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Euromed News

INITIATIVES

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and twelve development finance institutions from EU Member States, which are members of EDFI (Association of European Development Finance Institutions), on 13 May signed an agreement in Edinburgh to strengthen co-operation in the Mediterranean region. The Letter of Intent agreement provides for promoting joint financing of projects and programmes for the private sector, strengthening further EIB-EDFI co-ordination, and promoting joint technical work and policy dialogue. EDFI members had a consolidated portfolio of € 750 million invested in private sector enterprises in the region at the end of 2004. The EIB has lent a total of € 4.5 billion through the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) since the latter was created in October 2002. More at http://www.eib.org and http://www.edfi.be .

MEETINGS

* European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson is visiting the West Bank and Israel on 19 May, as well as Jordan on 20 and 21 May to stress the European Union’s readiness to help strengthen trading links in the region and between the region and the EU as a means of contributing to stability in the Middle East. Mr Mandelson was scheduled to meet Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei in Ramallah, as well as Israel’s Finance and Trade & Industry Ministers, Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert respectively, in Jerusalem. The Commissioner will make specific proposals for developing trade relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and on how they and other countries in the region can benefit from the proposed new system of regional ‘cumulation of origin’. It is estimated that the introduction of the system in the entire Mediterranean region could increase trade in the region by 40%. Mr Mandelson will meet Jordan’s Industry and Trade Minister Sharif Ali Zu’Bi on 20 May, and he will participate in the World Economic Forum on 21 May on the banks of the Dead Sea. More at http://europa.eu.int/comm/trade/gentools/news_en.htm

* The 29th European Parliament/Israel Interparliamentary Meeting will take place on 23 and 24 May in Brussels. A Knesset Delegation will be welcomed on 23 May to the European Parliament (EP) where they will attend a Foreign Affairs Committee meeting. The Israeli Delegation and the EP Delegation for relations with Israel will have three working sessions together on the next day, one on EU-Israel relations, one on the Middle East Peace Process, and another on EP-Knesset relations. In addition, a reception on Israel’s 57th independence day will be hosted by the Israeli Delegation.

* The European Parliament Delegation for relations with the Mashrak countries will meet on 26 May in Brussels. The elections in Lebanon will be discussed, as well as preparations for a visit to Syria by a Delegation working group from 12 to 18 June.

* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for political and security issues met on 18 May in Brussels. They mainly focused on preparations for the 7th Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference scheduled for 30 and 31 May in Luxembourg, particularly the draft conclusions. Senior Officials and the Euro-Med Committee (see below) were presented with proposals from the group of Arab Partners, which were discussed. The Luxembourg Presidency will continue consultations with all Euro-Mediterranean partners in the next few days. Senior Officials also discussed the envisaged Euro-Mediterranean seminar on anti-personnel landmines, which will be further examined. The meeting was preceded on the same day by an Ad Hoc meeting on Terrorism where the EU Co-ordinator for the Fight against Terrorism, Gijs De Vries, presented the aspects of this issue that would be relevant to the Euro-Mediterranean framework (Exchange of Information; Financing of Terrorism; Infrastructure Protection; and Mainstreaming of the Fight against Terrorism). Europol’s Deputy Director Jens Henrik Höjbjerg was also among the speakers.

* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process met on 19 May in Brussels, mainly to make preparations for the Luxembourg Ministerial Conference as regards the 2nd and 3rd Chapters of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. In addition, the results of the Luxembourg Forum held in early April were presented by representatives of the Euro-Med NGO Platform who requested to be regularly admitted to present their views to the Committee, and better informed of developments within the Partnership. The requests were generally welcomed. The Committee then met as Board of Governors of the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures. In this capacity the Committee heard two reports, one by the Luxembourg Council Presidency and the other by the Foundation’s Executive Director, Traugott Schöfthaler. In addition, the working of the national networks making up the Foundation was discussed.

* The EU-Morocco Research & Innovation Sub-Committee will meet on 23 and 24 May in Rabat. Issues related to the information society will first be discussed. There will be an exchange of information on the respective regulatory frameworks on electronic communications, and the implementation of the ‘e-Maroc’ plan for on line services. Morocco’s involvement in the ‘information society’ strand of the EU Research Framework Programme and the regulatory framework for the audio-visual sector in Morocco will also be discussed. In addition, the Sub-Committee will address Moroccan reform on education, notably women’s access and the fight against illiteracy. Participants will then look at the significance for Morocco of three EU programmes (Tempus for co-operation between universities ; the Jean Monnet Action for putting in place courses on Europe in universities ; and Erasmus-Mundus, aimed at giving young people worldwide a chance to study in the EU). Lastly, the Sub-Committee will discuss UNESCO negotiations for an international convention on protecting cultural diversity.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* START OF EURO-MED JUDICIAL CO-OPERATION IN CRIMINAL MATTERS
Judges, magistrates, court registrars, lawyers, training officers and other legal practitioners from all 10 Mediterranean Partners, as well as France and Portugal met in Lisbon from 10 to 13 May to take part in the first Euro-Med Training Seminar on Co-operation and international judicial mutual assistance in criminal matters, which addressed « International Judicial Co-operation : Nature and Standards ruling this co-operation ». The Seminar was organised under the MEDA funded Euro-Med Justice Regional Programme, part of the Justice, Police, Migration Programme managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. Participants acknowledged that the seminar had allowed them to become familiar with the various aspects of judicial co-operation in criminal matters, to get a better insight into the tools for such co-operation, and to boost exchanges of experience and best practice. Participants could also establish contacts among themselves in order to promote co-operation between the various institutions dealing with justice. Judicial co-operation in criminal matters is one of five topics to be addressed within the Euro-Med Justice Programme. Four seminars and one preparatory meeting will be held for each topic. Implementation of the programme is co-ordinated by the European Institute of Public Administration-European Centre for the Regions.

