Centre (SEBC).


The proceedings of last June's EU supported seminar on the role of the media in the dialogue between cultures and civilisations have recently been published under the title "Euro-Med Dialogue between Cultures and Civilisations: the Role of the Media. Proceedings of the International Expert Seminar, held in Vienna on 3 June 2002". The publisher is Favorita Papers special edition – Vienna, Austria – Diplomatic Academy. (ISBN 3-902021-30-6). Contact: Mr Harald Günther, Austrian Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs –
E-mail: Harald.GUENTHER@bmaa.gv.at

Brussels,11 04 2002
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