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Euromed News

INSTITUTIONAL ACTIVITIES

* Euro-Mediterranean Summit of Heads of State and Government, 27-28 November, Barcelona. For the first time ever since the Barcelona Declaration in 1995, Euro-Mediterranean Heads of State and Government will meet to mark the tenth anniversary of the Partnership. At this historic Summit, they are expected to announce a Declaration on a Common Vision and decide on a 5-year Work Programme that aims both at reinforcing relations and meeting the tough challenges that lie ahead for the region. Returning to the city of its birth, European and Mediterranean partners, together with Commission President Barroso and Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, will gather in Barcelona on 27 and 28 November, to agree on an ambitious agenda of revitalisation and reform. The proposed Work Programme includes far-reaching proposals for addressing challenges such as terrorism, political and economic reform and migration. Along with the 5-year Work Programme and Declaration, the Summit will also present– a Code of Conduct to Counter Terrorism. Before his departure for Barcelona, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso reiterated the Commission’s determination to forge even closer alliances with Mediterranean Partners and work towards bringing the partnership closer to the people: “We have the institutions, the mechanisms and the determination to fulfill the promises of the Barcelona declaration of ten years ago…” As to the Commissioner for External Relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, she said: “Barcelona is now a mature partnership that can deliver real benefit… I hope that the commitments that we enter into at the Summit - on education, job creation, trade, better governance, migration, and terrorism - will help bring a safer, more stable and more prosperous region for us all to live in”. For more information on the Summit and sideline events, see: http://www.euromedbarcelona.org/ and www.barcelona10.org/

* Extraordinary Meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA), 20-21 November, Rabat. This meeting took place in the framework of the celebrations of the 10th Anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration. Debates centered around themes of the Barcelona Process such as the implementation of the strategic Partnership of the EU with Mediterranean countries, the European Neighbourhood Policy, the Alliance of Civilisations, migration and the prospects of regional integration. The Assembly adopted the recommendations of its 3 Committees (Political, Economic and Cultural) to the Summit. In the final Declaration to be presented to the Summit by Josep Borrell, European Parliament President, the Assembly states its “commitment to further contribute to the Barcelona Process” and underlines that “the Euro-Mediterranean parliamentary dialogue is a powerful instrument in the Partnership”, and “can bring an added value to governmental or multilateral diplomacy”. EMPA called upon the Partner countries to firmly engage in reforms. It insisted on a more active pursuit of conflict resolution in the region, on a coordinated fight against extremism and terrorism and on commitment to non-proliferation treaties and towards international justice institutions such as the International Criminal Tribunal. Mrs Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Medias, highlighted the relation between the Barcelona Process and the European Neighbourhood Policy. The latter completes and reinforces the Partnership. She also underlined the importance of communication technologies as a means of development. She insisted on the need to engage more firmly in political, economic and social reforms which the Commission is willing to support. The Rabat Declaration as well as the Committees’ resolutions can be found in EN, FR and AR at the following website: http://www.europarl.eu.int/intcoop/empa/default.htm

* EU Election Observation Mission to supervise Palestinian elections. The European Commission will deploy in mid December an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) for elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, currently scheduled for 25 January 2006. The EU EOM, will assess whether the electoral process is conducted in accordance with international standards. The Commission welcomes the holding of these elections as a further step in democracy building within the Palestinian Territories. The EOM will be led by Véronique de Keyser, Member of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee and the EP Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, stated: “Genuine and Democratic elections are essential steps on the way to a viable Palestinian State as foreseen in the Road Map. Impartial observation can enhance transparency, create confidence in the democratic process and highlight areas where further improvements may be necessary. By working with the Palestinians in this way, the EU is helping to lay the foundations for a modern accountable administration and a more peaceful future for the Palestinian people”.

* Liberalisation of services and investment in the Mediterranean Partner countries: the Council gives the go ahead for negotiations. The Council for General Affairs and External Relations of the EU adopted at its meeting on 21-22 November a decision to authorize the Commission to initiate negotiations with the Mediterranean Partners on liberalization of investment and services. “This Decision shows that the EU is ready to help the Mediterranean countries confront the economic challenges of the 21st century. Our common objective is the establishment of a genuine free trade area around the Mediterranean by 2010…. The gains that investment and services liberalisation can bring to both European and Mediterranean countries are considerable…”. EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson stated. He added that these benefits could be multiplied if trade is also increased among Mediterranean countries themselves. The Commission will invite all the Mediterranean partners concerned to start services and investment negotiations early in 2006.

