The European Commission on Thursday suspended imports of citrus fruits from South Africa -- which accounts for about a third the EU's total -- on concerns 'black spot' disease could infect local crops. Experts from the European Union's 28 member states agreed on the emergency ban after it was found in 36 citrus fruit cargos from South Africa this year, the Commission said in a statement.
Learning from past crises, the European Commission has changed tack on its approach to food security in the Horn of Africa, focusing on resilience to droughts and supporting diversification in local farming production, EurActiv reports. The list of hunger catastrophes in the history of the Horn of Africa is long. The latest one, only two years ago, was triggered by an extreme drought. Such extreme weather events are only expected to become more frequent with climate change, making preparedness more crucial than ever.
A package deal comprising the 2014 EU budget and the financing of EUR 400.5 million to remediate flood and drought damages in four member states was agreed on 12 November by the Council and the European Parliament at a meeting of the Conciliation Committee. The Parliament and the Council struck a deal early which remedies payments shortfalls in in the current fiscal year. This was a prerequisite for Parliament to approve the MFF, because Members of European Parliament (MEPs) wanted to prevent the EU from starting the first year under the new MFF with a deficit.
At a ministerial breakfast meeting on 4 December 2013 organized by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) on the margins of the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, ministers of least-developed countries (LDCs) and donor countries to the EIF underlined the relevance of the EIF for the trade and economic priorities of LDCs, as confirmed by the mid-term review of the programme in 2012.
Improving the competitiveness of SMEs in developing countries matters to everyone, especially Europe, argues Arancha González. A deal on trade facilitation at the upcoming ninth WTO ministerial conference in Bali, may hang in the balance but a successful outcome is still possible, preferred and much needed. An improved trade-facilitation framework is crucial for all countries; particularly for developing countries and emerging economies, but also for their European trading partners.