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DECISIONS

* The European Investment Bank (EIB) on 8 July announced it was providing € 55 million to the Republic of Turkey, which will on lend the funds to the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality for completing the city’s light railway. The project is designed to alleviate traffic congestion and related environmental problems in Turkey’s fourth largest city (1.2 million inhabitants). More details on http://www.eib.org/lending/med/en/index.htm

MEETINGS

* Envoys of the Quartet on 6 July in Jerusalem at envoys’ level met representatives of international donors to discuss the disengagement plan and the latest assessment of the economic situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including prospects for the AHLC meeting to be held in the Autumn. The Quartet is composed of the UN, the EU, the US, and Russia. The meeting was attended on the EU side by Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Marc Otte, accompanied by the Head of the EU Representative Office in Jerusalem, Jean Bretéché.

* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security Issues will meet on 14 July in Brussels. The meeting will start with a presentation by the new Dutch Presidency of the EU Council of its priorities as regards these issues. Senior Officials will then have an exchange of views on the working methods of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. In addition, the follow-up to recently held meetings will be discussed (the informal working group meetings on Partnership Building Measures and the European Neighbourhood Policy, and the Workshop on the rights of the child).

* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee for the Barcelona Process will meet on 15 July in Brussels. A presentation will be made of the priorities of the EU’ s Dutch Presidency for the economic and financial, and social, cultural and human chapters of the Barcelona Process. The newly created Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures will then be discussed, particularly the nomination of the Executive Director and the Advisory Committee, the drafting of the Foundation’s Statute, and the Establishment of the network of national networks, which is at an advanced stage of preparation. The European Commission will inform the Committee of preparations for the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Meetings on Trade and Industry scheduled to take place on 21 July in Istanbul, and on 4 October in Caserta, Italy respectively.

* The MED Committee will meet on 14 July in Brussels. Opinions are expected to be given on the Strategy Paper and Indicative Programme under the New Neighbourhood Programme as regards Mediterranean Partners (2004-2006), the National Financing Plan 2004 for Morocco, and the Regional Financing Plan 2004 (Part II). The Regional Plan comprises the MED-ENEC Programme on Energy efficiency in the construction sector in the Mediterranean, and the ‘Neighbourhood Programme’ aimed at speeding up electricity and gas reforms in Mediterranean Partners. In addition, the Committee will be informed of the state of play of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) by a European Investment Bank (EIB) representative.

* A Seminar on EU Enlargement and Tunisia will take place on 8 and 9 July in Tunis on the initiative of the European Commission Delegation in Tunisia. The Seminar is organised and funded by the Delegation, with support from the embassies in Tunisia of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, and Poland. Its primary objective is to share with Tunisia the experience gained by the new EU Member States over the last 10 to 15 years in terms of political, economic and social change. It is also aimed at highlighting Tunisian society’s perception of enlargement. The Seminar will start with a debate introduced by the European Commission’s Head of Delegation in Tunisia, Marc Pierini, and featuring a presentation by Spain’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Alberto Navarro. The opening session on 9 July will be marked by speeches delivered by Mr Pierini, Tunisia’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Saida Chtioui, and European Commissioner Joe Borg. The first session will be devoted to the political side of Euro-Mediterranean relations after enlargement. Tunisia’s economic relations with the enlarged EU will be the main subject of the 2nd session, and Society and Culture in Central and Eastern Europe and Tunisia will be debated during the 3rd session. Speakers will be representatives of Tunisian institutions, business, and civil society, as well as citizens of the new EU Member States.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* INTRA-REGIONAL SEMINAR TAKES STEPS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF AGADIR AGREEMENT
Senior Officials from the countries involved in the Agadir Agreement on sub-regional free trade (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia) have proposed to set up a technical committee entrusted with drawing up an action plan designed to harmonise all standards and technical regulations in the four Mediterranean Partners. This is the main outcome of the first intra-regional Seminar for the ‘Agadir countries’, 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. Participants in the Seminar were welcomed by Morocco’s Foreign Trade Minister Mustapha Meshahuri. Representatives of the ‘Agadir countries’ have also proposed to develop a technical assistance programme with EU support which would help achieve technical and legal harmonisation needed to ensure free movement of goods. In this respect participants in the Seminar stressed the importance of the MEDA funded support programme prepared by the European Commission and managed by the Commission Delegation in Amman. The Seminar was also an opportunity to discuss the objectives of the Agadir Agreement, prospects for a timetable for tariff dismantling on industrial products, and the liberalisation of trade in industrial products within the planned Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA). Harmonisation of standards and regulations was also discussed, notably in relation to EU directives on machines, electro-magnetic compatibility, and gas appliances. http://www.euromedmarket.org

