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MEETINGS

* The MED Committee meeting on 14 September gave a favourable opinion on the Financing Plan (Part II) for the West and Gaza worth 62.75 million euros and covering six projects. The main component of the package is an Infrastructure Facility for Gaza amounting to €40.55 million. It will provide critical support to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure in Gaza following disengagement. This package comes in addition to a €70 million contribution to the World Bank's Financial Management Reform Trust Fund already agreed earlier this year. The Commission presented its annual review of its reform support and structural adjustment operations in the MEDA region. The Commission also presented the conclusions of the Mid-term evaluation report of the MEDA II Programme (2000-2004) which was welcomed by Member States. The independent report underlined the significant improvement of the financial results under MEDA II (2000-2004) compared to MEDA I (1995-1999). It also stressed the impact of the structural reforms undertaken since 2000 which allowed substantial improvement of the operational results on the ground. At the overall strategic level, the relevance of MEDA as the main operational and financial instrument of the Barcelona process and the bilateral Association agreements was judged satisfactory by the experts. Similarly, the improvement of the effectiveness of the operational management of the Programme was acknowledged by the rapporteurs who specified however that some progress still remains to be done. Lastly, the mid-term evaluation report issued a number of recommendations aiming to improve the regulatory framework in view of the preparation of the future European Neighbourhood Policy Initiative (2007) as well as the operational management of the Programme.

* Meetings of the Committees of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) . The three Committees which deal with each of the partnership’s chapters will be establishing their various working groups (2 per Committee). The Committee on Economic and Financial issues, Social Affairs and Education will meet in Brussels on 15 September. It will set up the working group “conditions for the transformation of the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) into the future Euro-Mediterranean Development. Exchanges of views will take place on the liberalisation of trade in services as well as on the liberalisation of agriculture and fisheries in the Euro-Mediterranean area. The Committee on Political Affairs, Security and Human Rights will establish at its meeting on 20 September its 2 working groups “Peace and Security in the Middle East” and “Problems in connection with landmines”. An exchange of views will be held with Mr Eneko LANDABURU, Director General for External Relations at the European Commission on the Commission’s declaration and new 5-year work programme to be adopted by the Heads of State and Government at the extraordinary Summit in Barcelona on 27-28 November. Terrorism and the role of Euro-Mediterranean parliaments will be the subject of another exchange of views. The Committee will also discuss its draft recommendation to the extraordinary Conference of the EMPA which will take place on the margin of the Barcelona Summit. As for the Committee on Improving Quality of Life, Exchanges between Civil Societies and Culture, it will meet on 19 September in Rome. Mr Franco FRATTINI, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the European area of freedom, security and justice, will present the follow-up to the Green Paper on a Community aproach to managing economic migration flows and on the EC’s agenda for the re-launching of the Barcelona Process.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* EUROMED JUDICIAL COOPERATION IN CRIMINAL MATTERS – SEMINAR ON “ESSENTIAL GUARANTEES OF THE PROCEDURE AND PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE PERSONS PROSECUTED”- ISTANBUL, 19-22 SEPTEMBER 2005
This is the last of four seminars falling under the first topic of the EuroMed Justice Programme on “Initiation to and training in cooperation and international judicial mutual assistance in criminal matters”, funded under MEDA and coordinated by EuropeAid Cooperation Office. At this meeting, judges, magistrates, court registrars, lawyers and other practitioners of the legal professions of the 10 Mediterranean partners and of the EU Member States will work on the minimum procedural safeguards and its basic minimum standards in the EU and Mediterranean area; they will analyse the effective implementation of the human rights and they will discuss in plenary sessions and working groups the procedural rights for detainees and the right to legal representation in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Participants will work on a model of “letter of rights”.

* ANNUAL MEETING OF SMAP CORRESPONDENTS (MEDA REGIONAL PROGRAMME FOR THE ENVIRONMENT) 19-20 SEPTEMBER 2005. Participants to the annual event will address issues of relevance concerning the future of EU environmental policies in the Mediterranean, including how to improve coordination for financing the environment in the Mediterranean region; how SMAP can help achieve the 2020 goal and what is the role of the European Neighbourhood Policy and ENP Action Plans in this work. A number of speakers from Commissions Services, including DG Environment, the European Office for Co-operation AIDCO and DG External Relations will address the Conference alongside other key stakeholders from the Cairo Delegation responsible for the SMAP projects, the European Environment Agency and the Mediterranean component of the EU Water Initiative

MISCELLANEOUS

* APPRAISAL OF AND PROSPECTS FOR DECENTRALISED COOPERATION AMONG LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN THE EURO-MEDITERRANEAN AREA, BARCELONA, 14,15,16 SEPTEMBER
The Diputació de Barcelona is organising a symposium with the aim of reflecting on the appraisal of and prospects for decentralised cooperation in the Mediterranean. The general objective of this event is to foster decentralised, direct international cooperation between local authorities of the European Union and the countries involved in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. More specifically, the aim is to stimulate reflection on current practices of decentralised international cooperation among local Euro-Mediterranean authorities, while proposing guidelines for strengthening its development.These objectives will be approached from two different perspectives. One is more contextual and consists of appraising and analysing the prospects for local partnership between the EU and its Mediterranean partners. The other, more specific, is oriented towards promoting the development of the MED-PACT Programme launched by the European Commission. The conference will include an official inaugural session of a plenary nature, with the attendance of the highest authorities and the participants, as well as workshop sessions, after which the final plenary session will be held to share the conclusions reached for their subsequent publication. For more info on this event and on Arco Latino, www.diba.es

Brussels,09 19 2005
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