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Euromed News


A work programme to reinforce the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership over the next five years was adopted on 12 April by the European Commission in advance of the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Process. In the Communication the Commission outlined proposals for concrete progress in three priority areas: Education; Sustainable Economic Growth; and Human Rights and Democracy. The work programme also covers Justice, Security and Liberty issues, notably Migration and Social inclusion, Foreign Policy and Security Issues, notably counter-terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and the Middle East Peace Process, as well as the role of civil society in the Partnership. The proposals provide an agenda for discussion at Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers’ meeting scheduled for late May in Luxembourg, and at the special anniversary Conference in Barcelona in November. The full text of the Communication has been sent this 14 April to Synopsis recipients as Euromed Report No 89. It is also available on the web at http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/publication.htm .


* The first Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Meeting on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) took place on 10-11 April in Dundalk, Ireland. The meeting was organised by the Irish Government in co-operation with the Luxembourg EU Presidency and the European Commission. In the Declaration issued at the end of the meeting, Ministers recognised the need to intensify co-operation in this field and stressed that this was in line with the goal of establishing a free-trade area by 2010. Ministers envisaged setting up a Working group on the Information Society entrusted with creating a continuing dialogue in this area. They agreed to exchange knowledge and experience on network security, consumer protection, and privacy-related issues. They considered that e-Governement should be a priority area for assistance to Mediterranean Partners. They agreed to encourage a Euromed initiative on promoting greater use of ICT in education. They planned to review current Euromed co-operation, including MEDA projects, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office and Commission Delegations in the region. Lastly they agreed to develop a joint strategy for development to allow the Mediterranean Partners to fully benefit from the positive effects of ICT. The full text of the Declaration was sent on 13 April to Synopsis recipients as Euromed Report No 88. It is also available on the web at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/publication.htm .

* The Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures will be officially opened on 20 April in Alexandria. The inauguration will be preceded on 18 April by a meeting of the Foundation’s 35 national networks, and a parallel meeting of the Advisory Committee. The Foundation’s Board of Governors, made up of members of the Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process will meet on 19 April while the meeting of national networks will be continued. On 20 April, the ceremony will begin with a musical performance bringing together Mediterranean and European musicians. The Foundation’s insignia (the Euro-Med logo as a sculpture) will then be handed over to the Foundation by European and Egyptian Ministers present, and European Commission’s Director General for External Relations Eneko Landaburu. The day will end with an open air Euro-Mediterranean Music Festival (“Fiesta del Mar- Farah el Bahr” i.e. “Sea Festival” in Spanish and Arabic) on the site of ancient Alexandria’s lighthouse, and that will be open to the general public and young people in particular. In parallel, an ‘Intellectual Forum’ will be held on the theme of “Unity in Diversity-The implications of the international debate on cultural diversity for Euro-Mediterranean co-operation” with the Foundation’s Executive Director Traugott Schöfthaler as moderator. Speakers will include two professors who belonged to former European Commission President Prodi’s “High Level Group on Dialogue”, Morocco’s Assia Alaoui Bensalah and Algeria’s Malek Chebel. More on the Foundation and its programmes at: http://www.euromedalex.org .

* EU High Representative Javier Solana on 8 April condemned the terrorist attack perpetrated in Cairo the day before. He offered his condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the governments of Egypt, France, and the United States.

* European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner on 7 April took part in the Arab International Women’s Forum in Brussels. In her speech she attacked violations of women’s rights in the Arab world and in Europe, and she mentioned access to education as number one priority to improving the situation, particularly for EU assistance to the region from 2007. The full text of the speech is at http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/news/ferrero/2005/sp05_206.htm . In a speech on Europe’s global role delivered on 13 April before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Mrs Ferrero-Waldner underlined the importance of the European Neighbourhood Policy defined as a policy for security in a regional perspective. The text of the speech is available in German at http://europa.eu.int/news/index_en.htm .

* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security Issues met on 11 April in Brussels. The meeting was preceded by an Ad Hoc meeting on European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) where recent ESDP developments and a reasonably well received draft action programme for strengthening Euro-Mediterranean co-operation in this area were examined. Two seminars, one on security in the Mediterranean and the other on crisis management, scheduled for May and June respectively, were also discussed. During their regular meeting Senior Officials mainly looked at the envisaged Euro-Mediterranean Seminar on anti-Personnel Landmines, which was the subject of an Egyptian draft amendment.

* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process met on 12 April in Brussels. There was an exchange of views on assessing the Barcelona Process, notably on the basis of a presentation by the European Commission of its Communication adopted on the same day (see page 1), which received positive reactions overall. The Luxembourg Presidency will draft guidelines to be submitted to the next Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference scheduled for late May in Luxembourg. In addition, the Commission informed the Committee of the Euro-Mediterranean Civil Forum meeting held from 1 to 3 April in Luxembourg, and the approach to Euro-Med co-operation on Education. The issue of Rules of origin in the Euro-Mediterranean context will also be discussed. The Committee then met as Board of Governors of the Anna Lindh Foundation. During its 3rd meeting, the Board heard a report by the Presidency on the Foundation’s inaugural ceremony scheduled for 18-20 April in Alexandria (see page 1), and a report by the Foundation’s Executive Director, Traugott Schöfthaler. The Egyptian Presidential decree on the Foundation has been signed, procedures regarding Foundation agents have been approved, the Headquarter Agreement has been concluded, but it has yet to be ratified by the Egyptian Parliament.

