Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

April 2018
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EDITO
Friday, 20 April 2018
The CTA is recruting for the Brussels Office a trainee (Junior Research Assistant).
It is open to ACP and EU nationals. A one six month’s renewable contract will be offered from 1st March 2006.
Read details on requirements and how to apply in the note attached.
Operational Programme of the Council for 2006 submitted by the incoming
Austrian and Finnish Presidencies
Common Agricultural policy and fisheries
An innovative, competitive and sustainable European Model of Agriculture. The consolidation of the newly reformed CAP is a priority of the two Presidencies. It is important to give a signal of stability and reliability to the European farming community while at the same time recognising the need to start reflecting on the challenges facing the CAP in the last years of the decade.
A further very important priority for both Presidencies will be the contribution of the European Model of Agriculture to the Lisbon strategy. The simplification of the CAP is also a matter of great importance to the Council. The Commission's report on Simplification and Better Regulation of the CAP was presented to the Council in autumn 2005. Possible legal proposals will be dealt with by the Council during 2006.
In particular the Council will finalise the reform of the sugar market organisation. In addition, the Council will decide on proposals that are expected from the Commission for important reforms of the market organisations of fruit and vegetables and, possibly, wine and bananas. In codecision with the European Parliament, the Council will seek to conclude work on Commission
proposals to amend current legislation on spirit drinks. The proposals on promotion of agricultural products will be dealt with by the Council before the end of 2006. WTO aspects relevant for Agriculture will be followed by the Council by way of dialogue and transparent participation with stakeholders.
Taking into account the particular sensitivity of GMOs the Council will seek progress on the question of coexistence between organic, conventional and GMO agricultural production. A Commission's report is expected to be presented on this question.

Fisheries sector
The Council will make every effort to finalise work on the new European Fisheries Fund as well as on the Community financial measures for the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy and in the area of the Law of the Sea. Against this background, the Council will focus on implementing the new policy framework aimed at bringing about a greater sustainability in the
fisheries sector, by finalising or making progress on a series of proposals concerning conservation measures (recovery plans and management plans), increased control, enforcement and inspection (inter alia remote sensing) and third country fisheries partnership agreements. The Council is looking forward to receiving the Commission's Green Paper on a future EU Maritime Policy.
The Council will also fix the TACs and quotas for 2007, taking into account economic, social, environmental and sustainability considerations.

Strengthening multilateral cooperation and development policy
In general, the two Presidencies will aim to enhance the coherence of external relations both in the EU's internal decision-making and in the EU's action in different international organizations (UN, Bretton Woods, WTO, OECD), in the fields of security and development and trade and development as well as economic issues. They will seek to promote multilateral structures and
mechanisms, and to work for increased coherence and complementarity between the policies of the Community and the Member States. They will also enhance the partnership for development with the ACP countries through advancing the negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreements.
Emphasis will be placed on the implementation of the EU commitments in the context of the outcome of the Millennium Declaration Review, with particular attention to Africa. The Presidencies will also ensure follow up to the Monterrey commitments on aid volume and aid effectiveness, including actions agreed in the Paris High Level Forum and the EU Ad hoc Working Group on Harmonisation. Work will also continue on the implementation of the EU Development Policy Statement 2005.

Trade Policy
The two Presidencies will continue to work towards a successful conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda. The Union will further pursue its aims to achieve an ambitious and balanced outcome in all areas of the negotiations, notably better market access in goods and services, stronger WTO rules to strengthen a rules-based and more predictable world trading system, poverty reduction through a better integration of developing countries into the trading
system and measures to promote sustainable development. The Union will continue to engage constructively with other WTO members to achieve these objectives and to contribute to the better management of globalization.

Africa
The two Presidencies will cooperate closely with the African Union and regional organisations to ensure a better structured and deepened EU/African dialogue, taking into account the wish to have an EU/AU summit as soon as possible. Special attention will be given to effective crisis management in Africa, assisted by the EU. The Presidencies will work towards the implementation of the EU Africa Strategy, adopted by the European Council in December 2005, and will monitor the implementation of the EU commitments in the context of the Millennium Declaration Review, as well as take forward the UK Presidency initiatives on Africa.The Presidencies will monitor the implementation of the EU commitments in the context of the Millennium Declaration Review, as well as take forward the UK Presidency initiatives on Africa. The Union will continue its negotiations with the African Members of the ACP-countries on Economic Partnership Agreements.

