Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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EDITO
Wednesday, 18 July 2018
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson will participate in the African Union Trade Ministers’ meeting on the WTO Doha Round of trade negotiations in Cairo, Egypt on 8th June. Commissioner Mandelson will reinforce the EU’s commitment to the development goals of the Doha Round, which he will argue can be “the round for Africa”. On top of recent initiatives by the EU to shape the development aspects of the round with new commitments to flexible treatment and tariff and quota-free market access for the poorest countries, Commissioner Mandelson will today urge African Trade Ministers to back new rules for trade facilitation that could dramatically increase developing countries’ capacity to trade. He will also call for strong backing for trade facilitation efforts through EU and G8 aid for trade assistance.
Commissioner Mandelson will call for African states to back trade facilitation negotiations in Geneva in which the EU has worked hard to broker agreement on new and better rules for customs procedures. Reforming customs systems boosts developing country revenues, attracts investment and improves the speed with which goods can be brought to market. Commissioner Mandelson will commit the EU to increasing Africa’s capacity to trade through trade development assistance. He will also call for the G8 to commit to increases in trade assistance by backing a substantial aid for trade initiative at their Summit in July. He said: “Trade is the engine of economic growth. In expanding trade we must also ensure that developing countries are able to participate in these opportunities.”

Shaping the “Round for Africa”

The EU has led the way in shaping a package of development priorities for the Doha round:
- The EU will not push for tariff cuts for weak and vulnerable countries as part of the Doha Round. This will allow least developed countries to open sensitive sectors at a pace determined by their development needs. Commissioner Mandelson has called for WTO negotiators to reach early agreement on the exact form such special and differential treatment may take.
- The EU has called for accelerated Doha Round agreements on reducing support for cotton producers in industrialised countries and fair rules for African prodcuers.
- The EU is reviewing its rules of origin to make it easier for developing countries to exploit market access to the EU.
- The Commission has called on the G8 to provide much higher levels of trade development assistance. It has also called on all other developed countries to extend quota and tariff free access to all least-developed countries as the EU does under its Everything But Arms preferential access scheme.
Saturday, 11 June 2005
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, meets Bono.

Here are some words Mr Barroso mentioned about priority on Africa.
There are 198 million people suffering from hunger in sub-Saharan Africa; more than the population of Germany, France and the United Kingdom combined.
Second AIDS. In sub Saharan Africa, 30 million people are living with AIDS; that amounts to the population of about 10 EU member states. 2.5 million of those living with AIDS are under the age of 15. 25 million have died already. 11 million children are orphans because of AIDS. Nurses and teachers are dying from AIDS faster than they can be trained. In Malawi, 90% of the doctors’ posts and 60% of the nurses posts are unfilled because of AIDS.
So Europe must not forget Africa. And Europe is not forgetting Africa. We are the biggest aid donor in the world, contributing 55% of the aid. We are the world’s biggest provider of trade related aid, worth around €750 million per year. We are giving trade and quota free access to our markets for all products from the Least Developed Countries, apart from arms.
But Europe can and must do more, urgently. That is why the European Commission has proposed to raise European aid spending by at least €20 billion per year by 2010, to improve policy and donor coordination and to focus especially on Africa.
I welcome the endorsement of these proposals by development Ministers. What we need now is for I ask EU leaders at next week’s summit to put their full political weight behind the new targets. I call on them to agree to get Europe on the path to doubling aid in the next ten years. That is a European message of leadership and ambition which I can take to the G8 meeting in Gleneagles in July.
I believe this is a cause which can appeal to all Europeans, whatever their views on the Constitution or the EU budget.
That is the kind of Europe which I, as the President of the Commission, want. An open Europe. A generous Europe, which spreads its drive and determination for change beyond its borders.
I have made Africa a flagship issue for this Commission.
And clear my message today is that - despite Europe’s own heavy and complex agenda - I am determined that Africa will not fall back in the political landscape.
We have the resources. We have the strength of popular feeling. And in 2005 we have a chain of events that have give political leaders a window of opportunity to achieve an historic deal for Africa’s development. What we need now is political will and leadership to turn this into action.
Bono, when I spoke about this recently I borrowed a title of one of your songs. “Sometimes you can’t make it on your own”. You are right. I hope that we can prove that this year together, we can make a real.
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On 6 April 2005 the European Commission made a proposal for a spending programme for research and development from 2007 to 2013. This programme, in line with the Commission’s proposal on the overall budget for this period, envisages a doubling of EU funds for research and development. This reflects the EU’s political priority for growth and jobs. The Commission’s proposal is backed up by an impact assessment study which examines the link between research investment and increased competitiveness. The present background note highlights some of the findings of the impact assessment. It identifies the strong and positive impact that research and development in general, and the European Framework Programme in particular, has on the European economy. It describes the added value of working together at European level and the effect on job creation within the EU.
Today sees the launch of the new Xplora portal, a new European gateway for science education. Such initiatives will be an important part of improving Europe’s economic position in coming years, as more researchers are needed to drive innovation. Xplora provides resources for primary and secondary education and is aimed at teachers, pupils, scientists, communication professionals and others involved in science education. Xplora has been developed with funds from the Science and Society action of the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Development.
The aim of Xplora is to stimulate science education to make it more interesting for young people. Key features include:

