The European Investment Bank on 22 October announced it was lending € 120 million to Morocco's National Electricity Authority (ONE) to increase the capacity of power interconnections with Algeria and Spain, as well as to make the existing domestic network more secure and reliable. The project will be co-financed by the African Development Bank and the French Development Agency. http://www.eib.org
The European Investment Bank on 23 October announced it was providing a loan of up to € 50 million to the Turkish Ministry of National Education for setting up Information Technology (IT) classrooms in primary and lower secondary schools throughout the country. A total of 6,800 IT classrooms will be provided to about 5,100 schools teaching grades 1 to 8. This is the first loan granted under the new Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP). See also below.
* Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Obeid will visit Brussels on 30 and 31 October with External Trade Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali, and State Minister for Communication and Information Dr Ahmed Nazif. He will be received by European Commission President Romano Prodi and by the College of European Commissioners on 30 October. He will then have bilateral meetings with a number of Commissioners, including External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten, and his colleagues in charge of Trade (Pascal Lamy), Agriculture (Franz Fischler), Consumer Affairs (David Byrne), and Research (Philippe Busquin). After Mr Patten’s recent visit to Cairo, discussions will touch on a wide range of bilateral issues, notably the deepening of EU-Egypt relations following the signing of the Association Agreement.
* The Palestinian Authority’s Finance Minister Dr Salam Fayyad visited Brussels from 16 to 18 October. After having talks with European Commission President Romano Prodi on 16 October Dr Fayyad met Members of the European Parliament, as well as European Commissioners in charge of External Relations Chris Patten, and of the Budget Michaele Schreyer. The reform efforts of the Palestinian Authority were discussed. The Finance Minister gave assurances that they would continue, and he dismissed allegations of misuse of EU funds. As he had visited the United States before coming to Brussels, he said financial reforms done so far had been sufficient to reassure both the EU and the US. He expressed his hope that regular transfers of funds from Israel to the Palestinian budget would resume. In addition, Dr Fayyad announced he would be willing to discuss further the issue of Palestinian reform.
* The Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) was launched by the 27 Euro-Mediterranean Finance Ministers, the President of theEuropean Investment Bank (EIB) Philippe Maystadt and the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Pedro Solbes at the first meeting of the Policy Dialogue and Co-ordination Committee (PDCC) on 18 October in Barcelona, Spain. Mr Solbes commended the Bank and its staff for the way they had responded to the European Council’s initiative to establish FEMIP. He stressed the need to develop FEMIP into a real instrument to support private-sector development. In order to facilitate and accelerate the shift of the Bank’s operations in the region to the private sector, the Commission has pledged € 255 million from the Community budget over the next four years. Through the PDCC Mediterranean partners will be closely involved in the evolution of FEMIP. The EIB’s presence in the region will be strengthened as a result of its decision to open two regional offices, one in Egypt and one in Morocco. More on
The 3rd EU-Israel Association Council met on 21 October in Luxembourg. The situation in the Middle East was discussed, as well as bilateral relations in the political, economic, and commercial fields. The Israeli Delegation was led by Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and the EU was represented by Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller as President of the Council, EU High Representative Javier Solana, Greek Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Anastasios Giannitsis for the next EU Presidency, and European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten. The EU adopted a Declaration covering both bilateral and regional issues, political and economic.
http://ue.eu.int (see the text in Latest News).
* The 2nd EU-Israel Economic Dialogue took place on 17 October in Brussels at Senior Officials’ level as provided for by the EU-Israel Association Agreement. The meeting enabled the European Commission to deepen its understanding of the Israeli economy. It was also an opportunity for the Israeli authorities to learn about the aims and functioning of a number of EU economic policies. The Israeli Delegation made an extensive presentation of the state of the economy. Israeli officials outlined their government’s strategy on fiscal consolidation, and stated its intention to reform the labour market. They also gave an overview of financial markets, and described government plans to develop peripheral regions. The EU side presented the economic outlook for the euro area. They described developments in the euro’s international role, efforts to remove remaining sources of fragmentation in EU financial markets, and the EU strategy of structural reforms. There were exchanges of views on issues of common interest and concern such as the continuation of the recently resumed transfer of VAT and customs revenues to the Palestinian Authority.
* The MED Committee will meet on 25 October in Brussels. Opinions will be given on three National Financing Plans 2002 for Lebanon, Morocco, and Syria respectively, as well as on three bilateral programmes for the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Emergency Municipal Support; Financial Support to the Palestinian Electoral Process; and Emergency Support Programme to the SMEs). In addition there will be an exchange of views on Social Development which will follow on from the Committee’s previous meeting on 26 September.
