* The Luxembourg Presidency of the EU Council, EU High Representative Javier Solana, and European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner strongly condemned the Beirut bomb attack which caused the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and a number of other civilians. Mr Hariri « shall be remembered for his efforts to rebuild Lebanon and for strengthening relations between Lebanon and the EU », according to the EU Presidency statement released on 14 February. Mr Solana stated that the trauma suffered by Lebanon and the Lebanese would have to be overcome in unity and serenity. « The Commission will continue to support reform efforts and Lebanon’s maturing democracy – through the Association Agreement soon to enter into force, and in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy », said Ms Ferrero-Waldner on 16 February. The Presidency and Commission statements stress the importance of the holding of free and fair legislative elections in Lebanon this spring. The EU Presidency Declaration is available on line at
http://www.eu2005.lu/en/actualites/pesc/2005/02/14Beyrouth/index.html . Mr Solana’s statement can be downloaded from the web site http://europa.eu.int/news/index_en.htm (go to « Council », right and click on « Solana », left). The Commissioner’s statement can be found at http://europa.eu.int/comm/commission_barroso/ferrero-waldner/news/index_en.htm
* EU High Representative Javier Solana had telephone conversations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 9 and 11 February respectively. Mr Solana congratulated the two leaders on the positive outcome of the Sharm-el-Sheikh summit held on 8 February. The High Representative assured Mr Sharon and Mr Abbas of the EU’s full support for their efforts to renew Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. More at http://europa.eu.int/news/index_en.htm (go to « Council », right and click on « Solana », left).
* The European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Israel will meet on 23 February in Strasbourg. There will be an exchange of views on the situation in the Middle East in the presence of EU Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process Marc Otte. Another exchange of views will be held with Israel’s Ambassador to the EU, Oded Eran on the subject of EU-Israel Relations. A presentation will be made of the European Jewish Congress by Secretary General Serge Cwajgenbaum. Finally the calendar of meetings in 2005 will be discussed.
* A Conference entitled « Dialogue between Peoples and Cultures, The Artists and the Cultural Actors » will take place on 25 and 26 February in Brussels on the European Commission’s initiative. Subjects to be discussed include « The Arts Festival as an Intercultural Dialogue Experience », « The Leading Cities in the Intercultural Dialogue », and « Europe and the Intercultural Dialogue ». European Commissioner for Education, training, culture and multilingualism Jan Figel’ will take part in the opening and closing sessions. Speakers will include personalities from the Mediterranean region and/or involved in Euro-Mediterranean dialogue such as writer Malek Chebel, Director General of the Fes Sacred Music Festival Fawzi Skali, President of « Actions in the Mediterranean » Simone Susskind, and piano-player Abdel Rahman El Bacha. http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/programmes/ajm/
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* EXCHANGE OF EXPERIENCE ON COMBATING DRUGS
Officials from most Mediterranean Partners working within operational units engaged in fighting financial crime or customs services exchanged experience and ideas during the 2nd Seminar on Combating Drugs held as part of the MEDA funded Euromed Police Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. The Seminar was the first to take place in a Mediterranean Partner. It was held in Amman recently with the help of the Jordanian Interior Ministry’s Directorate General for Public Security. Participants discussed Prevention of drug use, Synthetic drugs, Drug transport, as well as Regional and international co-operation. They also assessed the feasibility of setting up a contact network to establish the groundwork for a future co-operation platform.
* MIDDLE EAST MUNICIPALITIES REWARDED FOR ROLE IN WATER MANAGEMENT
Israeli and Palestinian schools and municipalities involved in water saving and water pollution control schemes and developing co-operation relationships on water-related issues presented their activities and received awards at the Knesset Commission for Future Generations on 14 February in Jerusalem. Municipalities in Israel (Jewish and Arab communities), the Palestinian Territories and Jordan all participate in the “Good Water Neighbours project” which encouraged this process. The project was launched by “Friends of the Earth-Middle East”, with the joint support of the EU under the MEDA Regional Environment Programme (SMAP) and of the U.S. “Wye River” facility. The meeting was chaired by Galib Magadla, Knesset Member. The Head of Delegation of the European Commission to Israel, Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal, and a Member of the European Parliament, David Hammerstein, took part in the awarding ceremony, which was attended by a large number of students, their families and school teachers, in addition to municipal authorities.
* NEARLY 600 EURO-MED MEETINGS AT MED INTERPRISE TUNISIA
Nearly 600 meetings took place between representatives of 59 Tunisian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) specialising in Electric and Electronic Industries, Information and Communication Technology, and Agri-Food, and their counterparts from Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the UK (105 in total) 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), was part of the Euro-Mediterranean SMEs Co-operation Regional Project.
* € 680,000 FOR MICRO-PROJECTS OF JORDANIAN NGOS
A total of € 680,000 granted under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office, will enable Jordanian NGOs to carry out local initiatives designed to promote human rights, the rule of law, and democracy. The European Commission Delegation in Amman on 15 February launched a Call for Proposals for micro-projects due to be awarded between € 30,000 and € 100,000 each. For further details see the Delegation web site http://www.deljor.cec.eu.int/en/eu_and_jordan/callforprop_EIDHRMP.htm . Other activities in the field of human rights have been funded or planned in Jordan under the MEDA Programme. A total of € 5 million has been allocated for technical assistance over the period 2005-2006. On the ground seven local human rights projects are currently being financed by the European Commission for a total of € 800,000 as part of the « Sharaka » Programme (Arabic for « partnership »). Other projects should follow in March.
* MASTER CLASSES AND CONCERTS OF MEDITERRANEAN TRADITIONAL MUSIC IN LONDON
Master classes and concerts of Mediterranean Traditional Music will take place from 24 to 26 February in London within the « International Voice Meeting » staged under the MediMuses project, part of the MEDA funded Euromed Heritage II Regional Programme, which is managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. The Meeting will bring together musicians from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, France, and Greece, as well as teachers from Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, France, and Greece. http://www.medimuses.gr et http://www.euromedheritage.net .
* DOCUMENTS ON MARITIME AND PORT FACILITY SECURITY ON THE WEB
Presentations made at the MEDA funded training seminar on Maritime and Port Facility Security held from 24 to 28 January in Malta as part of the Euromed Transport Regional Project are now available on the project’s web site. Euromed Transport is managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. The documents are related to the subjects addressed at the seminar (Implementing the international legal framework on maritime security in the Euro-Mediterranean area ; How to implement security regulations on board and in ports ; and Case Studies on the ports of Malta and Greece’s Piraeus. http://www.euromedtransport.org/downloads/ts/ts_en.htm .
* FIRST BULLETIN ON REHABILITATING MEDITERRANEAN ARCHITECTURE
News of rehabilitation of Mediterranean Traditional Architecture from Jerusalem to Barcelona can be found in the first quarterly bulletin issued by the MEDA funded RehabiMed project, part of the Euromed Heritage Regional Programme. Euromed Heritage is managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office, and the RehabiMed project is co-ordinated by Barcelona’s College for technical architects (Collegi d’Aparelladors i arquitectes tecnics). The RehabiMed bulletin is available in French, Spanish, and Arabic on the project’s web site : http://www.rehabimed.net .
Brussels,02 21 2005