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Euromed News

DECISIONS

* The European Commission on 7 April approved development operations worth over € 140 million for Morocco, Egypt and Jordan. The operations will be carried out under the MEDA Programme’s 2003 National Financing Plans. The € 71.75 million for Morocco will be used primarily for funding part of a motorway project in the North of the country (€ 42 million). The rest of the money will go to environmental projects ranging from sanitation to urban drainage and cleaning up a power station. € 64 million is allocated to Egypt, to upgrade the quality of the environment and improve living conditions in South Sinai. In Jordan, the European Commission is financing the € 5 million Al Meyah project to support water resource management. For further information see: http://europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/projects/med/index_en.htm

MEETINGS

* The Free Trade Agreement signed on 7 April in Ankara between Morocco’s Prime Minister Driss Jettou and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyeb Erdogan has been welcomed by the European Commission as a significant stepping stone towards the conclusion of the Euro-Mediterranean free trade area. In a communiqué issued on the same day, European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said: “Now that the network of free trade agreements between the EU and its Mediterranean Partners is almost completed, the focus must be on fostering regional integration between Mediterranean countries. Today’s move by two key Mediterranean trading partners to open trade between themselves is the right step in that direction.” Through the new agreement, Morocco and Turkey will gradually create a Free Trade Area. The agreement includes provisions on a broad range of fields such as technical regulations, sanitary measures, investment, public procurement, and competition. The two signatories foresee using the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation of origin launched by Euro-Mediterranean Trade Ministers last July in Palermo. Morocco in also involved in creating a free trade area with Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia. More at http://europa.eu.int/news/index_en.htm and
http://europa.eu.int/comm/trade/issues/bilateral/regions/euromed/index_en.htm

* A Euro-Mediterranean ad hoc meeting of Senior Officials on Terrorism will take place on 21 April in Brussels. Experts will discuss Reinforced operational co-operation on terrorism and Financing of terrorism.

* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process will hold an Ad Hoc Meeting on 22 April in Brussels to discuss the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures. The meeting will be focused on outstanding issues (the location, financing, and the remaining legal and administrative issues).

* The MED Committee will meet on 21 April in Brussels. Opinions are expected to be given on the National Financing Plans 2004 for Algeria, Lebanon and Syria, as well as some programmes and projects within the MEDA Regional Financing Plan 2004. These include the 3rd Environment Programme (SMAP III), Euromed Audiovisual II, Role of Women in Economic Life, Education and Training for Employment, two Transport Projects (Satellite Navigation and SAFEMED on Maritime Safety), and the 2nd Telecommunications Programme (NATP II), as well as the Support Fund to the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP). This is only the first part of the Regional Plan 2004. Other regional programmes will be presented to the Committee at a later date. In addition, a presentation will be made by the European Commission on existing information sources regarding co-operation with the Mediterranean region and the Near and Middle East.

* The European Parliament (EP) Delegation for Relations with the Mashrak Countries and the Gulf will meet on 21 April in Strasbourg. Delegation members will discuss a report on the working party visit to Egypt that took place from 14 to 21 February 2004, and assess the activities of the Delegation over the period January 2002-April 2004. The EP Delegation for Relations with Israel will meet on the same day in the same city. The hearing on the “Future of the Middle East” that was held on 2 March will be discussed, and the Delegation’s activities from June 2002 to April 2004 will be assessed. The EP Delegation for Relations with the Maghreb Countries and the Arab Maghreb Union will meet on 22 April, also in Strasbourg. Delegation members will discuss four reports: one on the visit of a working group to Morocco and Mauritania in January; one on the visit of a delegation from the Libyan Parliament to Brussels, also in January; one on the visit of a working group to Algeria in September and October 2003; and one on the recent presidential elections in Algeria. The situation in Morocco will also be discussed, and Delegation activities from June 2002 to April 2004 will be assessed.

* A Partnership Event on E-Government will take place on 19 April in Rabat under the EU funded MEDRESSA Project. A presentation will be made of Morocco’s strategy for e-government. Technological and other aspects of e-government initiatives will then be outlined by European IT experts. Meetings will finally bring together Moroccan potential users and European equipment and service providers.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* EUROMED AUDIOVISUAL CONFERENCE ASSESSES RESULTS AND SETS PRIORITIES
Results of the MEDA funded Euromed Audiovisual Regional Programme and priorities for future action were discussed in detail by Euro-Mediterranean cinema and TV tradespeople, and representatives of national authorities and the European Commission during the Programme’s 4th Annual Conference on 2 and 3 April in Marseilles. Achievements produced within the Programme’s six projects were presented and assessed. Over nearly four years a South Mediterranean network of 43 cinemas comprising 77 screens in 27 towns and cities was set up; dozens of feature films and documentaries received support for the development phase; a data base of South Mediterranean TV Archives was created, as well as a cartoon workshop; a documentary series telling the stories of 24 remarkable Mediterranean women was produced. In addition, training courses for professionals were held, and Euro-Mediterranean Film Festivals were staged. During the Conference, cinema and TV professionals were informed of the EU’s priorities as regards financial support to the audio-visual sector in the region. They also had the opportunity of discussing their needs and problems, and obstacles to the distribution of Euro-Mediterranean films. Many suggestions were put forward by participants, notably re-focusing support towards distribution and marketing, helping investment by cinema-owners, combating piracy more effectively, and facilitating the emergence of harmonised national regulatory frameworks conducive to developing South Mediterranean audio-visual markets while preserving cultural diversity. A 2nd Euromed Audiovisual Programme will be launched by the end of 2004.

