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Euromed News

MEETINGS

* Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers meeting on 30-31 May in Luxembourg reached agreed conclusions. This is the first time since the Barcelona Declaration in 1995 that this has occurred. Ministers assessed the achievements of 10 years’ Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and discussed future guidelines ahead of the Extraordinary High Level Meeting scheduled for 27-28 November in Barcelona. Ministers stated that, “while there are many positive achievements, much remains to be done in order to realise the full potential of the Barcelona Declaration”. Ministers reaffirmed that “the centrality of the Barcelona Process is a unanimously accepted principle”. They noted that the bodies implementing the Association Agreements provide “a solid basis for the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy, which enhances” Barcelona. They welcomed the establishment of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Anna Lindh Foundation and the non-governmental platform, as well as the activities of the Facility for Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), and MEDA funding which have accounted for over € 9.7 billion since the programme started. For the future, Ministers considered the need “to upgrade the activities of the Partnership… in order to bring it closer to the people”. They recommended that particular focus be placed on a few activities “where the pace should be speeded up”, in particular in the fields of “peace, security, stability, good governance and democracy; sustainable economic development and reform; education and socio-cultural exchanges; as well as justice, security, migration and social integration”. Ministers mandated Senior Officials of the Partnership to consider establishing agreed targets in all those fields. Ministers also “recommended the elaboration of a road map for the creation of a Free Trade Area by 2010”, and for trade liberalisation in agricultural products and fisheries. Ministers also “instructed the Euromed Committee to reinforce its co-ordination and review function”. In addition, Ministers emphasised the need to promote the role of women in society, north and south of the Mediterranean, and the importance of the fight against terrorism. They welcomed the European Commission’s intention to examine to what extent the methods of the EU’s regional policy could provide inspiration for regional development policy in the Mediterranean. Lastly, Ministers “agreed that a regional strategy against racism, xenophobia and intolerance should be designed”. The agreed conclusions for the Conference were sent out on 1 June as Euromed Report No 90. They are also available on line at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/publication.htm

* “The objective of the EU remains the co-existence of an independent democratic Palestinian State that is viable, living alongside Israel and its other neighbours in peace and security”, the current EU Council President and Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn stated at a press conference following two Troika meetings with the Arab Group and Israel on 30 May. This happened in the margins of the Luxembourg Ministerial Conference. The full text of Mr Asselborn’s statement is on line at: http://www.eu2005.lu/fr/actualites/communiques/2005/05/30ja-euromed/index.html

* The Barcelona Process is “a unique concept for shared security and solidarity”, EU High Representative Javier Solana stated in his intervention on 31 May at the Euro-Med Ministerial Plenary in Luxembourg. The complete text of his speech is on line at: http://ue.eu.int/solana .

* European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner on 31 May welcomed the decision by the Libyan Supreme Court to postpone its ruling on the case of the Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian medic sentenced to death. Ms Ferrero-Waldner last week visited Libya and raised the case with Libyan Leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi (see Euromed Synopsis No 316). The Commissioner’s Declaration is available on line at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/news/ferrero/2005/ip05_639.htm

* The EU-Morocco Association Committee will hold its 4th meeting on 3 June in Rabat. An exchange of views on the implementation of the adaptation of the Association Agreement to EU Enlargement will be followed by a discussion on subjects of common interest under Political Dialogue, particularly on the future of the Barcelona Process after the Luxembourg Conference. The Committee will then look at it own function in implementing Morocco’s Neighbourhood Action Plan. In this respect, the Committee will discuss past and future meetings of EU-Morocco Sub-Committees and Working Groups. The partners will then discuss the state of play of bilateral co-operation under MEDA. Multilateral trade issues such as the Euro-Med Free Trade Area and the Agadir Agreement will be addressed, as well as bilateral ones. The meeting will end on customs issues, notably on-going reforms in Morocco.

* Two EU-Jordan Sub-Committees, the one on Human Rights, Governance and Democracy and the one on Justice and Security will meet in Amman on 5 and 6 June respectively. The two Sub-Committees will first discuss the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan for Jordan in their respective areas of competence before addressing a long list of issues. The Human Rights Sub-Committee will look at the Jordanian institutions strengthening democracy and the rule of law. The freedom of the media and freedom of expression will also be discussed, as well as the development of civil society, the issue of equal treatment of women, and the death penalty. The Justice and Security Sub-Committee will discuss the current reform of the judiciary, the fight against organised crime and the prison system, as well as the fight against drugs. The Sub-Committee will also look at co-operation between Jordan and EU and Member States law enforcement agencies. Lastly there will be an exchange of views on co-operation to strengthen the fight against the financing of terrorism.

