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Euromed News

MEETINGS

* EU Heads of State or Government meeting in Brussels on 25 and 26 March as the European Council adopted Conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process whereby they expressed their “deep concern at the situation in the Middle East and the deepening of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,”. The European Council “confirmed its deep conviction that the Quartet Road Map, endorsed by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1515, remains the basis for reaching a peaceful settlement”. The European Council reaffirmed “the need to deal with all the crises of the region within the framework of a global approach, which alone can ensure long-term security of the region”. The European Council also approved Conclusions on the EU Strategic Partnership with the Mediterranean and the Middle East, underlining “the importance of intensive consultation with the countries involved”. Both statements have been published on 29 March as Euromed Report No 74, and are available on line, as well as the Interim Report on the EU Strategic Partnership with the Mediterranean and the Middle East (Euromed Report No 73). http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/publication.htm

* In a speech delivered on 30 March during the European Parliament plenary debate on the Greater Middle East Region, European External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten recalled that the EU “spends close to € 1 billion a year in the region in promoting economic reforms, sectoral reform, institutional and political reform and supporting sustainable development across the region”. “If we are serious about wanting reform in the Arab world, then”, he went on “resolution of the Arab/Israeli conflict remains a strategic priority”. … The EU should focus on developing its own strategic partnership with the region.”. The full text of the speech is available on line at http://europa.eu.int/comm/commissioners/patten/speeches/index.htm

* The 16th MEDA funded Information and Training Seminar for Euro-Mediterranean Diplomats will take place from 23 to 26 April in Malta. Like its predecessors it is aimed at informing junior diplomats of the latest developments within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. A Working Session will be devoted to each of the three chapters of the Barcelona Process. Speakers will be representatives of EU Member States, Mediterranean Partners, and the European Commission. For more information: http://www.euromed-seminars.org.mt

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* REPORTS ON ENERGY REFORM, GAS AND ELECTRICITY PRESENTED AT TWIN REGIONAL CONFERENCES
Papers and reports of significance for the future development of the energy sector in the Mediterranean Region were presented at the Twin Regional Conferences held from 28 to 30 March in Istanbul under two MEDA funded Regional Energy Projects (the ‘Reform of the Legal and Institutional Energy Sector Framework’ Project co-ordinated by Germany’s DECON company, and the project on ‘Restructuring of Energy Companies’ with France’s BCEOM company as co-ordinator). A “Study on Structural Obstacles and Reform Challenges in Mediterranean Countries” and a Road Map for the Development of Regulation of the Electricity and Gas Markets in the MEDA Region have been drawn up under the former project. Contributions to training workshops held previously under the Restructuring Project have been consigned in two reports, one on gas and the other on electricity. Furthermore, the same project has produced a Summary and Table on Electricity and Gas Legislation in the Mediterranean Region. The Twin Conferences brought together project partners, senior officials, academics, energy company executives, and representatives of international donors, notably the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. Joint sessions were devoted mainly to Regional and Sub-Regional Co-operation, Financing and the Next Steps to be taken under both projects. More information is available from the web site http://medarec.actu.com for the Restructuring Project, and the e-mail address meda@decon.de for the Legal and Institutional Project.

* RESULTS OF EUROMED AUDIOVISUAL TO BE PRESENTED IN MARSEILLES
The MEDA funded Euromed Audiovisual Regional Programme will hold its 4th Annual Conference on 2 and 3 April in Marseilles, France, bringing together Directors of the Mediterranean Partners’ Film Institutes, co-ordinators and partners of Euromed Audiovisual Projects, producers, cinema managers and distributors from Mediterranean Partners and EU countries. Much has been achieved in nearly four years of implementation of Euromed Audiovisual, and the results of the € 20 million Programmes’s six projects will be presented and assessed at the Conference. Among these are the 1.48 million tickets sold for Mediterranean films last year in the Euro-Mediterranean area within the Europa Cinemas network, the 4,000 hours of Mediterranean TV programmes restored under the Capmed project, and the portraits of remarkable South Mediterranean women produced under “Elles…Pionnières”. Also high on the agenda will be the regulatory framework for the circulation of films in the Euro-Mediterranan area. A ‘mini-market’ for Euro-Mediterranean films will allow for the presentation and screening of films to distributors and sales agents from both sides of the Mediterranean. A co-ordination meeting will be held for each Euromed Audiovisual Project in parallel.

* MED PARTNERS PREPARE TRAINING PROGRAMMES ON FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS
Draft Training Programmes on Free Movement of Goods will be drawn up shortly by Mediterranean Partners as a follow up to the Training Seminar for trainers on the same subject, which was held from 22 to 26 March in Madrid within the MEDA funded Euro-Med Market Regional Programme. The seminar was the sixth in a series of eight held within the second phase of Euro-Med Market, which aims to prepare Mediterranean Partners prepare themselves for the future Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. The Draft Training Programmes will have to address various issues related to free movement of goods and discussed at the Seminar, such as Risk Assessment, the Choice of Standards, Conformity Assessment, and General Product Safety. http://www.euromedmarket.org

* EURO-MED TOWNS AND CITIES LAUNCH ARTS AND TOURISM CENTRES AND THEATRE SEMINAR
An Arts and Crafts Centre and a Centre for Cultural Tourism set up in Jbeil-Byblos with support from the MEDA funded MED’ACT pilot initiative will be officially opened on 2 and 3 April. MED’ACT support to both centres is provided within the cultural strand of this co-operation initiative launched by some 50 towns and cities in the Euro-Mediterranean area. It aims to promote the transfer of know-how and skills between the two sides of the Mediterranean. Within the same strand of MED’ACT, a Seminar on Theatre and Cultural Development will be held on 16 and 17 April in Tunis, featuring debates and round tables on the stakes of and prospects for cultural development in the Mediterranean region. Both projects are co-ordinated by the French city of Bordeaux.

PUBLICATIONS

* 9 BOOKS ON THE MEDITERRANEAN IN ARABIC
Six books on the Mediterranean in ancient times, 10 centuries ago and to-day, originally written in French or Italian, have been translated into Arabic under the MEDA funded ‘Encyclopedia of the Mediterranean’ Project, part of the Euromed Heritage I Regional Programme. They are ‘Honour and Shame’ by C. Cassar; ‘Economic Development and Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade’ by Alessandro Romagnoli; ‘Arameans and the first Arabs’ by Françoise Briquel-Chatonnet; ‘The Celts and the Mediterranean’ by Venceslas Kruta; ‘Hellenism’ by Giorgio Guillini; and ‘Al-Andalus: Knowledge and Cultural Exchanges’. The six new titles are available from Alif Editions de la Méditerranée in Tunisia, and Zyriab in Algeria. Three books in the same series have already been published in Arabic in late 2003 (‘Women in the Arab World’ by Rita El Kayat; ‘Television in the Mediterranean’ by J.N. Dibie; and ‘Popular Music, Learned Music’ by P. Scarnecchia.)

Brussels,04 05 2004
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