* The European Council meeting on 17 and 18 June in Brussels adopted conclusions on the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the Strategic Partnership with the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and the Middle East Peace Process. On the ENP, the European Council approved the Conclusions adopted by the EU Council on 14 June, stating that the policy involves “a significant degree of economic integration and a deepening of political co-operation, with the aim of preventing the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours”. The Council invited the European Commission “to finalise exploratory talks with Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Israel and the Palestinian Authority” and to begin preparations for action plans with Egypt and Lebanon. The European Council adopted the Final Report on an EU Strategic Partnership with the Mediterranean and the Middle East, drawn up by the EU Presidency, the EU High Representative and the European Commission. The report spells out a number of ‘Principles for Action’, the first of which is Partnership and Dialogue. The Strategic Partnership is targeted at a wide area encompassing the Mediterranean Partners, Libya, Gulf Cooperation Council members, Yemen, Iraq and Iran. Its objective is “the development of a prosperous, secure and vibrant Mediterranean and Middle East”. The Policy Agenda for the Strategic Partnership includes a vast array of subjects, notably Political and Security Dialogue, Human Rights, Counter-Terrorism, Migration, Economic Reforms, Social Development and Cultural Dialogue. The full texts adopted and endorsed by the European Council have been published as Euromed Reports No 77, 78 and 79. They are available on line at http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/publication/htm
* The 2nd meeting of the EU-Jordan Association Committee is being held on 24 June in Amman. A wide agenda includes political issues of common interest, Dialogue on Human Rights, the Draft Action Plan for Jordan under the European Neighbourhood Policy, Economic Co-operation, Trade and Customs Issues, and co-operation in a variety of fields ranging from Justice and Social Affairs to Transport and Energy. The Committee will also discuss the National Indicative Programme 2005-2006. (see also Euromed Synopsis No 275).
* A Euro-Mediterranean Workshop on the Rights of the Child took place on 22 June in Brussels. There was a general discussion on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and it was agreed that in the follow-up to the meeting, specific areas for co-operation should be identified. In addition, there were presentations on cross-border family law issues by the Secretariat of the Hague Conference and the European Commission. It was agreed to consider what activities could be conducted through the MEDA funded Regional Programme on Governance and Improvement of the Rule of Law, and its successor to support co-operation on this issue.
* The Extended Meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Non-Governmental Platform (Civil Forum) will be held on 25 and 26 June in Limassol, Cyprus. A Platform Charter will be discussed and preparations will be made for a Euromed Platform General Assembly in 2005. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or LRA@euromedrights.net
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* FIRST INTRA-REGIONAL SEMINAR FOR THE ‘AGADIR COUNTRIES’
Senior Officials from the countries involved in the Agadir Agreement on sub-regional free trade (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia) will take part in a tailor-made Seminar on Free Movement of Goods which will be held from 28 June to 1 July in Rabat within the MEDA Funded EuroMed Market Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office.This will be the first intra-regional seminar held for the benefit of the ‘Agadir Countries’, and on their request, with the aim of helping them prepare, introduce and enforce new legislation, set up new administrative structures, and develop intra-regional administrative co-operation. Participants will be welcomed by Morocco’s Foreign Trade Minister Mustapha Meshahuri, and the Head of the European Commission Delegation in Rabat, Sean Doyle. During the first part of the Seminar, presentations will be made of the Agadir Process and what it entails for each participating country in the field of Free Movement of Goods, the main EU legal instruments in this respect, and MEDA funded technical assistance. Then the Harmonisation of standards and technical regulations will be examined in parallel working groups. The second part of the Seminar will be devoted to the practical aspects of implementing the Agadir Agreement in the field of Free Movement of Goods, including identification of the areas that should undergo harmonisation, and accreditation, standardisation and certification. In addition, a presentation will be made by each country of Agadir’s future prospects on Free Movement of Goods. EuroMed Market helps Mediterranean Partners prepare themselves for the future Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. http://www.euromedmarket.org
* SMAP MEETING HAILS NEW ENVIRONMENTAL PRIORITIES
The 6th meeting of SMAP (Short and Medium-Term Priority Environment Action Programme) Correspondents took place on 21 and 22 June in Brussels in a stimulating and constructive atmosphere. Presentations were made of various Euro-Mediterranean environmental co-operation activities, notably those carried out in the framework of METAP (Mediterranean Technical Assistance Programme), the Blue Plan, and the European Investment Bank (EIB). There was a very positive reaction on the content and objectives of the 3rd phase of EU support to SMAP under MEDA regional funding (‘SMAP III’), managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. The value and importance of wide participation and the priority to be attached to the protection of coastal areas were underlined, which provide additional justifications for the targets and structure adopted for SMAP III. An analytical review of SMAP, prepared for the meeting by the NGO Liaison Committee, generated interesting discussions. On environmental policy there was a consensus that more efforts should be deployed to put sustainable development at the core of national policies and the Barcelona Process.
