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French Version

Euromed News

DECISIONS

* Loans totalling € 130 million for transport projects in Morocco were signed on 17 June in the margins of the opening in Rabat of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Representative Office by EIB President Philippe Maystadt, EIB Vice-President in charge of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) Philippe de Fontaine Vive, and Morocco’s Minister for Finance an Privatisation Fathallah Oualalou. One of the loans (€ 70 million) will go towards completing the Marrakesh-Tangiers motorway, and the other (€ 60 million) will help Morocco’s Road Financing Fund improve nearly 2,300 km of rural roads. http://www.bei.org/lending/med/fr/index.htm

* A € 80 million loan for five science and technology parks in Tunisia has been signed on 20 June in Skhirat in the margins of the FEMIP Ministerial Meeting by Tunisia’s Minister of Development and International Co-operation Mohamed Jouini, and EIB Vice-President in charge of FEMIP Philippe de Fontaine-Vive. Each of the science parks concerned focuses on a specific sector. They will be situated in Bizerte (agri-food); Monastir (textiles/clothing); Sfax (ICT-related activities); Sidi Thabet (biotechnology and pharmaceuticals; and Sousse (mechanical engineering and electronics). http://www.bei.org/lending/med/fr/index.htm

MEETINGS

* EU Heads of State or Government meeting as European Council on 16-17 June in Brussels looked at various policy areas relevant to the Mediterranean Partners. They adopted conclusions on the Barcelona Process welcoming the recent Ministerial Meeting in Luxembourg, on the European Neighbourhood Policy taking stock of the situation, as well as on the Strategic Partnership with the Mediterranean region and the Middle East agreeing on the need to pay particular attention to the countries situated to the east of Jordan. The European Council also adopted a Declaration on the Middle East Peace Process whereby the EU states it is firmly resolved to continue its action to achieve the resolution of the conflict, as well as a Declaration on Lebanon reaffirming the importance the EU attaches to “the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence” of that country. The statements were sent out on 20 June as Euromed Report No 91. They can also be found on line at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/publication.htm

* Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Economy and Finance meeting for the first time on 19-20 June in Skhirat near Rabat underlined the importance of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership as a framework for promoting economic reforms and co-operation. They agreed in their conclusions that particular attention should be paid to four priority areas: Improving the business climate; Further liberalising trade and opening the economy; Upgrading public institutions and governance systems; and Consolidating macro-economic stability. The text of the conclusions is on line at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/euromed/ecofin/index.htm

* Euro-Mediterranean Finance Ministers meeting on 20 June in Skhirat for the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership reaffirmed their commitment to forge a closer economic and financial partnership. They approved recommendations on water, sanitation and transport put forward by Experts. This includes a further improvement of co-ordination between donors and the development of local currency lending. On banking and the financial sector, participants called for more direct support, as well as issuing a Debt Management Handbook. http://eib.org .

* The Quartet principals meeting on 23 June in London “reaffirmed its support for Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and part of the northern West Bank, and an orderly Palestinian takeover there”. The Quartet reiterated its belief that this is “an opportunity that should not be missed to revitalise the Road Map”. The Quartet is made up of the EU, the UN, the USA and Russia. The statement is on line at: http://europa.eu.int/news/index_en.htm (click on “Council », right, then on « Press », top left).

* Reform throughout the broader Middle East was one of the subjects to be discussed by G 8 Foreign Ministers meeting in London on 23 June. The EU was represented by Council President and Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, High Representative Javier Solana, and European Commissioner in charge of External Relations and the European Neighbouhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

* European Commissioner in charge of External Relations and the European Neighbouhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner will visit Algeria on 26-27 June to discuss re-launching Political Dialogue in the light of the recent ratification of the Association Agreement. Ms Ferrero-Waldner will meet Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Foreign Minister Mohamed Bedjaoui to discuss practical steps to take to make the most of the Association Agreement. The creation of EU-Algeria thematic working groups is envisaged to facilitate implementation of concrete initiatives. The Commissioner will also mention the opportunities presented by the European Neighbourhood Policy that Algeria can ask to join if and when it sees appropriate.

