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Euromed News

DECISIONS

The European Commission on 8 November announced it was providing € 55 million as its annual contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for the year 2002. The funds will support UNRWA's education, health, relief and social services programmes benefiting around 3.9 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The decision has been taken in the context of the 11th funding convention signed between the EU and UNRWA in September, which boosted European Commission support to € 237 million for the period 2002-2005.
http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/
med_mideast/news/mepp.htm

MEETINGS

* A Senior Officials'-EuroMeSCo Joint Meeting will take place on 18 November in Copenhagen to address 'Security in the Euro-Mediterranean Region: Building a Comprehensive Concept'. Sessions will be devoted to 'Different Security Cultures in the Mediterranean'; Civil Society and Security; and Asymmetric Violence. The role of Civil Society will be highlighted. The Closing Session will examine the possibility of developing a broader concept of security in the Mediterranean encompassing all three chapters of the Barcelona Process. The meeting will be open not only to Senior Officials and EuroMeSCo representatives, but also to Ambassadors from candidate countries, academics, and other experts on security.

* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security Issues will meet on 19 November in Copenhagen. They will discuss implementation of the Political and Security Chapter of the Valencia Action Plan. On human rights presentations will be made by Morocco on a recent Conference on the rights of the child, and by the Danish EU Presidency. Information will be given on various regional political and security meetings held in the last 3 months. Also on the agenda is the state of play on the Register of Treaties and the Project on disaster management.

* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process will meet on 20 November in Copenhagen. The implementation of the Valencia Action Plan in the economic/financial, and in the social/cultural/human chapters of Barcelona will be discussed. A presentation will be made by Morocco on the state of play of the Agadir Process. Evaluation of past Euro-Mediterranean meetings will be made, and a Greek proposal for a meeting of Energy Ministers will be examined. The European Commission will inform the Committee on existing regional programmes, and make a presentation of the Netd@ys and eSchola programmes which, following the decision of the Valencia Ministerial meeting, will be opened to the Mediterranean partners.

* Lebanon's Minister of Economy and Trade Basil Fuleihan visited the European Commission in Brussels on 12 November ahead of the Paris II donor conference to be held on 23 November in the French capital. The Minister was received by External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten, his colleague in charge of Trade Pascal Lamy, and Director General for Economic and Monetary Affairs Klaus Regling. Both sides stressed the significance for EU-Lebanon relations of the Association Agreement and Interim Agreement signed in June. During very fruitful discussions of Lebanon's Economic Programme Dr Fuleihan had the opportunity to explain his view of the 2003 budget and other economic measures designed to cope with his country's enormous debt. Asked about possible EU financial support in this respect the European Commission sounded a positive note on Lebanese efforts while reiterating the importance for the IMF to be associated with the restructuring process in the perspective of a comprehensive support package. Mr Patten pointed to the technical assistance and other support to be provided under the MEDA Programme. With Mr Lamy specific trade issues were discussed. On the WTO the Commissioner expressed his support to Lebanon's application, and indicated that EU technical assistance would be available if needed. On regional/Arab trade groupings Dr Fuleihan stressed that his country has entered into trade agreements with several Arab countries, including Jordan, Syria, Bahrein, and Iraq, adding that it was open to joining the Agadir Process initiated by Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia. Regulatory convergence between Lebanon and the EU was also discussed.

* The 9th round of EU-Syria negotiations for an Association Agreement was held on 11 and 12 November in Brussels. The session was reasonably positive. On the Preamble and the Political Chapter, as well as on Justice and Home Affairs further progress was made even though some differences remain. On the trade aspects discussions were mostly dedicated to clarifying the overall framework. Common provisions on movement of goods was discussed for the first time, as well as movement of capital. New proposals on industrial and agricultural co-operation were put forward by the Syrian side, and it was agreed that the EU side would prepare a new text. The next round of negotiations should take place in the first half of February in Damascus.

* The MED Committee met on 13 November in Brussels. Favourable opinions were given on two Programmes making up the MEDA Regional Financing Plan 2002, one on Information and Communication and the other on Good Governance and Enhancing the Rule of Law. A favourable opinion was also given to technical assistance operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (see below).


PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* REGIONAL PROGRAMME ON GOOD GOVERNANCE AND THE RULE OF LAW
The programme will enable regional co-operation to be implemented in the three areas of judicial reform; the fight against drug trafficking, organised crime, and terrorism; and migration related issues. On judicial reform the focus will be on training judges, lawyers, and registrars while reinforcing the independence of the judiciary, as well as building capacities for fighting organised crime, including illegal immigration networks. On fighting drug trafficking and organised crime the programme will boost police co-operation through exchanges of information and experience, traineeships and other training activities, as well as sharing operational techniques, and collaboration on dismantling illegal immigration networks. On migration a Euro-Mediterranean research network will be set up with the aim of creating a permanent system for collecting data, monitoring and analysing migratory movement in the region. The programme is the result of in-depth discussions with the Mediterranean Partners, and it has been granted € 6 million for 3 years. It has been given the green light by the MED Committee hardly more than six months after having been endorsed in principle by the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Meeting in Valencia, Spain.

* REGIONAL PROGRAMME ON INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION
The Information and Communication Programme will aim at making the Barcelona Process more familiar to both the general public and opinion leaders in the Euro-Mediterranean region while promoting dialogue among the partners across the area. It will complement, harmonise, and reinforce the efforts and achievements already developed with a focus on using audiovisual means and modern information and communication technologies. A total of € 10 million has been earmarked.

* TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE IN THE WEST BANK & GAZA STRIP
A € 5.45 million amount will cover urgent expenditure on technical assistance in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This 'Overall Allocation 2002' will help finance technical assistance and studies relating to the identification, management, and supervision of projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including as a priority election preparations. The allocation will also cover monitoring operations and audits on emergency support provided to Palestinian municipalities to restore and maintain public services.


MISCELLANEOUS

EU –EGYPT ONLINE CHAT
An online chat on 21 November will bring together European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, Egypt's External Trade Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali, and a representative from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) at
http://europa.eu.int/comm/chat/lamy9/index_en.htm.
All those interested are welcome to join in.


Brussels,11 16 2002
European Union Redaction
European Union
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