* The European Commission on 4 May announced it had approved funding of over € 1,243 million under MEDA for co-operation with seven Mediterranean Partners and the region as a whole in 2005-2006. The programmes and projects concerned cover a wide range of sectors such as support to institutional and economic reform, human rights and democratisation, the fight against poverty, and education and training. These operations come under the Regional Indicative Programme 2005-2006 (€ 215 million), and the National Indicative Programmes 2005-2006 for Algeria (€ 106 million), Egypt (€ 243 million), Jordan (€ 110 million), Lebanon (€ 70 million), Morocco (€ 275 million), Syria (€ 80 million), and Tunisia (€ 144 million). More at
* The European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the World Bank on 4 May signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at enhancing donor co-ordination in the Middle East and North Africa / Southern Mediterranean Region. The agreement signed in Brussels by senior officials from the three institutions will lead to a more focused and complementary approach at all levels from programme implementation to aid programming and overall policies. The signatories want to avoid duplication and competition of efforts. The agreement envisages institutional co-ordination, co-ordination of technical work, jointly financed projects, and a joint progress review. The European Commission already has similar Memoranda of Understanding with leading donors in the candidate countries and the New Independent States. More at
* Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers had a meeting on 5 and 6 May in Dublin, and agreed on the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue of Cultures, whose headquarters will be in Alexandria, Egypt. The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process will now make all the necessary arrangements for the Foundation to be set up as quickly as possible. This has been the first Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Meeting involving 35 partners as full members (25 EU countries and 10 Mediterranean Partners). The meeting was also an opportunity to stress the common commitment to the Barcelona Process and to discuss matters of common concern, including the EU Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean and the Middle East, the European Neighbourhood Policy, the Middle East Peace Process, and Iraq. Ministers have emphasised that Europe is the most significant player in the Mediterranean region in terms of aid and trade. The EU now spends almost € 1 billion annually in the region in promoting reform and supporting sustainable development through the MEDA Programme. (see p 2).
* Representatives of the Quartet met on 4 May in New York at Ministerial Level. They adopted a Statement by which “The Quartet reaffirms its commitment to our common vision of two states, Israel and a viable, democratic, sovereign and contiguous Palestine, living side by side in peace and security”. The Quartet was composed of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen as President of the EU Council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, EU High Representative Javier Solana, and European External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten. The full text of the Statement is on line at
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* IMPROVED OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS UNDER MEDA II
The MEDA Programme has shown a remarkable improvement in its operational effectiveness since the launch of MEDA II in January 2000, according to a short analysis published by the European Commission on 4 May. Nowadays, all funds available each year for the Mediterranean region are fully contracted within the same year, and payments under these contracts have accelerated to maximum capacity (100% of yearly payment appropriations). The payment/commitment ratio has increased from 29% in 1995-1999 under MEDA I to 66% in 2000-2003 under MEDA II, reaching 81% at the end of 2003. The European Commission’s external assistance reform with more effective programming, the creation of EuropeAid Cooperation Office, and devolution of programme management to the Delegations on the ground has been instrumental in this improvement More at http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/med_mideast/intro/index.htm
* MED PARTNERS PREPARE TRAINING PROGRAMMES ON FINANCIAL SERVICES
Draft Training Programmes on Financial Services will be drawn up by Mediterranean Partners by the end of May as a follow up to the Training Seminar for trainers on Banking, Insurance and Securities, which was held from 26 to 30 April in Berlin within the MEDA funded Euro-Med Market Regional Programme. The Seminar was the seventh 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 Financial Services and should be followed by specific bilateral and/or intra-regional activities. http://www.euromedmarket.org
* TWINNING OF ADMINISTRATIONS LAUNCHED IN MOROCCO
Preparations for the twinning of Moroccan and European national administrations will take place on 12 and 13 May in Rabat within the MEDA funded Programme of Support to the Implementation of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement (AAA Programme). The meeting will bring together senior officials from Morocco, the European Commission and EU Member States. Presentations will be made of the AAA Programme for Morocco, the European Neighbourhood Policy, and the tools made available to the Mediterranean Partners’ administrations under the respective AAA Programmes. The tools include a Twinning Handbook, a Thesaurus consisting of project factsheets covering over 300 successful twinnings carried out in the new EU Member States, and a Vademecum for internal procedures. The second day of the meeting will be devoted to presentations and case studies of twinnings carried out between ‘old’ and ‘new’ EU Member States during preparations for accession by representatives of several National Contact Points and thematic Directorates General of the Commission. The meeting will conclude with a discussion of the next steps to be taken under Morocco’s AAA Programme.
* SUCCESSFUL INVESTMENT PROMOTION IN TUNISIA
Tunisia’s Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA) has received a substantial boost as a result of the MEDA funded Programme of Support to Foreign Investment Promotion, recently completed. Over 300 European firms were identified as potential investors under the € 4 million programme, feeding a dedicated FIPA data base, and 7 of them have already decided to invest in Tunisia. A number of competitiveness studies have been carried out in order to benchmark the country’s attractiveness for investors, helping FIPA to produce new promotional documents. Within another strand of the programme, FIPA executives have received practical training during workshops in Tunis and in Europe. In addition, FIPA’s institutional structure and management capacity have been strengthened by means of new IT hardware and software connecting headquarters with representations abroad.
* WANTED: AUTHORS OF COUNTRY PROFILES
Experts and researchers who can draft Country Profiles of Algeria, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey are welcome to visit the web site of FEMISE, the MEDA supported Euro-Mediterranean Network of Economic Institutes. A new Call for Candidatures has been launched by FEMISE recently. As regards Algeria, the Call concerns all areas of expertise, but in the case of Lebanon only Governance is requested, in the case of Syria Finance, Trade, Governance, and Labour, and for Turkey Finance, Governance, and Labour. The deadline for submitting applications is 31 May. http://www.femise.org/activites/cp/index.html
* THE MED REGION AND EU CO-OPERATION IN PICTURES
A choice of photographs from across the world will be available from the European Commission web site as from 7 May. A section of the site is devoted to the Mediterranean/Middle East region. The photos can be used privately, and professionally, but non-commercially, with mention of the source.
Brussels,05 10 2004