* A workshop on Distance Learning will be held on 27 October in Aleppo within the EU funded MEDRESSA project. The event will be opened by Syria’s Minister of Higher Education Dr Hassan Risheh. It will include presentations of the ICT Infrastructure Strategy in Syria, and of the Syrian Virtual University. Presentations and demonstrations of EU technologies and products will also be featured. Representatives of companies from Mediterranean Partners will have a chance to meet EU participants.
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* EUROMED AUDIOVISUAL CONFERENCE IN CAIRO
The MEDA funded Euromed Audiovisual Regional Programme held its 3rd Annual Conference on 18 and 19 October in Cairo. The Conference was an opportunity for both boosting co-operation within Euromed Audiovisual projects and among them, and disseminating results of the Programme to a wider audience, including Egyptian media. The Cairo International Film Festival held at the same time received support from one of the 6 Euromed Audiovisual projects, Europa Cinémas. This cinema network has helped distributors with about 100 releases of European films in the South Mediterranean, thus totalling over 1.5 million admissions. The Conference also featured a presentation of an Internet-based archives database set up within the CapMed project (http://www.cap-med.net ), and extracts of documentaries and cartoons made in the framework of two other projects (“Elles …”, and “Euromediatoon-Viva Carthago).”
* ENERGY TRAINING SEMINARS IN AMMAN
Two Training Seminars for decision makers in the energy sector will be held in parallel from 27 to 31 October in Amman within the MEDA funded ‘Euro-Mediterranean Energy Policy Training Network’. One is for Jordanians, the other for Palestinians. The seminars are organised in co-operation with Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, and the Palestinian Energy Authority. Sessions will address issues such as Regulation and Liberalisation of the Electricity Market, Renewable Energy, the Oil and Gas Markets, and the Financing of Energy Projects.
* EUROMED MARKET WORKSHOP ON CUSTOMS & TAXATION
A workshop on Customs and taxation including Rules of Origin will take place from 28 to 30 October in Brussels in the framework of the MEDA funded Regional Programme for the Promotion of the Instruments and Mechanisms of the Euro-Mediterranean Market (EuroMed Market). Issues to be examined include the Legal Framework, Best Practices, and Priorities for training, targeted technical assistance, and co-operation among administrations.
* FIRST TRESMED SEMINAR IN CAIRO
A seminar on ‘The Consultative Role of Economic and Social Partners and its Contribution to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership’ will take place on 29 and 30 October in Cairo within the MEDA funded TRESMED Project. The Seminar is organised by Spain’s Economic and Social Council. It will be attended mainly by political decision-makers, and top members of social and economic organisations from Cyprus, Egypt, the Palestinian Territories, and Syria.
* RESULTS OF THE ‘CORPUS’ HERITAGE PROJECT
A book entitled ‘Traditional Mediterranean Architecture’ with a foreword by Amin Maalouf, a CD-Rom, and a website are the 3 products made in some 30 months within the MEDA funded CORPUS project, part of the EUROMED HERITAGE Regional Programme. Those results will be presented on 25 October at Amay, Belgium by project co-ordinator the School of Avignon, France, and Belgium’s Wallonian Region.
* EUROPE COMES TO JORDAN
An awareness-raising campaign entitled ‘Europe Comes to Jordan’ will run from 28 to 31 October on the initiative of the European Information Correspondence Centre, which is part of Jordan’s Industrial Modernisation Programme EJADA (Euro-Jordanian Action for the Development of Enterprise). Four Seminars will be held in as many days: An Overview of the Association Agreement and its implications for businesses; Rules of Origin and Customs regulations under the Association Agreement; EU Packaging Regulations; and EU Regulations and Standards (CE Marking, ISO, and others).
* MALTA AND SYRIA NEWSLETTERS
The latest issues of the European Commission Delegations’ newsletters in Malta and Syria have recently been published. Issue No 2002/4 of the Malta Newlsletter looks at “How to make globalisation work for the small”, and at how Malta can benefit from the EU’s SOCRATES Programme. Issue No 5 of ‘European Union’, newsletter of the Delegation in Syria, includes former Head of Delegation Marc Pierini’s farewell speech, and focuses on the Tempus Programme and Human Rights in Syria.
Brussels,10 28 2002
European Union Redaction