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Euromed News

DECISIONS

* The EU Council of Ministers on 31 January adopted a Decision authorising the signing of an EU-Egypt Scientific and Technological Co-operation Agreement. The Agreement will provide EU-Egypt Scientific and Technological Co-operation with a framework, allowing for the integration of Egypt’s scientific community into the European Research Area. One significant result will be increased Egyptian participation in the activities of the EU Research and Development Framework Programme (the 6th Programme in 2003-2006 and the 7th after 2007). An opinion on concluding the Agreement will be issued by the European Parliament after the signing.

* The EU Council of Ministers on 31 January adopted a Decision authorising the signing of a Protocol to the EU-Israel Association Agreement which adjusts the Agreement to take into account the accession of 10 new Member States to the EU last May. This is the third in a series of Protocols that need to be signed with Mediterranean Partners with which the EU has concluded an Association Agreement. Protocols regarding Egypt and Jordan have been already approved.

MEETINGS

* The EU Council meeting on 31 January in Brussels adopted Conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process whereby it offers President Mahmoud Abbas its warmest congratulations and commits itself to working with him and his Prime Minister with a view to achieving the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations through urgent implementation of the Road Map. The Council states its readiness to support and encourage efforts by both sides to re-establish political contacts at all levels, and says everything must be done to seize the opportunity offered by the new political context. The full statement is on line at http://europa.eu.int/news/index_en.htm (go to « Council », right, then on « Press », top left, select « General Affairs and External Relations »). During a press briefing after the Ministers’ lunch, the EU Council President and Luxembourg Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn stated: « This seems like a most appropriate time for a true re-launch of the Peace Process ». The full text is available from the web site http://www.eu2005.lu/fr/actualites/communiques/2005/01/3103asselborn-mepp/index.html .

* European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner will visit Egypt, Israel and the West Bank for the first time in her present capacity from 6 to 9 February. The Commissioner will have a first contact with EU Partners in the region. She will explain the advantages of the European Neighbourhood Policy, discuss the Middle East Peace Process, and bilateral relations. Ms Ferrero-Waldner will have high-level meetings in Cairo on 6 and 7 February. She will leave for Israel late on 7 February and stay there for part of the following day. Meetings are planned with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Vice-Prime Minister Shimon Peres, President Moshe Katsav, and civil society representatives. In Ramallah the Commissioner on 8 February will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, and Foreign Minister Nabeel Shaath.

* The informal Ad Hoc Group on Partnership Building Measures will meet on 9 February in Brussels. On maritime safety, the Group will discuss suggestions for setting up an early warning system for tsunamis, taking into account general guidelines resulting from the Action Plan adopted on 31 January by the EU Council (General Affairs and External Relations). On Civil Protection the Group will discuss drawing up plans for assistance in the event of a tsunami within the Euro-Mediterranean bridge programme on developing a scheme for reducing, preventing and managing natural and man-made disasters. That programme would follow up from the one carried out under MEDA until January 2004.

* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee for the Barcelona Process meeting on 27 January in Brussels (see Euromed Synopsis No 301) also approved an official logo for the 10 years of the Barcelona Process. The logo is now available (see p 6). We will go back on the modalities for use of the logo in next week’s issue.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* FOUR MED PARTNERS EXCHANGE EXPERIENCE AND IDEAS ON COMPETITION
Israeli, Maltese, Palestinian and Turkish representatives taking part in an intra-regional tailor-made seminar on Competition exchanged experience and information in this field, and identified possible areas of common concern and interest which require future action in the framework of a regional competition network still to be set up. The seminar was held from 24 to 27 January in Valletta, Malta as part of Phase II of the MEDA funded Euro-Med Market Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. Participants also stated that the seminar had enabled them to further improve their knowledge of the various aspects of competition. http://www.euromedmarket.org

* MED-INTERPRISE TUNISIA FOR EU-TUNISIA BUSINESS CO-OPERATION
Representatives of Tunisian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) specialising in Electric and Electronic Industries, Information and Communication Technology, and Agri-Food will meet their counterparts from Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the UK from 8 to 10 February in Tunis within the MEDA supported “MED-Interprise Tunisia” event, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. The event, organised by Tunisia’s Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA), aims to create opportunities for EU-Tunisia business co-operation. It is part of the Euro-Mediterranean SMEs Co-operation Regional Project. For more information: http://www.investintunisia.com (go to “Med Interprise Tunisie”).

* 16 LEBANESE PROJECTS FOR CIVIL SOCIETY
Sixteen projects of Lebanese Human Rights Organisations, selected for financing under the MEDA funded “Afkar” Programme (Arabic for “idea”) were presented to the press on 28 January in Beirut by the Lebanese Ministry for Administrative Reform and the European Commission Delegation in Beirut. The Afkar Programme, which receives € 1 million from MEDA, will support activities related to Training in Citizens’ Rights, Reconciliation and Dialogue between communities, as well as Legal and Social Support for legally vulnerable groups. Each project will receive around € 50,000, and € 195,000 have been earmarked for technical assistance and monitoring to be provided by “Emergences”, a European NGO specialising in Human Rights. More at
http://www.omsar.gov.lb/AFKAR/EN/Main/index.asp .

* € 75.8 MILLION OF MEDA FUNDS PAID OUT TO TUNISIA IN 2004
A total of € 75.8 million was paid out to Tunisia last year within MEDA bilateral activities, the European Commission Delegation announced on 28 January. The Delegation communiqué underlines that a high proportion of operations has been carried out under budgetary support, and that it shows EU-Tunisia co-operation is coming of age. That co-operation now addresses all the sectors which are key to the modernisation of Tunisia’s economy and society. More on http://www.deltun.cec.eu.int .

* MASTER CLASSES IN TRADITIONAL MEDITERRANEAN SINGING IN AMMAN
Masterclasses in Traditional Mediterranean Singing will be given from 9 to 11 February in Amman by a visiting lecturer from Beirut as part of the MEDA funded MediMuses project carried out under the Euromed Heritage II Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. http://www.medimuses.gr .

PUBLICATIONS

* A BOOK ON TUNIS IN THE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES
“Tunis 1800-1950. An Architectural and Urban Portrait” is the title of a book produced as part of the MEDA funded “Patrimoines partagés” (shared heritage) project. It will be presented in the Tunisian capital at an international conference on “Cities of World Heritage”, which will be held from 10 to 12 February. The project is part of the Euromed Heritage Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. More at http://www.patrimoinespartages.org .

* HOW TO FIND ANIMA STUDIES ON THE WEB
Erratum: Studies on Investment and Industrial Sectors produced as part of the ANIMA Programme can be found in the “Studies” section of the Programme’s web site, not in the “Documents” section as we mistakenly indicated in the previous issue. We apologise to our readers. http://www.animaweb.org

Brussels,02 07 2005
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