Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

May 2018
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Friday, 25 May 2018
The road towards having European programmes operational on January 1st 2007
Increased flexibility in future budgets in order to better react to a rapidly changing world (almost 5 bln EUR over the 2007-13 period); establishing basic rules for the new European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EUR 3,5 bln); a comprehensive review of the EU budget in 2008/9 – these are major new elements in the Commission proposal for a renewed Inter-Institutional Agreement (IIA). "With this proposal the way is now cleared for a constructive negotiation between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission", commented Commission President José Manuel Barroso. “We need to have an agreement by April. Everyone understands very well that otherwise the execution of many EU programmes will be problematic as from 1st of January 2007. We have to act fast while being prudent, responsible and realistic. The credibility and effectiveness of the enlarged Union is at stake” added Dalia Grybauskaite, EU Commissioner for Financial programming and Budget.

After the agreement reached by the Member States in the European Council last December, several important steps still need to be taken regarding a final agreement of the three EU institutions on the Financial Perspectives for the period 2007-13. The negotiations should be finalised swiftly to ensure that European programmes are ready to benefit European citizens as from the first day of 2007. The Commission today is proposing to the Council and the European Parliament a base for advancing negotiations in the form of a proposal for an Inter-Institutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and improvement of budgetary procedure. After a final agreement is reached on this text, all legislative instruments relating to the various policy areas and programmes will have to be revised to reflect the result of the negotiation and adopted by Council and Parliament. The Commission will then have to move fast to ensure the actual programming of actions. This is a challenge for all three institutions, which they need to tackle jointly and urgently.

A new Inter-Institutional Agreement (IIA)
The Inter-Institutional Agreement (IIA) establishes rules and mechanisms for the management of the financial framework over a 7 year period and for the setting up of annual budgets. It has to be agreed by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission. Without this agreement financing will not be available for the programmes proposed for the enlarged Union and execution of up to half of the EU budget might be jeopardised.
The Commission’s proposal contains important elements which form part of the Inter-Institutional Agreement to be negotiated:
The Commission wants to ensure sufficient flexibility in the future budgets. Today, the flexibility instrument is limited to EUR 200 million a year and is in practice used almost exclusively in the area of external actions. In line with the European Council conclusions (paragraph 7) the Commission proposes today to increase the amount of the flexibility instrument up to EUR 700 million a year and to give it a broader scope, covering not only annual unexpected needs but also new multi-annual requirements. Flexibility is an essential corollary to financial discipline, all the more so when expenditure ceilings are tight.
The proposed IIA also includes the basic rules of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. This initiative was put forward by the President Barroso before Hampton Court summit and has been endorsed by the European Council (paragraph 12 of the December conclusions). Europe indeed needs to ensure that citizens fully benefit from the opportunities provided by today’s global economy. It also needs to have the means to support those workers suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns, to assist them with their re-training and job search efforts. The Commission will shortly provide a full legislative proposal detailing the functioning of this fund.
Finally, there is widespread agreement on the need to ensure a comprehensive review of our budget, how it is established and how it is spent. The Commission’s proposal has been endorsed by the European Council (paragraph 80 of the conclusions) and is therefore reflected in the proposed IIA. This exercise constitutes a high priority for this Commission. It will be the fruit of detailed preparation and wide consultation in which European Parliament should be deeply involved. In 2008/2009, the Commission will present to the European Parliament and to the Council a comprehensive White Paper, covering the whole structure of the budget, expenditure and revenue sides.
In 1999, when the Agenda 2000 was negotiated, it took less than two months to reach an Inter-Institutional Agreement with Parliament after the Berlin European Council. It is crucial to do equally well this time around. The Commission considers that this first step must be concluded by April to allow sufficient time to prepare programmes for January 2007.
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The European Commission grants a further €38 million for the ECOFAC programme for the conservation and sustainable management of Central Africa’s forests
With its new EUR 38 million ECOFAC IV programme, the European Commission is stepping up its funding for the conservation of Central Africa’s wet tropical forests. The aim is guarantee the long-term conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in seven Central African countries: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe. The return to the programme of the DRC, which accounts for half of the region’s woodlands, means that the programme will now cover 180 000 km2 of tropical forest and savannah ecosystems.
The region has the planet’s second largest tropical forest system after Amazonia. This new stage in the ECOFAC programme (Ecosystèmes Forestiers d’Afrique Centrale/Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa) links conservation efforts to development and poverty reduction. The conservation of these forests is crucial to the development of 65 million people.
The needs of local people, who are heavily dependent on the forest’s resources, are a major consideration in the programme. There has been considerable investment in researching ways and means of reconciling human development and conservation through complementary projects (microprojects and rural development).

