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Euromed News

DECISIONS

* The European Investment Bank (EIB) on 20 September announced it was lending € 200 million to Turkey for the first fixed rail connection of the European and Asian networks across the Bosphorus. This is the first loan of a larger facility of up to € 650 million approved by the EIB for the tunnel. The agreement was signed in Ankara by EIB Vice-President with special responsibility for Turkey, Wolfgang Roth, who met Turkey’s State Minister for the Economy, Ali Babacan and Transport Minister Binali Yildirim. More at http://www.eib.org/lending/med/en/index.htm

MEETINGS

* A Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Textiles will be held on 28 September in Tunis to discuss the course of action the Euro-Med area will take in view of the elimination of quotas on textiles and clothing scheduled for 1st January 2005 under WTO rules. The Conference will be hosted by Tunisia’s Trade Minister Mondher Zenaidi and chaired by European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy. Issues to be discussed include Market Integration in the Euro-Mediterranean Area, Sourcing in the Euro-Mediterranean area, and the Fight against counterfeiting. Participants are expected to issue a Declaration on future action to be taken in the face of global competition, notably from the Far East.

* The Quartet Meeting at Ministerial level on 22 September in New York adopted a statement strongly reaffirming its May 4 Statement. The Quartet noted that “no significant progress has been achieved on the roadmap”. The statement “welcomes steps toward well-prepared, free and fair Palestinian municipal elections, and urges Israel and the Palestinian Authority to cooperate toward this goal”. The Quartet also “urges both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to coordinate closely preparation and implementation of the withdrawal initiative”. The EU was represented by Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot on behalf of the Council Presidency, High Representative Javier Solana, External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten, and Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Marc Otte. The full text of the statement is available from the web site
http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/declarations/82023.pdf

* European Commission Vice-President in charge of Transport and Energy Loyola De Palacio is visiting Jordan from 22 to 24 September. She is scheduled to have talks with King Adullah II and Jordanian Ministers in charge of Energy and Transport, Azmi Khreisat and Raed Abu Soud on the development of the oil, gas, electricity and transport sectors in the region. Ms De Palacio will underline the importance of energy and transport within the European Neighbourhood Policy. Talks will also address Jordan’s key role in the development of a regional oil and gas market, the kingdom’s strategic importance as a future transit country for gas supplies to the EU, and ongoing reforms in the electricity sector. On Transport ongoing reforms will be discussed, as well as negotiations for bilateral air transport agreements with EU Member States, and possible EU-Jordan “twinning” projects in maritime safety and security. The Commission Vice-President will go to Egypt where she will deliver a speech on 27 September in Cairo at the opening of the GALILEO Euro-Med Cooperation Office (see p. 2). In Cairo, the Vice-President will meet Prime Minister Ahmed Hazif and several members of his government to discuss Egypt’s important role as a future supplier of gas to the EU, the promotion of renewable energy sources, the harmonisation of the Mashrak electricity market, as well as ways to strengthen bilateral co-operation in the transport sector through EU-Egypt “twinning” projects, and issues regarding co-operation in maritime safety. http://europa.eu.int/news_index.en.htm .

* During his visit to Brussels (see Euromed Synopsis No 283) Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafic Hariri met European Commissioner designate Benita Ferrero-Waldner late on 16 September. The political situation in the Middle East was discussed, as well as UN Resolution 1559. There was an exchange of views on the Peace Process and the Road Map. On the economy the Prime Minister admitted that not all Paris II promises had been kept and that the large public debt and budget deficit needed attention, although growth estimates for 2004 (5%) were promising. On the European Neighbourhood Policy, Mr Hariri reiterated his enthusiastic support. Ms Ferrero-Waldner underlined that the Policy offered opportunities to Lebanon through closer integratoin to EU markets and programmes, but that it remained up to Lebanon to decide the pace and depth of this.

* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security Issues will meet on 27 September in Brussels. There will be a further exchange of views on the Partnership’s working methods. A presentation will be made on non-proliferation in the Barcelona Process by the Personal Representative on these matters of High Representative Javier Solana, Annalisa Giannella. The informal Ad Hoc working group meetings on Partnership Building Measures and European Neighbourhood Policy held on 15 September will also be discussed. Civil protection and disaster management will also be discussed, as well as the state of play of Dialogue on the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).

* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee for the Barcelona Process will meet on 28 September in Brussels. The Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures will feature high on the agenda with a presentation by its Executive Director Designate Traugott Schöfthaler, the nomination of its Advisory Committee, the Drafting of its Statute, and the Establishment of the Network of networks. Other subjects include discussion of a Seminar on Trade and Agriculture, preparations for the Euro-Med Industry Ministerial Meeting scheduled for 4 October in Caserta, Italy, and a presentation by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office on ongoing Euro-Med programmes.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* EURO-MED SATELLITE NAVIGATION PROJECT TO BE LAUNCHED IN CAIRO WITH OPENING OF GALILEO OFFICE
The MEDA funded Euro-Mediterranean Satellite Navigation (GNSS) project will be effectively launched on 27 September in Cairo with the official opening of the GALILEO Euro-Med Cooperation Office. The 3-year Euro-Med GNSS project aims at paving the way for the involvement of Mediterranean Partners in the EU’s GALILEO Programme of satellite navigation, and its forerunner EGNOS. It is part of the Euromed Transport III Regional Project, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office, and has been allocated € 4.5 million. Within the Euro-Med GNSS project a Regional Plan identifying needs, infrastructures, actors and services will be drawn up, training and awareness-raising activities will be conducted, demonstration projects for the development of GNSS services in the Mediterranean will be implemented, and requirements for an early provision of the GNSS signal in space will be defined. A first phase of the project will focus on infrastructure and preparatory activities. The second phase will involve EGNOS signal in space availability, and implementation of demonstration projects and training activities. The project will be implemented by the GALILEO Joint Undertaking, the body in charge of managing the GALILEO Programme. The GALILEO Euro-Med Cooperation Office, hosted by Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation, will be a focal point for the promotion of GALILEO/EGNOS services in the Mediterranean region, implementing training and awareness-raising activities, and carrying out information exchanges with other regions.

