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Euromed News

DECISIONS

* The EU Council on 18 July adopted a decision concluding a Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement with Algeria that will enter into force on 1 September. The agreement was signed in 2002, and has been ratified by the two sides. It will replace a co-operation agreement dating from 1976. In the same way as other Euro-Mediterranean agreements, the EU-Algeria Association Agreement institutionalises co-operation in the political and security, economic and financial, and social, cultural and human areas. It also provides for liberalisation of bilateral trade in goods, services and capital.

* The EU Council on 18 July adopted a draft negotiating directive for a fisheries partnership agreement with Morocco.

MEETINGS

* The EU Council meeting on 18 July in Brussels took note of the priorities of the UK (holding the Council Presidency in the 2nd half of 2005) for implementation of the EU strategy on the Mediterranean region. The priorities include hosting with Spain the Barcelona Summit in late November that will mark the 10th anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership; implementing the European Neighbourhood Policy and adopting a European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument; and discussing with Libya and Mauritania a possible enlargement to those countries of the Euro-Med Partnership. The Council also adopted conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process and Disengagement, as well as Syria and Lebanon. On the Peace Process the Council “expressed its grave concern at the recent escalation of violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories”. The Council “urged Israel to exercise maximum self-restraint and the Palestinian Authority to take immediate and effective action against those involved in attacks”. The Council welcomed the programme of development of the Palestinian Civil Police and agreed in principle that EU support to the Palestinian Civil Police should take the form of a European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) mission. On Syria and Lebanon the Council called upon the Lebanese government “to mount a full investigation” into the attacks perpetrated since October 2004, and called on Syria “to take action to promote regional stability”, notably as regards Lebanon, Iraq, and the Middle East Peace Process. The Council conclusions are on line: http://europa.eu.int/news/index_en.htm (click on ‘Council’, right and ‘Press’, top left).

* Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security issues and the Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process will meet on 26 July in Brussels. The meeting will start with a presentation by the UK Presidency of its priorities as this will be the first meeting for the two Committees under that Presidency. Presentations will then be made by Jordan and Sweden of incorporating into their national legislation those international conventions relevant to counter-terrorism, and Senior Officials will be updated on preparations for the next ad hoc working group meeting on terrorism. A presentation will be made by the European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President in charge of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) of the first Euro-Mediterranean Economy and Finance Ministers’ meeting and FEMIP Ministerial Meeting held in June in Morocco. Information will be given on a Euro-Mediterranean seminar on Crisis Management held in Athens in late June, the First Meeting of the Steering Committee of the Euro-Med Bridge Programme on Civil Protection held in Rome in early July, Preparations for an ah hoc meeting on Non-Proliferation and Weapons of Mass Destruction, as well as De-mining. Some achievements of the MEDA funded Euromed Heritage Regional Programme will be presented by the European Commission. A presentation will be made of a French/Spanish non-paper on Justice, Security, Social Integration and Migration. Lastly the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures will be discussed.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* EURO-MED PUBLIC PROCUREMENT NETWORK AND TRAINING PROGRAMMES ENVISAGED
Senior officials and other Mediterranean Partners’ representatives taking part in the first-regional seminar held within phase III of EuroMed Market on the subject of Public Procurement concluded that it would be desirable to envisage setting up a Euro-Mediterranean network on Public Procurement and developing specialised training programmes in this area. The seminar was held from 4 to 7 April in Paris as part of the MEDA funded Euro-Med Market Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. Participants underlined that “the adequate implementation of the procurement procedures and remedies is key to the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. They stated that the seminar had allowed them to improve their knowledge in the field of public procurement, and to make progress towards approximating the Mediterranean Partners’ regulations, reinforcing relevant national entities, as well as identifying areas where technical assistance would be required. http://www.euromedmarket.org .

* FEMISE ASSESSMENT CONFERENCE
The MEDA supported Euro-Mediterranean Forum of Economic Institutes (FEMISE) will host the last Conference of the current Euro-Mediterranean regional economic research project, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. Presentations will be made by FEMISE representatives of the Forum’s research and its outcome, in the presence of European Commission representatives. Network members will then look at the future of FEMISE after 2005. FEMISE has produced yearly reports on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership’s economic aspects, as well as an assessment of 10 years of Euro-Med Partnership in the economic field. . http://www.femise.org .

* EUROMED MARKET PREPARES IMPLEMENTATION OF PAN-EURO-MED RULES OF ORIGIN
Senior officials and other Mediterranean Partners’ representatives taking part in a regional seminar on ‘The Implementation of Variable Geometry in the Context of the Pan-Euro-Med Protocol on Rules of Origin’ stated that “it is imperative to strive to implement as soon as possible the training, information and awareness-raising programmes on rules of origin”. The seminar was held from 5 to 8 July in Lisbon as part of phase III of the MEDA funded Euro-Med Market Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. Participants reiterated that the correct and smooth implementation of the Pan-Euro-Med system of cumulation of origin is key to the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. They deemed it necessary to adopt as soon as possible the Pan-Euro-Med Protocols on rules of origin in the framework of the respective Agreements with the EU, as well as to complete the Free Trade Agreement network with the other Pan-Euro-Mediterranean partners. Participants also concluded that the Seminar had allowed to promote a common approach to the interpretation and implementation of Pan-Euro-Med rules of origin among the Mediterranean Partners. http://www.euromedmarket.org

* ANIMA SEMINAR ON CLUSTERS AND INVESTMENT TO BE HELD IN CAIRO
A local seminar on ‘Clusters: Key Factors in Cluster Development – Role of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)’ will be held from 24 to 28 July in Cairo. It is organised by the Euro-Mediterranean network of Investment Promotion Agencies (ANIMA), set up as part of the MEDA funded ANIMA Regional Programme, managed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office. Participants will be specialists working with investment promotion agencies or governemental organisations involved in investment promotion. Subjects to be addressed include Success Factors in Cluster Development seen in the light of several EU and one Egyptian case studies, as well as the role played by FDI and after-care. . http://www.animaweb.org .

* TRAINING FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ON ‘EDUCATION AND CIVILISATION’ IN EGYPT
A training course on ‘Education and Civilisation’ will take place from 23 to 30 July in Egypt as part of the MEDA supported Euro-Med Youth Regional Programme. Participants will be youth workers from the 35 Euro-Mediterranean countries and territories, already familiar with the programme. The course is organised by the Salto Youth Euro-Med Resource Centre in co-operation with Euro-Med Youth’s Egyptian National Co-ordinator. Participants will look at the influence of civilisations on educational systems and voluntary projects.

* LAUNCH OF SUPPORT PROGRAMME FOR PUBLIC FINANCE REFORM IN SYRIA
An € 8 million MEDA funded support programme for the Modernisation of Syria’s Finance Ministry was launched on 14 July by the European Commission Delegation to Syria and the Syrian Ministry of Finance. Support will be provided for public finance reform with a view to facilitating Syria’s participation in the future Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. Reforms concerned are in the areas of fiscal policy (notably the introduction of VAT), budgetary policy, and customs. http://www.delsyr.cec.eu.int .

PUBLICATIONS

* ANNUAL REPORT ON EU-SYRIA CO-OPERATION
The Annual Report on EU-Syria Co-operation in 2004 was released on 17 July by the European Commission Delegation to Syria. http://www.delsyr.cec.eu.int .

Brussels,07 25 2005
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