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Euromed News

BARCELONA SUMMIT, 27–28 NOVEMBER 2005

The Euro-Mediterranean Summit to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Process turned out as a reflection of the Process itself. The Summit, like the Process, led to contrasting results. Negotiations were difficult on the ambitious agenda. However, the Summit yielded in the end substantive outputs, despite critical media reporting focusing more on participation and disagreements rather than on the agreed agenda for common action. However, the difficulties should not divert attention from the positive final results. The Summit reached agreement on a Five-Year Work Programme for the further development of the partnership as well as on a Code of Conduct on Countering Terrorism. The Work Programme will allow work in the regional Euro-Med framework to progress in full synergy and complementarity with the bilateral Action Plans developed under the European Neighbourhood Policy. And the Code of Conduct, bringing Europeans, Arabs and Israelis together around one agenda, highlights the common commitment to fighting terrorism in all its dimensions. This is a significant political achievement and a sign that 35 Euro-Med governments, in spite of the sensitivities of the region, are ready to work together and join efforts to fight terrorism beyond current bilateral collaboration between some of them. By adopting the Work Programme, the partners have agreed on several issues such as: the Governance Facility to support and accompany political reform; liberalisation of trade in services and agriculture; migration-related issues and the fight against illegal migration, increasing resources for education, establishing a scholarship scheme for university students and promoting gender equality; reinforcing the role of civil society and improving its interaction with Governments and Parliaments.
The impressively high level participation in the European side with, in particular, the presence of Messrs. Blair, Zapatero, Chirac, Shussel, Ahern, Berlusconi, Mrs Halonen, as well as the Commission President, Mr Barroso, the European Parliament President, Mr Borrell and the Secretary General of the Council, Mr Solana, constitutes a significant political backing by European leaders for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the strategic priority for closer relations with the Mediterranean, including by non-Mediterranean EU Member States. On the Mediterranean side, three partners were represented at the highest executive level; the President of the Palestinian Authority and the Prime Ministers of Turkey and Lebanon. Israel was represented by vice-Prime Minister Olmert, and the other Partners by their Prime Ministers (Egypt, Morocco) or by their Foreign Ministers (Syria, Tunisia and Algeria). For Jordan, the Summit was attended by the brother of the King, Prince Faisal.

EVENTS AROUND THE SUMMIT

* EUROMED REGIONS AND CITIES CONFERENCE – 26 NOVEMBER, BARCELONA. This Conference took place on the eve of the Barcelona celebrations, at the invitation of the Regional Government of Catalonia. Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, Joe Borg, Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs firstly highlighted the achievements of the Barcelona Process namely in terms of the instruments available, the institutions created under the process and the variety of governmental and civil society networks that have emerged. He most specifically highlighted the importance of the contribution of Mediterranean regions and cities for the success of the objectives set under the Partnership and the European Neighbourhood Policy. He therefore invited them to become more involved in consultations on issues of cross-border and maritime cooperation in the EU-Mediterranean area. For the full speech, see:
http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/05/738&type=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

* EUROMED AND THE MEDIAS – 25 NOVEMBER, BARCELONA. The 3rd in the series of such events organised at the initiative of the European Commission, this was the opportunity for the journalists gathered on the occasion of the celebrations of the 10th Anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration to reaffirm their firm commitment to freedom of speech, independent journalism and issues close to their working conditions such as the safety of journalists. Mrs Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy spoke at this major Conference. She highlighted the fact that “the Mediterranean represents for Europe, even more today than before, an absolute priority” as she stressed the crucial role for journalists in bringing the Partnership closer to the people, and promoting understanding and tolerance. For the full speech, see: http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/med_mideast/news/index.htm. The Commission was also highly represented at this event by Messrs Christian Leffler, Director, DG Relex and Richard Weber, Director, EuropeAid, Cooperation Office of the EC, who both highlighted the importance of this Conference and the role of the medias in increasing the visibility of the Barcelona Process.

