In an effort to inform the industrial and financial communities and professional associations in Syria of the opportunities presented by the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) for strengthening the private sector, the EIB and the Syrian Ministry of Finance have organised and co-chaired two conferences in Syria. The conferences have been held in cooperation with the Aleppo Chamber of Industry on Monday, the 6th of December 2004 in Aleppo, and with the Federation of the Syrian Chambers of Commerce, on Wednesday, the 8th of December 2004 in Damascus.

A broad range of speakers from Syria, the Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPCs), the European Commission and FEMIP, as well as from economic organisations operating in these countries, addressed some 500 eminent participants in Aleppo and Damascus.

FEMIP is a major step forward in financial and economic cooperation between the European Union and the MPCs. Since the establishment of FEMIP in Barcelona in 2002, total lending of up to EUR 8-10 billion has been foreseen in the MPCs in the period up to 2006. FEMIP's top priority is to promote and support private sector development (especially Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Foreign Direct Investment) and to facilitate projects helping to establish a favourable climate for private investment (economic infrastructure, health and education schemes). FEMIP's ultimate goal is to help the MPCs meet the challenges of economic and social modernisation and to enhance regional integration in the run-up to the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean free-trade area planned for 2010.