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The European Investment Bank on 16 January announced it was lending € 20 million to Morocco’s National Drinking Water Office (ONEP) for schemes to upgrade the environmental operating conditions of 7 drinking water treatment plants in northern and central parts of the country, including the Bou Regreg complex serving Rabat and Casablanca. The project will eliminate environmentally hazardous wastewater discharges and ensure more efficient use of water resources. www.eib.org


Moroccan law professor Assia Alaoui Bensalah, French journalist Jean Daniel, Italian writer Umberto Eco, Swiss professor and author Tariq Ramadan, and 13 other intellectuals from both shores of the Mediterranean meet for the first time on 23 January in Brussels to discuss Euro-Mediterranean Cultural Dialogue in the presence of European Commission President Romano Prodi. The 17 personalities make up the ‘High-Level Advisory Group on Dialogue between Peoples and Cultures’ set up on President Prodi’s initiative to give new impetus to Euro-Mediterranean cultural dialogue and co-operation. The Group will also examine ways of ensuring that the EU’s goals of achieving cohesion at home, consistency in its external action, and integration of lawfully settled immigrants are met at the same time.

A Business Centres Conference held on 16 and 17 January in Brussels brought together the managers of all the MEDA funded Private Sector Development Programmes (Business Centres and Industrial Modernisation Programmes) on the European Commission’s initiative. Other Participants included – for the first time - representatives of Mediterranean Partners’ national authorities as well as European Commission officials from Brussels headquarters and Delegations in the Mediterranean region. Two parallel workshops were held to formulate specific recommendations: one workshop looked at the key ingredients for successful industrial modernisation in the MEDA Region in the framework of the future Euro-Mediterranean Free-Trade Area. Exchanges of experience among Mediterranean Partners took place which highlighted the fact that key ingredients for success can be identified in spite of differing national situations.

The importance of national strategies as well as the existence of specialised institutions and financial instruments was underlined. Participants also discussed the role of EC assistance in this context. The other workshop addressed the Business Centres’ services and working methods, focusing on how to improve their impact and sustainability . The need for effective functioning of the framework contract, increased use of local consultancy, as well as stronger networking among the projects was emphasised. The full conclusions of the Conference will be published as a separate document. The Business Centres Conference should become an annual event. The next one is planned to be held in 2004 in a Mediterranean Partner.

The Working Group on Industrial Co-operation met on 16 and 17 January in Brussels. All 27 Euro-Mediterranean partners were represented, as well as EU employer organisations, and international organisations. Presentations were made by European Commission representatives of the two ongoing MEDA funded regional technical assistance programmes in this area (Investment Promotion Programme, and Euro-Med Market). Co-ordinators for both programmes outlined the activities they envisage for the coming months.

The Barcelona-based European Institute of Public Administration-European Centre for the Regions is in charge of Euro-Med Market, which aims at helping the Mediterranean Partners identify and prepare regulatory measures necessary for operating the future Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. The Paris-based Euro-Mediterranean Network of Investment Promotion Agencies (ANIMA) leads the Investment Promotion Programme, which aims at increasing Foreign Direct Investment in the Mediterranean Partners through strengthening and networking national investment promotion agencies.

During a questions & answers session constructive dialogue took place between representatives of Mediterranean Partners and EU Member States.

The 1st Euro-Mediterranean Satellite Navigation Seminar will be held on 16 and 17 February in Cairo on the European Commission’s initiative. It aims at raising awareness in Mediterranean Partners of the potential of GALILEO, the European component of the future Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). All Mediterranean stakeholders (officials; product manufacturers; service providers; and research institutes representatives) are invited to take part. For more information on the programme contact: Catherine.Kavvada@cec.eu.int (European Commission Directorate General for Transport) or Leonidas.Kioussis@cec.eu.int (Directorate General “EuropeAid Cooperation Office”), and for details on the meeting’s logistics an@associationhq.com.


The “main contract” of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional Transport Project has been signed recently. The 3-month inception phase for this project will start as of 1 February. The European Commission is in the process of contacting the national administrations of the beneficiary MEDA countries to appoint a national project co-ordinator. A report will be drawn up and a kick-off meeting will be held at the end of the inception phase around late April 2003. The 4-year Transport Project aims at preparing a diagnosis of the Mediterranean transport system and a Regional Transport Action Plan, promoting dialogue on transport policy within the Euro-Mediterranean area, organising training activities and disseminating information on transport issues. For more information
contact: http://europa.eu.int

Details of the ‘EU-Mashrak Partenariat’ business meeting scheduled to take place in April are on line at www.eu-mashrek2003.com . The Partenariat is a MEDA funded event aimed at bringing together businesses from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and the EU to promote co-operation. Please click on the central part of the screen to access the main information about the event.

€ 25 million have been earmarked for the Palestinian Territories, and € 15 million for Western Saharan refugees in Algeria within the indicative budget 2003 of ECHO, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office. Both areas are listed among ECHO’s likely priorities for this year. ECHO Aid Strategy is on the web at

A MEDA web site was launched recently by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office. It presents co-operation between the European Union and the Southern Mediterranean, Near and Middle East region, and includes information on MEDA funded bilateral and regional activities, as well as other important items such as financial statistics, sectors of co-operation, reports, and publications. Visit it and send us your feedback!

Brussels,01 27 2003
European union
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