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Euromed News

MEETINGS

* The European Council meeting on 22 and 23 March in Brussels adopted a statement on Lebanon whereby it “endorses the conclusions adopted by the Council (of Ministers) on 16 March” (see Euromed Synopsis No 308). EU Heads of State or government reaffirmed their “commitment to a sovereign, independent and democratic Lebanon”. They called on Syria to withdraw all troops and intelligence services from Lebanon and hoped “that a new government will be formed at an early date and that it can act in the interests of all Lebanese”. The full text of the statement was published on 23 March as Euromed Report No 87. It is available on line at
http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/publication.htm

* EU High Representative Javier Solana and European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner attended the opening session of the 17th Arab League Summit on 22 March in Algiers. The meeting brought together Heads of State and other senior representatives of the League’s 22 Member States and other countries, including several EU Member States. Mr Solana delivered a speech where he highlighted peace efforts in the Arab-Israeli conflict, consolidating a sovereign Lebanon, and the need to engage in “Barcelona Plus” with the Arab world. A summary of the speech is available from http://ue.eu.int/solana (click on « Speeches »).

* EU High Representative Javier Solana on 25 March called on all Lebanese political players to work together towards their country’s unity and independence. Mr Solana on 24 March expressed his concern at the Israeli Government’s decision to grant building permits for the E1 project in Maale Adumin. In a separate development, the High Representative stated that the 17 March Cairo agreement among Palestinian groups “constitutes a very encouraging step”. The three statements are on the web at http://ue.eu.int/solana .

* European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson visited Tunisia on 24 March and Morocco on 25 March to emphasise the preferential trading partnership between the EU and the Maghreb countries. Mr Mandelson met the two countries’ respective Prime Ministers, Mohamed Ghannouchi and Driss Jettou, as well as Ministers in charge of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Commissioner said that the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean regional market by 2010 remained the goal, and that the EU was committed to developing a system of Pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation of origin. He acknowledged concerns in both countries about global textile trade liberalisation while stating that the EU, Morocco and Tunisia had to work together to raise their competitiveness. On the multilateral side, the Doha Agenda was also discussed.

* The Financing Plan 2005 (Part I) for the West Bank and Gaza Strip on 17 March received the favourable opinion of the MED Committee at the end of a written procedure. The Plan entails an EU contribution of € 70 million to the World Bank Public Financial Management Reform Trust Fund for the Palestinian Authority. The EU contribution is additional to other types of European support to the West Bank/ Gaza Strip, notably humanitarian aid, food aid, and support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

* The Euromed Civil Forum will take place from 1 to 3 April in Luxembourg with financial support from the European Commission under MEDA. This is the first Civil Forum that the Euromed Non-Governmental Platform has been able to prepare, organise and manage from the beginning. The Forum will include several workshops and feature an ‘Agora’ for meetings, exhibitions and screening of films on subjects such as the Middle East, perceptions of Islam in Luxembourg, and the situation in the Palestinian Territories. A meeting with the Euromed Social Forum will be held. A detailed programme is available from the newly opened Forum web site: http://www.euromedforum.org .

* The European Commission on 17 March announced it had undertaken to bring up the issue of combating hate broadcasts in relations with all countries bordering the EU, including the Mediterranean Partners. The indication was given after a meeting of national broadcasting regulators held on 17 March in Brussels on the initiative of the European Commissioner in charge of Information Society and Media, Viviane Reding. For more information: http://europa.eu.int/information_society/newsroom/cf/mynewsroom.cfm (Click on “Press releases”).

* The 9th Seminar of Experts on Economic Transition will take place on 11 and 12 April in Brussels. The full programme and all practical information can be accessed from http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/index.htm (click on « Economic Transition », top right).

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* SUMMIT MEETING ON VIRTUAL EURO-MED HOSPITAL
Euro-Mediterranean Health Ministers meeting on 10 April in Algiers as the “High Piloting Committee” for the Virtual Euro-Mediterranean Hospital (VEMH) are expected to announce official support of the region’s government for the VEMH initiative, which follows on from the MEDA funded EMISPHER project, part of the EUMEDIS Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. Ministers from some 30 countries and territories in the Euro-Mediterranean region and the Black Sea area have been invited by Algeria’s Minister of Health, Population and Hospital Reform Pr Mourad Redjimi. The Health Ministers’ meeting will be preceded by a meeting of senior officials, European Commission representatives and experts involved in EUMEDIS projects EMISPHER (Euro-Mediterranean Internet-Satellite Platform for Health, medical Education and Research), EMPHIS (East Mediterranean Public Health Information System), and ODISEAME (education project). http://www.sante.dz and http://www.emispher.org.