* 2ND REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR TRAINING OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIONS PROGRAMME
Officials and experts from Mediterranean Partners, experts from EU Member States, and National co-ordinators of the MEDA funded Euro-Mediterranean Training of Public Administrations Regional Programme (EMTPA) will exchange experience and best practice at the 2nd EMTPA Regional Conference, scheduled to take place on 26-27 May in Ankara. The Conference will address Training Programmes in EU Affairs across the Mediterranean, Administrative Structures dealing with EU affairs in Mediterranean Partners, and international co-operation involving Euro-Mediterranean public administrations. Co-operation and networking among Euro-Mediterranean public administrations’ training centres will also be discussed. The Conference will be preceded by a special session where EMTPA national co-ordinators will review the state of play of the programme with representatives of the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office, in charge of management, and the European Institute of Public Administration-European Centre for the Regions, which has been entrusted with the implementation.

* INFORMATION DAY ON EUROMED AUDIOVISUAL II AT INTERNATIONAL FILM MARKET
The aims and terms of the newly launched MEDA funded Euromed Audiovisual II Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office, were presented to Euro-Mediterranean film and TV professionals at an information day on 18 May at the International Film Market in Cannes. Commission representatives answered a lot of questions that reflected the expectations raised by the programme. They also provided the first detailed data on Euromed Audiovisual I’s achievements. The meeting was an opportunity for participating professionals to establish contacts for setting up future partnerships. In addition, European Commission representatives also took part in various donors’ meetings on development aid in the audio-visual sector.

* SMAP WORKSHOPS ON GREENING POLICIES IN TUNISIA, JORDAN AND ISRAEL
Three National Workshops on Environmental Policy Integration will take place shortly under the MEDA funded Regional “SMAP III” Short and Medium Term Priority Environmental Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. A National Workshop for Tunisia is being held on 19 and 20 May in Tunis, and similar meetings for Jordan and Israel will take place on 22-23 May in Amman and on 25-26 May in Jerusalem respectively. All three Workshops aim to discuss the mechanisms through which sustainable development goals can be promoted effectively in different policy areas at national level, and to encourage cross-sectoral thinking and inter-sectoral collaboration. Emphasis will be put on the provision of environmental integration tools such as case studies and good practices for sound environmental management. Participants will be officials and experts working with environment-related departments or entities, as well as other stakeholders including SMAP beneficiaries in the Mediterranean Partners concerned. http://www.smaprms.net

* TRAINING FOR YOUTH ORGANISATIONS ON INTER-CULTURAL LEARNING
Youth workers from both sides of the Mediterranean will take part in a long-term training course on « Youth participation and Inter-Cultural Learning through Euro-Med youth projects» from 23 May to 2 June in Amman. The training course is organised in the framework of the partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe, in co-peration with the national co-ordinator of the MEDA supported Euromed Youth Regional Programme in Jordan.

* “SHARED SPACES IN TIMES OF CRISIS” EXHIBITION SOON IN BEIRUT
The MEDA funded “Shared Spaces in Times of Crisis” travelling exhibition will be shown in Beirut from 26 May to 24 June. The exhibition is part of “Mediterranean Voices”, a project highlighting the oral and social history of some of the region’s cities, which is carried out under the Euromed Heritage Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. It started out in Alexandria, and was then staged in Bethlehem and Nablus. It is on show in Ancona, Italy until 31 May. http://www.euromedheritage.net

PUBLICATIONS

* 70,000 HITS A MONTH ON THE EUROMED HERITAGE WEB SITE…
Some 70,000 hits have been recorded each month since February 2005 on the web site of the MEDA funded Euromed Heritage Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. This « commercial level » figure is up from 20,000 hits registered a year ago, and 30,000 hits per month in late 2004, according to statistics provided by the Programme’s Rome-based Regional Management and Support Unit. Italy comes first among users’ countries of origin, followed by France, the U.S., the U.K., Belgium, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Greece, and Turkey. The number of users from Egypt and Morocco sharply increased over the last few months. http://www.euromedheritage.net .

* …AND BIG SUCCESS FOR EUROMED SYNOPSIS SEARCH ENGINE
The most visited page on the Euromed Heritage web site after the home page is that of the Euromed Synopsis and its search engine, which allows for finding texts published since January 2004 by entering keywords. The search engine can be accessed directly on : http://www.euromedheritage.net/en/synopsis/synopsis.php

Brussels,05 23 2005
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