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The European Investment Bank (EIB) on 15 November announced it was lending € 150 million to Toyota Turkey for the modernisation of an existing vehicle manufacturing plant in Adapazari, some 120 km east of Istanbul. The investment will directly and indirectly create new jobs in the Eastern Marmara region, which has not yet recovered from the economic effects of the 1999 earthquake. This is the first EIB loan in Turkey under the Pre-Accession Facility. It is also fully in line with the recently launched Euro-Mediterrranean Investment Partnership Facility (FEMIP).


* An international donor conference for support to economic reform in Lebanon, also known as Paris II Conference, will take place on 23 November in the French capital. Held on the initiative of French President Jacques Chirac the Conference will examine how best to support the Lebanese government's economic reform programme so as to foster economic growth and stability in the light of its difficult debt situation. Prime Minister Hariri, who will lead the Lebanese delegation, hopes to raise up to € 5 billion in loans and loan guarantees in order to alleviate high debt service payments paid from the state budget. President Romano Prodi will represent the European Commission. The Conference will be attended by representatives of donor countries including EU Member States, international financial institutions, Arab Gulf countries, US, Canada, Japan, and Malaysia, among others.

* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security Issues met on 19 November in Copenhagen. The main current elements of security co-operation were discussed. The Danish EU Presidency gave a presentation on human rights policy in the national and international context.

* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process met on 20 November in Copenhagen. It discussed the implications of setting up a Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly on which it is hoped to make progress during the course of next year. The EU tabled a paper on the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation, to be discussed with the Partners. The European Commission updated the Committee on regional MEDA activities in the process of being launched (Good Governance and the Rule of Law, and Information and Communication), and on future MEDA regional programmes (Education and Training, for Employment Programme, and the Programme on the Role of Women in Economic Development). Presentations were also made of the existing Euromed Heritage and Euromed Youth regional programmes. The European Investment Bank (EIB) made a presentation of the Euro-Mediterranean Investment Partnership Facility (FEMIP), and announced the opening of a Mashrak office in Cairo next January.

* Moroccan Foreign Minister Mohamed Benaissa visited Brussels on 13 and 14 November. He had talks with European Commission President Romano Prodi, EU High Representative Javier Solana, and European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten. The Minister informed President Prodi of the latest political developments in his country, and of the priorities mentioned by King Mohamed VI for the new government (fight against poverty; housing; education; and productive employment). Mr Benaissa welcomed the quality of EU-Morocco relations, and expressed satisfaction for the good use of MEDA funds. He stressed the importance of regional integration while regretting the existence of obstacles in the Maghreb. The Middle East and Iraq were also discussed, and they were central to the meeting with Mr Solana. With Commissioner Patten the Association Agreement was discussed, with a focus on the next Association Council due to be held in February 2003, as well as agricultural negotiations. The importance of the dialogue on Justice and Home Affairs issues was underlined by both sides. Migration in particular featured in the talks, along with money laundering. On the Agadir Process Mr Benaissa told the Commissioner the agreement could be signed soon. Discussions also touched on MEDA funding in the context of devolution of responsibilities to the Commission Delegation, and on international relations.

* The Task Force on Palestinian Reform, composed of representatives of the Quartet (EU, United States, Russia, and the UN Secretary General), Japan, Norway, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, met on 14-15 November in Amman. The Task Force reviewed status reports drawn up by its 7 working groups called Reform Support Groups (Civil Society; Elections; Financial Accountability; Judicial Reform; Local Government; Market Economics; and Ministerial and Civil Service Reform). The Task Force met Palestinian Authority Ministers and Israeli government representatives to discuss the steps which need to be taken to facilitate the reform process. The Task Force also discussed the Palestinian humanitarian crisis. The text of the Task Force Statement is available on the web:

* The EU-Malta Joint Parliamentary Committee will hold its 18th meeting on 28 November in Brussels. There will be exchanges of views on the Barcelona Process, and on the Convention on the EU's Future. Malta's application for membership of the EU will be discussed, as well as the political situation in Malta, and EU-Malta relations.

* A Seminar on Statistics and Human Rights in Development Policies will take place from 27 to 29 November in Brussels. It is organised by the EU Statistical Office (EUROSTAT) in co-operation with the InWEnt Munich Centre for Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics. The Seminar aims to present conceptual and practical work undertaken by organisations involved in the measurement of respect for human rights, and to consolidate the corresponding network on Democracy, Good Governance and Human Rights. The target groups are researchers, statistical experts, producers and users of statistical information involved in the fields of Democracy, Good Governance and Human Rights.
Jurgen.Heimann@cec.eu.int; Sonia.Murphy@cec.eu.int; MunichCentre@t-online.de


The European Commission on 15 November approved 4 MEDA funded programmes for Morocco totalling € 122 million as part of the country's National Financing Plan 2002. The € 61 million Business Support Programme will help align Moroccan structures with those of the EU, assist in the modernisation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, and support the launch of an upgrading fund designed to facilitate companies' access to financing. A € 50 million Assistance Programme for the Development of Vocational Training will apply to tourism, textiles, and information/communication technologies. Another € 6 million is earmarked for improving the situation of women engaged in the extraction of oil from the argan tree. Finally € 5 million will be used in helping implement the EU-Morocco Association Agreement through technical assistance to the Moroccan government. All 4 programmes had been given the green light by the MED Committee on 25 October.

The European Commission on 18 November gave its approval to MEDA funded programmes for Lebanon (€ 12 million) and Syria (€ 6 million) as part of those countries' National Financing Plans 2002. The Lebanese programme is designed to support implementation of the EU-Lebanon Association Agreement through assisting the government in its efforts to improve the legislative and regulatory frameworks, and strengthen institutions. The Syrian programme will support modernisation of the country's industry. Both programmes have been given a favourable opinion by the MED Committee on 25 October.


Lebanese Journalist Maher Chmaytelli was awarded the 2002 Lorenzo Natali Prize in the regional category of North Africa and the Middle East by European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Poul Nielson at a ceremony on 15 November in Brussels. Mr Chmaytelli was distinguished for his articles 'Cultural Forums: Pseudonyms for Syria's new political activities', and 'Syrian MP's arrest part of plan to muzzle dissent' published in Middle East Times, Daily Star of Beirut, and Middle East Online. Commendations in the same regional category went to Tunisia's Sihem Bensedrine, and to Jordan's Yahia Asad Shukkeir for articles on the Internet and freedom of expression. The Lorenzo Natali Prize has been awarded annually since 1992 to print journalists who have demonstrated a particular dedication to the reporting of human rights issues within the context of the development process. It is named after the late European Commissioner for Development, and it has been organised by the International Federation of Journalists since 1999 on behalf of the European Commission.
e-mail: info@brusselsreporter.org

A Call for papers for the 4th Mediterranean Social and Political Research Meeting to be held from 19 to 23 March, 2003 has been launched by the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy. The deadline is 30 November. The theme of the workshop is 'Reconceptualizing Public Spheres in the MENA region: New Publics and Spaces of Contestation'. The meeting will be jointly organised by the EUI's Mediterranean Programme and the Social Science Research Council in New York.

Brussels,11 25 2002
European Union Redaction
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