Megalab – giving insight into innovative practical science approaches and projects
Fully searchable standards-based database of digital learning resources for science education
Virtual events – online expert discussions for schools
Guidance on freely available Open Source tools for science education
Tools for creating online communities
Science education news, information, teaching tips and ideas, simulations and science activities
The project that has developed Xplora – known as Pencil – is unique in bringing together science education experts in formal and informal teaching methods to develop innovative approaches and materials that raise pupils’ interest, knowledge and motivation. Pencil involves more than 13 scientific institutions, and is part of the wider Nucleus framework, a cluster of science education projects involving Europe’s major research laboratories, such as CERN and the European Space Agency. In addition, Xplora has set up content partnerships with other science institutions and organisations. The Portal is supported by a team of specialist science teachers from across Europe, who ensure that the content is of good quality and relevance and propose activities, resources and content.

Xplora will be launched at the Ecsite conference in Vantaa, Finland, which is being held 10-12 June. The patrons of the Xplora portal are Professor Benoit Mandelbrot, the eminent mathematician who discovered fractals and Ray Kurzweill, a leading expert in artificial intelligence. It is operated by European Schoolnet, a network of 28 Ministries of Education.
Thursday, 09 June 2005
European Commission President to appeal, with U2 Singer Bono, to put the EU on track to double development aid
European Commission President Barroso will tomorrow meet Bono, lead singer for U2 and a key campaigner on Africa, in the European Commission’s Headquarters, in Brussels. The aim is to appeal to EU leaders at the summit in Brussels the following week, to put their full political weight behind ambitious new development aid targets which would put the EU on track to double development aid in a decade (by 2015). The agreement on aid is a crucial part of the build up to the G8 summit in Scotland in July, which President Barroso will attend, and the review of the UN’s Millenium Development Goals in September. The meeting between the President and Bono will be followed by a joint press conference at 10.30 in the Berlaymont press room. Speaking before the meeting, the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso said, “There is one clear purpose behind this meeting today, to send out the strongest possible signal about the level of ambition Europe wants for Africa in 2005. In seven days time, EU leaders from 25 countries will gather in Brussels for a critical summit meeting. With decisions on the European constitution and future budget on the table, there is a risk that important decisions on EU aid fall away from the public eye. My determination is clear, not let the issue of Africa fall back in the political landscape.”
“The gap between the world’s rich and poor has never been wider. 25,000 people die of hunger in the world every day. In sub-Saharan Africa, nurses and teachers are dying from AIDS faster than they can be trained. Life expectancy has collapsed to near medieval levels. If we are to make 2005 a unique opportunity for change, then there is an urgent need for a strong European response.” “In April, the Commission proposed to accelerate progress towards the Millennium DDevelopment goals. At the heart of these proposals are plans for Europe to spend 20 billion Euro more on aid per year by 2010.” “It is encouraging that EU development ministers have endorsed the aid increase. But given the ambition of our proposals and the level of engagement required, I ask EU leaders at next week’s summit to put their full political weight behind the new targets. This will enable the European Union to go to the table at Gleneagles on July 6th with a strong message about the level of European ambition for Africa in this critical development year.”
The current situation The European Union’s Overseas Development Aid for 2005 will be 46 billion Euro - making the European Union the biggest donor of overseas aid in the world.
The proposals 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 Commission’s proposals set out:
• 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 Euro 66 billion in 2010, rising to more than 90 billion Euro in 2015.
• Plans to improve the coherence of EU development polices - particularly in
priority areas such as trade, agriculture and environment policies. And to improve the quality of EU aid, improving its focus on key areas identified by the African’s themselves as crucial to their development including: governance, infrastructure networks, trade, access to services and environmental sustainability.
• Plans to make Africa a priority - across the board - in terms of the volume of EU aid resources given, and the quality and coherence of all EU aid actions.

What next?
EU leaders will meet in Brussels for a European Summit on June 16th /17th. Top of the agenda are issues relating to the EU constitution and the future financing of the Union. At the same time, EU leaders should agree to back the Ambitious new targets for aid proposed by the Commission in April. An agreement on aid at the Summit would represent a very significant achievement in itself. It would also send President Barroso - who will attend the critical G8 Summit
in Scotland on July 6th to speak on behalf of the EU - 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.

See Eurostep call
Following the meeting that took place between Bono and President Barroso on 9 June 2005, Eurostep calls on President Barroso to show the Commission’s commitment to an effective agenda for development, by ensuring that the EU’s aid is effectively used to save lives in developing countries – as both U2 Singer Bono and Barroso publically stressed as being a priority.This can only be achieved with a clearly defined instrument focused on the eradication of poverty in developing countries for the financial periond 2007-2013.