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GCC calls for closer economic cooperation with EU.

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During the meeting held at GCC Secretariat in Riyadh on Wednesday the assistant secretary-general for political negotiations and affairs of the GCC called for closer cooperation with the EU. The event was a Forum on the achievements and lessons learnt from EU integration in occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and it was attended by EU and GCC ambassadors and other diplomats from various missions in the capital. The aim is to diversify the GCC countries’ economy and consequently reach a better prosperity and maintain stability and security in the region. Moreover the ambassador D’Urso, head of the EU delegation, said GCC member states are important strategic partners to the EU and that the EU wants to expand and consolidate cooperation with them to promote mutual understanding and narrow gaps.

 

EU says will assess planned Turkish constitutional changes.

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The European Union will assess planned constitutional changes in Turkey in light of the country’s status as a candidate for membership in the 28-member bloc.  The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have both said the referendum is needed to stabilize the country, though several European politicians have criticized his approach. The dispute also led to problems in a Turkey-EU deal on immigrants that includes European aid to Turkey for migrants in exchange for a readmission agreement to cut the flow of migrants to the continent from Turkey. Separately, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on March 12 that it was difficult to continue working with Turkey on economic aid because of a row over Turkish ministers campaigning in EU countries and the arrest of a German-Turkish journalist in Turkey.

 

Chances and opportunities of the chancellor’s visit to Egypt

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The chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, is paying a two-day visit to Egypt on Thursday, to discuss several political and economic issues between Egypt and the most powerful industrial country in the European Union. Throughout the visit, it is scheduled for Merkel to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, and the Coptic patriarch, Pope Tawadros II. Meetings between German and Egyptian businesspeople will also take place during the visit, according to a press statement issued by the German embassy in Egypt. Under Al-Sisi, Egypt relied on German energy company Siemens to establish three power plants with a turnkey system in Beni Suef, Borollos, and the New Administrative Capital with a capacity of 14,400 MW, worth €8bn for both gas and wind plants.Egypt expects many things from the visit, such as attracting further investments from the industrial stronghold of Europe. The German chancellor is planning to discuss regional and national problems concerning refugees, the crisis in Libya, and the situation of German institutions in Egypt. Egypt also could provide Germany the opportunity to establish a German economic area in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, which might increase German exports to all nearby countries. The website of the German ministry of foreign affairs, auswaertiges-amt.de, says that Germany and Egypt enjoy close economic relations, especially in the area of trade. It stated that in 2015, bilateral trade grew by approximately 20% compared to the previous year, now worth EUR 5.2bn. Managing director at Multiples Group, Omar El-Shinity, believes that this visit will be beneficial for both countries regarding both, economics and politics.He believes that the deal with Siemens is designed to open a new path towards the EU, rather than just a deal to increase Egypt’s capacity of energy.

Rouhani called for EU’s backing for trade between Iran and European banks and companies

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Speaking at a joint press conference with Sweden’s prime minister in Tehran on Saturday, President Rouhani called for EU’s backing for trade between Iran and European banks and companies in order to tap into the post-JCPOA situation for serving the mutual interests of the two sides.Iran and Sweden are determined to restore economic relations to pre-sanctions levels, adding that Tehran counts on the potential of the Export Guarantee Fund and pursues closer banking ties with Sweden to that end. President Rouhani described the Swedish PM’s landmark visit to Iran with a big economic delegation, including representatives of 40 major corporations, as a sign of both countries’ serious resolve to enhance relations, discuss ways to ease tensions in the Middle East, and contribute to regional and international peace and stability. For his part, Stefan Lofven described it as an honor to be the first Swedish prime minister to pay an official visit to Iran.

European Union and Arab League condemned atrocities in Syria

In their fourth ministerial meeting, the Arab League and European Union (EU) countries condemned the recent atrocities of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his allies, according to a joint statement issued by ministers of both sides. The meeting that is currently held in Egypt, with Tunisian Foreign Affairs Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui representing the Arab countries and EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy Federica Mogherini representing the EU countries, also condemned the usage of chemical weapons by all factions in Syria and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation. They also committed to reconstructing Syria once an inclusive political transition is underway.

€18.98 million contributed by European Union and Sweden to the payment of salaries and pensions of thousands of Palestinians

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The European Union made yesterday a contribution of €18.98 million to the payment of November salaries and pensions of 65,000 Palestinian civil servants and pensioners in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This contribution, which is channelled through the PEGASE[1] mechanism, is being funded by the European Union (€14.0 million) and Sweden (€4.98 million). By this contribution, the EU has disbursed around €153 million this year to support the Palestinian Authority payment of salaries, pensions, social allowances, and referral to East Jerusalem hospitals.

Co-operation agreement between Tunisia and EU is succesful

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The relations of co-operation between Tunisia and the European Union (EU) have witnessed a fresh momentum over the past two years mainly at the political level: the publication on September 26, 2016, by the EU of a joint communication between the European Commission and the EU High Representative to “strengthen EU’s support to Tunisia”. A communication that represents a strong signal from the EU Institution to Tunisia, and that was reinforced by the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) conclusions of October 17.2016. The support provided by the European Parliament to Tunisia as well as the adoption on September 14, 2016 of a Resolution on “the Union’s relations with Tunisia in the current regional state” illustrating the willingness of the EU Institution to further support Tunisia in its democratic consolidation process and of the overall reforms and proposing initiatives in this sense to the European executive. Increasing parliamentary exchanges through the visit in Tunis by the President of the European Parliament in February 2016 and the establishment of the joint parliamentary commission between Tunisia and the European Parliament. The visit of EU High Representative Federica Mogherini in Tunis (November 1, 2016) and the participation of the European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy in the international investment conference on November 29-30 in Tunis. The celebration of the 40th anniversary of the first co-operation agreement established between the two countries.

Project of cultural cooperation between Tunisia and France

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A delegation from the European Union gathering four experts in the cultural sector paid Thursday afternoon a visit to the governorate of Manouba where they visited the regional delegation of cultural affairs, the regional library and the culture centre Mohamed Abdelaziz Agrebi. According to the regional delegate of cultural affairs Sallouha Inoubli, this visit is part of vitalising a cooperation project between the Tunisian Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. Funded by the European Union, this project aims to contribute to strengthening the strategic role of culture in the Tunisian societal project and to make it one of the pillars of economic and social development, he said. On this occasion, members of the delegation met with representatives of the delegation and discussed ways of strengthening and developing co-operation, in particular as regards the improvement of skills in the cultural field and the rehabilitation of cultural centres with a view to best serve the needs of young people and meet their expectations.

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