* The EU Council on General Affairs and External Relations adopted at its meeting in Brussels on 7 November conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) and on Syria and Lebanon. On the Middle-East Peace Process, the Council expressed its “grave concern at continued violence in Gaza and the West Bank” and underlined the need for the Palestinian Authority to take full control of law and order in the Occupied territories. The Council “unreservedly condemned the recent terrorist attacks on Israel”. While recognizing Israel’s right to protect its citizens, the Council called on Israel to “act with restraint and refrain from all extra-judicial killings”. The Council reiterated its support for the work of James Wolfensohn, the Quartet Special Envoy for Disengagement, and welcomed his recent report to the members of the Quartet. In response to a request from James Wolfensohn on behalf of the parties, the Council noted the EU’s willingness “in principle” to provide assistance with the operation of the crossings at Gaza’s borders on the basis of an agreement between the parties. The Council “urged the Israeli government to cease all activities in the Palestinian Territories, including settlement building, the construction of the separation barrier as well as the demolition of Palestinian homes”. The Council was particularly concerned about the implementation of these policies in and around East Jerusalem. The Council also underlined the important role played by the EU Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (EU COPPS) and decided to launch in the framework of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), a Police Mission in the Palestinian Territories to build on the work of EU COPPS. This mission will have a long-term reform focus and will provide enhanced support to the Palestinian Authority in establishing sustainable and effective policing arrangements. On Syria and Lebanon, the Council welcomed the adoption of the report of the UN International Investigation Commission under Mr Detlev Mehlis. It noted with “extreme concern that there is converging evidence pointing at the involvement of both Lebanese and Syrian officials in the assassination of Rafic Hariri” and called upon Syria to “cooperate unconditionally with the investigators in their efforts to shed light on these appalling crimes and bring about justice”. The Council further called on Syria to “take immediate action to promote regional stability”, notably as regards Lebanon and the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559, and the MEPP. The full text of the conclusions can be found (EN) at: http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/gena/86850.pdf
* Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy visited Israel and the Palestinian Territories this week (9-11 November) to hold talks with leading figures in the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Abu Mazen. The Commissioner’s visit focused on the EU’s recent agreement in principle to invitations from both parties to the EU to provide a third party presence on the Gaza/Egypt border at Rafah. Other topics include the situation following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, the Commission’s recently published strategy for EU-Palestinian cooperation beyond disengagement, and the need for both parties to meet their Road Map obligations in full. In this regard, the Commissioner stated: “ … it is crucial that both sides do everything possible to create the conditions in which there can be full implementation of the Road Map and negotiations on even the most sensitive final issues.”The Commissioner also discussed with each side the implementation of their Action Plans under the European Neighbourhood Policy, which is helping to facilitate trilateral economic co-operation between the EU and the two parties.
* First meeting of the Follow-up Committee for the Euro-Mediterranean Roadmap for Agriculture, 14 November, Brussels. At this first meeting which comes a few days before the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration, Senior Officials responsible for Agriculture will take stock of both the EU’s and its Mediterranean partners’ preparations in view of the opening of negotiations on further liberalisation of trade in agricultural, processed agricultural and fisheries products. The meeting also aims to identify actions related to non-trade aspects (rural development, Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary issues (SPS), technical barriers to trade (TBT), quality policy…).
* Meeting in Brussels on 8 November of the Senior Officials of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership responsible for Political and Security issues and the Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the Barcelona Process. At this meeting, presentations were made by the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) as well as by EuroMeSCo (Euro-Mediterranean Network of Foreign Policy Institutes). Participants were updated on the Barcelona Summit logistics and exchanges of views were held on the Summit’s texts: the Draft Declaration, the draft five-year work Programme and the draft code of conduct for fighting terrorism. In view of the fact that divergences remain concerning the texts, it was decided that another meeting would be convened prior to the Summit.
* Mr Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), will head a high level delegation from European Central Banks visiting Egypt from 12th to 14th November. The European delegation will include the Governor of the Central Bank of France and the Vice-President of the Bundesbank. The purpose of the visit will be to sign a partnership and co-operation agreement with the Egyptian Central Bank, which will be funded by the European Union. The signature ceremony will take place on Sunday, 13th November. During their visit, the high level delegation will meet with Dr Ahmed Nazif, Egyptian Prime Minister, as well as the Ministers of Finance and Investment. Furthermore, the delegation will exchange views with other high level officials and with representatives of the European and Egyptian business community in Egypt.
