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Euromed News

INITIATIVES

* An extension to the Mediterranean Partners of the EU ‘Marco Polo’ Programme designed to shift goods from the roads to other transport modes was proposed by the European Commission on 15 July. The proposed programme, dubbed ‘Marco Polo II’, would have a budget of € 740 million for 2007-2013, and conditions of participation by Mediterranean Partners would have to be defined in the context of bilateral relations with the EU. More on http://europa.eu.int/comm/transport/index_en.html

MEETINGS

* Euro-Mediterranean Trade Ministers meeting on 21 July in Istanbul for their 4th Conference took further steps to open trade in services in the region. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to start talks to open trade in services. To this effect the meeting adopted a set of guidelines detailing the main objectives and principles of the opening of trade in services for all Euro-Mediterranean partners. Ministers have agreed to open up trade in services in a two step innovative approach. In a first step all Euro-Mediterranean partners have adopted a Framework Protocol detailing objectives and principles to be achieved in the negotiation. In a second step the partners will negotiate bilateral agreements in accordance with WTO rules. Ministers also discussed the challenges facing Euro-Mediterranean partners with the disappearance of the remaining quotas on textiles and clothing in 2005. They underlined the importance of implementing the common set of rules of origin adopted last year in Palermo as an instrument to foster an integrated Euro-Mediterranean area in this important economic sector. Ministers also confirmed their determination to work together to reach a balanced agreement on key areas in the on-going WTO negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda by the end of July. The next Euromed Trade Ministerial will be held in 2005. For a full text of the conclusions of the 4th Euromed Trade Ministerial: http://europa.eu.int/comm/trade/issues/bilateral/regions/euromed/index_en.htm

* After the end of the Trade Ministerial Conference, Commissioner Lamy proceeded to meet Turkish personalities in Istanbul and Ankara. Mr Lamy met various representatives of Turkey’s civil society in Istanbul, including non-governmental organisations, religious personalities, and representatives of the Turkish business community. In Ankara, Mr Lamy is meeting Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, Economy Minister Ali Babacan, and Foreign Trade Minister Kürsad Tüzmen on 22 July. The Trade Commissioner is also scheduled to meet the Chairmen of the Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Committees, as well as representatives of the opposition. A large part of his visit is devoted to bilareral trade issues. http://europa.eu.int/news_index.en.htm

* The EU Council of Ministers meeting on 16 July took note of the Dutch Presidency’s priorities for the 2nd half of 2004 regarding implementation of the EU Common Strategy on the Mediterranean region. The Presidency will focus on the Middle East Peace Process, Strengthening and deepening the Barcelona Process by, inter alia, implementation of the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy, Establishing a Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area, and the Establishment of the Anna Lindh Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures.

* EU High Representative Javier Solana is visiting Jordan, Egypt and Israel from 20 to 23 July to exchange views on regional issues, more particularly to discuss recent developments in the Middle East. Mr Solana was received by H. M. King Abdullah II, Jordan’s Prime Minister Faysal Al-Fayez, and the country’s Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher on 20 July in Amman. The High Representative then traveled to Cairo where on 21 July he met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazief, and Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit. During the last leg of his trip, Mr Solana is meeting Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, and Labour Party Chairman Shimon Peres. http://ue.eu.int/solana

* European Commission Vice-President in charge of Energy and Transport, Loyola de Palacio, visited Turkey from 14 to 16 July. In the course of her visit, Ms de Palacio met Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, Transport Minister Binali Yildirim, Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Hilmi Güler, parliamentary representatives, and the President of the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA). During her meeting with Mr Gül, Ms de Palacio underlined that “co-operation between the EU and Turkey and other Black Sea and Mediterranean Partners is essential for the improvement of energy security and maritime safety”. The Commission Vice-President launched a twinning between EMRA and the Italian energy regulator. Finally, Ms de Palacio and the Turkish Transport Minister agreed to immediately start negotiations for an EU-Turkey aviation agreement. Both sides also recognised the role Turkey could play in the development of Galileo and agreed to assess possible areas for co-operation in this field. More at: http://europa.eu.int/news_index.en.htm