The ECOFAC programme was launched in 1992, in the wake of the Earth Summit in Rio, to contribute to the conservation and rational use of forest ecosystems and biodiversity in Central Africa. Six countries were initially involved: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe. The first three stages saw the commitment of more than EUR 70 million from the 6th, 7th and 8th European Development Funds (EDFs).
ECOFAC IV is the EU’s biggest contribution to the implementation of the convergence plan drawn up by the member countries of COMIFAC (Commission des Ministres des Forêts d’Afrique Centrale/Central African Forests Commission) and a major boost for the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), set up by donors and NGOs at 2002’s World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
ECOFAC IV also includes a contribution to the EU’s action plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). This commitment reflects the EU’s determination to work with timber-producing countries to tackle deforestation and curb illegal trade in timber.
One of the programme’s key strengths is its regional approach, as attested by the assistance for the establishment of RAPAC (Réseau des aires protégées d’Afrique Centrale/Network of Central African Protected Zones), a network intended to enable other protected zones in the subregion to draw on ECOFAC’s experience.
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Wednesday, 01 February 2006
Declaration from the Presidency on behalf of the European
Union on the inauguration of the CARICOM - Single Market
The European Union would like to express its congratulations on the occasion of the official inauguration ceremony of the CARICOM Single Market, taking place on 30 January 2006 in Kingston, Jamaica. The European Union warmly salutes and welcomes the entry into force of the first component of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
The EU will strongly support the completion and operation of the CSME as an essential element of regional integration and a significant step towards the establishment of an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU. The EU welcomes the launching of the Single Market component of the CSME. In the context of the EU-LAC process and regional cooperation it will undoubtedly contribute to the strengthening and streamlining of existing regional institutions and policies thereby ensuring their smooth operation.
The EU equally welcomes the establishment of the new Regional Development Fund which aims at assisting disadvantaged CARICOM countries in respect of the operation and functioning of the Single Market.
The EU firmly believes that regional integration is a key element for economic growth and investment and thus for the development of the region. Additionally, the creation of the CSME will facilitate and foster the smooth and gradual integration of the region into the world economy.
By combining trade relations with substantial economic and development co-operation, the EU for its part will continue to assist and support its Caribbean partners to seize the opportunities offered by the new global challenges.
The EU is looking forward to the CSME´s further expansion and development.
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In the declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the appointment of President Denis Sassou-Nguesso as Chairman of the African Union, the European Union congratulates the Republic of Congo and its President Denis Sassou Nguesso for having been chosen to lead the African Union for the coming year.
The Chairmanship of the African Union is a very important and challenging task. The African Union and its organs are the concrete translation of a new African determination to make the continent a better place to live and where the problems of development, regional integration, democracy, and peace and security are effectively addressed.
Last December the European Union adopted a Strategy for Africa, and noted with great satisfaction that the AU summit has welcomed it. The Strategy contains very comprehensive and concrete commitments to better assist Africa on the basis of African ownership and responsibility. Successful implementation requires a joint effort with our partners in Africa at a continental, sub regional and national level.
The political framework for implementing the Strategy in partnership is the EU/Africa dialogue which should lead up to the organisation of a second EU/Africa summit.
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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.