* The EU-Jordan Working Party on Social Affairs will meet on 7 June in Amman. They will first discuss the implementation of the ENP Action Plan for Jordan. Under Social Affairs proper, social rights, labour standards, and gender issues will be discussed, as well as employment policy and poverty reduction. On Migration and Asylum Policy the prevention of illegal migration will be addressed, as well as dialogue on visa issues, and border management. Other topics to be discussed include Co-operation in the field of education, Circulation of cultural and audio-visual goods and services, and Public Health.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* WORKSHOP ON INTRODUCING TWINNING OF ADMINISTRATIONS IN EGYPT
A major workshop was held on 29-30 May in Cairo to introduce twinning between administrations in Egypt under the MEDA funded Programme of Support to the implementation of the EU-Egypt Association Agreement, steered by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. The workshop, organised by EuropeAid’s “Twinning Operations Unit” and Egypt’s Ministry of International Co-operation, was opened by the Minister of International Co-operation Dr Fayza Abu El Naga and attracted a large audience, including other Ministers and senior officials, press, and EU Member States ambassadors. Presentations were made of case studies by the Italian, Danish and Czech twinning national contact points. Twinning operations between Mediterranean Partners’ public administrations and their counterparts in EU Member States, based on the experience of the countries that joined the EU last year, have already been launched in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Lebanon. Preparatory work for further twinning projects is currently under way in Egypt. A special mention has to be made of the participation of observers from a number of countries receiving EU assistance under the TACIS Programme, to which twinning will be extended: Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Thus, this workshop can be described as one of the first physical materialisations of the new Neighbourhood Policy. http://www.eu-delegation.org.eg

* 3RD ‘TRAIN THE TRAINERS’ SEMINAR FOR MEDITERRANEAN CIVIL SERVANTS
The 3rd ‘Train the Trainers’ Seminar for Mediterranean Civil Servants will take place from 6 to 10 June in Athens as part of the MEDA funded ‘Training of Public Administrations’ Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. It will address the Barcelona Process, the MEDA Programme, Association Agreements, the EU Internal Market, as well as training programmes and techniques. The experience of a new EU Member State will be presented by a Slovak representative. Participants will be trainers and training organisers from Mediterranean Partners’ public administration training departments and institutions. The ‘Training of Public Administrations’ Programme is co-ordinated by the European Centre of the Regions of the European Institute of Public Administration. ‘Train the Trainers’ is one of four modules, the others being ‘EU Basics’, ‘EU Advanced’, and ‘EU Programmes’. Creating a network of training centres is also envisaged under the programme. http://www.eipa.nl .

* SMAP WORKSHOPS ON GREENING POLICIES IN GAZA AND THE WEST BANK
Two National Workshops on Environmental Policy Integration in the Palestinian Territories 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 will be held on 6 June in Gaza, and a similar meeting will take place on 8 June in the West Bank. Both 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 Palestinian Territories.
http://www.smaprms.net .

* WORKSHOPS ON WASTEWATER IN MOROCCO AND TURKEY
A Workshop on Wastewater Treatment and Re-use took place on 26-27 May in El Jadida, Morocco under the MEDAWARE project, part of MEDA Water, the Euro-Mediterranean Regional Programme for Local Water Management. It consisted of a series of lectures on Urban Wastewater Treatment Technologies and Systems with emphasis given to re-use in agricultural production. Another workshop addressing the same issues will be held on 9 and 10 June in Ankara. More at:
http://www.emwis.org .

* UPGRADING SIX SYRIAN CITIES
A € 18 million MEDA funded programme launched on 31 May will help improve governance, planning and services in six Syrian cities (Aleppo; Damascus; Deir Ezzor; Homs; Lattakia; and Tartous). Other cities and towns may follow. The programme was launched in Damascus by the European Commission Delegation in Syria and the Syrian Ministry of Local Administration and Environment. The programme is expected to make it easier to obtain land and building permits, which would help solve the problem of existing informal settlements. Other benefits would include ensuring that all citizens be provided with good and affordable services such as public transport, solid waste collection and environmental protection. http://www.delsyr.cec.eu.int .

PUBLICATIONS

* FIVE EUROMESCO REPORTS ON THE EURO-MED PARTNERSHIP
Five reports by working groups of the MEDA supported Euro-Mediterranean Network of Foreign Policy Institutes (EuroMeSCo) have been published on the web recently. They address various aspects of the Partnership : Promoting Democracy ; Interlinkages ; the Impact of European Security and Defence Policy ; EU Enlargement and the Logic of Sub-Regionalism ; and Civil Society and Governance. http://www.euromesco.net

Brussels,06 06 2005
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