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Euromed News


The European Commission on 6 October recommended to start accession negotiations with Mediterranean Partner Turkey under certain conditions. The recommendation was made on the basis of a comprehensive report assessing the situation as regards human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the protection of minorities. The decision on whether to start negotiations will be taken in December by the European Council composed of EU Heads of State or government. For further information http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/report_2004/


* At the end of the 5th Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Industry Ministers held on 3 and 4 October in Caserta, Italy, nine Mediterranean Partners signed the “Caserta Declaration” through which they adopt the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Enterprise. The Netherlands as holder of the EU Council Presidency, Italy as host country, and European Commissioner Jan Figel also initialled the Declaration. Turkey as an EU candidate country is already part of the European Charter process. The Charter will be the common framework for developing effective policies to improve enterprise competitiveness and support private sector development in the region. Ministers decided to enhance co-operation in 2005-2006 on Administrative Simplification, Education for Entrepreneurship, and Access to Finance. The Conference was provided with comprehensive information on MEDA funded activities for industrial co-operation and private sector development, both at regional and bilateral level. Those have accounted for over € 1.6 billion since 1995. The Conference was co-organised by the European Commission, the Dutch EU Presidency, and the Italian authorities. It was co-chaired by Dutch Minister of Trade Karien van Gennip and Italy’s Minister for Productive Activities Antonio Marzano. The Conference Conclusions have been sent out as Euromed Report No 82. They will also be available from http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/publication.htm

* In response to recent events in the Gaza Strip, Dutch Foreign Minister and President of the EU Council Bernard Bot on 6 October spoke by telephone with his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom and with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei. Minister Bot urged them to end the violence and return to the negotiating table in accordance with the road map to peace. More at http://www.eu2004.nl . EU High Representative Javier Solana on 1 October strongly condemned escalating violence in the Palestinian Territories. Mr Solana urged both sides to resume their bilateral security co-operation. More at http://ue.eu.int/solana

* The 3rd EU-Jordan Association Council will take place on 11 October in Luxembourg. The implementation of the EU-Jordan Association Agreement will be discussed, as well as Jordan’s involvement in the European Neighbourhood Policy, and the Reform Process in Jordan. Under Regional Issues the partners will look at the Barcelona Process, the Agadir Process, and the EU Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Under Political Dialogue, subjects of common interest will be discussed, notably the Middle East Peace Process, Iraq, Co-operation in the fight against Terrorism, and Co-operation on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

* European Commission Vice-President responsible for Energy and Transport Loyola de Palacio visited Libya on 4 and 5 October. She met Libyan Leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Prime Minister Shoukri Ganem, and the Minister for Civil Aviation. Prospects for EU-Libya co-operation on Energy and Transport when Libya joins the Barcelona Process were discussed. Ms De Palacio underlined the key role that could be played by Libya in the integration of Euro-Mediterranean energy markets, notably through the integration of Maghreb and Mashrak networks. More at
http://europa.eu.int/comm/commissioners/palacio/index_en.html . (Please click on ‘Press Release’ and
go to IP/04/1179)

* The 1st EU-Morocco Sub-Committee on Industry, Trade and Services will take place on 13 October in Rabat. On Industry the follow up to the Caserta Conference (see above) will be discussed, as well as the approximation of standards and technical regulations. On Trade Sub-Committee members will take stock of liberalisation so far, and the impact of EU Enlargement on the Association Agreement. They will look at how to further bilateral trade liberalisation and examine some practical issues of implementation. The follow up to the Istanbul Ministerial Conference held last July is also on the agenda. On Services, ways to launch bilateral negotiations will be discussed.

* The Med Committee will meet on 13 October in Brussels. Opinions are expected to be given on Tunisia’s National Financing Plan 2004, a Supplement to the Financing Plan 2004 for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the MEDA Global Allocation 2004-2005 for financing small-scale operations, and the New Neighbourhood Programme’s ‘Strategy Paper and Indicative Programme for countries under the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership’ 2004-2006. In addition, committee members will have an exchange of views on Evaluation.


Three financing agreements for programmes funded under MEDA II were signed on 30 September in Cairo, in the presence of Egypt’s Prime Minister Dr Ahmed Nazif, by the country’s Minister of State for International Co-operation Fayza Abu El Naga, and the European Commission’s Director for Co-operation with the South Mediterranean, Near and Middle-East, Richard Weber. The three programmes, totalling € 112 million in EU grants, cover the textile industry, small businesses, and the financial sector respectively. The € 80 million Support to the Spinning and Weaving Sector project will facilitate the development of a market-oriented textile industry that will create new jobs and increase the employability of public sector staff after restructuring. The project has a strong social component, which is also the case for the Programme for Small and very small Businesses (€ 17 million), which aims at providing loans through the Egyptian Social Fund for Development with a view to creating jobs in socially oriented activities. Finally the Financial and Investment Co-operation project (€ 15 million) will offer technical assistance to the Central Bank of Egypt, the Capital Market Authority, and public sector banks.