* OFFICIAL LAUNCH FOR TRAINING OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIONS PROJECT
Up to 500 officials from public administrations and institutions in Mediterranean Partners will get to know the EU and its programmes better under a new 3 year MEDA funded regional project scheduled to be officially launched on 19 April in Brussels. The € 6 million ‘Training of Public Administrations’ Project will involve holding training seminars on EU issues and a module called ‘Train the Trainers’, as well as running a Euro-Mediterranean network of training institutions. The launching event will bring together representatives of Mediterranean and EU training institutions in order to discuss the content of the training seminars, and officially start the network. The project will be implemented by the Barcelona antenna of the Maastricht-based European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA). For further information: http://www.eipa.nl . Please click on ‘Projects’ (left) and select ‘EuroMed Public Administration’.

* FIRST TWINNING PROJECTS IN MED REGION LAUNCHED BY JORDANIAN ADMINISTRATION
Jordan’s Food Inspection Services, Food Chain Laboratories, and Veterinary/Phyto-sanitary Services will be upgraded by means of two recently launched MEDA funded twinning projects, part of the Programme of Support to the Implementation of the EU-Jordan Association Agreement. Both projects involve twinning a Jordanian institution (the Food and Drugs Administration and the Ministry of Agriculture respectively) with its counterparts in a number of EU Member States, a method used successfully in the accession countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Cyprus and Malta, as well as in the Balkans. The preparatory phase for the two projects has now been completed and Calls for Proposals were launched recently to select participating institutions from EU Member States. Both projects will have a 2 year duration and are expected to effectively start in January, 2005. The MEDA allocation is € 1.9 million for the Food Inspection Project and € 1.6 million for the Veterinary/Phyto-sanitary Project. Another twinning project is in preparation in the same country under the title ‘Strengthening of the Jordan Institution for Standards and Metrology in Jordan, for its compliance with the EU-Jordan Association Agreement’. All twinning projects are carried out under the umbrella of the Programme of Support to the Implementation of the Association Agreement, which involves a Project Management Unit on the ground, one National Contact Point in each EU Member State, and European Commission Delegations in the Partners concerned. Tools made available to the Partners’ administrations include a Twinning Handbook, a Thesaurus consisting of project factsheets covering over 300 successful twinnings carried out in acceding countries, and a Vademecum for internal procedures. The new Jordan projects are in keeping with the EU Neighbourhood Policy approach. They are the first ot their kind in the Mediterranean region, and will be followed by others in various Mediterranean Partners.

* MED PARTNERS PREPARE TRAINING PROGRAMMES ON AUDITING AND ACCOUNTING
Draft Training Programmes on Auditing and Accounting will be drawn up by Mediterranean Partners by early May as a follow up to the Training Seminar for trainers on the same subject, which was held from 29 March to 2 April in Rome 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 help Mediterranean Partners prepare themselves for the future Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. It represents a first step in the training of trainers in the field of Auditing and Accounting and should be followed by specific bilateral and/or intra-regional activities. http://www.euromedmarket.org

* EUROMED YOUTH TRAINING COURSE ON WOMEN AND MINORITIES
A Training Course for youth workers and youth leaders aimed at promoting the participation of young women and minority young people in the MEDA funded Euromed Youth Regional Programme will take place from 19 to 29 April in Alexandria. The Course is organised in partnership by the European Commission and the Council of Europe and in co-operation with the Swedish Institute in Alexandria. Participants will come from Council of Europe countries (including all EU Member States) and Mediterranean Partners. More at http://www.eycb.coe.int

* 200 WOMEN CYCLING FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Some 200 women from 23 countries will cycle for peace in the Middle East from 18 to 23 April, starting from Beirut and pedalling to Damascus and Amman. This ‘Follow the Women’ initiative is supported by a number of public and private organisations in Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Syria and the UK, and by the Jordan Office of the MEDA funded Euro-Med Youth Regional Programme. The bike ride will culminate in a Women’s Conference, which will be held from 23 to 25 April in Amman under the patronage of HRH Princess Basma Bint Talal, with support from the European Commission. Participants come from 11 EU countries, 9 Mediterranean Partners, as well as Iraq, Norway and the U.S.. More at http://www.followthewomen.com .

PUBLICATIONS

* EURO-MED FARM TRADE IN FIGURES
Agricultural products accounted for some 6% of total trade between the EU and the Mediterranean Partners in 2002. During the same year, Mediterranean Partners absorbed over 40% of EU cereal exports, and supplied almost a third of the vegetables imported by the EU. The main actors in Euro-Mediterranean Farm Trade are Turkey, Morocco and Israel in the South, and France, Germany and the Netherlands in the North. These data and many more are to be found in the recently published bulletin issued by the EU Statistical Office (Eurostat) under the title “Euro-Mediterranean trade in agricultural products”. The data were compiled under the MEDA funded MEDSTAT Regional Programme. The bulletin is available in English, German and French from the web site http://europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat . Please go to ‘search’ (top right), type ‘Med’ and click on ‘OK’.

Brussels,04 19 2004
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