* A favourable opinion on the National Financing Plan 2004 for Egypt was given by the MED Committee through a written procedure after a technical meeting held on 7 July in Cairo. The National Financing Plan for Egypt (€ 95 million) had been discussed at the MED Committee meeting on 16 June in Brussels.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* RECOMMENDATIONS FOR VIRTUAL EURO-MED HOSPITAL
The setting up of a Virtual Euro-Mediterranean Hospital could be achieved in a reasonable time frame through a number of actions at political and economic level, the first of which being identification of the infrastructure. The proposed path to be followed is included in a set of recommendations adopted in late June at the EMISPHER Twin Conference in Algiers and Nicosia, and published on 21 July. The MEDA supported EMISPHER project (Euro-Mediterranean Internet-Satellite Platform for Health, Medical Education and Research) is dedicated to tele-medicine and medical e-learning in the Euro-Mediterranean area, as part of the EUMEDIS Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. According to the recommendations, the identification process could be co-ordinated and undertaken by Mediterranean Partners, EU Member States providing technical and scientific advice. The main co-ordinator would be the Government of Algeria, and a high level committee would be created under the auspices of Algeria’s Health Ministry, with other Mediterranean Partners’ Health Ministries taking part, to speed up the establishment of the infrastructure. The high level committee would first meet during the final EMISPHER conference scheduled for 16-19 September in Istanbul that all stakeholders and interested media are invited to attend. http://www.eumedis.net/en/events and http://www.emispher.org

* POSITIVE ASSESSMENT FOR EURO-LEBANESE CENTRE FOR INDUSTRIAL MODERNISATION
The MEDA funded Euro-Lebanese Centre for Industrial Modernisation (ELCIM) was described as “a road map for success” by one of its beneficiaries as the project’s final results were presented to the press on 16 July in Beirut. ELCIM has been supporting Lebanese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for three years as the main component of Lebanon’s Industrial Modernisation Programme with EU funding of € 11 million out of a total budget of € 11.2 million. A total of 600 businesses spread over the country benefited from ELCIM’s support, which focused on 8 sectors (Agri-food; Publishing; Packaging; Tanning; the Shoe industry; Textile; Furniture; Chemicals; and Paint). It can be noted that ELCIM operated with 57% local experts. Even though the Euro-Lebanese Centre is going to close down, a new EU funded programme for the private sector will aim at strengthening and developing Lebanon’s SMEs with a € 17 million grant. http://www.elcim.info

* GUARANTEE SCHEME FOR ALGERIAN SMALL BUSINESSES
A € 20 million financing agreement for a guarantee scheme designed to facilitate investment by Algerian small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) was signed on 17 July by Algeria’s Minister for SMEs Mustapha Benbada, and the Head of the European Commission Delegation in Algiers, Lucio Guerrato. The guarantee scheme is part of the MEDA funded Programme for Algerian SMEs. It comes as an additional support to the credit guarantee systems put in place by the Algerian authorities, with the aim of helping SMEs to invest in modernisation, and easing their relations with the banks.

* NORTH-SOUTH MEDITERRANEAN CONCERT IN CYPRUS
A concert of Classical Eastern Mediterranean Music from the Mashrak and Byzantine traditions will bring together musicians from both shores of the Mediterranean on 24 July in Larnaca, Cyprus within the MediMuses project, part of the MEDA funded Euromed Heritage II Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. The El Hefny Ensemble from Cairo and the En Chordais musical ensemble from Salonica (Thessaloniki), Greece will both take part in this the 5th concert in the ‘Musical Traditions of the Mediterranean’ series. MediMuses aims to bring to light the common Mediterranean heritage in classical music. Production of a CD and a series of books is also foreseen within the project. More at: http://www.euromedheritage.net

PUBLICATIONS

* MEDA REGIONAL INDICATIVE PROGRAMME 2005-2006 ON LINE
The MEDA Regional Indicative Programme 2005-2006, which was adopted recently, is now available on line. The document emphasises the role of regional co-operation in three aspects of major relevance in the Barcelona Process and the new European Neighbourhood policy: the focus on reform, the need for enhanced dialogue, and the promotion of networks of co-operation. The indicative budget is € 60 million. http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/rsp/index.htm (click on ‘Regional Indicative Programme’, top right)
& EURO-MED FOUNDATION EXPLAINED IN ARABIC
Everything you want to know about the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures is now on line in Arabic. The explanatory document published as Euromed Report No. 80 (25 June 2004) in English and French is available in Arabic at:
http://www.swedenabroad.se/pages/general_21034.asp

MISCELLANEOUS

* ARAB-JEWISH DUET IN JAFFA
‘Duet in Jaffa’, the annual Arab-Jewish cultural festival supported by the European Commission Delegation in Tel Aviv began on 15 July. ‘Duet in Jaffa’ includes concerts by Jewish and Arab performers exploring a huge variety of musical styles (from Bedouin to klezmer) as well as workshops, master classes and lectures open to the general public. http://www.eu-del.org.il/

Brussels,07 27 2004
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