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* EURO-MED CONFERENCE OF WATER DIRECTORS
The Euro-Mediterranean Information System on the know-how in the Water sector –EMWIS– a MEDA funded Programme, organises with the Italian government on 24 and 25 November 2005 in Rome a conference addressing the General Water Directors of the 35 Euro-Med Partnership countries. The European Commission, Balkan Countries and Libya will also take part in this event, which takes place four years after a similar one in Madrid. The objective of the Conference is mainly to review the System progress and implementation, to define the strategy for the next 10 years (including a regional water monitoring observatory), and also to analyse the involvement of the Mediterranean countries not signatory of the Barcelona declaration: Libya and Balkan countries. For further information, please visit EMWIS web site: http://www.emwis.org/documents/html/roma'05.htm
* FIRST EURO-MEDITERRANEAN ECONOMIC LEADERS SUMMIT, 21-22 NOVEMBER, BARCELONA
This Summit is organised by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation with the collaboration of the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ascame), the Eurochambers and other business and SMEs associations. This event is included in the EuroMed Agenda of the European Commission and its results will be transferred to the Extraordinary Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the 35 countries that will be held in Barcelona on 27 and 28 November in order to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. The Euro-Med Economic Leaders Summit is a high-profile event, providing a unique platform for delegations from the Mediterranean and the EU to come together and explore opportunities for greater cooperation between the two regions on economic and business issues. It aims to bring about an international perspective and create an atmosphere that will nurture business and economic relations between the two regions.
* TERRORISM AND INTERCONNECTION OF CRIMINAL NETWORKS – SEMINAR 1: “DEFINITION AND CRIMINAL INDICTMENTS. TRANSVERSAL ASPECTS OF ORGANISED CRIME”, MADRID, 14-17 NOVEMBER. This is the first of four Seminars organised around the theme “Terrorism and interconnection of criminal networks”, in the framework of the MEDA funded programme EuroMed Justice, managed by EuropeAid, Cooperation Office of the European Commission. Magistrates, prosecutors, court registrars, lawyers, training officers and any other practitioner of the legal professions of the 10 Mediterranean partners (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey) and of the EU Member States will gather to discuss several legal aspects concerning terrorism. They will analyse transversal aspects of organised crime, discuss in open debates and working groups ways to improve the fight against terrorism and strengthen cooperation in this field.
* SEMINAR ON EU PROGRAMMES – OVERVIEW OF THE MEDA PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION, 14-18 NOVEMBER, BARCELONA. This Seminar is organised in the framework of the MEDA-funded EuroMed Training of Public Administrations Programme which is managed by the European Centre for the Regions, the Barcelona Antenna of the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA). It is the third in the series of 10 seminars to be held on the subject which aim to provide training for up to 300 civil servants from the MEDA Partner countries. The various sessions will cover the main steps from programming to implementation and final evaluation, including the European Commission decision process, establishment of Programme Management Unit, Project Cycle Management and Procurement Procedures. At the end of the Seminar, all participants shall have a clear overview of the MEDA Programme and the modalities for its implementation in the bilateral and regional contexts.
* European Film Festival, 22 November – 9 December, Rabat, Morocco. This event is organised by the European Commission’s Delegation in Morocco, EU Member States’embassies and cultural intitutes as well as the Wallonia-Brussels Delegation, with the Ministries of Communication and Culture and in partnership with the Moroccan film Centre. The Festival will celebrate its 15th edition in 5 Moroccan towns, Tangiers, Rabat, Casablanca, Safi and Agadir by showing over a 10-day period, european movies which have won prizes or have been selected at well known festivals like Cannes and Venice. A few short movies from the Southern shore of the Mediterranean will be enriching this event, which will anchor the Festival in the spirit of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the Barcelona Declaration. For more information, contact: email@example.com
* Award for an Israeli 10th Anniversary Logo of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. On 2 November, the Delegation of the European Commission in Tel Aviv held an event marking the 10th Anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. This included the award of a prize to the winner of a design competition for an Israeli 10th anniversary logo of the Partnership, in the presence of the Commission’s Head of Delegation, Mr Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal, the British ambassador to Israel and a representative of the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs. Most of the audience was made up of Israeli participants in various euro-mediterranean regional projects. On November 25 the Tel Aviv Delegation will publish a Hebrew-language press supplement devoted to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership in the mass circulation daily Ma’ariv
* Days of the Euro-Mediterranean, 21, 28 and 29 November, Beirut. On the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Barcelona Process, the Commission Delegation in Beirut organises, in collaboration with “Université de la Sagesse” and CADMOS (Centre d’Analyse sur les Différents et leurs Modes de Solution), the “Days of the Euro-Mediterranean”. On 21 November, a simulation exercise of the negotiation of a European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan is organised with members of lebanese civil society. An “Inter Ministerial Working Group” will present its European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan for Lebanon to a “Parliament Group” which will then propose amendments prior to adopting the Plan. On 28 and 29 November, a series of 10 thematic round tables will be organised. Five will address issues directly related to the Partnership in general and Lebanon in particular, and five others will be articulated around projects financed by the EU in Lebanon.For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brussels,11 14 2005