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EDITO
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
The European Commission has set up a new external advisory Group of Political Analysis (GPA) - with leading political scientists and researchers - which met on 15th April in Brussels for the first time. The group is one of three external advisory groups - involving experts from the fields of Economics, Politics and Social Science - being set up by the European Commission. The overall objective is to stimulate an ongoing dialogue between the European Commission and European experts from academia, business and civil society and to provide President Barroso and Commissioners with objective, expert and impartial advice in the formulation of recommendations on policies of the European Union.
The European Commission today adopted proposals aimed at speeding up progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by increasing the volume and effectiveness of the development aid provided by the Commission and the Member States. The pillars of the three communications adopted today are a significant increase in official development assistance (ODA) (with a new intermediate target of 0.56% of GNI in 2005, the ultimate goal being 0.7% by 2015), greater coherence between Community policies, better coordination between Member States and the EU and more ownership of aid by the recipients.
Five years ago the international community agreed the MDGs, which include halving the number of people living on less than a dollar a day by 2015. In September a UN summit in New York will review progress towards the MDGs. As the developing countries’ leading donor and trading partner, the European Union has a particular responsibility.The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durao Barroso, declared that 2005 is a crucial year for development. As the biggest development aid donor, the EU and its Member States must show ambition and make a united demand for greater, better coordinated investment, striving to ensure that our policies are coherent and serve our development goals. As things stand, it would take 100 years to achieve the MDGs in Africa. We must do more and we must do it better. We must honour our commitments for reasons of humanity and solidarity, but also of stability. The challenges of poverty and unfettered globalisation, which sidelines whole swathes of the population, demand a change of attitude, underlined Louis Michel, the member of the Commission responsible for development and humanitarian aid.
The proposals presented by the Commissioner Louis Michel to the joint Assembly concern (1) the volume and effectiveness of aid; (2) the coherence of the Union’s development policies; and (3) the priority to be given to Africa.
The Commission proposes that the Member States continue increasing their ODA budgets beyond the commitments they made at Monterrey (0.39% of GNP in 2006). It proposes a new minimum objective for each Member State of 0.51% for 2010 (0.17% for the new Member States), which would take the Union's collective effort to 0.56%. This commitment would mean an additional €20 billion by 2010 and the achievement of the 0.7% target fixed by the UN in 2015. In 2005 the 25 Member States’ ODA totalled €43 billion (OECD figures).
An increase in the volume and effectiveness of aid is vital, but it will not be enough to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Other Community policies can contribute substantially to development, hence the concept of policy coherence for development. The Commission is proposing to draw up a coherence report halfway between the September 2005 summit and the next international assessment of the MDGs.
The Commission wishes to focus its efforts on Africa and help its countries become the main players in their own development. The EU should focus on areas where it can also catalyse action by other donors:
- governance, in particular through support for the African Union and partnership with its institutions and the refinancing of the Peace Facility
- the networks necessary for regional integration between African countries and fostering South-South trade
- social cohesion and sustainable.

See attached article on U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warning against any premature rejoicing over the rising numbers in official development assistance (ODA).
The 9th EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), which opened this Monday in Bamako, Mali, was told in a written message sent by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that poverty reduction and the achievement of the seven Millennium Development Goals could be achieved if developed countries support the developing countries. Mr Annan said he was counting on the parliamentarians from the North and South to put pressure on their governments to keep their promises on development aid.
The Millennium Development Goals are one of the most important debates on this week's agenda for the 77 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and their 77 counterparts from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP). In its 2000 Millennium Declaration, the United Nations set eight goals for development, called the Millennium Development Goals, which set an ambitious agenda for improving the condition of the world's poorer countries by 2015. The EU-ACP session will conclude this Thursday with the adoption of the Bamako Declaration, which will call for more commitment from the international community to fulfilling these goals.