* The Med Committee meeting on 13 April in Brussels gave a positive opinion on the MEDA II Regional Financing Plan 2005 (Part I). The € 155 million Plan includes contribution to the financing of risk capital facilities and the support fund to the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP). It also provides for support to three operations aimed at strengthening dialogue between the two sides of the Mediterranean: the “Partnership for Peace” programme supporting civil society activities in Israel and the Palestinian Territories; the Euro-Mediterranean Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures (see page 1); and the MED-PACT programme for partnership between towns cities in North and South. In addition, continued Euro-Mediterranean networking and study activities on political and security issues as well as on economic issues will be funded under the Plan. Two Calls for tender have been published in this respect (see below in ‘Financing Opportunities’ section).

* The 9th Seminar of Experts on Economic Transition took place on 11 and 12 April in Brussels. In advance of the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Process, the seminar this year focused on the economic achievements of the Partnership and the Association Agreements. On the occasion, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs published a document entitled « 10 years of Barcelona Process : taking stock of economic progress in EU Mediterranean Partners ». The document is available on line at : http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/publications/

* Senior Officials from Mediterranean Partners and European Commission representatives took part in a Seminar on Liberalising Agricultural Trade held on 4 and 5 April in Rabat to prepare the Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers’ Conference scheduled for late May. Participants proposed a “Draft Euro-Mediterranean Road Map for Agriculture” listing measures likely to stimulate agricultural trade and co-operation, some of which could be incorporated in the Neighbourhood Action Plans for Mediterranean Partners.

* The third meeting of the Pan-Euro-Med Working Group on rules of origin is scheduled to take place on 20 April in Brussels. Participants in this Working Group include representatives from the customs administrations and other relevant ministries from all Barcelona signatories, Romania, Bulgaria, the EFTA countries, the Faeroe Islands. The working group will deal with a number of issues related to the implementation of the system of pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation of origin between these countries and territories. There will also be an exchange of views on the Communication adopted by the Commission on 16 March 2005 on the future orientations for the EU's preferential rules of origin. For any further information, please mail Kristian.Vangrieken@cec.eu.int .


The first International Conference for the MEDA funded EUMEDIS Regional Programme (Euro-Mediterranean Information Society), managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office, will take place on 17 and 18 April in Jordan, on the banks of the Dead Sea under the title “Closing the Digital Gap in the Mediterranean Region”. This will allow programme partners to take stock of results, consolidate existing networks, exchange experiences, increase the visibility of the programme, and encourage better exploitation of pilot project results. Achievements of EUMEDIS projects will be displayed in a specific exhibition area, and the Conference itself will feature live presentations of EMISPHER (tele-medicine) and MEDNETU (distance learning) pilot projects. The introductory speech will be delivered by the Head of the European Commission Delegation in Amman, Robert van der Meulen, and the Conference will be officially opened by Jordan’s Minister for ICT, Nadia Hilmi Al-Saeed. Other senior representatives of Jordan, Algeria and Egypt will address the Conference. The event is organised by EuropeAid, with support from the European Commission Delegations in Jordan and Egypt, and it is managed by Kantor EUMEDIS MDP (EUMEDIS Regional Monitoring and Support Unit). Persons and organisations wishing to take part should contact Francesco Badioli (tel.: +32 2 235 20 52, e-mail: fb@kantor.eumedis-mdp.net). http://www.eumedis.net

Israeli, Palestinian Authority and Turkish representatives taking part in an intra-regional tailor-made seminar on Public Procurement stated that the seminar allowed them to further improve their knowledge of the various aspects of public procurement, while giving them the opportunity to exchange experience and information, as well as identify topics of mutual interest. Some of those issues could be addressed in future within the framework of a regional public procurement network yet to be set up. The seminar was held from 11 to 13 April in Brussels 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 http://www.euromedmarket.org .

How can Investment Promotion Agencies (IPA) make the most of government aid for furthering economic development? This is just what IPA executives from 8 Mediterranean Partners will be looking at during a seminar to be held from 19 to 22 April in Rome. The meeting is organised by the MEDA funded Euro-Mediterranean network of IPAs, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. Participants specialise in policies aimed at attracting investment. http://www.animaweb.org .


The Final Declaration of the Euro-Mediterranean Civil Forum held from 1 to 3 April in Luxembourg is now available on the web at: http://www.euromedforum.org .


A series of events is taking place in April in Damascus about Syrian-German painter Marwan Kassab-Baschi with support from the European Commission Delegation in Syria. An exhibition is running from 10 to 30 April. A conference took place on 11 and 12 April, and a master class was given by the artist on 13 April. The project has been organised by Germany’s Goethe-Institut. http://www.goethe.de/damascus .

Brussels,04 18 2005
European Union
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