EU/MEDITERRANEAN STATES: EDUCATION FOR ALL, THE NEW BARCELONA PROCESS PRIORITY.

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The European Commission regards education as a key factor in supporting reform and development in southern Mediterranean countries and has proposed an increase in funding of 50% or euro 1 billion over five years from 2007. The final figure will, however, depend upon an agreement on the EU's 2007-2013 financial perspective and the definition of the future neighbourhood instrument which will cover all the EU's EuroMed programmes. Funds will be directed towards helping Mediterranean countries reform their education systems in order to achieve three ambitious targets set in Barcelona by 2015: eradication of illiteracy, primary education for all children, and equal access for girls and boys to all levels of education.

The integration of women is a major challenge in Arab countries and a priority for External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. She presented a new programme of grants for university students studying in Europe from 2006, including a guaranteed quota of women students. The Commission is nevertheless counting on dialogue to convince reluctant administrations to reform....

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