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Euromed News

DECISIONS

The European Commission on 16 June adopted a € 155 million package designed to boost investment, dialogue and networking/study activities in the Mediterranean region. The programmes and operations concerned make up the MEDA II Regional Financing Plan 2005 (Part I). The € 10 million “Middle East Peace Process” project 2005 will support dialogue between civil society organisations in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Other operations for enhancing dialogue include a € 5 million contribution to financing the Euro-Mediterranean Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures over a period of 3-5 years, and a new € 5 million MED-PACT Partnership Programme of promoting co-operation between local authorities as a follow-up to the MED’ACT pilot initiative. Private investment in the Mediterranean will be boosted further through a € 100 million contribution to the Risk Capital Facility of FEMIP, the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership, and a € 25 million contribution to the support fund to FEMIP, which provides technical assistance for FEMIP supported investment projects. In addition, renewed support under MEDA will be provided for Euro-Mediterranean networking and study activities on political and security as well as economic issues, with € 5 million earmarked for each of the two areas.

MEETINGS

* The first meeting of Euro-Mediterranean Economy and Finance Ministers will be held on 19-20 June in Skhirat near Rabat. It will be followed on 20 June by the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The Eco-Fin Ministerial meeting will be opened by Morocco’s Finance Minister Fathallah Oualalou, Luxembourg’s Minister for Economy and Foreign Trade Jeannot Krecké on behalf of the EU Presidency, and European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia. Participants will discuss the economic aspects of ten years of Barcelona, the economic challenges for the Euro-Mediterranean region, and the contribution of the European Neighbourhood Policy to a better investment climate. The meeting’s conclusions will be an input to the Euro-Mediterranean Extraordinary Conference to be held on 27-28 November to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration. The FEMIP Ministerial Meeting will be opened by Mr Oualalou and EIB President Philippe Maystadt. A presentation of FEMIP’s first annual report and recent developments will be made by EIB Vice-President in charge of FEMIP Philippe de Fontaine Vive. The results of the FEMIP’s experts meetings held in October 2004 and March 2005 will then be presented. The meetings had focused respectively on Water & Sanitation and Transport, and Mediterranean banking and financial markets as well as FEMIP’s innovative financing instruments. The meeting will end with an exchange of views on orientations for 2005/2006.

* The official opening of FEMIP’s office in Rabat will take place on 17 June in the presence of Morocco’s Finance Minister Fathallah Oualalou, EIB President Philippe Maystadt and EIB Vice-President in charge of FEMIP Philippe de Fontaine Vive. FEMIP was launched in October 2002, and has two offices in the Mediterranean region, one in Cairo and the other in Tunis. http://www.eib.org

* The EU Council of Ministers meeting on 13 June in Luxembourg approved a report on the EU’s Strategic Partnership with the Mediterranean Region and the Middle East that was forwarded to the European Council meeting on 16-17 June in Brussels. In addition, Ministers took stock of the Middle East Peace Process over lunch. Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister and current EU Council President Jean Asselborn made a statement after the meeting, noting in particular that “we have arrived at a very important time in the Peace Process”. The EU Presidency on 12 June stated it was “dismayed by the execution of four sentenced persons in Gaza”. Mr Asselborn’s statement is on line at http://www.eu2005.lu/fr/actualites/communiques/2005/06/13cag-po/index.html The Presidency Declaration is available from : http://www.eu2005.lu/fr/actualites/pesc/2005/06/12gaza/index.html

* European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik will on 20-21 June visit Egypt. During his trip he will sign the EU-Egypt Scientific and Technological Co-operation Agreement on 21 June in Cairo with Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr Amr Ezzat Salama. This is the result of a long process that started in 1984, and will now find its achievement in a framework of reinforced partnership. The signature ceremony will be held in the presence of Egypt’s Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif. The Commissioner will have meetings with Mr Nazif and Mr Salama before the signing, when he is expected to announce the implementation by the European Commission of various initiatives aimed at facilitating implementation of the Agreement. These will include information and training meetings, networking meetings for the Egyptian and European research communities, as well as consultations on priorities of mutual interest within the next (7th) European Framework Research Programme. In addition, Mr Potocnik will visit a “smart village” and he will meet representatives of the business and scientific communities.

