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* An EU-Israel agreement on the European satellite radio navigation programme GALILEO was signed on 13 July in Brussels by Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot representing the EU Presidency, and European Commission Vice-President in charge of Transport and Energy, Loyola de Palacio. The agreement provides for co-operative activities on satellite navigation and timing in a wide range of sectors, notably science and technology, industrial manufacturing, service and market development, as well as standardisation, frequencies and certification. Israel is also invited to take part in the programme financially through a stake holding in the GALILEO Joint Undertaking, the body managing the programme. More at http://europa.eu.int/news/index_en.htm (click on ‘All the news’ and go to ‘Latest Press Releases’). More on GALILEO at http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/energy_transport/galileo


* The EU Council meeting in Brussels on 12 and 13 July examined the situation in relation with the Middle East Peace Process following in particular the Advisory Opinion rendered by the International Court of Justice on 9 July concerning “Legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian Territory”. The EU Council Presidency stated “that the Advisory Opinion of the Court … will need to be studied carefully” and “underlined that the political process, as laid down in the Roadmap, is of overriding importance”. The full statement is available as part of the External Relations Council conclusions from the web site http://europa.eu.int/news/index_en.htm . (click on ‘Council’ then go to ‘Press’) EU High Representative Javier Solana on 9 July issued a statement on the same subject which recalls the EU position and affirms that “The solution to the conflict will only be achieved through negotiations between the parties.” The full text is on line at http://ue.eu.int/solana

* The 4th Euro-Mediterranean Trade Ministerial Conference will take place on 21 July in Istanbul with the aim of reviewing progress on all trade aspects of the Barcelona Process. The opening session will feature a welcome address by Turkey’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade Kürsad Tüzmen, and speeches by Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Laurens Jan Brinkhorst on behalf of the EU Presidency, and European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy. Ministers will then discuss ‘South-South’ Regional Integration, implementation of the measures adopted last year in Palermo on Trade Facilitation and Simplification of Customs Procedures, and Rules of Origin where they will look at the implementation of the Protocol on Pan-Euro-Med rules. On Services and Approximation of Standards, Technical Regulation and Conformity Assessment Procedures, Ministers will assess progress made by the relevant Working Groups. Further discussion will address the European Neighbourhood Policy in the context of the Barcelona Process. In addition, a presentation will be made by Mr Lamy of the state of play of the Doha Development Agenda.

* Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade Ehud Olmert on 13 July visited the European Commission in Brussels. He was received by Commission President Romano Prodi, External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten, Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, and Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen. Mr Prodi and Mr Olmert both underlined the strategic importance of the EU-Israel Co-operation Agreement on a Civil Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS - GALILEO) signed on the same day (see above). The discussion continued on the planned Israeli government’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip. President Prodi enquired about the economic implications of the withdrawal, and stated the EU would consider the possibility to provide assistance after an Israeli pull-out, while stressing the importance of ensuring workers mobility for any viable economic development of the area. Mr Olmert replied by stating Israeli government readiness to seriously analyse any concrete proposal in this respect. On the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the Israeli Minister asked for greater consideration of the actual potential and capacity of Israel. Finally Mr Olmert invited Mr Prodi to visit Israel before the end of his mandate. During their own meeting, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Commissioner Bolkestein agreed to solve the rules of origin problem between the two sides by distinguishing between goods from Israeli settlements and Israeli goods sent to the EU under the Association Agreement. The Israeli side has given guarantees on the soundness of the arrangements. Mr Bolkestein recalled the EU position that settlement goods do not qualify for preferential treatment. The agreement is expected to be initialled by the end of July, and procedures will then be launched for approval by the EU Council. During his meeting with the Israeli Minister, External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten said he found it perplexing that the Israeli government should look to the EU for help on the Gaza disengagement whereas its representatives refused to meet those of the Quartet. He added he was a little dismayed at Israel’s strong condemnation of the International Court of Justice ruling on the “wall”. Mr Patten (who met Mr Olmert before Mr Bolkestein) hoped that the rules of origin issue could be resolved so that the two sides could move on in their relationship. On the ENP, Mr Patten encouraged Israel to conclude negotiations before the end of the present Commission’s mandate. Mr Olmert’s meeting with Mr Verheugen focused on the European Neighbourhood Policy which sets ambitious objectives based on commitments to shared values and is designed to provide a contribution to good governance and stability in our neighbouring region as a whole. The Israeli Minister recalled his country’s keen interest in this initiative which also aims at strengthening bilateral political dialogue.

* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security Issues met on 14 July in Brussels. The meeting started with a presentation by the Dutch Presidency of the EU Council of its priorities as regards these issues. Senior Officials then had an exchange of views on the working methods of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, focusing on how Ministerial Meetings should be organised in future in order to improve the functioning of the Partnership. The follow-up to recent informal working group meetings on Partnership Building Measures and the European Neighbourhood Policy was discussed, and it was agreed that the next meetings of those working groups, scheduled for late July, be postponed to late September. The Workshop on the Rights of the Child held in late June was also discussed.

* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee for the Barcelona Process met on 15 July in Brussels. A presentation was 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. Further steps were taken to put in place the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures as soon as possible. Dr Traugott Schöfthaler, former secretary-general of the German Commission for UNESCO, was nominated as Executive Director of the Foundation. The EU is now negotiating with Egypt on the Foundation Statute in order to facilitate the starting up of the operations in the next months. In addition, the network of national networks, which was also discussed at the meeting, has yet to be completed. In this regard the European Commission has proposed a list, which includes in particular civil society representatives. The Commission also stated all partners are welcome to contribute to the Foundation financially.

* The MED Committee met on 14 July in Brussels. Favourable opinions were given on the National Financing Plan 2004 for Morocco (€ 79 million), and the Regional Financing Plan 2004-Part II (€ 19 million). The Financing Plan for Morocco involves a Programme of support to Public Administration Reform, and 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. The Strategy Paper and Indicative Programme under the New Neighbourhood Programme as regards Mediterranean Partners (2004-2006), which was on the meeting’s agenda, will be discussed at the next MED Committee meeting on 15 September.

* A Seminar on EU Enlargement and Tunisia took place on 8 and 9 July in Tunis on the initiative of the European Commission Delegation in Tunisia. The Seminar aimed primarily at sharing 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. European Commissioner Joe Borg delivered a speech during the opening session on 9 July, whose text is available on line at


Two contracts for ‘administrative twinning’ between Jordanian institutions and their counterparts in EU Member States were awarded recently by Jordan’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation in the framework of a MEDA funded Programme of support to the implementation of the EU-Jordan Association Agreement. The Programme is managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. The winners of the contracts were officially announced on 12 July by Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Dr Bassem Awadallah. A € 1.6 million twinning contract for the ‘Reform of the Jordan Veterinary and Phyto-sanitary Inspection Services’ was awarded to the Northern Ireland Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with the Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture as beneficiary and implementing agency. The 2nd twinning contract (€ 1.9 million) was awarded to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration for the ‘Reform of Food Inspection Services and Food Chain Laboratories in Jordan’, with the Jordan Food and Drugs Administration as beneficiary.

The National TEMPUS Office for Syria was officially opened on 12 July by Syria’s Minister for Higher Education Hani Mourtada, and the Head of the European Commission Delegation in Damascus, Frank Hesske. The ceremony took place at the Ministry of Higher Education in Damascus. The MEDA funded extension of the TEMPUS Programme to the Mediterranean Partners aims at promoting university co-operation across the Euro-Mediterranean region. The new National TEMPUS Office “will essentially play the role of matchmaker, linking scholars, administrators and other educational staff from higher education institutions”, Mr Hesske said. The TEMPUS Programme for Syria was allocated € 2 million for 2003, the same amount is expected for 2004, and a further € 5.5 million has been earmarked for 2005 and 2006.

Brussels,07 19 2004
European Union
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