* The Council of General Affairs and External Relations adopted conclusions on the Middle-East Peace Process at its meeting in Brussels on 21-22 November. In its conclusions, the Council welcomed the Agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Movement and Access and agreed at the Parties’ request to an EU Third Party role at the Rafah crossing on the border between Gaza and Egypt. Therefore, the Council decided to launch a mission within the framework of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) to monitor the operations at the Rafah crossing. The Council also welcomed the holding of multi-party elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council foreseen for 25 January 2006 and urged the Palestinian Authority (PA) to uphold all provisions of the electoral law. As the Council asked Israel to cooperate fully with the PA in facilitating the preparation and conduct of the elections. The Council reiterated EU’s readiness to assist the PA financially, technically and politically with the elections, and to send an electoral observation mission which will work in liaison with members of the Quartet and international. Finally, the Council once again underlined its grave concern at Israeli activities in and around East Jerusalem, including construction of the separation barrier, settlement building and house demolitions. In light of this, the Council decided to submit a detailed EU analysis on East Jerusalem to be adopted and made public at its next meeting. For the full text of the conclusions, see: http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/gena/87093.pdf

* The EU-Morocco Association Council met in Brussels on 22 November. This fifth meeting was the opportunity to define the priorities for action for action for the coming year and review the significant developments which have taken place since the last meeting on 26 April 2004. A statement by the EU on this meeting is available at: http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/er/87085

* The EU-Jordan Association Council met in Brussels on 21 November. This fourth meeting was the opportunity to define the priorities for action for the coming year and review significant developments since the last meeting of the Association Council on 11 October 2004. A statement by the EU is available at: http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/er/87075.pdf

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* NNA LINDH FOUNDATION FOR THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN CULTURES LAUNCHES CALLS FOR PROPOSALS. This call aims to identify activities and initiatives that support intercultural dialogue in the 35 Euro-Mediterranean countries. The Programme is co-funded by the European Union and the 35 members of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Six thematic priorities have been selected in the Programme for 2006, which are: EuroMed music and other cultural/artistic creation; EuroMed schools programme; EuroMed teams of young researchers; Euromed Summer schools/exchange programmes (artists in residence); Libraries, promotion of books and reading, translation; Intercultural exchanges for women in civil society organizations. The full Guidelines for Applicants are available on the following Internet site www.euromedalex.org The three deadlines for submission of proposals are: March 1st, June 1st and November 1st, 2006 at 16:00 hrs Egyptian time.

* DEFINITION AND CRIMINAL INDICTMENTS; TRANSVERSAL ASPECTS OF ORGANISED CRIME”. This first regional seminar organised under topic 2 on the “Terrorism and interconnection of criminal networks” of the EuroMed Justice Programme (MEDA-funded Programme of the European Commission (EC)-EuropeAid Co-operation Office), was held in Madrid on 14-17 November 2005. At the end of the Seminar, participants acknowledged in a final statement that the seminar has allowed them to become familiar with the different realities concerning the topic of terrorism and analyse transversal aspects of organised crime in their legal international context, among others in the European Union, its Member States and in the Mediterranean Partners; to get a better insight into the role of certain institutions like the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, the European Union and the Council of Europe in the fight against terrorism and the prevention of transnational organised crime; and finally, to stimulate the exchange of practices and experiences, through working groups and plenary sessions, and set up contacts among participants in order to promote cooperation with the various institutions represented in the field of justice. For more information, contact: anna.abariotou@cec.eu.int

* LAUNCH OF A NEW EUROMED INFORMATION CENTRE. In the framework of the Euromed Regional Information and Communication Programme, a project will be launched to establish a Euromed Info Centre as a focal point for information on MEDA-related activities. Its aim is to act as a central point of contact and material resource, therefore providing back-up to the work done by the press officers in the Commission Delegations in the region. Another objective for the Euromed Info Centre is to prepare background information material to support journalists in their reporting. It is expected to start operating in December, its immediate functions including: An Info Helpline – to deal with requests journalists make to the Delegations; A Regional Programme website – a central point of information on the Euromed Regional Programme in particular, and MEDA in general; Country portraits – for each Euromed country and a Photolibrary (an image resource for journalist use). The setting up of the Info Centre will be announced at the Euro-Mediterranean Media Conference, which is taking place in Barcelona on 25-26 November, one of the many sideline events taking place around the Tenth Anniversary Summit. info@euromedinfo.net (see below).

