Following its decision on 11 October, the EU Council on 14 October adopted a Common Position and a Regulation lifting the restrictive measures and the arms embargo against Libya as a result of the Libyan Government’s compliance with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, accepting the responsibility for actions of Libyan officials, payment of appropriate compensation and renunciation of terrorism. The arms embargo was imposed by the EU in 1986. The decisions are part of an EU policy of engagement towards Libya. More at http://europa.eu.int/news/index_en.htm (go to ‘Council’, right, then ‘EU Council’, left, and ‘Environment’).
* The European Commission and Syria on 19 October formally marked the end of negotiations for an EU-Syria Association Agreement. The text of the Agreement was initialled in Brussels by chief negotiators Abdullah al-Dardari, Head of the Syrian State Planning Commission, and Christian Leffler, European Commission Director for Relations with the Middle East and South Mediterranean. The Agreement will now be submitted for approval to the relevant Syrian authorities and the EU Council before ratification by the Syrian and European Parliaments, and Parliaments in EU Member States. Like all Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements, it covers all three chapters of the Barcelona Process (political and security; economic and financial; social, cultural and human), and includes respect for human rights and democratic principles as essential elements. Clauses on Fighting Terrorism, and on Non proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction are also contained. For more information: http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/syria/intro/index.htm
* Energy Ministers from the Mediterranean Partners meeting on 15 October in the Italian capital launched the Rome Euro-Mediterranean Energy Platform (REMEP), a focal point for enhancing Euro-Mediterranean Energy Co-operation by ensuring the practical implementation of the regional initiatives agreed at the Energy Ministerial meeting in Rome in December 2003. The 15 October meeting was held on the initiative of Italy’s Minister of Productive Activities Antonio Marzano and was also attended by European Commission Vice-President in charge of Energy and Transport, Loyola de Palacio. The Vice-President presented the MEDA funded Energy Neighbourhood Programme (see Euromed Synopsis No 282). During the meeting, it was agreed to enhance EU-Mashrak co-operation in the gas sector and to set up a co-ordinating office in Damascus. In the margins of the meeting, the Israeli and Palestinian Ministers in charge of Energy had talks with Ms de Palacio and agreed to open a joint Israel-Palestinian Authority Energy Office. More at http://europa.eu.int/comm/commissioners/palacio/index_en.html (click on ‘Press Release’, left and go to IP/04/1238).
* The 2nd Experts’ Committee of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) will meet on 25 and 26 October in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Its aim is to draw up practical proposals to be submitted to the FEMIP Ministerial Meeting planned for June 2005. The meeting will be opened by Dutch Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm on behalf of the EU Presidency, and the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank in charge of FEMIP, Philippe de Fontaine Vive. In a first session on Water and Sanitation, participants will look at the role of the private sector and the appropriate financial instruments to be used in the Mediterranean Region, and have an exchange of views on the experience gained in several Mediterranean Partners. A second session will be devoted to Transport, focusing on the possibility of creating a Euro-Mediterranean Transport Network, and considering possible private sector participation. Speakers will be senior representatives of EU and Mediterranean Partners’ banks, industry, business organisations, academic institutions, and the European Commission. http://www.eib.org
* Israeli President Moshe Katsav met European Commissioner designate for External Relations Benita Ferrero Waldner on 20 October in Vienna, Austria. Ms Ferrero Waldner received Mr Katsav mainly in her capacity as current Foreign Minister of Austria, but she took the opportunity to also use the visit as her first contact with the Israeli Head of State as incoming European Commissioner. In this context issues relating to bilateral EU-Israel relations and the Middle East Peace Process were discussed.
* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process will hold an Ad Hoc meeting on the Anna Lindh Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures on 26 October in Brussels. Discussions will focus on the main outstanding issues, the Foundation’s Statute and its Advisory Committee.