The situation in Sudan is another key point on the agenda; a joint JPA delegation was in Darfur at the end of March. Other debates will focus on the situation of the African Great Lakes region, in particular a report on post-conflict rehabilitation, the budgetisation of the European Development Fund (EDF) and -with Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson - the latest developments in the area of economic partnership with West Africa. Resolutions will be adopted this Thursday on Sudan, the Great Lakes Region, the EDF, post-conflict situations and primary education (in the context of the Millennium Development Goals).Holding the Joint Parliamentary Assembly in an ACP state gives MEPs the opportunity to discuss the essential problems of developing countries on the spot with local actors. At the Women’s Forum held on Saturday, members of parliament and representatives of civil society were able to discuss the problem of female genital mutilation. This has particular resonance for Mali given that more than 90% of women in Mali are victims of genital mutilation. Another issue is the fall in world cotton prices. This has had catastrophic consequences for Mali, which is Africa’s largest cotton producer. Parliamentarians will also hear about other concerns in Mali, including the threat of desertification.
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Wednesday, 20 April 2005
European Commissioner for Development Louis Michel and European Commissioner for Trade Peter Mandelson will attend the 9th EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Bamako, Mali on April 19. The forum brings together parliamentarians from the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. Commissioner Michel will report to the Assembly on the European Union’s humanitarian and development relations with the ACP, and the recent proposals adopted by the Commission on the EU contribution to the UN’s Review of the Millennium Goals in September this year. Commissioner Mandelson will report to the Assembly on the state of the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations with the six ACP regions. He will also make a strong show of support for cotton producers in West Africa.

In addition to their participation in the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, both Commissioner Michel and Commissioner Mandelson will meet with Malinese President Amadou Toumani Toure and Prime Minister Ousmane Issoufi Maiga. Commissioner Michel will also meet with Foreign Minister Moctar Ouane. Speaking before his arrival in Mali, Commissioner Michel said: Last week the Commission adopted a series of proposals to ensure the EU’s leadership role in development cooperation, particularly in view of the review of the Millennium goals this year. With our ACP partners, we need to do more, we need to do it better and we need to do it quicker. I look forward to discussing these issues with the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly. Commissioner Mandelson said: Two months ago I promised an important reshaping of the EPA negotiation process that would benchmark it against development goals. In Mali I will be delivering on that promise. The European Commission has put in place a monitoring mechanism that will ensure that EPAs are genuine development tools. Both Commissioners Michel and Mandelson will stress the European Union’s commitment to development in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
As part of the communications approved by the Commission last week, it is proposed to set a new EU Official Development Aid target for 2010 at 0,56%, as well as to undertake action to increase coherence and make sure the different EU policies use all their potential to contribute to development. It also proposes a specific EU-Africa Partnership on infrastructure, thus strengthening the interconnectivity and the supply side capacity of our partners.Although the EU is the most important export market for ACP goods, its share of that market has shrunk dramatically over the last decade. The European Commission believes that increasing this trading relationship through the EPA process and improved continued preferential terms of trade is a key development goal. Reflecting the particular importance of cotton production in Mali and other parts of West Africa, Commissioner Mandelson will visit a cotton factory and meet with representatives from the West African cotton industry. Commissioner Mandelson said: Cotton is a development issue and an area where WTO negotiations could be moving further and faster to ensure some security for vulnerable West African producers.
The Commission has published a list of 26 genetically modified (GM) products which have been legally on the EU market since before the new legislative framework for authorising GM food and feed had entered into effect. These so-called existing products were either approved under former EU legislation, or did not require approval at the time that they were put on the market. They have been added to a specific section of the Community register of genetically modified (GM) food and feed in order to clarify exactly which GM products are legally permitted to be sold in the EU and to have full information on these products.
Since the entry into force of Regulation 1829/2003 on GM food and feed in April 2004, all GM products seeking to enter the EU market as food or feed have to undergo a thorough authorisation procedure, including a scientific safety assessment by EFSA. However, there are certain GM food and feed products which can be legally sold in the EU according to the rules in place before Regulation 1829/2003.. In order to cover these GM products, Regulation 1829/2003 stipulated that operators who wished to continue marketing an existing product had to notify the Commission and submit detailed information on the GMO before 18 October 2004. Non-notified products will no longer be allowed on the EU market. The Commission, in co-operation with the Joint Research Centre, examined the validity of the notifications it received and agreed to enter 26 GMOs into a specifically created section of the Community register of genetically modified food and feed. Once one of these existing products is on this register, it can legally be sold in the EU for a set period of between 3-9 years, after which it has to resubmit an application for the renewal of the authorisation.