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Euromed News


* The European Commission on 24 June adopted a proposal to open negotiations on the liberalisation of services and investment with the Mediterranean Partners. These negotiations will mark an important step towards the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. The European Commission will now transmit the proposal to the EU Council for approval. Following this, the Commission plans to invite the Mediterranean Partners to open services and investment negotiations on a regional basis. Services account for almost 60% of the Mediterranean Partners’ GDP.


* The EU-Jordan Association Committee meeting for the 3rd time on 23 June in Brussels set a new agenda for EU-Jordan co-operation. Both parties agreed to use the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan, which entered into force on 1 June, to support Jordan’s National Agenda for political and economic development. The European Commission and Jordan also agreed to increase the quality of EU financial support by better targeting resources on the key policy priorities of the government’s reform agenda. More on http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/jordan/intro/index.htm (top right).

* Representatives of the Jordanian Government and the European Commission meeting on 22 June in Brussels agreed to progressively liberalise EU-Jordan trade in agricultural and processed agricultural products, with a limited number of exceptions, by 2013 at the latest. Under the agreement the introduction by Jordan or the EU of any new customs duties on agricultural imports will be prohibited. The parties committed themselves to re-examining the situation with a view to further liberalisation in 2009 at the latest. The results of the negotiations will now be submitted to the EU and Jordanian relevant authorities for approval. Implementation of the new provisions is envisaged as from 1 January 2006.

* A “Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development” was adopted on 22 June in Athens by the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development, the advisory body for the Mediterranean Action Plan, a UN programme falling within the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution. Twenty-one countries and the EU are parties to the Convention, which was signed in 1975. The new Mediterranean Strategy is structured around economic, social, environmental, and political objectives, as well as specific priorities. Indicators are provided to assess progress made from 2010 to 2025. Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers at their Conference in late May supported adoption of the Strategy.

* A high-level Seminar entitled “Europe and the Mediterranean, prospects for 2010” is taking place on 30 June and 1st July in Madrid. It is the first in a series of five seminars to be held in Spain by November ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Process. It is organised jointly by the European Commission Representation in Spain, 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 Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Speakers will include 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. For more information: http://www.cartamediterranea.org and www.tresculturas.org

* A Seminar on Promoting foreign investment in the Euro-Mediterranean region will take place on 4 July in Brussels on the European Commission’s initiative with the aim of launching a debate on how to achieve investment promotion at regional level. Presentations will be made of a number of EU activities designed to promote investment in the region. This includes the MEDA funded ANIMA Regional Programme of networking national investment promotion agencies, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. The European Investment Bank will present operations of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), and representatives of both sides of the Mediterranean will discuss regional facilities likely to promote investment as from 2007. Proposals will then be put forward and debated by representatives of the Mediterranean Partners, EU Member States and business organisations.

* The European Parliament (EP) Delegations for relations with Israel and the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) will meet on 6 July in Strasbourg. The EP Delegation for relations with Israel will have an exchange of views on the results of a visit by a Knesset delegation on 23-24 May in Brussels. The Delegation will hear a report by the Chair on the 27-30 June trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories made with European Parliament President Josep Borrell and the Chairman of the Delegation for Relations with the PLC. Finally the possibility of organising a workshop on the Fight against terrorism will be discussed. The EP Delegation for Relations with the PLC will hear a report by the Chair on the trip mentioned above.

* A public hearing on Freedom of expression and the development of parliamentary democracy in the Euro-Mediterranean region was staged on 23 June in Brussels by the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and Human Rights Sub-Committee. The hearing’s main message has been that parliamentarians from both sides of the Mediterranean must stand united for promoting freedom of speech and democracy. The hearing was opened by European Parliament President Josep Borrell Fontelles and by the Chairwoman of the Human Rights Sub-committee, Hélène Flautre. Parliamentarians and a former MP from five Mediterranean Partners (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories and Tunisia) told of their experience. For more information : http://europarl.eu.int


Activities aimed at upgrading quality infrastructure under the MEDA funded Euro-Med Quality Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office, will be reviewed by stakeholders at the programme’s Annual Conference scheduled for 4-5 July in Brussels. The Conference will bring together representatives of the Mediterranean Partners, the European Commission, and the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), the organisation in charge of implementing the programme. The 36-month Euromed Quality programme, which was launched in January 2004 with € 7.26 million of MEDA funding, entered its second phase late last year. During the first phase an assessment of quality infrastructure in the Mediterranean Partners has been drawn up and a Euro-Mediterranean network of standardisation, accreditation and metrology bodies has been established. In addition, a number of training workshops and seminars have taken place. Participants in the Conference will also discuss the programme’s future activities.

Stakeholders of the MEDA funded EuroMed Market Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office, meeting on 20 June in Brussels made a clearly positive assessment of the programme’s first two phases, and adopted the approach, content and timetable for the activities of the third phase. The programme is designed to prepare the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. Under EuroMed Market’s first two phases (June 2002-May2005) a large number of regional and intra-regional information and training seminars on EU legislation in internal market related areas were held. Participants in the programme have also identified the steps to take for the approximation of legislation and procedures between the Mediterranean Partners and the EU, as well as improved South-South co-operation. Participants noted they have approved the subjects for regional and intra-regional activities under the 3rd phase. The European Institute of Public Administration has been entrusted with implementing the programme. http://www.euromedmarket.org

A few months ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration, more TV broadcasts addressing Euro-Mediterranean issues are made with support from the MEDA funded Information & Communication Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission Delegations in the region and steered by the Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. The first debate of the ‘Across the Mediterranean’ series was broadcast on 27 June by Pan-arab channel Al-Arabiya, with young people from seven countries discussing “Europe: From Colonialism to Partnership”. Co-ordination has been entrusted to the Commission Delegation in Beirut. http://www.dellbn.cec.eu.int Features on the three central Maghreb countries and a debate on “Europe-Maghreb : Partners on both Shores » were broadcast as one of the « Rideau Rouge » (Red Curtain) programmes on 28 June by TV5 as part of co-operation between the French-language channel and the Commission Delegation in Tunis. http://www.tv5.org

Micro-projects on Human Rights in Syria will be funded shortly as the European Commission Delegation in Damascus on 28 June launched a € 500,000 Call for Proposals. Each micro-project will receive between € 50,000 and € 100,000. The Call for Proposals is addressing two areas: Strengthening the capacity of civil society organisations and professionals concerned on human rights and citizenship issues; and Developing advocacy for the rights of specific groups at risk such as women and children. NGOs in EU Member States and Mediterranean Partners can submit applications to the Delegation by 25 September. The full guidelines and application forms are available from the Delegation web site: http://www.delsyr.cec.eu.int


A number of EU funded projects for the Palestinians, from assistance to refugees to support to the police through health operations are highlighted in the ‘European Union’ magazine (No 1/2/3 of 2005) published by the European Commission Technical Assistance Office for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. http://www.delwbg.cec.eu.int


A programme of cultural activities designed to facilitate exchanges of young people, social educators and other stakeholders across the Mediterranean is being run in parallel with the 15th Mediterranean Games opened on 24 June in Almeria, Spain. Funding of € 1.5 million has been allocated by the European Commission to these activities launched on the European Parliament’s initiative. European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism Jan Figel attended the opening ceremony.

Brussels,07 12 2005
European Union
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