* The European Parliament on 9 June adopted a Resolution on Freedom of the press in Algeria whereby Parliament calls on the Algerian authorities to release the journalists imprisoned for libel. The text of the Resolution is on Parliament’s web site: http://www.europarl.eu.int . A public hearing on Freedom of expression and the development of parliamentary democracy in the Euro-Mediterranean region will be held on 23 June in Brussels at the European Parliament’s premises. The hearing will be opened by European Parliament President Josep Borrell Fontelles and by the Chairwoman of the Human Rights Sub-committee, Hélène Flautre. Statements will be made by parliamentarians and a former MP from five Mediterranean Partners (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories and Tunisia).

* The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Political Affairs met on 15 June in Brussels. Committee members discussed recent developments and initiatives in the region, including the Middle East Peace Process, the recent Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference in Luxembourg, the European Commission Communcation on the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Process, and the European Neighbourhood Policy. EU High Representative Javier Solana addressed the Political Affairs Committee, calling for the strengthening of co-operation on security, political reform and human rights, as well as civil society involvement. The text of the speech is on line at http://ue.eu.int/solana

* The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Quality of Life, Exchanges between Civil Societies and Culture will meet on 20 June in Brussels. The Committee should establish working groups on the prevention of natural and ecological disasters, and the Assembly’s relations with the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation. There will also be a debate on human exchange in the field of education and training and the environemental dimension.

* The EU-Jordan Association Committee will hold its 3rd meeting on 23 June in Brussels. A number of areas covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan for Jordan will be discussed. This includes Human Rights, democracy and governance; Economic and social reform and development; Trade related issues, regulatory reform and enterprise policy; Co-operation in the fields of justice, fight against drugs, money laundering, organised crime and terrorism; and Co-operation on transport, energy and the information society. In all these areas the results of the relevant sub-committees will be discussed, and the strategic direction for the next 12 months will be defined. On Political Dialogue there will be an exchange of views on the Middle East Peace Process, poltical reform in the Middle East and the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Process. On Trade Committee members will look at preparations for liberalising trade in agricultural products and services, as well as the possibility for future negotiations for a free trade agreement between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* THIRD PHASE OF ELECTIONS HIGHLY CONTESTED, SOME ISOLATED INCIDENTS, NOTE EU OBSERVERS IN LEBANON
Polling in Mount Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley on 12 June took place “in a generally peaceful manner overall” with no major irregularities, although there were “isolated incidents of violence between rival supporters”, the EU Election Observation Mission to Lebanon stated on 13 June. The Mission deployed for Lebanese Parliamentary Elections noted that unlike elections in Beirut and South Lebanon the third phase of the Lebanese elections was highly contested with only 2 of 58 seats won unopposed before election day. Some 40 teams of EU observers visited nearly 14% of polling stations in Mount Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley, following the opening, voting, closing and counting. Polling has yet to take place in North Lebanon on 19 June. The Mission will make a comprehensive assessment after the last election round. The three statements already released by the EU Observation Mission are available on line at
http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/human_rights/
eu_election_ass_observ/index.htm (click on ‘Lebanon’, top right).