* SCORES OF TV PROGRAMMES PRESERVED AND NETWORK SUSTAINED
Thousands of hours of TV programmes produced by TV channels in the Mediterranean region have been preserved under the MEDA funded CapMed project carried out in 2000-2005 as part of the Euromed Audiovisual Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. A network has also been established under CapMed, linking various public TV channels and cultural institutions in the Mediterranean basin. The network will be sustained even when EU support is discontinued. CapMed’s achievements were presented at the project’s closing conference held from 17 to 19 March in Marrakesh. CapMed partners have set up an international NGO under Moroccan law with headquarters in Morocco. The association brings together Morocco’s TV channels 2M and TVM, France’s Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, the public television services of Algeria (ENTV), Egypt (ERTU), Jordan (JRTV), the Palestinian Authority (PBC), Tunisia (ERTT), Turkey (TRT), Cyprus (CyBC), Greece (ERT), Italy (RAI), and Malta (PBS), as well as another two public bodies, the Hellenic Audiovisual Institute (IOM) and the Mediterranean Institute for Human Sciences (MMSH). The CapMed project has provided the technical means for preserving South Mediterranean TV archives, and allowed for training technicians and librarians in the Mediterranean Partners. A joint selection of the television archives of the Mediterranean region is now available on line from the CapMed web site : http://www.cap-med.net

* ALGERIA, LEBANON AND SYRIA AGREE ON NEED FOR NEW RULES ON COMPETITION
Algerian, Lebanese and Syrian representatives taking part in an intra-regional tailor-made seminar on Competition agreed on the need for new regulatory developments in their respective countries, taking into account that Algeria possesses the basic legislation in this area, and that Lebanon and Syria are still in the process of formulating the relevant rules. The seminar was held from 14 to 17 March in Damascus 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 allowed them to further improve their knowledge of the various aspects of competition issues, while giving them the opportunity to exchange experience and information, as well as identify topics of mutual interest. http://www.euromedmarket.org

* THE EURO-MED PARTNERSHIP SEEN FROM LEBANON
As the 10th Anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration draws near, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is being highlighted on television and in the press, particularly in Lebanon where a number of MEDA funded information activities to be carried out under the Information & Communication Regional Programme have been launched on 21 March by the Head of the European Commission Delegation in Lebanon, Patrick Renauld, together with representatives of participating media. The Information & Communication Programme is managed by European Commission Delegations in the Mediterranean region under supervision of the Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. Activities managed in Beirut consist of a series of local weekly Arabic language TV programmes broadcast by NBN since 21 March, a series of regional Arabic language TV programmes to be broadcast by Al-Arabiya from May 2005 to late 2006, and Euromed supplements to be published in Arabic and French in newspapers of the L’Orient-Le Jour/Le Commerce du Levant consortium. The programme will soon be available from the Delegation web site: http://www.dellbn.cec.eu.int . News of the local TV programme is on line at http://www.euro-med.tv

* “CHILDREN AT RISK” PROGRAMME LAUNCHED IN CAIRO
Egypt’s most economically vulnerable and socially marginalised children should see an improvement in their living conditions and prospects for social integration under the “Children at Risk” programme funded by MEDA to the tune of € 20 million and launched officially on 22 March at a 3-day seminar in Cairo. Senior Egyptian officials and European Commission representatives participating in the seminar looked at ways to help children targeted by the programme, such as street children (2 million at least in Egypt), children engaged in hard and hazardous work, disabled children, and girls at risk of genital mutilation. The programme will be implemented by the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, established in 1998 and headed by Egypt’s Prime Minister. http://www.eu-delegation.org.eg.

PUBLICATIONS

* A “CITIZENSHIP GUIDE” FOR SYRIANS
A “Citizenship Guide” produced with EU financial support was presented on 24 March in Damascus at a ceremony held under the patronage of Syria’s Ministry of Information with representatives of the European Commission Delegation in Syria. Designed to promote the role of the Syrian citizen, the guide offers texts by Syrian writer Dr Hassan Abbas and illustrations by Syrian artist Dr Ahmad Moualla. It is part of a project carried out by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in co-operation with the European Commission, and co-funded under the European Initiative for Human Rights and Democracy, managed by the Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. For a copy of the book please contact Nada Heyari, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Amman (tel. +962 6 552 9377/ 78).

* FOCUS ON BUSINESS, AQABA AND NGOS IN JORDAN NEWSLETTER
The latest issue (Volume 1, No 11) of « Newsline », the newsletter published by the European Commission Delegation in Jordan, provides factsheets on three aspects of EU-Jordan co-operation : the EJADA Industrial Modernisation Programme for small and medium-sized businesses ; support to the Aqaba Special Economic Zone ; and the Sharaka (Partnership) programme of support to local NGOs. http://www.deljor.cec.eu.int

Brussels,04 04 2005
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