* In a statement issued on 19 December following his visit to the Palestinian Territories, Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the CFSP, reiterated EU leaders’call at the Brussels’ Summit for “all Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, to renounce violence”. “It is clear that those who want to be part of the political process should not engage in armed activities”, he said. Javier Solana visited the Egyptian border at Rafah where he toured the border terminal installations and met the European members of the European border assistance mission (BAM). He also visited the Palestinian police headquarters in Gaza and met members of the EU Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (COPPS). Mr Solana also met the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas and discussed preparations for the forthcoming elections to the Legislative Council. For more see: http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/declarations/87668.pdf
* The first Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Transport Conference of 15 December in Marrakesh concluded successfully. The Euro-Mediterranean Transport Ministers based their discussions primarily on the Blue Paper on Euro-Mediterranean Transport Policy, drawn up within the frame of the EuroMed Transport Forum at the initiative of the European Commission, and on the final report of the High Level Group on the extension of the trans-European transport network to neighbouring countries. In their conclusions, the ministers identified the following priorities for future cooperation: institutional reform, regional transport infrastructure and financing, maritime transport, multimodal transport, air transport and Galileo. On this occasion, the Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Transport, Jacques Barrot, declared: “Ten years after the launch of the Barcelona Process, the Marrakesh Conference marks an important step in the development of Euro-Mediterranean transport cooperation. It is vital that we work together to set up a fully integrated, secure Euro-Mediterranean transport network.” In the margins of the Conference, Vice-President Barrot and the Moroccan Minister for Equipment and Transport, Karim Ghellab, initialled the comprehensive air transport agreement between the EU and Morocco. The agreement, the first of its kind with a third country, will pave the way for the future development of a Euro-Mediterranean common air space. Also in the margins of the Conference, Vice-President Barrot met with the Israeli Minister for Transport, Meier Sheetrit, and his Palestinian counterpart, Minister Saad Kharma, to discuss Israeli-Palestinian cooperation on transport, in particular progress towards the setting up of the Joint Israel-Palestinian Transport Office with the support of the MEDA Programme. To access the Blue Book, see: http://www.euromedtransport.org. The Conclusions of this Conference were made available in issue n° 94 of Euromed Report of 21 décember.
* The EU and the Egyptian Government signed on 13 December a financing agreement of 25 million euros in support of the implementation of the EU-Egypt Association Agreement. The support programme will enable Egyptian public administrations to benefit from insitutional twinning, an instrument that has been successfully used in the EU enlargement process. Egyptian public administrations will be able to work with their European counterparts (from individual Member states) for the transfer of know-how and expertise in various areas that Egypt will have idendified on the basis of its needs, the priorities of the Association Agreements and the future European Neighbourhood Action Plan. Four areas eligible for support have been identified: tourism, investment promotion, postal services and maritime security.
* The EU and Tunisia signed on 19 December the first two twinning contracts concerning cooperation between the Tunisian Customs Directorate General and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, and their French counterparts. These contracts are signed in the framework of the Association Agreement Support Programme, financed by the EU with a budget of 20 million euros. This type of contract, used for the first time in Tunisia, opens a new chapter in its relations with the EU. Engaged in its reform process, the Tunisian administration will be able to benefit from the experience of its counterparts in EU Members.