* ASSESSMENT OF EUROMED MARKET’S FIRST TWO PHASES AND LAUNCHING OF THE THIRD
Stakeholders of the MEDA funded EuroMed Market Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office, will meet on 20 June in Brussels to take stock of the programme’s first two phases, and launch a third phase designed to continue preparation work for the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. The 20 June Conference will bring together EuroMed Market’s national focal points, senior officials from ministries and other institutions involved in the programme, as well as representatives of the European Commission and the European Institute of Public Administration, entrusted with implementing the programme. Each of the ten Mediterranean Partners will present an evaluation of EuroMed Market’s first two phases, which saw a large number of regional and intra-regional information and training seminars on EU legislation in internal market related areas. http://www.euromedmarket.org

* EMWIS TAKES STOCK OF WATER ACTIVITIES
The 8th Annual Meeting of the steering committee of the Euro-Mediterranean Information System on the know-how in the Water sector –EMWIS- will be held in Athens on 23 June, just after the 10th Meeting of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development scheduled for 20-22 June, and the 5th Meeting of the Working Group of the Mediterranean Component of the EU Water Initiative to be held on 22 June. Participants will look at potential synergies with Med-EUWI and the Joint process European Framework Directive/Water Initiative. The meeting will also be an opportunity to assess progress of EMWIS’ second phase and prepare the meeting of Euro-Med Water Directors General in late 2005. For further information, please visit EMWIS web site: http://www.emwis.org

* ‘GREEN’ STATISTICS FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN
Statistical experts from the Mediterranean Partners will take part in a training session on environmental indicators for sustainable development from 20 to 24 June in Cannes, France. This is the third training session held within the MEDA funded MED-Env project, part of the MEDSTAT Regional Programme of statiscal co-operation, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office in liaison with the EU Statistical Office (Eurostat). The session will focus on the use of common methodologies, terminology and standard classifications with a view to overcoming current problems and preparing the MED-Env II project. It is organised by the European Commission and the Plan Bleu, in co-operation with Eurostat, the European Environment Agency, the Mediterranean Partners’ statistical offices and a number of national research centres. The Plan Bleu is a research centre located in France and funded by the UN and the French government, with support from the EU.

* REGIONAL SEMINAR ON INVESTMENT PROMOTION INSTITUTIONS
A regional seminar on Investment Promotion Institutions, how they work, what they do, and in what environment they operate will be held from 19 to 21 June in Damascus as part of the MEDA funded ANIMA Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. The seminar is organised by the ANIMA network of investment promotion agencies in co-operation with Syria’s Ministry of Industry. It will be opened by Syria’s Industry Minister Mohamed Ghassan Tayara and will bring together participants from Syria as well as Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco. A technical assistance mission aimed at helping Syria set up an institutional framework conducive to foreign investment development will run in parallel with the seminar. http://www.animaweb.org

* MASTER CLASSES OF MEDITERRANEAN TRADITIONAL MUSIC IN ATHENS
Lecturers from Cairo will give master classes in Mediterranean Traditional Music from 23 to 26 June in Athens within the MediMuses project of preserving and promoting the Mediterranean’s musical heritage. MediMuses is part of the MEDA funded Euromed Heritage II Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. http://www.medimuses.gr

PUBLICATIONS

* TWO NEW STUDIES BY EUROMESCO
The MEDA supported Network of Foreign Policy Institutes (EuroMeSCo) has made available two new studies on its web site. One is entitled “The Status of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership” and presents an assessment of the Barcelona Process. The other’s title is “« Democratisation and International Actors : Some Thoughts for the Arab World ». http://www.euromesco.net .

* BARCELONA + 10 AND CINEMA SEEN FROM TUNIS
The latest issue of ‘Europa’, the magazine published by the European Commission Delegation in Tunis, looks at 10 Years of Barcelona Process and has a feature on Cinema. http://www.deltun.cec.eu.int

MISCELLANEOUS

* STUDENTS DRAW UP ACTION PLAN FOR LEBANON
Students from several Lebanese universities have drawn up an Action Plan for Lebanon as part of a simulation staged by the European Commission Delegation in Beirut. The Action Plan features 420 proposals in the fields of Good Governance, Human Rights, Politics, Economics, and Social Affairs. It was presented on 10 June to Ambassadors to Lebanon of EU Member States and Lebanese government officials. The Plan can be downloaded from the Delegation web site: http://www.dellbn.cec.eu.int

Brussels,06 20 2005
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