* The European Commission on 29 July announced a € 124.25 million package of assistance for the West Bank & Gaza Strip. This includes € 65 million for the Public Financial Management Reform Trust Fund established by the World Bank to continue improving management of public finances, and the viability of Palestinian Authority institutions; € 22.75 million for Emergency support to social services; € 7.5 million for the European Partnership for Peace Programme, aimed at supporting initiatives that combat violence and strengthen civil society in the Middle East; up to € 5 million for Technical assistance to the Palestinian reform agenda; and € 1 million for the TEMPUS Programme of inter-university co-operation. In addition, money has been set aside, but not yet committed, for the disengagement from Gaza (€ 20 million), and East Jerusalem projects (€ 3 million). More on http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/gaza/intro/index.htm and http://europa.eu.int/news_index.en.htm .
* The European Commission on 22 July decided to allocate € 8 million to assist 158,000 Sahrawi refugees living in camps around Tindouf in the South-West of Algeria. The money, which is allocated through the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO), will help improve food security in basic foodstuffs, diversify the food basket for families, and provide for minimum hygiene requirements and access to water. More on http://europa.eu.int/comm/echo/information/media/sarahouis (go to ‘What’s new’).
* An agreement paving the way for the opening of a European Investment Bank (EIB) representative office in Tunis was signed on 26 July by Tunisia’s Foreign Minister Habib Ben Yahia and the EIB Vice-President with responsibility for the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), Phillipe de Fontaine-Vive. The Tunis office is to be officially opened by the end of this year. Other EIB offices in the Maghreb region are envisaged, one being planned in Rabat. Their role will be to ensure closer co-ordination with public authorities and borrowers, and to develop FEMIP’s activities with the local private sector. http://www.eib.org
* The European Investment Bank (EIB) on 26 July announced it was granting a € 34 million loan to clean up the coastal area of Taparura, close to Sfax city centre in southern Tunisia. The loan is under the EIB managed Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP). The finance contract was signed by Tunisia’s Minister for Development and International Co-operation, Mohamed Nouri Jouini, and EIB Vice-President with responsibility for FEMIP, Philippe de Fontaine Vive. The Taparura area has been polluted over the years by industrial activities. The project will allow depolluted land to be reallocated for use as beaches, parks, and sports grounds, as well as implementation of social housing programmes. More at http://www.eib.org/lending/med/en/index.htm
* The EU Council of Ministers meeting on 26 July in Brussels assessed the situation in the Middle East. EU High Representative Javier Solana briefed Ministers on his visit to the region (Jordan, Egypt, Israel, 19-23 July), with particular reference to the follow-up to the International Court of Justice advisory opinion and the ensuing vote in the UN General Assembly; future developments in the Gaza disengagement plan including the role of Egypt; and the situation in the Palestinian Authority. Ministers will return to the issue of the Middle East at their informal meeting in early September in the Netherlands. http://ue.eu.int
* A Delegation of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) visited Syria on 22 July. The trip had three objectives: to discuss the creation of a consultative body on social issues in Syria; to promote participation in the next Euro-Med summit of economic and social councils in Valencia in November; and to collect information about agriculture and food safety for a report to be presented to the Valencia summit. The EESC Delegation met the Minister of Agriculture, representatives of employers’ organisations, trade and farmers’ unions, NGOs working on civil society and environmental issues, and the media. The Delegation also met First Lady Asma al-Assad, founder of a rural development association.
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* EURO-MED EMPLOYER ORGANISATIONS ADOPT RECOMMENDATIONS AT UNIMED 2 CLOSING CONFERENCE
Euro-Mediterranean employers taking part in the UNIMED 2 Final Conference on 23 July in Brussels adopted a statement calling for more political will to intensify Euro-Med integration, better financial support from the EU under the Neighbourhood Policy, and more involvement of Euro-Mediterranean businesses in regional integration. The Conference’s central theme was “Where is the Euro-Mediterranean project heading?”, and the statement contains business recommendations for the Euro-Mediterranean Industry Ministerial Conference to be held in early October in Caserta, Italy. Members of the Union of Mediterranean Confederations of Enterprises (UMCE), created under the MEDA supported UNIMED Business Network Project, and of its sister organisation the Union of Industrial and Employers’ Confederations of Europe (UNICE) met to mark the end of the UNIMED 2 Project, an extension of UNIMED Business Network. Speakers were representatives of employer organisations and the European Commission. The UMCE-managed UNIMED 2 Project ran from February to July 2004 and helped organise seminars and carry out surveys on Economic Integration and Organisational Reinforcement of Business Associations, as well as a study of Upgrading SMEs.
* ALGERIAN AND MOROCCAN PROGRAMMES 2005-2006 SIGNED AND PUBLISHED
The MEDA National Indicative Programmes (NIPs) 2005-2006 for Algeria and Morocco were signed recently and can be downloaded from the European Commission web site. The € 106 million NIP for Algeria was signed by the country’s Foreign Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem and the Head of the European Commission Delegation in Algiers, Lucio Guerrato. It comprises a € 40 million Economic infrastructure programme devoted to Transport and Water, a Programme accompanying the Association Agreement (€ 10 million), and programmes for Administrative Modernisation (€ 25 million), NGOs (€ 10 million), the Police, in line with the Justice Programme (€ 10 million), and Rural proximity (€ 11 million). http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/algeria/intro/index_fr.htm (top right). The € 275 million NIP for Morocco was signed by the country’s Finance Minister Fathallah Oualalou and the European Commission’s Director General for External Relations, Eneko Landaburu. It includes a € 130 million social component with € 90 million for slums, € 34 million for the Northern Provinces, and € 6 million for the Khenifra project. The € 100 million Economic and Trade component comprises a € 80 million Tax reform programme, a € 15 million Technical support programme for the implementation of the Association Agreement and the Wider Europe strategy, and a € 5 million programme of support for professional organisations. In addition, € 30 million are earmarked for support for the water sector, € 10 million for European Investment Bank interest rate subsidies, and € 5 million for support for institutions and NGOs in the field of Human Rights.
http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/morocco/intro/index.htm (top right).