* The Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) is granting a EUR 100 million loan for the extension of the fixed line telephone network to poorly served areas of Syria. This is the first telecom sector operation signed under FEMIP in the Mediterrannean region.The finance contract was signed on 16 December 2005 in Paris by Mr Philippe de Fontaine Vive, EIB Vice-President in charge of FEMIP, and Dr. M. Bachir Munajed, Minister of Communications and Technology for Syria. See www.eib.eu.int
* Under its Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), the European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing EUR 25 million in risk capital facility for developing Egyptian private sector companies. The finance agreement was signed on 21 December in Paris by Mr. Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice President of the EIB in charge of FEMIP, and senior representatives of the selected partners in Egypt. www.eib.eu.int
PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
* REGIONAL SEMINAR EUROMED POLICE ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING, 5-9 DECEMBER, ATHENS. This Seminar was organised in the framework of the MEDA funded Regional Police co-operation Project which was launched in 2004 with a budget of € 2 million with the aim of facilitating and reinforcing Euro-Mediterranean Police Co-operation on regional matters. The Seminar addressed human trafficking from various angles, namely, illegal immigration, sexual exploitation, children and organs trafficking, document falsification, underlying factors and causes, countries of origin, infrastructure and routes of trafficking, means of money transfers and finally, the ways to combat this phenomenon. Presentations of case studies from different countries of the partnership were made. The representative from Morocco presented his country’s national strategy as well as international cooperation to combat human trafficking with Spain and France and African countries. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
* “IMMIGRATION INTEGRATION POLICIES: THE VIEW FROM SOUTHERN AND EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN COUNTRIES”, 12-15 DECEMBER, TUNIS. This intensive thematic session was organised in the framework of the MEDA-financed EuroMed Migration Project launched by EuropeAid, Cooperation Office of the EC in 2004. EuroMed Migration aims at creating an instrument for observing, analysing and forecasting the migratory movements, their causes and their impact, in Europe and in the Mediterranean partners. The Tunis thematic session addressed the need for policy-makers of both sending and receiving countries to evaluate the impact of their policies on the actual integration of migrants in the receiving society. For more information, contact: email@example.com
* EMISPHER AND THE “VIRTUAL EURO-MEDITERRANEAN HOSPITAL” (VEMH)
The VEMH initiative which builds on the successful implementation of EMISPHER and integrates best practices established in various other EUMEDIS Pilot Projects in the health and education sectors, was the subject of two highly attended official symposia at the World Summit on the Information Society (Tunis, November 05) dedicated to the development and implementation of the Virtual Euro-Mediterranean Hospital - VEMH. The first, on 16 November discussed key topics such as the general requirements for global healthcare provision, the role of the medical experts in the VEMH, the means of integration, tecnological innovation as well as the best strategies for effective implementation of the VEMH. The second, on 17 November, addressed the role of the VEMH in Telemedicine and medical e-learning services. EUMEDIS is a MEDA-funded regional programme (Euro-Mediterranean Information Society Initiative). Furthermore, at a Conference organized by the EU-funded project ATVN-EU-GP on 1-3 December 2005 in Pultusk near Warsaw (Poland), the EMISPHER Project (EUMEDIS 110) was awarded the first prize in the "e-health" category of the “Good Practice Projects” contest, funded by the European Commission and called “The Best 2005”, for its contribution “EMISPHER and the VEMH”. www.eumedis.net, www.emispher.org, http://www.atvn-eu-gp.pl/contest/index.htm
* TERRORISM AND INTERCONNECTION OF CRIMINAL NETWORKS – SEMINAR 2: “TERRORISM”, 12-15 DECEMBER, THE HAGUE. At the end of this seminar, organised in the framework of the MEDA-funded Euro-Med Justice Programme, managed by EuropeAid, Cooperation Office of the European Commission, the participants adopted a final declaration in which they acknowledged that the has enabled them to analyse deeply the different realities concerning the topic of terrorism and the fight against terrorism in their legal national, international context, in the European Union, its Member States and in the Mediterranean; to get a better insight into the exchange of information in the fight against terrorism and against the financing of terrorism, underlining the role of institutions like Eurojust and Europol; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
* “2005 YEAR OF THE MEDITERRANEAN, THE BARCELONA PROCESS 10 YEARS ON” – This Publication has been prepared in the framework of the “Information and Communication” Programme, a MEDA-funded regional Programme, managed by EuropeAid, Cooperation Office of the European Commission, for the celebrations of the 10 years Anniversary of the Barcelona Process. Now available on : http://europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/reports/brochure-barcelone10_en.pdf
* “PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS IN MOROCCO”- CALL FOR PROPOSALS In the framework of the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights, the Delegation of the European Commission in Rabat has launched a new call for proposals directed at moroccan civil society for a budget of 11 million Dirhams. For more information, see: www.delmar.cec.eu.int or contact: Delegationemail@example.com
Brussels,01 02 2006