* SUCCESS STORIES IN TRADE RELATED ASSISTANCE
Initiatives by the MEDA funded Syrian European Business Centre (SEBC) and Euro-Tunisia-Enterprise are among success stories mentioned in a European Commission report on the EU’s trade-related assistance worldwide, entitled “Making Trade Work for Development” and launched on 21 September. The report can be downloaded from the web site http://europa.eu.int/comm/trade/index_en.htm . Moreover, figures published by the Commission on 21 September show that the recently launched free-of-charge on-line Helpdesk designed to facilitate access of developing countries’ exporters to the EU market benefited the Mediterranean region. Morocco and Egypt are among the 10 countries whose exporters made the greatest use of the system. The Helpdesk can be accessed on http://export-help.cec.eu.int

* RE-LAUNCH OF INVESTOR’S GUIDE PROJECT
The MEDA funded ‘Internet-based Mediterranean Investor’s Guide’ project was re-launched on 17 September at a conference which brought together project partners and representatives of the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. Participants in the conference discussed the objectives of the project, clarified issues for which there were diverging opinions, and agreed in principle on the continuation of the 3-year project whose aim is to develop and implement a standard model of portal for organisations which publish or wish to publish Internet-based Investor’s Guides. The European Commission committed itself to proceed with the project together with all Mediterranean Partners that will have signed the dedicated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) before the end of October 2004. This does not prevent other Partners from signing later on. The MoU has so far been signed by Egypt, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, and Malta.

* INTRA-REGIONAL SEMINAR ON RULES OF ORIGIN FOR AGADIR COUNTRIES
Officials and experts from the countries involved in the Agadir Agreement on sub-regional free trade (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia) will take part in an Intra-Regional Seminar on ‘Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Rules of Origin and the Agadir Agreement’ from 27 to 30 September in Amman within the MEDA funded EuroMed Market Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. The Seminar aims to assist the Agadir countries in implementing the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean rules of origin, to give officials from those countries the opportunity to share views with European experts on the rules of origin contained in the Agadir Agreement, and to encourage exchanges of knowledge, experience and best practice. Problems encountered in implementing various concepts will be outlined by representatives of the Agadir countries and discussed with a panel of experts. Part of the Amman Seminar will be devoted to the training, information and awareness-raising programmes adopted by the four countries concerned in the wake of the Training Seminar for Trainers on ‘Rules of Origin: Extending the Pan-European cumulation of origin to the Mediterranean Partners’, held in January 2003 within the EuroMed Market Programme. http://www.euromedmarket.org

* EURO-MED TRAINING SEMINAR ON MONEY LAUNDERING
A Euro-Mediterranean Training Seminar for officials on ‘Combating Financial Crime, especially money-laundering’ will be held from 27 September to 1st October in Loures, Portugal within the Police strand of the MEDA funded Regional Programme on Good Governance and Improvement of the Rule of Law, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. (The Programme’s official name is ‘Regional Cooperation Programme in the area of Justice, the Fight against illicit drugs, organised crime, and terrorism, as well as co-operation on the questions linked to the social integration of immigrants, migration, and movement of persons’). Presentations will be made of financial crime in each Mediterranean Partner, and international recommendations on money laundering. Methods of combating financial crime will be presented and discussed. In addition, participants will visit relevant local premises such as Criminal Police Headquarters and a casino.

* HANDBOOK AND EXHIBITION ON LEBANESE TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE
A handbook on Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Lebanese Traditional Architecture will be launched on 24 September in Beirut at the official opening of an exhibition on the same subject. Both handbook and exhibition are part of the MEDA funded Corpus Levant project, carried out under the Euromed Heritage I Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. Corpus Levant is co-ordinated by France’s “Ecole d’Avignon” and involves partners from Lebanon, Syria and Spain. http://www.meda-corpus.net

* ERRATUM
The name of the Barcelona-based co-ordinating body for the new Rehabimed project is “College of Technical Architects”, and not “College of Architects” as we have mistakenly written in issue No 283. We apologize to our readers.

PUBLICATIONS

* STUDIES ON INVESTMENT PROMOTION AND TEXTILE/APPAREL ON LINE
Two MEDA funded studies addressing Investment Promotion Agencies in the Mediterranean Partners, and the Textile/Apparel sector in the Mediterranean Region respectively, are on line at http://www.animaweb.org/Documents/BenchmarkAPI_En.pdf
and http://www.animaweb.org/Documents/Textile_En.pdf . Both documents were drawn up as part of the ANIMA Regional Programme designed to boost investment promotion in the Mediterranean region, and managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office.

Brussels,09 27 2004
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