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EDITO
Monday, 20 November 2017
What is the Global Call to Action Against Poverty?

The white band is the symbol of the “Global Call to Action against Poverty” (GCAP) the largest ever worldwide mobilization of citizens, organisations, networks and national campaigns committed to eradicating extreme poverty (see http://www.whiteband.org/ for details). All European countries have national campaigns with GCAP activities in 2005.

What does the Campaign want?

The Global Call to Action Against Poverty in 2005 is focused on three key issues: trade justice, debt cancellation and a major increase in the quantity and quality of aid. The campaign is built around a mass mobilisation of people. Events are happening across the globe and throughout the year and there are three headline ‘white band days’ linked to the key events in 2005: 1st July: G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, 10th September: UN five year review of the Millennium Development Goals in New York, USA, 10th December: WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, China. The period around each white band day will be marked by mass worldwide mobilizations of citizens to demonstrate their support for the Global Call to Action Against Poverty.

Why is the European Commission putting up a white band now?

Central to the success of the GCAP campaign are the Commission’s proposals for increased development aid which EU leaders should agree at the European Council this week. But with the debate on the constitution and EU budget the main issues on the agenda, the white band on the Berlaymont is designed to send a powerful reminder to EU leaders to give the ambitious aid proposals their full support. Because of a sequence of international events, 2005 is a unique year of opportunity for development. White band launches on well known buildings across the EU are also designed to raise awareness in national capitals and amongst people across the world that there is a real opportunity for change.

How big is the aid increase the Commission is asking for?

The European Union’s Overseas Development Aid for 2005 will be €46 billion - making the European Union the biggest donor of overseas aid in the world. In April this year, the Commission brought forward new proposals on Finance for Development as part of the preparations for the New York UN Summit in September which will review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The proposals set new and ambitious aid targets for EU Member States - a new intermediate target for development aid of 0.56 per cent of gross national income by 2010 - which would put Europe on course to reach, by 2015, the UN’s 0.7 per cent target. In practical terms the new proposals would increase EU development aid to €66 billion in 2010, rising to more than 90 billion Europe in 2015. The plans will also improve the coherence and quality of EU development policies, and make Africa a priority for all EU aid actions.

Why does the European Summit in Brussels matter for development?

The proposed aid increase is due to be given final approval when EU leaders meet in Brussels for the European Summit this week (16 / 17 June).. An agreement on aid at the Summit would represent a very significant achievement in itself. It is would also be a very important milestone on the road to the G8 summit in July. It will send President Barroso - who will attend the G8 to speak on behalf of the European Commission - to the table with a very powerful message about the level of ambition the EU expects from its global partners for renewed action to reach the Millennium Development Goals.
The European Commission has approved 26 programmes in 14 Member States to provide information on and to promote agricultural products in the European Union. The total budget of the programmes is € 56.9 million, of which the EU will contribute € 26.1 million. For the first time programmes proposed by the new Member States have also been approved (by Hungary, Poland and Cyprus).

Under a Council Regulation on information and promotion actions for agricultural products on the EU internal market, 14 Member States submitted 32 programme proposals. The Commission selected 26 programmes proposed by those Member States (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Poland and Cyprus) as eligible to receive financing. The programmes cover organic products, olive oil, milk and cheese, ham, fruit and vegetables, plants and flowers, wine and protected denominations of origin or geographical indications (PDI/PGI).

The total budget of the programmes running between one and three years is € 56.9 million. The EU contribution to the programmes is € 26.1 million or almost 50 % of the total.
The approved programmes are the first series for the year 2005. The annual EU budget available for promotion programmes in the agriculture sector is € 48.5 million.
Wednesday, 15 June 2005
Today the European Commission is launching the second phase of its on-line export helpdesk for developing countries. The new service provides detailed information on the specific import requirements of the EU and Member States, as well as up to date notice of internal taxes. By providing information on the EU’s preferential access schemes and guiding exporters through the process of exporting to the EU, the service is designed to help producers in developing countries benefit fully from the EU market. The service can be accessed at: (http://export-help.cec.eu.int)

The on-line service has been providing free and comprehensive information to exporters since February 2004. The European Commission launched the Export Helpdesk (http://export-help.cec.eu.int) with the goal of enhancing the economic growth of developing countries by facilitating the access of their exporters to the EU market. From its launch to December 2004 it received an average of nearly 1,500 hits per day, rising to well over 3,000 hits per day so far this year.

From today new features are available on-line to make the helpdesk more useful for exporters from developing countries such as:

- EU and Member States’ specific requirements for each particular product.
- Internal taxes applying in each Member State for each particular product.
- General requirements for all products at EU level
- Overview of EU Import Procedures
VAT Overview for the European Union
Excise taxes Overview for the European Union
Users of the helpdesk are invited to make suggestions as to further information which they consider could be usefully added to the helpdesk to better serve their needs (email address: export-help@cec.eu.int ).
From today onwards, GÉANT2, Europe’s world-class research networking infrastructure, will use pulsed light (photons), rather than electrons, to carry huge volumes of research data faster than ever before. Dark fibre-optic cables offering a performance of up to 320 Gigabit per second are lit to process data for advanced applications such as high-energy physics experiments or to connect radio telescopes worldwide. Europe’s research network will thereby supply unprecedented computing power to an estimated 3 million users from over 3 500 academic institutions in 34 countries across Europe. Compared with similar research networks in the US or in Asia, GÉANT2 innovates by seamlessly combining dark fibre with more traditional broadband technology, notably to supply research networking services to schools, via its partner networks.
The European Commission has announced the ways in which it intends to keep Europe at the forefront of the fast-moving field of nanotechnology in a safe and responsible way. Applications of nanotechnology - activities at the level of atoms and molecules - are bringing a range of benefits including more effective ways of delivering drugs to treat diseases, faster computer processors and more efficient solar cells. An action plan proposes measures to be taken at national and European level to strengthen research in this area and develop useful products and services.