OVERVIEW

In the course of the implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership process, the necessity for shaping a culture of dialogue and cooperation among the European member states and its Mediterranean Partners has continually been emphasised. As one of the results, the European Commission has entrusted the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies to run a semi-annual Information and Training Seminar for Euro-Mediterranean desk officers of the 39 partner countries.

The Euro-Med seminars have consisted of a series of presentations with a primary objective of familiarization with the Euro-Mediterranean Process. Subject areas examined were: the EU institutional setting and decision-making patterns, the question of how to deal with the EU in practical terms, and the selected aspects of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and its implementation.

All of the Euro-Mediterranean Information and Training sessions were geared towards mid-ranking diplomats. At the same time an effort was made to attract junior representatives who had attended previous meetings for the purpose of building a core group across the Euro-Med area dealing with Euro-Med matters. An additional feature at recent Euro-Mediterranean Information and Training Seminars has been the organizing of workshops within the seminars. This approach has helped participants work more closely together when examining issues pertaining to the Euro-Mediterranean process.

All of the Information and Training programmes have provided an up-to-date analysis of the Euro-Mediterranean process. They have brought together specialists from Europe and the Mediterranean who provided in-depth assessments of the progress registered to date in each of the three chapters of the Barcelona process: political and security; economic and financial; social, cultural and human.

EVALUATION

An assessment of the Euro-Mediterranean Information and Training Programme reveals that this is a unique mechanism to facilitate the informal exchange and open dialogue between actual practitioners directly involved in the implementation of the Partnership. The networking effect has already turned out to be a much-appreciated feature of the meeting.

Furthermore, the rapidly growing number of programmes and projects under the auspices of the Barcelona Partnership necessitates regular updates of desk officers. Apart from its intrinsic value, the continuous and consistent dissemination of information pertaining to the Partnership process is helping to overcome inconsistencies in the process and facilitate informal exchanges of views on a wide variety of subjects of common interest. The significance of this exercise was further underlined in the Political and Security Dialogue section of the Presidency Conclusions for the Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (The Hague, 29-30 November 2004) where direct reference is made to the training sessions as a confidence-building measure: "Ministers encouraged the Commission to continue support for Partnership Building Measures i.e. the Malta Diplomatic Seminars..."

Malta Seminars were again highlighted at ministerial conference in Luxemburg 2005: "Ministers reiterated their support to existing partnership building measures which have been successfully pursued under the MEDA programme, notably the Malta seminars,..." - VIIth Euro-Mediterranean Conference, May 2005, Luxembourg-Kiem.



Seminar | Calendar | Alumni | Background | Contact | Search