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Euromediterranean News


The EU Council on 23 September adopted a decision authorising the signature of the 11th Convention between the EU and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). By signing the Convention the EU commits itself to providing € 237 million to UNRWA over 4 years for aid to refugees in 2002-2005.

Under the 10th EU-UNRWA Convention which expired on 31 December 2001 € 120 million of EU funds were provided over 3 years. UNRWA’s programmes are in the fields of education, health, and social services.


* The Euro-Mediterranean Committee for the Barcelona Process met on 19 September in Brussels. Mediterranean Partners’ representatives gave a warm welcome to a presentation by the European Commission of the ‘Regional Co-operation Programme in the field of justice, in combating drugs, organised crime and terrorism as well as co-operation in the treatment of issues relating to the social integration of migrants, migration and movement of people’. The general approach and the importance given to ownership were particularly well received. There was also a discussion on the setting up of a Euro-Mediterranean Foundation as foreseen by the Valencia Ministerial Conference last April. Evaluation of past activities was discussed as well.

* Moroccan Foreign Minister Mohamed Benaissa will meet European Commission President Romano Prodi, European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten, and EU High Representative Javier Solana on 30 September in Brussels. Various aspects of EU-Morocco relations will be discussed. Mr Benaissa will meet other personalities, notably European Parliament Vice-President Elmar Brok, and NATO Secretary-General George Robertson.

* The MED Committee met on 26 September in Brussels. They gave a favourable opinion on 4 projects for the Palestinians totalling € 22 million. A project entitled ‘Empowering the Palestinian Judicial System’ (€ 7 million) aims at developing a functioning and independent judicial system over 32 months. The release of EU funds will be subject to the signing by the Palestinian Authority’s Justice Ministry of Memoranda of Understanding with the Palestinian High Judicial Council and Constitutional Court so as to ascertain independence of the judiciary. Other projects approved are an 18 months Emergency Support Programme to the SMEs of East Jerusalem (€ 5 million); a 2 year Health Sector Support Programme (€ 5 million) to support the Palestinian Authority’s Health Ministry in the areas of health planning and health financing; and a 2 year Emergency Support operation for the Palestinian Hospitals in East Jerusalem (€ 5 million). There was also an exchange of views on Social Development and Gender Issues, as well as on the Environment and Water.

* EU-Syria technical consultations at experts’ level will take place on 30 September and 1 October in Brussels in preparation for the 9th round of negotiations for an Association Agreement to be held in November. Experts will discuss trade and trade-related matters. The 8th round of EU-Syria negotiations for an Association Agreement was held on 5 and 6 June.

* The EU-Morocco Customs Co-operation Committee will meet for the first time on 3 October in Brussels. After adopting rules of procedure officials on the Committee will discuss matters regarding tariff dismantlement and rules of origin. Harmonisation of legislation, and simplification of customs controls and procedures are also on the agenda, as well as mutual assistance between administrations.

* “The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership… is an instrument with which we can build bridges between our cultures” said European Commissioner for Education and Culture Viviane Reding on 20 September in Marrakesh. She was addressing a seminar held in the framework of the International Film Festival. “Strengthening Euro-Mediterranean co-operation in the fields of education, youth, and culture” she went on, “is considered by the Commission as a priority”. Mrs Reding expressed her dismay at the fact that only 54 films produced or co-produced in Mediterranean Partners had been distributed in the EU between 1996 and 2002, accounting for a mere 0.08% of the EU film market. Underlining efforts made within the EUROMED AUDIOVISUEL and MEDIA Plus Programmes, she said the EU could not be content with such a situation. http://www.europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi

* An EU funded conference on Multimedia and Cultural Heritage will be held from 29 September to 2 October in Amman. The conference is a joint initiative of the EU funded MEDRESSA and HERMES projects. It will bring together academics, business representatives and officials from both the EU and the Mediterranean Partners. http://www.medressa.com

* The meeting of the EU-Morocco Culture Co-operation Commitee scheduled to take place on 26 September has been cancelled. No new date has yet been set.


Ten environment projects in 7 Mediterranean Partners have been approved on 25 September by the European Commission to receive total funding of over € 3.3 million under the LIFE-Third Countries programme 2002. The selected projects have capacity building as their main objective while covering a wide variety of themes, from water resources to environmental legislation and education. Co-funding by the EU ranges from 48% to 70% of the eligible cost of each project. The beneficiary Partners are Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, and the West Bank/Gaza Strip. LIFE-Third Countries is part of the EU LIFE III Environmentl Programme (2000-2004)

The launch conference for the MEDA funded DELTA project, part of the EUROMED HERITAGE II Regional Programme, will be held on 27 and 28 September in Marseilles, France. DELTA aims at developing ‘Territorial Cultural Systems’ i.e. activities related to the enhancement of cultural heritage carried out in partnership by public and private operators. The project is co-ordinated by Italy’s Mediterranean Institute (IMED), and it involves institutions in charge of managing cultural heritage in 4 EU countries (France, Greece, Italy, and Spain) and 5 Mediterranean Partners (Algeria, Israel, Malta, Morocco, and the Palestinian Authority). The conference theme is ‘Cultural and territorial systems: an asset for regional and local development’.


There are more passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants in Lebanon than in Denmark; the average population growth rate is the same in Tunisia as in Ireland; and industry’s contribution to gross value added in Algeria is highest of all Euro-Mediterranean countries and territories. These are some of the comparisons that can be drawn from a leaflet entitled ‘MEDSTAT Euro-Mediterranean Statistics’, and recently published by Eurostat, the EU’s Statistical Office. The new publication presents a statistical portrait of the Euro-Mediterranean Area in 2000, including the 15 EU Member States, the 4 European Free Trade Association countries, and the 12 Mediterranean Partners. Data for the publication were compiled under the MEDA funded MEDSTAT Regional Programme.

Bruxelles 01-10-2002
European Union

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