* The European Parliament (EP) Delegation for relations with the Mashrak Countries will meet on 27 October in Strasbourg, France. Preparations for the visit of a delegation from the Lebanese Parliament on 24 November in Brussels will be discussed, as well as the planning of the Delegation’s activities. The EP Delegation for relations with Israel will meet on the same day in the same city. There will be an exchange of views with Israel’s Ambassador to the EU, Oded Eran. The EP Delegation for relations with the Maghreb Countries and the Arab Maghreb Union will meet on 28 October, also in Strasbourg. The planning of the Delegation’s activities is on the agenda. For all three Delegations this will be the first regular meeting since the election of the new Parliament, and the calendar of meetings for 2005 will be discussed in all three meetings.
* The first meeting of the High-Level Group on Connecting the trans-European Transport network with EU neighbours was held on 18 and 19 October in Brussels. Participants reviewed criteria for the selection of priority axes and projects, and discussed financing and efficient use of the network. The meeting was chaired by European Commission Vice-President Loyola de Palacio, and brought together representatives of the EU Presidency, and all the EU’s neighbouring countries and territories, including the Mediterranean Partners and Libya as an observer. The European Investment Bank (EIB), the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development were invited as observers. The High-Level Group, established by the European Commission after the latest EU enlargement, has been tasked with making proposals to the Commission on how to better connect the EU with its neighbours. During the meeting the Commission stressed that it would analyse technical and administrative harmonisation, interoperability and traffic management, as well as safety and security. The Group should submit a first report late this year and complete its work by the autumn of 2005. http://europa.eu.int/news/index_en.htm .
* Youth leaders from all 10 Mediterranean Partners and the 8 new EU Member States who joined the Barcelona Process upon accession (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia) will meet from 22 to 26 October in Budapest on the initiative of the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform. The meeting aims to facilitate the integration of youth leaders from Central and Eastern Europe into the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. It should enable participants to learn more about the situation of young people in each other’s countries, and the Barcelona Process, and to initiate common activities. The Youth Platform was launched a year ago to enhance networking across the Euro-Mediterranean area. http://www.euromedp.org
* A meeting of the EU-Tunisia Sub-Committee on Industry, Trade and Services scheduled for 21 October in Tunis (see Euromed Synopsis No 287) has been postponed. The meeting should take place in mid-November, but no new date has yet been fixed.
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* ENHANCEMENT OF UM AR-RASSAS ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE IN JORDAN
The Delegation of the European Commission in Amman on 17 October announced that a contract for preservation and presentation works at Um Ar-Rassas Archaeological Site had been awarded by Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. The contract relates to the design of various installations, including a new shelter over floor mosaics, a visitors’ centre, and footpaths. It forms part of the EU-funded ‘Protection and promotion of Cultural Heritage in Jordan’ Programme. More at http://www.deljor.cec.eu.int
* TRAINING IN TUNISIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST
If you want to know about Education and vocational training in relation to the labour market in Tunisia, or Innovative practices in teacher and trainer training in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, and Syria, you can download two reports recently published by the European Training Foundation. The report on Tunisia is available in French from the following website http://www.etf.eu.int/website.nsf/Pages/C881F4F67B27EF32C1256EFD004AB63F/$FILE/MED_VET_Tunisia_04_FR.pdf and the report on training in the Middle East is on line in English at the following address http://www.etf.eu.int/website.nsf/Pages/82FD5DC0FDE2BE66C1256F0200524A84/$FILE/MEDA_TTT_InnovativePracticesInMashrek_03_EN.pdf
* EUROPE-EGYPT CO-OPERATION IN 2003 ON LINE SOON
The Annual Report on co-operation activities with Egypt funded by the EU and its Member States will be published soon on the web site of the European Commission Delegation in Cairo. http://www.eu-delegation.org.eg .
* FILM FESTIVAL FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN BEIRUT
An International Film Festival for Children and Youth entitled “Children on the margins create films” was held from 8 to 14 October in Beirut with financial support from the European Commission Delegation in Beirut as part of its local cultural activities 2004. The Festival, organised by the Arab Centre for Popular Arts/Al Jana, was a forum for children from disadvantaged communities around the world. Nearly 100 films made by children or with children’s participation were screened. http://www.dellbn.cec.eu.int
Brussels,10 25 2004