* A high-level Seminar entitled “Europe and the Mediterranean, prospects for 2010” will take place on 30 June and 1st July in Madrid. It is organised jointly by the European Commission, the Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry and the European Parliament. The opening speech will be delivered by European Commissioner in charge of External Relations and the European Neighbouhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Speakers will include her colleague in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia, Spain’s Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, as well as many other personalities. Subjects to be addressed include Regional Co-operation, Investment, European Neighbourhood Policy, the MEDA Programme, and Civil Society Participation.

* A Euro-Mediterranean Seminar on Crisis Management will be held from 27 to 29 june in Athens in the framework of the European Union Exercice Programme. The Seminar aims at enhancing dialogue on and mutual understanding of civilian and military crisis management between the EU and the Mediterranean Partners. Other goals of the Seminar are to make Mediterranean Partners more familiar with EU crisis management procedures and to give them a chance of presenting their own. Participants will also explore possible areas of co-operation. The target audience will be Euro-Mediterranean civil and military crisis management experts.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* Lebanese Elections well-managed, but Framework in Need of Complete Reform, EU Observers say
The recently held Lebanese parliamentary elections were well-managed and took place in a generally peaceful manner, the EU Election Observation Mission stated on 20 June after all four phases of polling had been completed. While underlining that “The elections took place in a pluralistic context (and) the campaign became more competitive with each of the four phases”, the observers noted that the current election framework is in urgent need of complete reform. Among the key areas of concern are the fact that the current system does not respect the principle of equality of votes, the lack of adequate campaign finance regulations and of proper legislation concerning the media, as well as the absence of pre-printed uniform ballots. The four statements 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).

* Mediterranean Agencies at World Investment Conference in France
General Managers of the Mediterranean Partners’ Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) will take part in the World Investment Conference to be held on 30 June and 1st July in La Baule, France with help from the MEDA funded ANIMA Network of Euro-Mediterranean IPAs, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. IPA managers will have a chance to meet high-level potential investors given that the Conference will be attended by some 700 senior EU political and media representatives, as well as major investors. In addition, there will be a working breakfast on Investment in the Mediterranean, which is organised by ANIM and will be chaired by a Tunisian Minister. Speakers will include Morocco’s Industry Minister Salaheddin Mezuar. Managers of Mediterranean IPAs, some of their EU counterparts and ANIMA co-ordinators will meet on 1st July to examine the July 2005-December 2006 Work Plan and take stock of ANIMA activities. http://www.animaweb.org

* Exchange of Information on Extradition and Enforcement of Foreign Decisions through EuroMed Justice
Judges, magistrates, court registrars, lawyers, training officers and other legal practitioners from all 10 Mediterranean Partners, as well as some EU countries took part in a Seminar on “Forms of inter-state co-operation: judicial mutual assistance, extradition and enforcement of foreign decisions” held from 13 to 19 June in Barcelona. This was the first Seminar on topic 1 (‘Initiation to and training in co-operation and international judicial mutual assistance in criminal matters’ of the MEDA funded Euro-Med Justice Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. Participants improved their knowledge of extradition systems in the Euro-Mediterranean region, the new European Arrest Warrant, and issues involved in legal assistance in criminal matters and enforcement of foreign decisions. They exchanged practices and experience and established contacts among themselves in order to promote co-operation between their institutions. Participants also suggested gathering information on the ratification of conventions by each Partner, and on national legislations and procedures in the field of judicial co-operation in criminal matters.

* A Seminar to help bring Algerian Entrepreneurs back Home
Representatives of Algeria’s National Agency for Investment Promotion and European experts will meet from 25 to 27 June in Algiers for a Seminar aimed to make preparations for Algeria’s MEDA Entrepreneurs project whose objective is to encourage foreign based Algerian entrepreneurs to get “back home” by using Algerian networks abroad. The project and the seminar fall within the MEDA funded ANIMA Regional Programme of co-operation among national investment promotion agencies, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. MEDA Entrepreneurs is based on a successful French project called ‘Home sweet home’. It is under preparation in other Mediterranean Partners such as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco.

Brussels,06 27 2005
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