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DMAS: Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries

The Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries (DMAS) is one of the European Parliament's oldest delegations, having been established after the first direct elections to the European Parliament in 1979.

While its remit has changed slightly since it was formed, the delegation today focuses on the four countries in the Mashreq region: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Members

The delegation includes 18 full members, backed up by a corps of substitute members.

The Chair of the delegation is Marisa Matias, a Portuguese member of the Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left. She is supported by two Vice-chairs: Ramona Nicole Mănescu, a Romanian member of the Group of the European People's Party, and Gilles Pargneaux, a French member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.

All the members of the delegation will normally remain in place until the end of the European Parliament's term. The Parliament's current, eighth term will conclude with the European elections in mid- 2019.

Focus

The developments of the "Arab Spring" and the political transition processes that followed in the region have been the main focus areas of the Mashreq Delegation since 2011.

During this period, the delegation has concentrated on the following topics, in consultation with representatives from the countries in the region and relevant experts on the region:
  • effects of the Arab revolutionary movements in the region;
  • the security situation in the region;
  • the war in Syria and the efforts of the European Union and the international community to provide continuous humanitarian support to the Syrian people;
  • the destabilising effect of the Syrian war, in particular the spill-over effects on countries neighbouring Syria - Jordan and Lebanon;
  • the humanitarian crisis posed by enormous numbers of internally displaced people, religious minorities in Syria, Syrian refugees and Palestinian refugees who fled to neighbouring countries,
  • the consequences of the massive refugee influx on the economies of neighbouring countries, in particular Lebanon and Jordan, as well as Egypt to a certain extent;
  • Egypt's tumultuous political transition process and harsh crack-down on political opposition;
  • the political reform process in Jordan and Lebanon;
  • the human rights situation in the four Mashreq countries and the working environment of civil society organisations;
  • the revised European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), which was renewed in the light of the developments in the region;
  • the EU's macro financial assistance to Jordan and the effects of the EU-Jordan compact.
Meetings and travel

The delegation meets regularly in both Strasbourg and Brussels. Meetings often include exchanges of views with outside experts, including from UNICEF, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission's DG ECHO and DG NEAR, the European Council for Foreign Affairs and other private institutes that focus on Middle East policies.

To meet with their members of parliament from the Mashreq countries, the delegation travels once a year to one of the four countries.

These inter-parliamentary meetings serve to
  • strengthen bilateral relations between the parliaments,
  • assess the human rights situation on the ground,
  • meet with representatives from civil society organizations and
  • visit EU funded projects.