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Euromed News

MEETINGS

* EU Foreign Ministers discussed EU relations with the Mediterranean region and the Middle East at an informal meeting held on 15-16 April at Senningen, Luxembourg. “We have been investing in modernisation and reforms through MEDA funds and other means for over a decade”, said current EU Council President and Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn summarising the discussions on 16 April. “The EU is convinced that reforms can succeed only if they are generated from within the societies and not imposed from the outside. …existing forums must be used in order to … strengthen existing co-operation – as is already the case for the Mediterranean”. The full text of the Presidency communiqué is available from the web site: http://www.eu2005.lu/en/actualites/communiques/
2005/04/16gymnich/index.html .

* The sixth edition of the Brussels Economic Forum, organised by the European Commission on 21 and 22 April will include a session on “Europe’s neighbours: Towards closer integration?” The session will be chaired by European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner. One of the speakers will be the Secretary-General of Morocco’s Ministry for Finance and Privatisation, Abdeltif Loudyi. The Forum’s general conclusions will be presented by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. For more information on the Forum: http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/events/
2005/events_brussels_0405_en.htm

* The European Parliament (EP) Delegation to the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) met on 21 April in Brussels. There was an exchange of views on the political priorities and programme of activities of the EP Presidency of the EMPA.

* The 4th EU-Israel Association Committee was held on 14 April in Jerusalem at senior officials’ level. This was the first Association Committee to be held since Israel and the EU concluded the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan in late 2004. Participants mapped out how the Action Plan is going to be implemented. Progress was made on the creation of sector-based sub-committees. Senior officials looked at how trade in services and agriculture could be liberalised, and how trade with the Palestinians could be facilitated. Political dialogue covered the situation in the Middle East, anti-Semitism, and combating terrorism. The 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Process was also discussed, and Israeli representatives underlined their country’s commitment to the Partnership.

* The 1st EU-Morocco Internal Market Sub-Committee will meet on 25 April in Brussels. The vast array of subjects to be addressed includes standards and technical regulations, competition policy, financial services, movement of capital, and the protection of intellectual property rights. The EU and Morocco will exchange information on the right of establishment and company law, the regulatory aspects of services, public procurement, and consumer protection. Convergence between Moroccan and EU regulations in most of these areas will be discussed.

* The Eurocities network of 121 European cities, which has a Euro-Mediterranean Working Group, on 19 April presented its position on the future of the Barcelona Process and the role there would be for the region’s cities. This was done in Brussels on the European Parliament’s premises. Eurocities urge Euro-Mediterranean governments and EU institutions to acknowledge cities as partners in Euro-Mediterranean relations and the new European Neighbourhood Policy. The network wants a Euro-Mediterranean Forum of local authorities to be set up and a specific “cities” programme to be provided, whose priorities would range from Dialogue between cultures to Integration of immigrants through Sustainable Urban Development. Eurocities members already take part in the MEDA supported MED’ACT pilot project of co-operation between cities, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* EUROPEAN COMMISSION GRANTS NEARLY € 64 MILLION TO UNRWA
The European Commission will contribute € 63.67 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in 2005. The financing agreement was signed recently by the Representative of the European Commission to the Palestinian Authority, John Kjaer, and UNRWA’ s Deputy Commissioner General, Karen Koning Abu Zayed. The funding falls within the EU-UNRWA Convention 2002-2005, which provides for a European Commission contribution of € 237 million. More at: http://www.delwbg.cec.eu.int/en/whatsnew/13.htm .

* WATER INFORMATION IN MOROCCO
The Euro-Mediterranean Information System on the know-how in the Water sector –EMWIS- has 20 National Focal Points, 15 of them having launched a national water information service available on the web. An information seminar aiming to raise awareness of the benefits of exchanging know-how and information among the main stakeholders of Morocco’s water sector will be held on 27-28 April in Rabat on the joint initiative of EMWIS and the Moroccan State Secretary in charge of water. This will also be an opportunity to highlight the important role that Geographical Information Systems (GIS) play in water resource management. For further information, please visit EMWIS web site:
http://www.semide.org/documents/html/Rabat'05.htm

* MEDITERRANEAN ARTS AND CRAFTS EXHIBITED IN FLORENCE
Mediterranean arts and crafts will be on display at the Florence Arts and Crafts International Fair from 22 April to 1 May under the title “Prints and Colours of the Mediterranean” within the MEDA funded PRODECOM project, part of the Euromed Heritage II Regional Programme managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. The exhibition has already been shown in several cities on both sides of the Mediterranean. The PRODECOM project aims at preserving and promoting Mediterranean arts and crafts. http://euromedheritage.net .

PUBLICATIONS

* ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT OF 10 YEARS OF BARCELONA ON LINE
The report by the MEDA supported Euro-Mediterranean Forum of Economic Institutes (FEMISE) on “10 Years after Barcelona: Achievements and Prospects” has now been made available on line at: http://www.femise.org/Pub-indic/listpub-ol.html .

Brussels,04 25 2005
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