* "It is a first but meaningful and important step towards the two-state solution supported by the international community through the Road Map elaborated by the Quartet", EU High Representative Javier Solana commented on 27 October after the vote in the Israeli Knesset on the Gaza withdrawal plan. Mr Solana's declaration and the summary of the EU's position on the withdrawal are on the web at http://europa.eu.int/news/index_en.htm (please go to 'Council', right; click on 'Press', top left, and go to 'Latest news').
* After a meeting with the Palestinian Authority's Foreign Minister Nabeel Shaath on 22 October in Brussels, EU High Representative Javier Solana reiterated that "The position of the European Union continues to be the defence of the Road Map". A summary of Mr Solana's remarks is available from the web site mentioned above.
* The 2nd Experts' Committee of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) meeting on 25 and 26 October in Amsterdam, the Netherlands called for the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean Transport Network, and the reinforcement of public private partnerships in the Water/Sanitation and Transport sectors. More specifically, the Experts' Committee proposed to improve donor co-ordination, to develop the capacity of the public sector to create and regulate public private partnerships, and to consider local currency lending in Water and Transport in the Mediterranean region. The meeting, whose conclusions will help prepare next year's FEMIP Ministerial, was co-chaired 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. Speakers were senior representatives of EU Member States, Mediterranean Partners, European and Mediterranean banks, industry, business organisations, academic institutions, and the European Commission. More details at http://www.eib.org .
* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process on 26 October agreed on the membership of the Anna Lindh Foundation's Advisory Committee. At an Ad Hoc meeting held in Brussels and entirely devoted to the Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures, the Euro-Med Committee decided to appoint six members from each side of the Mediterranean. The appointees will get together for the first time with the Foundation's Executive Director, Traugott Schöfthaler, at an informal meeting of the Foundation's National Networks on 11 November. The list of Advisory Committee members is available on line under 'Documents' at http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/index.htm (click on 'Euromed Foundation', bottom left). Good progress was made on the Foundation's Statute during the Ad Hoc meeting, but further discussions need to take place before the text can be completed.
* The Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum's Maritime Transport Working Group held its 3rd meeting on 27 October in Brussels. European Commission representatives provided updates of EU policies and/or legislation on Maritime policy issues, Maritime Security, Short Sea Shipping, and Ports while Mediterranean Partners' representatives outlined their policies and activities in those areas. There was a presentation of the maritime activities of the MEDA funded Euromed Transport Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission's EuropeAid Cooperation Office. A first presentation was made of the diagnosis of maritime transport in the Mediterranean region, prepared under a Euromed Transport project. The diagnosis will be officially presented at the Euro-Mediterranean Transport Forum scheduled for 15-16 December in Brussels. It was also announced that two training seminars would be held under the Euromed Transport Programme, one on maritime and port facility security probably in late January in Malta, the other on ports early next year. The 'Motorways of the Sea' concept was also presented and discussed. European Commission representatives pointed out that the Neighbourhood Policy Indicative Programme 2004-2006, which received the green light from the MED Committee, provides for funding activities in maritime safety and short sea shipping.
* Youth leaders from the 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) met from 22 to 26 October in Budapest in the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform. This enabled youth leaders from Central and Eastern Europe to become more familiar with Euro-Mediterranean programmes and activities. In addition, new projects and activities have been identified during individual meetings. Discussions focused particularly on the situation of minorities, unemployment, and gender issues. More at http://www.euromedp.org (an Arabic version has been added recently).
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* SEMINAR ON CYBER-CRIME FOR MEDITERRANEAN OFFICIALS
Police officers and other officials engaged in fighting IT based illegal activities in the Euro-Mediterranean Region will take part in the first Euro-Mediterranean training seminar on Cyber-crime from 1 to 5 November in Wyboston, UK. The seminar will be held as part of 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 will be organised with the help of the UK Centre for National High Tech Crime Training. Sessions will cover subjects such as High Tech Financial Crime, the Council of Europe Cyber-crime Convention, High Tech Crime Investigations, Training Facilities, and Searches and Seizures.
* FIRST CENTRE FOR THE PROMOTION OF WOMEN IN MOROCCO
A MEDA supported Information, Documentation and Study Centre on Women's Issues was opened recently in Rabat at a ceremony chaired by Ms Zulikha Nasri, Advisor to H M King Mohammed VI, and Ms Yasmina Baddu, Secretary of State in charge of Family Issues, and attended by the Head of the European Commission Delegation in Morocco, Sean Doyle. The new Centre's role will be to support government decisions on the ground, and to co-ordinate national and local actions for women, whilst creating links between civil society actors. The Centre, which will first operate as a pilot project, will gather and disseminate information, carry out surveys, and make proposals on the situation of women in Morocco. The Centre will receive € 1.72 million (around 90% of total cost) from MEDA over 2 years under the Support to Human Development and Social Integration project.
* MEDA PROGRAMME WILL BOOST EFFICIENCY OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION IN MOROCCO
The efficiency of Morocco's public administration will get a boost from a MEDA funded Programme of Support to Public Sector Reform, for which the € 79 million Financing Agreement was signed on 22 October in Rabat by the Moroccan Finance Minister Fathallah Oualalou, and the Head of the European Commission Delegation in Rabat, Sean Doyle. The Programme aims to improve the management of budgetary and human resources by enhancing accountability and introducing recruitment and promotion reform, as well as continuous training. http://www.delmar.cec.eu.int
* INFORMATION DAY ON DELTA CULTURAL HERITAGE PROJECT IN ISRAEL
An Information Day for the MEDA funded DELTA Project in Israel will take place on 4 November in the village of Gush Halav (El Gish). DELTA supports the integrated regional planning of heritage conservation and management as part of the Euromed Heritage II Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission's EuropeAid Cooperation Office. The project is co-ordinated by Italy's Mediterranean Institute (IMED). For further information on activities in Israel: firstname.lastname@example.org
* 'EARLY BIRD' OFFER FOR EURO-MED INVESTMENT FORUM
A Forum on Investment in the Euro-Mediterranean Region will take place on 13 and 14 January, 2005 in Marseilles, France. It is organised by Economist Conferences with the support of the MEDA funded ANIMA Programme designed to promote investment in the Mediterranean Partners, and managed by the European Commission's EuropeAid Cooperation Office. Decision-makers wishing to take part can get a preferential rate of € 597 (taxes not incl.) instead of the normal € 1,195 subject to full payment being received before 15 November 2004. Please contact EuroMed@development-institute.com . More details at http://www.animaweb.org/news_en.php?id_news=191
* ONGOING LEBANESE PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS NOW ON LINE
News of EU-Lebanon co-operation programmes and projects 2004-2005 is now available in English and French from the European Commission Delegation web site: http://www.dellbn.cec.eu.int under 'Our projects in Lebanon'. The Arabic version can be requested by e-mail from email@example.com.
* JAZZ AND FILM FESTIVAL TAKINGS GO TO MOROCCAN CHARITIES
The nearly € 12,000 raised by this year's Jazz and Film Festivals organised by the European Commission Delegation in Rabat were handed over to four Moroccan charities on 20 October. Nearly € 5,000 provided to the Salé-based Al Mohammedia association will help set up a specialised centre for handicapped children. Another € 2,700 will go towards building a multipurpose hall for an organisation that stages cultural and social events for young people in the Zagora area. The Moroccan committee of support for rural girls will receive some € 2,500 for the renovation of two homes. Finally € 1,800 will help a rural association buy bicycles for girls who live too far away from school to be able to walk.
Brussels,11 02 2004