* FOURTH ANIMA ANNUAL CONFERENCE 1-3 DECEMBER, RABAT. The Annual Conference of the ANIMA Project (Euro-Mediterranean Network of Investment Promotion Agencies), a MEDA-funded Project, managed by EuropeAid of the EC, will be held during “Les Intégrales de l’Investissement” (1st and 2nd December in Rabat), the foreign investors' meeting of Morocco which gathers more than 800 decision-makers from all over the world, under the patronage of His Majesty King Mohamed VI. The theme for this year will be "a socially responsible investment". The ANIMA Conference itself will highlight prospects of development for the Euromed Partnership in investment promotion, particularly through the ANIMA project. High-level representatives of the Euro-Mediterranean business community will present new opportunities to invest in the Region. Investors will share views on their successes and expectations. The ANIMA partners meeting will take place on 3 December and will take stock of ANIMA’s activities and achievements and will debate and finalise its action Programme 2006. Also on 3 December, members of the new enlarged ANIMA Consortium will meet for the 1st of a series of 3 meetings. For more information on both events: www.animaweb.org and http://lesintegrales.com
MISCELLANEOUS/BARCELONA +10

* EUROMED JOURNALISTS CONFERENCE, 25-26 NOVEMBER, BARCELONA. This is the last of 3 major conferences that started in the Dead Sea and gathered international journalists from both sides of the Mediterranean to discuss issues crucial to their work, such as freedom of speech, freedom to report, safety of journalists, objectivity in conflict areas, etc. This event, organised on the sideline of the Barcelona Summit, will conclude the cycle and present its conclusions to the Heads of State and Government. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy, will be speaking at this meeting which will discuss “The Euro-Med Process and the Media” with special focus on the creation of news and the generation of opinion and views in the region. During this event, the Euromed Heritage Journalistic Award 2005 will be presented to the MEDA country winner, Ms Dalia Shams, from Egypt. The presentation will be made by Richard Weber, Director at EuropeAid, Co-operation Office of the European Commission. Euromed Heritage is a MEDA-funded Programme, managed by EuropeAid.

* WOMEN’S CONFERENCE, 24-25 NOVEMBER, BARCELONA. This is another of the major sideline events taking place around the Barcelona 10th Anniversary celebrations. This meeting aims to promote an active role for women in the Partnership and underline the need for a gender perspective when defining policies. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy will be speaking at this Conference.

* EUROPEAN COMMISSION DELEGATIONS IN THE MEDA COUNTRIES CELEBRATE BARCELONA. Numerous events are being organised by the Delegations in the MEDA Countries to celebrate 10th Anniversary of the Barcelona Process. Details can be found on the Delegations websites:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/delegations/intro/web.htm

* 12TH EUROPEAN FILM FESTIVAL, 24 NOVEMBER - 4 DECEMBER, LEBANON. The Delegation of the European Commission in Lebanon is organising, in collaboration with the Embassies and Cultural Institutes of the European Union Member States, the 12th European Film Festival from November 24th to December 4th, 2005. The Festival will be an opportunity for real exchange between the European and the Lebanese cinema cultures. It will show latest European films, old Lebanese films, short films by the new generation of Lebanese graduates from the audiovisual schools in the country, as well as short films by children from Mediterranean countries. The 31 European films that have been selected by the organising committee – including 2 films for children, youth and family – confirm the quality of the most recent European production. This programming will enable the Lebanese audience to watch the first or second production of promising young directors, and prize-winning films at the most important international festivals, Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Montreal, Los Angeles. The Programme is available on the website of the Delegation of the European Commission: http://www.dellbn.cec.eu.int

Brussels,11 28 2005
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