* EURO-MEDITERRANEAN WOMEN CONFERENCE, 24-25 NOVEMBER, BARCELONA. The Conference was articulated around three workshops corresponding to the three chapters of the Barcelona Process and the role of women in the promotion of the Partnership. The conclusions of the 3 workshops were presented to the plenary session which was attended by Mrs Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and the European Neighburhood Policy. High level participants as well as representatives from civil society expressed their wish to see the conclusions of this event taken account of at the ministerial conference on women to be organised in the second half of 2006, at the initiative of Mrs Benita Ferrero-Waldner. The event will be taking place under the Finnish Presidency of the EU. It will be dedicated to women’s issues as it will be open to participation to both government and civil society representatives. In her intervention, the Commissioner called for a greater participation of women from the Mediterranean partner countries at all levels, political, economic and social. The conference coinciding with the International Day against gender violence, Mrs Ferrero-Waldner also stressed that dialogue between women from both shores of the Mediterranean is essential, hence the importance of the Partnership in this respect.

PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS

* THE FACILITY FOR THE EURO-MEDITERRANEAN INVESTMENT AND PARTNERSHIP (FEMIP) is granting a €200 million loan for the construction of a 750 MWe natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant in Deir Azzour on the Euphrates river in Syria. This is the second operation signed in Syria for electricity generation and the fourth overall in the Syrian electricity sector over the last six years. The project will be implemented and managed by the Electricity Generation and Transmission Company (PEEGT). The finance contract was signed on 25 November 2005 in Paris by Mr Philippe de Fontaine Vive, EIB Vice-President in charge of FEMIP, and Mr. Mounib Saem El-Dahr, Minister of Electricity. For more information, see: http://www.eib.org/ (Press releases

* ANIMA WORKSHOP ON CLUSTERS, 5 DECEMBER, MARSEILLES. Hosted by ANIMA in Marseilles, this is a joint ANIMA/UNCTAD/World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) regional workshop. This year the seminar seeks to explore in depth the business development concept known as “clusters” and its application in the promotion and generation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). For more information, contact: anna.abariotou@cec.eu.int

* “EU ADVANCED FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS”, 28 NOVEMBER – 2 DECEMBER, BARCELONA. As part of the MEDA Regional Programme “EuroMed Training for Public Administration”, this seminar is being organised in order to offer participants from MEDA partner countries an in depth knowledge, in this case in the field of free movement of goods, an area of interest to them in the framework of the Association Agreements with the EU; to enable them to have an expert's working knowledge on EU Policies that will qualify them to spread relevant information on these matters as well as to develop a working relation with the EU Institutions and EU Member States in this respect; to develop bilateral and multilateral administrative cooperation and to encourage an exchange of experience, knowledge and best practices. For more information, contact: anna.abariotou@cec.eu.int

* REGIONAL SEMINAR EUROMED POLICE ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING, 5-9 DECEMBER, ATHENS. This Seminar is organised as part of the MEDA funded Regional Police co-operation Project which was launched in 2004 and has a budget of € 2 million. It comes under the 2nd Chapter of the Regional Programme on Good Governance and the Rule of Law. It aims at facilitating and reinforcing Euro-Mediterranean Police Co-operation on regional matters. Its activities include fighting terrorism, money laundering, drug and human trafficking, organised crime and cyber-crime. The Seminar will focus on human trafficking from various angles, such as illegal immigration, child labour, sexual exploitation, document falsification with presentations of case studies from different countries of the partnership. For more information, contact: anna.abariotou@cec.eu.int

* NEWROPEANS GRAND PRIX TO THE EURO-MEDITERRANEAN YOUTH PLATFORM. On the 26th of November in Amsterdam, the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform was awarded the Newropeans Grand Prix for its contribution to democracy. The “Grand Prix” is granted by a wide jury made of around 1,000 actors of the European civil society coming from 25 States: representatives from universities, schools, regions, cities, associations, foundations, media and companies, of different ages and professions. The elections take place by Internet. Further information can be obtained from http://www.newropeans.org/en/on-going/GrandsPrix2005/index.htm. The Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform is an EU-financed initiative aiming at facilitating networking between all those involved in the youth sector in Europe and the Mediterranean. http://www.euromedp.org

* BYZANTIUM EARLY ISLAM PROJECT – NEW WEBSITE. BYZANTIUM EARLY ISLAM, (BYZeIS), a Euromed Heritage III Project (EU-funded Programme managed by EuropeAid, Cooperation Office of the European Commission) is a multidisciplinary project aiming to bring to the fore the region’s Byzantine and Islamic cultural heritage and to modernise its ability to manage it intelligently through co-operation. This project is a golden opportunity to create the highest standards of heritage conservation and promotion in the MEDA region. It involves partners from Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. More information on this project can now be found on its recently activated website: www.byzantiumearlyislam.net

Brussels,12 05 2005
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