* VIRTUAL MEDITERRANEAN HOSPITAL DISCUSSED AT EMISPHER TWIN CONFERENCE
Round tables on key aspects of and requirements for a virtual International Mediterranean Hospital took place on 25 June in Algiers, and the outcome was discussed the next day at a Twin Conference held in Algiers and Nicosia, Cyprus within the MEDA supported EMISPHER project (Euro-Mediterranean Internet-Satellite Platform for Health, Medical Education and Research). EMISPHER, which is dedicated to tele-medicine and medical e-learning in the Euro-Mediterranean area, is part of the EUMEDIS Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. The event was attended by some 300 participants, including senior government representatives of Algeria and other Mediterranean Partners. The Twin Conference was also an opportunity to pursue and expand cluster activities among the 5 medical projects in the EUMEDIS Programme (EMISPHER; EMPHIS; BurNET; PARADIGMA; and EuMed Cancer). The Conference’s official recommendations will be available at a later date. http://www.eumedis.net/en/events

* WATER NATIONAL FOCAL POINTS NOTE PROGRESS AND PLAN TRAINING ACTITIVIES
National Focal Points of the MEDA funded Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water Sector (EMWIS), managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office, noted good progress at their meeting on 6 and 7 July in Rabat. Additional information is currently being prepared in several Mediterranean Partners for publication on the web in the next few months. Information sharing within each Partner has made good progress, especially as regards data quality. Work on the relevance of the EU Water Framework Directive for the Mediterranean Partners was confirmed. As to future activities, a timetable was set for the training of Focal Points’ staff in the autumn, and early next year. In addition, studies of best practice will be launched with regard to implementing and promoting national information systems, and setting up multilateral information systems. In the latter area EMWIS will draw on Waternet and EXACT, Middle East Peace Process activities related to the Core Parties (Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan). Waternet is a system of exchange and research on archival material on water between universities in Europe and the Core Parties. EXACT is a twice-yearly meeting between donor countries and the Core Parties to co-ordinate international projects in those countries and territories. http://www.emwis.org

* CONCLUDING SEMINAR FOR MAGHREB WOMEN’S EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES PROJECT
The Concluding Seminar for the EU supported project ‘Positive Actions for Women’s Citizen’s Rights and Equal Opportunities in the Maghreb’ will take place from 9 to 11 July in Tangiers. It is organised jointly by the project’s co-ordinator, Italy’s Mediterranean Institute (IMED), and the ‘Room for Citizenship’ Network based in Tangiers. The project aims at promoting women’s rights and democratic development in the Maghreb. It has been carried out in partnership with women’s groups, trade unions and NGOs in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, and with financial support from the EU under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which is managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. The first session will address “The Euro-Mediterranean Dimension in Training, Information and Communication”. Project results will be presented during the second day, which will also see a round table on the Role of Women in reinforcing democracy at Euro-Mediterranean level. Thematic workshops will be held on the last day, and the Seminar will end with a session on future prospects. http://www.medespacefemmes.net

PUBLICATIONS

* NEWS FROM SYRIA ONLINE IN ARABIC
The latest news of the activities carried out by the European Commission Delegation in Damascus is now also available on line in Arabic. The newly launched Arabic version of the Delegation’ s web site features press releases, the Delegation newsletter, information on EU-Syria Co-operation Projects, and useful links. http://www.delsyr.cec.eu.int/del_index.htm

Brussels,07 12 2004
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