The Lebanese Authorities on 7 January notified the EU Council of Ministers of the ratification by their country of the EU-Lebanon Association Agreement, and of the EU-Lebanon Interim Agreement. Consequently the latter will enter into force on 1 March. Both agreements had been signed last June, and were endorsed by the Lebanese Parliament in December. They have recently been published in Lebanon's Official Journal, which establishes full ratification. The Association Agreement has to be ratified by the European Parliament, which is scheduled to discuss it on 15 January, and by the Parliaments of all 15 EU Member States. The Interim Agreement, which was ratified by the EU Council last July, will bring about quick implementation of the Association Agreement's trade provisions in advance of full ratification of the Agreement itself. It has been published in the Official Journal of the European Communities (L 262 of 30 September 2002).
* The 7th round of negotiations for new Agricultural Protocols within the EU-Morocco Association Agreement will be held on 14 January in Rabat. Renegotiation of the Protocols is provided for in Article 18 of the Association Agreement.
* The 6th EU-Egypt Joint Parliamentary Meeting will take place on 15 and 16 January in Strasbourg, France. The Egyptian Delegation will have working sessions with the European Parliament (EP) Delegation for relations with the Mashrak countries and the Gulf, as well as bilateral meetings with representatives of the main EP political groups. They will attend the EP's plenary session on 16 January. The Egyptian Delegation will include the Chairman of the People's Assembly of Egypt's Foreign Affairs Committee Dr Mustafa El Feki, and Egypt's Ambassador to the EU, HE Soliman Awaad. This will be the first visit to the European Parliament by an Egyptian Parliamentary Delegation since 1987.
* The European Parliament Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union will meet on 15 January in Strasbourg, France. There will be exchanges of views on a possible visit of a working group to Morocco and Mauritania in late February, and on the priorities for the work of the Delegation.
* A Business Centres Conference will bring together the managers of all the MEDA funded Private Sector Development Programmes or PSDPs (Business Centres and Industrial Modernisation Programmes) on 16 and 17 January in Brussels. The conference is organised by the European Commission. It will be an opportunity for all stakeholders in PSDPs (programme managers; European Commission officials from Brussels Headquarters and Delegations in the Mediterranean) to reflect on past experience, and discuss orientations for the future of this type of programmes. Presentations will be made of each Business Centre (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia). In addition, and as a novelty, government representatives have been invited to discuss the linkages between the EC-funded private sector development programmes, and their respective national policies for industrial modernisation. Two parallel workshops will be devoted to 'Facing the Challenge of Industrial Modernisation in the MEDA Region – is there a Recipe for Success?', and 'MEDA Business Centres – new services and better working methods for the Future' respectively. Information stands will enable PSDPs to display information tools such as brochures, studies, and CD-ROMs.
* The Working Group on Euro-Mediterranean Industrial Co-operation will hold its next meeting on 16 and 17 January in Brussels. Presentations will be made of EU Enterprise Policy, EU SME Policy, and of the state of play of the 3 MEDA funded technical assistance programmes in this area (Investment Promotion Programme; Programme on Innovation, Technology, and Quality; and Euro-Med Market). Harmonisation of standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment systems will also be discussed. The meeting will be attended by representatives of Euro-Mediterranean governments, EU employer organisations, and international organisations such as the World Bank, OECD, and UNCTAD.
* An Evaluation Seminar is taking place from 8 to 12 January in Barcelona, Spain within the Salto-Youth project (Support for Advanced Learning and Training Opportunities) supported by MEDA under the EUROMED-YOUTH Regional Programme. The meeting is organised by Salto co-ordinators (France's National Institute for Youth and Non Formal Education), and hosted by Catalonia's regional government. It aims at assessing the impact of the project's training courses, and at making proposals for the future, especially as regards networking and partnership building in a Euro-Mediterranean context.
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* FIGHTING DESERTIFICATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND IN TUNISIA
€ 3 million of MEDA funding will be made available to a World Bank trust fund and directed to the Cairo-based International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) for fighting desertification in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, and Tunisia. The contract for EU support to this 'Regional Initiative for Dryland Management' has been signed recently. MEDA support goes to Phase II of the 'Regional Initiative for Dryland Management', which aims at promoting the development of selected drainage areas, drawing up regional guidelines for treated wastewater and biosolid use, and identifying policy options for reversing natural resource degradation and reducing poverty. The drainage area development component involves water harvesting techniques, identifying plant species, grazing and small ruminant feeding practices, and protected area management.
* INSTITUTIONAL MODERNISATION IN SYRIA
The European Commission on 24 December launched a tender for setting up a programme management unit for a 3-year institutional modernisation programme in Syria. The tender is for technical assistance activities, which will cover both definition and implementation of the programme. An amount of € 5.82 million has been earmarked for the operation. The Syrian government has agreed to proceed with the programme, and the tender is open until 27 January. See also 'Funding Opportunities'section on page 3.
* THE EURO-MEDITERRANEAN REGION IN FIGURES
Population, GDP, unemployment, inflation, external trade, industry, transport, the environment, and tourism in figures: it is all in the twice-yearly 'Euro-Mediterranean statistics' published recently by Eurostat, the EU Statistical Office, in a 3-language edition (English, French, and Arabic). Data for the publication were compiled under the MEDA funded MEDSTAT Regional Programme. 'Euro-Mediterranean statistics' can be downloaded from Eurostat's website
* SMALL BUSINESSES IN TUNISIA
The latest issue (No 6) of 'ETE-NEWS', the newsletter produced by Tunisia's Private Sector Development Programme 'Euro-Tunisie Entreprise, was published recently. It focuses on support to small and medium-sized enterprises in Tunisia.
* EXPERTS WANTED FOR DRAWING UP COUNTRY PROFILES
A 'Call for Candidates' was launched recently by the Institut de la Méditerranée and the Economic Research Forum for the Arab Countries, Iran and Turkey (ERF) within the Euro-Mediterranean Forum of Economic Institutes (FEMISE) for the selection of experts who will draw up 'Country Profiles' of four Mediterranean Partners (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia). Those economic studies will cover five areas (Finance; Fiscal Matters; Trade; Labour & Human Resource Development; Governance & Institutional Issues). The application deadline is 31 January. Other profiles of Mediterranean Partners will be prepared subsequently. Applications forms can be downloaded from
Brussels,01 14 2003
European Union Redaction