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The Lebanese Parliament on 2 December ratified the EU-Lebanon Association Agreement, and the EU-Lebanon Interim Agreement. Both agreements were signed last June. The Association Agreement has to be ratified by the European Parliament and the Parliaments of all 15 EU Member States before it can enter into force.

The Interim Agreement, which was ratified by the EU Council of Ministers last July, will bring about quick implementation of the Association Agreement's trade provisions in advance of full ratification of the Agreement itself. It will enter into force on 1 February 2003 after the EU Council has been officially informed of the ratifications. The EU Council of Ministers on 28 November approved a decision concerning the conclusion of an Agreement with Morocco in the form of an Exchange of Letters derogating temporarily, as regards EU imports of tomatoes, from agricultural Protocol 1 to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement.

The Agreement allows the traditional exports of Moroccan tomatoes to the EU to take place under the conditions of the previous year, pending the conclusion of the renegotiations of the agricultural protocols to the Association Agreement. The new Agreement renews the tariff quotas granted exceptionally for the period 1 November 2001-31 May 2002 for the period 1 October 2002-31 May 2003. It therefore allows an increase in tariff quotas for November and December 2002, and the opening of quotas for April and May, 2003 (if the total of Morocco's tomato exports does not exceed the quantities allowed from October 2002 to March 2003).

Those arrangements can be terminated by both sides if the renegotiations of the agricultural protocols are not completed before 31 December 2002. http:/ue.eu.int/newsroom (go to Latest News). The European Investment Bank (EIB) on 4 December announced it was lending € 225 million to Turkey for improving two road corridors carrying local and international traffic from the EU to the South and East of the country. The first road scheme concerns some 134km of a North-South corridor between Adapazari and Bozüyük in western Anatolia. The second stretch of road spans some 400km between Ankara and Samsun, the major Turkish city on the Black Sea coast.


* An Ad Hoc Meeting on Terrorism of Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security Issues will take place on 13 December in Brussels. Experts on terrorism from all 27 Euro-Mediterranean partners will also attend. Subjects likely to come up are the State of Play of the Fight against Terrorism within the UN framework, EU Technical Counter-terrorism Assistance to Third Countries, Ratification of the 12 UN Conventions related to Terrorism, and the possible Added Value the Barcelona Process can give to the Fight against Terrorism, notably through a Euro-Mediterranean Network of Contact Points.

* A Workshop will be held on 10 December in Beirut to mark the launch of the MEDA funded 'Support Programme to the Implementation of the EU-Lebanon Association Agreement'. Participants will be European Commission Representatives and Lebanese Ministry Officials. Presentations will be made of the EU-Lebanon Association Agreement, of the Lebanese government's strategy for implementing it, and of EU support to that implementation. Specific sessions will address Competition/World Trade Organisation, Taxation/Customs, and Quality/Consumer Protection respectively. It will be the first in a series of workshops due to take place in, and organised in co-operation with various Mediterranean Partners (Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and Lebanon) with whom such programmes will be implemented. Those meetings are designed to identify areas where assistance is needed, and agree on the type of support to be provided, the direct beneficiaries, and the implementing structures. Further workshops will be held to monitor the implementation of the Support Programmes. This exercise is expected to last 4 to 5 years.

* The first Euro-Mediterranean Forum for Management and Quality in Small Businesses and the Craft Sector through the Tools of the Information Society will be held on 12 December in Paris, France. The Forum is organised by the French Standing Committee of the Chambers of Craft Trades (APCM) with European Commission support under the MEDA funded EUMEDIS Regional Programme (Euro-Mediterranean Information Society). It will bring together representatives of 10 Mediterranean Partners and 4 EU countries (Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy), and see the launch of the Euro-Mediterranean Movement for Management and Quality. The Forum will include a round table on 'Quality: the Key Success to enable a Small Business to satisfy its active Role on National Progress and International Stability', and one on 'The Tools of the Information Society made available to Small Businesses to achieve this Function'.

* The Principal National Co-ordinators' Meeting for the MEDA funded MEDSTAT Regional Programme will be held on 9 and 10 December in Luxembourg. The meeting's main objective will be to review the situation of the Statistical Programme, and to examine how the transition from the first to the second phase can be carried through. Presentations will be made of the European Commission's Project Cycle Management and Procurement Procedures. Other sessions will provide a general overview of MEDSTAT I sub-programmes. These include MED-Env (Environment); MED-NA (National Accounts); MED-NOE (Non-Observed Economy); MED-Training; MED-IS (Information Society); MED Comext (External Trade); MED-Trans (Transport); MED-Tour (Tourism); and MED-Migr (Migration). MEDSTAT II's main objectives will also be discussed.

* A Seminar on Statistics and Human Rights took place from 27 to 29 November in Brussels on the initiative of the EU Statistical Office (EUROSTAT). The Seminar brought together human rights practitioners, statistical and development experts, government officials, and academics from the globe's 5 continents. The participation of Mediterranean experts was covered by the MEDA funded MEDSTAT Regional Programme. Discussions focused on Democracy and Good Governance, Civil and Political Rights, Economic and Social Rights, and Cultural Rights. During the Seminar it was announced that € 2.1 million would be earmarked for a 2 year pilot project called METAGORA, and designed to draw up objective criteria for measuring the success of human rights interventions in various parts of the world, including the Philippines, and the Palestinian Territories as sole Mediterranean Partner.


The launching conference for the preparation of a MEDA 'Education and Training for Employment' Regional Programme will take place on 12 and 13 December at Limelette Castle near Brussels. It will bring together representatives from Euro-Mediterranean partners. Presentations will be made of each Mediterranean Partner's situation regarding Education and Training for Employment. Other sessions will focus on exchanges of experience and best practices. In addition parallel workshops will be held on Policies and strategies, Institutional settings and Governance, and Measures so as to stimulate discussion of possible objectives, priorities, and expected results of the Programme.


The working population in the Mediterranean region is forecast to increase in large proportions over the next 10 years given the population growth rate in most Partners, whereas the proportion of women in the active population in several Mediterranean Partners is below the average for the other main regions of the world. In addition high unemployment rates can be observed in all Partners except Cyprus and Malta, particularly among young people. All the details can be found in 'Active population and labour market in the Mediterranean countries', the latest publication produced by the EU Statistical Office (EUROSTAT) under the MEDA funded MEDSTAT Regional Programme.

Brussels,12 11 2002
Stephane Quefelec
European union
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