* EURO-MED SEMINAR ON INVESTOR TARGETING AND ECONOMIC INTELLIGENCE
A seminar on Investor Targeting and Economic Intelligence will take place from 28 June to 2 July in Nicosia, Cyprus as part of the MEDA funded ANIMA Regional Programme for promoting investment in the Mediterranean region, which is managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. The Investor Targeting strand will include sessions on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Strategies, Sector Targeting, Evaluating Target Sectors, Understanding Investor Behaviour, and Creating and Presenting Messages for Investors. The two days devoted to Economic Intelligence will focus on methods, contacts, networking, responding to enquiries, and managing investment opportunities, with the help of case studies. Participants will be investment promotion officers from Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Tunisia, Cyprus and Malta. ANIMA aims to facilitate investment promotion in the region through a Euro-Mediterranean Network of Investment Promotion Agencies. http://www.animaweb.org
* EUROMED HERITAGE CONFERENCE PUTS CULTURE AT THE CENTRE OF BARCELONA
Partners in projects carried out or planned within all three phases of the MEDA funded Euromed Heritage Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office, met for the first time at a conference held from 17 to 19 June in Rome under the title ‘A Tangible example of Dialogue between Cultures’. Over 200 participants exchanged information, ideas and best practice, and discussed the Programme’s place within the wider framework of the Barcelona Process. A strong media attendance was noted. The Conference was organised by Italy’s Institute for Cataloguing and Documentation (ICCD), the public body in charge of co-ordinating the Programme’s implementation. Conclusions and recommendations aiming to improve the performance of ongoing project, and information on the Programme will soon be available from the website http://www.euromedheritage.net.
* TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR LIBERALISATION AND PRIVATISATION IN JORDAN
MEDA funded technical assistance will be provided to Jordan’s Executive Privatisation Commission (EPC) under a € 4 million contract signed on 20 June in Amman in the framework of the € 20 million Programme of Support for Regulatory Reform and Privatisation (SRRP). The technical assistance will enable the EPC to further enhance its efficiency in implementing Jordan’s privatisation strategy. The 4-year SRRP, launched in late 2002, has a special focus on developing the role and organisation of regulatory bodies in the telecommunications, civil aviation and energy sectors. In the latter, a € 3.7 million contract was signed on 22 June for the provision of MEDA funded technical assistance to Jordan’s Electricity Regulatory Commission, aimed at developing effective regulatory mechanisms in line with the best international practice.
* LONG TERM FINANCE FOR SMALL BUSINESS IN SYRIA
A 3-year technical assistance programme designed to provide long-term financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) located in Syria officially started on 21 June under the FEMIP Technical Assistance Fund. The announcement was made by the European Investment Bank (EIB), in charge of managing the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), after an international consultancy consortium had been selected to carry out the programme. The Fund for SMEs in Syria has been provided with € 40 million.
* EURO-MED FOUNDATION’S NATIONAL NETWORKS ON LINE SOON
As a majority of national networks making up the structure of the newly created Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue of Cultures have now been identified, a first list of those networks will soon be available on line at the following address: http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/euromed_foundation/index.htm . The full list will also be published as Euromed Report No 80 on 25 June 2004. It should be recalled that in the initial stage the Foundation will function as a network of networks, with a light administrative structure in Alexandria, Egypt.
Brussels,06 28 2004