Building on the success of the joint EuroMed ECOFIN (Economic and Finance Ministers)/FEMIP Ministerial Meeting held last year in Morocco, the next meeting will take place under the EU's Austrian Presidency and will be hosted by the Tunisian authorities.
High-level participation at the Meeting is expected. Participants include the Finance Ministers of the 25 EU Member States and the 10 Mediterranean Partner Countries, as well as representatives of the European Commission and the main European and international institutions active in economic and financial matters in the region.
Co-chaired by Messrs Mohamed Nouri Jouini, Tunisian Minister of Development and International Cooperation, Karl-Heinz Grasser, Austrian Minister of Finance, and Joaquín Almunia, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, the ECOFIN session will review economic developments in the region, including a presentation on the progress of reform. Discussion will focus on the role of fiscal performance, the quality of public finances and fiscal management in establishing a favourable environment for growth and job creation.
Under the joint chairmanship of Messrs Mohamed Nouri Jouini and Philippe de Fontaine Vive, EIB Vice-President responsible for operations in the Mediterranean, the FEMIP Ministerial session will assess the performance of reinforced FEMIP, looking at future prospects. This discussion will be held in the context of the ECOFIN and European Council decisions to be taken in the autumn on the future of the Euro-Mediterranean economic and financial partnership.
Participants will also review the recommendations put forward at the FEMIP Experts' Meeting, held in Vienna in March 2006. These recommendations provide for the improvement of the business climate and attraction of FDI in the Mediterranean region, as well as suggesting ways to further develop Mediterranean energy markets. The agenda will be completed by comments on the conclusions of the workshop on the harmonisation of procurement procedures and policies between lending institutions and Mediterranean partner countries, held in Luxembourg in November 2005. The FEMIP second Annual Report will also be presented at the Meeting.
The European Investment Bank, the European Union's long-term financing institution, is the most significant source of finance in the Mediterranean Partner Countries via its Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP). FEMIP has been instrumental in channelling substantial funding to the Mediterranean region and in improving the conditions for economic growth and job creation through support to infrastructure and private sector development.