* EU Council President and Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn is visiting the Middle East on his first trip abroad as President of the EU Council. After meetings in Israel on 19 January with President Moshe Katzav, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Mr Asselborn was scheduled to meet the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Nabil Shaath, on 20 January in Gaza. During a press conference at the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Mr Asselborn stated that “Despite the recent terrorist attacks, we think, however, that it is important for the parties to seize the opportunity to restart the peace process. We must not allow these terrorist acts to sabotage the legitimate desire of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples for peace. The European Union will continue to support all those who aspire to security and peace”. The full statement is on line at http://www.eu2005.lu/en/index.html
* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security Issues will meet on 26 January in Brussels. The draft agenda is not available at the time of going to press, but it is likely that a presentation will be made of the priorities of the Luxembourg EU Presidency on the first Chapter of the Barcelona Process. Preparations for the 10th Anniversary of the Barcelona Process should also be discussed, as well as the follow-up to the meetings of the Ad Hoc Working Groups relevant to the first Chapter.
* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process will meet on 27 January in Brussels (draft agenda also not available). There is likely to be a presentation of the priorities of the Luxembourg EU Presidency on the Economic/Financial and the Social/Cultural/Human Chapters of the Barcelona Process. The Committee should then discuss preparations for the 10th Anniversary of the Barcelona Process, and it will be informed by the European Commission of activities to enhance the visibility of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. In addition, in its capacity as Board of Governors of the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, the Committee will discuss the issue of the appointment of the Foundations’s President and Vice-President, the Foundation’s Work Programme, Rules of Procedure and Budget. The Foundation’s Inaugural Session should also be discussed.
* The European Parliament (EP) Delegation for Relations with the Maghreb Countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (including Libya) will meet on 25 January in Brussels. EU-Libya relations will be discussed in the presence of the Head of the Mission of Libya to the EU, Hamed Ahmed Elhouderi, and EU-Mauritania relations will be discussed in the presence of the Mauritanian Ambassador to the EU, Sidi Ould Khalifa.
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* POSITIVE DATA RELEASED AT EURO-MEDITERRANEAN INVESTMENT SUMMIT
The Mediterranean Partners attracted many more major foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in 2004 than a year before, according to the latest yearly ANIMA study of FDI in the MEDA Region, presented at the first Euro-Mediterranean Investment Summit held in Marseilles on 13 and 14 January, bringing together decision-makers from both sides of the Mediterranean. The Summit was organised by Economist Conferences with the support of the MEDA funded ANIMA Programme (Euro-Mediterranean Network of Investment Promotion Agencies) designed to promote investment in the Mediterranean Partners, and managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. Speakers included Ministers from Mediterranean Partners and EU Member States, senior executives of over 20 businesses, as well as academics and senior representatives of business associations, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Commission, and the World Bank. Panel discussions addressed issues such as the External Perception of the Region, De-location, New sources of project financing, Privatisation, and Free Trade Areas, and workshops looked at a variety of industries. The FDI study is available from the ANIMA web site, as well as another very recent paper on another subject discussed at the Summit, Privatisation Programmes in the Mediterranean Partners. http://www.animaweb.org/study.php
* MEDSTAT STATISCAL CO-OPERATION OFF TO A NEW START
The basic framework for the next chapter of the MEDA funded Regional Statistical Co-operation Programme (MEDSTAT) was laid out by the Programme’s Directors’ Committee meeting on 17 and 18 January in Brussels. The meeting brought together Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean partners’ Statistical Offices and other relevant administrations, as well as representatives of the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office who manage the Programme, and the EU Statistical Office (Eurostat) who provide technical expertise. The outcome of MEDSTAT I was outlined by the European Commission, but the meeting mainly focused on MEDSTAT II, which is currently being reinforced. Participants had a very fruitful discussion, looking at the Programme’s second phase as a whole, then examining a number of sectoral strands, as well as the data transmission and dissemination strategy, and co-ordination between MEDSTAT and other statistical co-operation programmes. All stakeholders were present, and many EU Member States had sent representatives. The meeting was opened by EuropeAid’s Director for the South Mediterranean/Near and Middle East, Richard Weber, and Eurostat’s Director for External Relations Statistics, Pieter Everaers.
* PROMOTION OF COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION IN MED REGION
Commercial Arbitration and other Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques will be promoted in the Mediterranean Partners under a MEDA funded “MED-ADR” Project, which is starting this January. The 3-year MED-ADR Project has been allocated over € 1.1 million under MEDA. It is managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office, and implemented by the ADR Center srl, a highly specialised consortium contracted recently by the European Commission. Activities to be carried out as part of the Project include Dissemination of information on dispute settlement techniques, Training of specialists, Technical Assistance to relevant institutions in Mediterranean Partners, and Standardisation of contractual instruments. MED-ADR should facilitate trade and investment between the EU and the Mediterranean Partners, notably operations involving small and medium-sized enterprises, by offering a smoother way of resolving disputes.
* SMAP WORKSHOP ON MAINSTREAMING ENVIRONMENT IN MOROCCO
A Workshop on Mainstreaming the Environment in Sectoral Policies will take place on 27 and 28 January in Rabat under the MEDA funded Regional “SMAP” Short and Medium Term Priority Environmental Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. The Workshop aims to discuss the mechanisms through which sustainable development goals can be promoted effectively in different policy areas at national level, and to encourage cross-sectoral thinking and collaboration. Emphasis will be placed on the provision of environmental integration tools such as case studies and good practices for sound environmental management. Participants will be officials from various Ministries and experts working with environment-related departments or entities, as well as other stakeholders including local and international NGOs working in Morocco. A similar workshop was held in Egypt last December, and another one should take place in February in Lebanon.
* RESEARCH & POLICY PAPERS WANTED
A Call for Research & Policy Papers on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership has been published recently by the MEDA supported Network of Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Policy Institutes (EuroMeSCo). Interested individual researchers are invited to submit abstracts of their proposed papers by 31 January. Details are available from the EuroMeSCo web site: http://www.euromesco.net
* TRAINING SEMINAR ON MARITIME AND PORT FACILITY SECURITY
A Training Seminar on Maritime and Port Facility Security will be held in Valletta, Malta from 24 to 28 January as part of the MEDA funded Euromed Transport Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office.
* NEW EUROMESCO PUBLICATIONS ON DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE
Two publications have been issued recently by the MEDA supported Euro-Mediterranean Network of Foreign Policy Institutes (EuroMeSCo). One is the report of a working group on “Promoting Democracy in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”, the other a paper entitled “Governance, Civil Society and Security in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: Lessons for a more effective Partnership”. Both publications are available on line at http://www.euromesco.net
*NEW MOROCCAN AMBASSADOR IN BRUSSELS
The New Ambassador of Morocco to the EU, Menouar Alem, on 18 January presented his letter of accreditation to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. Mr Alem was formerly Director for European Affairs in the Moroccan Foreign Ministry.
Brussels,01 24 2005