* SME-FRIENDLY MEASURES REVIEWED IN AMMAN UNDER MED BEST INITIATIVE
A report on business-friendly measures and best practice in Jordan is being presented and discussed at a meeting held on 29 July in Amman in the framework of the EU supported MED BEST initiative for identifying achievements and shortcomings in this area. The Amman meeting is the 8th in a series of national events held in Mediterranean Partners. A final report presenting comparisons between Mediterranean Partners should be published at the Euro-Mediterranean Industry Ministerial Conference to be held in early October in Caserta.
* NEW SME SUPPORT PROGRAMME FOR LEBANON SIGNED
The financing agreement for the new MEDA funded ‘Integrated Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Support Programme’ was signed on 23 July in Beirut by Lebanon’s Minister of Economy and Trade Marwan Hamadeh, Industry Minister Elias Skaff, the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Lebanon, Patrick Renauld, and the President of the Lebanese Council for Development and Reconstruction, Jamal Itani. The 3-year programme will receive a € 17 million grant from the EU for helping to establish a policy framework for SME development, assisting in the development of a network of business support services, and providing additional resources to the existing loan guarantee scheme. The programme includes continued support to the Euro-Lebanese Centre for Industrial Modernisation (ELCIM).
* MED-INTERPRISE-TUNISIA AND -LEBANON COMING SOON
Representatives of selected Tunisian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in Electric and electronic industries, Plastic industries, Agri-business, and Information and Communication Technologies will be able to meet their counterparts and potential partners from Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK at a MEDA funded MED-INTERPRISE-TUNISIA event to be held from 22 to 24 September in Tunis. Similarly a MED-INTERPRISE-LEBANON event scheduled for 6-8 October in Beirut will bring together representatives of selected Lebanese SMEs from the IT, food, printing and packaging sectors, and their counterparts from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. MED-INTERPRISE is managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. For further information on the Tunis event: http://www.investintunisia.tn/eng/poleF/f1301-invitmedent2004.htm and on the Beirut event: http://www.medinterprise2004.net/
* EU HELPS CIVIL AVIATION RESTRUCTURING IN JORDAN
A € 2.4 million contract for the restructuring of Jordan’s Civil Aviation Authority was signed on 26 July in Amman by Jordanian Transport Minister Raed Abu Saud, the Chargé d’Affaires at the European Commission Delegation to Jordan, Mario Mariani, and representatives of a consortium headed by Lufthansa Consulting. The project is funded under MEDA as part of the € 20 million Support to Regulatory Reform and Privatisation Programme, with the aim of modernising management, employment and business practices, as well as improving performance, efficiency and productivity.
* ANIMA SEMINAR ON AFTER CARE AND INVESTOR SERVICING FOR EGYPT
A training seminar for Egyptian investment promotion officers on After Care and Investor Servicing will take place from 6 to 9 September in Cairo within the MEDA funded ANIMA Regional Programme, designed to stimulate investment in the region through a Euro-Mediterranean Network of Investment Promotion Agencies, and managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. The seminar aims at building strategies to keep investors in the country, and follows on from two workshops on Investor targeting/ Territorial marketing organised last year in Egypt.http://www.animaweb.org
* MASHRAK CLASSICAL MUSIC IN VENICE
A Concert of Classical Eastern Mediterranean Music from the Mashrak tradition will feature the El Hefny Ensemble from Cairo and the Oriental Ensemble from Beirut on 31 July in Venice, Italy within the MediMuses project, part of the MEDA funded Euromed Heritage II Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. This will be the 6th concert in the ‘Musical Traditions of the Mediterranean’ series. MediMuses aims to bring to light the common Mediterranean heritage in classical music. More at http://www.euromedheritage.net
* NATIONAL INDICATIVE PROGRAMMES 2005-2006 FOR JORDAN AND LEBANON ON LINE
The € 110 million National Indicative Programme 2005-2006 for Jordan, which was signed in May (see Euromed Synopsis No 272), is now available on line at http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/jordan/intro/index.htm (top right). The € 50 million National Indicative Programme 2005-2006 for Lebanon, also approved but not yet signed, is also available on the web at http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/lebanon/intro/index.htm
REMINDER: the Euromed Heritage Regional Programme has its own website
http://www.euromedheritage.net . (for those of our recipients who did not receive the message accompanying Euromed Special Feature No 40).
* EUROPEAN PUPPETS IN JERUSALEM
Puppet artists from France, Italy and Spain will show their talent to Israeli audiences and professionals in this year’s EuroPuppets festival starting on 8 August in Jerusalem with support from the European Commission Delegation in Tel Aviv. EuroPuppets, which is part of the International Puppet Theatre Festival in Jerusalem, will also feature a German-Israeli co-production. http://www.eu-del.org.il
Brussels,08 16 2004