Officials and experts from the countries involved in the Agadir Agreement on sub-regional free trade (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia) on 30 September agreed to install by the end of October a Technical Committee tasked with drawing up an action plan for the harmonisation of procedures, ensuring a common interpretation of ‘Agadir’ rules of origin, and implementing training, information, and awareness-raising programmes. This was the main result of an Intra-Regional Seminar on ‘Pan-Euro-Mediterranean rules of origin and the Agadir Agreement’ held from 27 to 30 September in Amman within the MEDA funded EuroMed Market Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. Participants also agreed that the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Protocol on rules of origin needs to be adopted soon, and stated it would be desirable that Arab Mediterranean Partners having signed Agreements with the EU join the Agadir Agreement or conclude free trade agreements among themselves. http://www.euromedmarket.org

Officials from customs services and operational units fighting financial crime in the Mediterranean Partners took part in the 1st Euro-Mediterranean training seminar on Money Laundering, held from 27 September to 1 October in Loures near Lisbon, 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’). The seminar was organised with the help of the Portuguese Police’s National Training Centre. Many isues related to money laundering were examined and discussed. Participants could exchange views and experiences, and showed great interest in the possibility of setting up a network for future co-operation.

Two Financing Agreements for MEDA funded programmes of support to Algeria’s Educational and Judicial Reform were signed on 3 and 4 October respectively in Algiers by the European Commission’s Head of Delegation in Algeria, Lucio Guerrato, and Senior Officials in the country’s Education and Justice Ministries. The € 17 million Programme of Support to Educational Reform aims at improving the quality of Algeria’s education system by supporting training of teaching and managerial staff, the fight against academic failure, the development of a statistical information system, and the improvement of the system’s management. The € 15 million Programme of support to the Algerian government’s policy of Judicial Reform will involve supporting the country’s judicial authorities and Justice Ministry, helping relevant schools and training institutes, and contributing to the modernisation and IT equipment of public prosecutors’ departments. Both programmes will be implemented over 4 years.

The 2nd Seminar on EU Basics for Mediterranean Civil Servants will be held from 11 to 15 October in Brussels as part of the MEDA funded ‘Training of Public Administrations’ Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. A total of 12 such seminars will provide up to 720 civil servants from the Mediterranean Partners with basic knowledge of the EU. Each seminar addresses the Origins and Evolution of the EU, the EU Institutions and Decision-Making Process, EU Policies and Law, as well as Key aspects of the Euro-Mediterranean Process, and the MEDA Programme. ‘EU Basics’ is one of four modules, the others being ‘EU Advanced’, ‘EU Programmes’, and ‘Train the Trainers’. Creating a network of training centres is also envisaged under the programme. http://www.eipa.nl (click on Projects and go to “Euromed Training of Public Administrations”).

A Training Seminar on Biodiversity Statistics will be held from 11 to 15 October in Malta within the Environment strand (MED-ENV) of the MEDA funded MEDSTAT Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office with technical assistance from the EU Statistical Office (Eurostat). The seminar aims at creating a common understanding among Mediterranean Partners of assessment and classification methods for endangered species (animals and plants), and protected areas. It will also cover the collection and handing over of data under the international Biodiversity Convention. The seminar is organised in co-operation with Malta’s National Statistical Office.

Over 300 stakeholders from the public and private sectors and civil society representatives exchanged views and discussed the priorities to be addressed by the future MEDA funded ‘South Sinai Regional Development Programme’ (worth € 64 million) at a Conference held from 27 to 29 September in Sharm-el-Sheikh under the auspices of Egypt’s Prime Minister Dr Ahmed Nazif. The Conference was co-chaired by the Governor of South Sinai, General Mustafa Afifi, and the European Commission’s Director for Co-operation with the South Mediterranean, Near and Middle-East, Richard Weber. The opening ceremony was also attended by Egyptian Minister of State for International Co-operation Fayza Abu El Naga, and Environment Minister Maged George. Six workshops were held to discuss Environment & Sustainable Development; Local Development; Cultural Heritage; Social Development; Equipment & Capacity Building; and Public Awareness. The European Commission has already funded four other projects in South Sinaï for a total amount of € 22.8 million. http://www.eu-delegation.org.eg

Bruxelles,10 11 2004
European Union
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