Caribbean
During 2006 the Union will continue negotiations with the Caribbean Members of the ACP-countries on Economic Partnership Agreements, with a view to ensuring their early and successful conclusion.
A WTO ruling on GM crop imports is set to increase the pressure on Brussels to review its complex approvals procedures.After a series of delays, a preliminary decision by the Geneva based WTO arbitration panel is expected to be announced on February 1.
The challenge was brought in 2003 by the US, Canada and Argentina, who complained that the EU was blocking the import and cultivation of GM crops. US officials believe the EU’s laissez faire approach effectively masks trade barriers that protect European farmers from cheaper imports. Washington argues that their producers are losing out to the tune of several hundred million dollars each year. The US is confident of a successful result next week, but European commission sources say any victory will be hollow, as the EU has already lifted a self imposed GM import moratorium in 2004 and now has a clear set of GM crop approvals procedures.
“We have legislation in place; approval procedures are working and we’re not going to change that,” a commission source told EUpolitix. “Our scientific assessment and approvals system is in place now, it works well, and we have seen that recently, with more GM products being approved.”
But the rosy picture painted by the commission can’t hide the deep divisions on GM across EU capitals. Current EU presidency holders Austria head a group of member states including Greece and Luxembourg that vehemently oppose GM crops.Division in the EU council of ministers effectively blocks any agreement by national governments whenever a GM product comes up for review.This leaves the commission, through a complex default procedure to ‘rubber stamp’ authorisations on the member states' behalf.
Earlier this month, EU diplomats warned that pressure was building on the commission to overhaul the faltering approvals system. The Austrians have made GM one of their top political priorities during their six month presidency stint. A presidency organised conference in April, looking at the coexistence of GM and conventional crops, could set the stage for a much more substantial EU debate on GM if the US is successful in the preliminary WTO ruling.
A final WTO decision is expected by the end of 2006.
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Commissioner Louis Michel will today launch the programming cycle for Aid to Development under the 10th EDF (European Development Fund). It will take place during the first Regional Seminar, to be held in Brazzaville and in which countries from Central Africa will participate. Based on Commission proposals, the programming exercise will constitute the first concrete step towards the implementation of the EU commitments taken in 2005, in particular the improvement of co-ordination and aid effectiveness, increase in aid allocations and a focus on Africa.

Kicking off this first seminar, which will focus on Central Africa, Louis Michel stated: “Today Europe, more than ever, emphasises partnership as the key to action. We are launching this political dialogue between partners who share this vision – country by country, region by region. We will listen attentively to the priorities which have been communicated to us in terms of action for development. At the same time, we expect from our partners a concrete commitment for good governance”.
The Regional Seminar on Programming which takes place in Brazzaville on 30 and 31 January will bring together the highest officials responsible for co-operation with Europe from the regional and countries of Central Africa: Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Burundi, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tomé and Principe, ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African States) and EMCCA (Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa).
In December 2005, the European Council adopted a financial envelope for the 10th EDF which comes to €22.7billion for the period 2008–2013. The 9th EDF which covered the period 2003–2007 had been allocated the sum of €13.5 billion.
This Seminar is the first of six, organised up to April of this year, designed to cover all of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific countries. The Regional Seminars will launch the new approach in European policy toward development aid and, for the four African Regions, the Strategy for Africa approved at the end of 2005. Commissioner Michel will attend these seminars and will meet with representatives of the countries and regions concerned.
Good performance and respect for the commitments taken – especially with regard to good governance, sound management of public funds and efficient administration – are key factors for the increase in aid allocations towards each country.
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The activities of the European Economic and Social Committee during the Austrian Presidency of the European Union
The EESC will continue its activities in the field of development and relations with Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries. During the 1st half of 2006 the EESC will organise the 8th regional seminar of ACP-EU Economic and Social Interest Groups in Mali, involving representatives from economic and social interest groups of West Africa. The Austrian Presidency of the EU Council will be invited to participate in this seminar.
Moreover, during this period the EESC will adopt an opinion on “Prioritising Africa” – “European civil society's perspective'” and begin work on an information report entitled 'New International Funds for Development'. The latter report will constitute the contribution of the EESC to the working group on this topic of the International Association of Economic and Social and Similar Institutions (IAESCSI). Finally, during the Austrian Presidency of the EU council, the EESC will actively participate in both the 11th Session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, which will take place in Vienna in June 2006, and in the 31st Session of the ACP-EC Council of Ministers.