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September 2018
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Friday, 21 September 2018
The 2659th Council Meeting on General Affairs and External Relations held in Brussels on 23 May 2005 adopted the following conclusions, interesting our ACP partners:

It is recalled that when the amount of resources for the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) was set at EUR 13,8 billion in December 1999, the Council envisaged the release of EUR 1 billion ("conditional billion") in the light of an EDF performance review to be carried out by the Council in 2004. The Council specified that the review was to take particular account of the level of commitments and disbursements and the needs to be met before entry into force of the second financial protocol to the Cotonou Agreement. It is furthermore recalled that the Council in March 2004 concluded that the performance review would provide information on impact and evaluation, as well as portfolio performance.
Having studied the communication, the Council is pleased to note that over the past five years the performance of the EDF has significantly improved in terms of commitment and expenditure. The Council notes with satisfaction that the reforms undertaken by the Commission since 2000 are starting to show results in terms of quality and effectiveness of Community external assistance.
The Council welcomes this progress, which should continue in the future. However, the Council notes that the performance review itself does not fully meet the criteria as laid down by the Council. In particular, the Council would welcome more analysis on the impact of the EDF in terms of key strategic indicators, bearing in mind that in many ACP countries the EDF is the largest external assistance programme. Guidelines for the 2005 operational review. should be refined in view of the 2006 end-of-term review and of the programming period following the 9th EDF, in order that the quality and impact of Community assistance can be better evaluated. The EDF Committee will discuss the guidelines for the 2006 end-of-term review. The Council takes note of the Commission's forecasts, that the 9th EDF, including the balances transferred from the previous EDFs, will be entirely committed by the end of 2007.
Tuesday, 31 May 2005
Giles CHICHESTER (EPP-ED, UK), who chairs Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, has written to the President of Parliament, Josep BORRELL, expressing his committee's "alarm and disappointment" at the cuts to the EU research budget now being proposed by the Luxembourg Presidency for the financial perspective for 2007-2013.
In his letter Mr Chichester says: "The European Council has repeatedly emphasised since its meeting in Lisbon in 2000 the crucial role of research and technological development policy in the context of the Lisbon Strategy and the importance of the successful realisation of the European Research Area. Nevertheless, the proposal of the Luxembourg Presidency would imply a substantial reduction (of the order of 30% or more) in the budgetary resources for the EU 7th RTD Framework Programme (FP7) compared to those proposed by the European Commission in April.
An FP7 budget at the level proposed by the Commission is an essential prerequisite for the attainment of the 3% target for European R&D investment set by the Heads of State and government themselves in Barcelona. By contrast, such a reduction as proposed by the Luxembourg Presidency would have detrimental consequences for the consolidation and development of the European scientific and technological base and the boost to the competitiveness of European industry essential for a credible relaunch of the Lisbon Strategy.
The European Parliament has often made clear its conviction that the Lisbon objectives cannot be attained without substantially boosting the research effort both at EU and Member State level. In its resolution of 10 March 2005* on future EU policy to support research, the Parliament took a clear position on the ambitious financial resources that should be allocated for FP7. This position, which the Parliament regards as "a minimum not to be questioned during the negotiations on the financial perspectives", is consistent with the FP7 budgetary envelope proposed by the Commission."
In conclusion Mr Chichester asks Mr Borrell to urge the Luxembourg Presidency to ensure that research policy receives funding "commensurate to the ambition of the Lisbon Strategy".
The European Parliament will decide its position on the forthcoming financial perspective on 8 June at its plenary session in Strasbourg when it votes on a draft report drafted by Reimer Böge. Following the vote in Strasbourg, President Borrell will present Parliament's position to EU heads of state and government, who are aiming to reach agreement on the financial perspective at their summit of 16-17 June.
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EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson in a Brussels conference on sanitary and phytosanitary rules has declared on Friday that international export and import standards need to be based on sound scientific evidence and the option “that restricts trade the least”. Commissioner Mandelson told an audience of MEPs, industry and Member State representatives that the EU needs to act more coherently to ensure market access for EU exports in the field of sanitary and phytosanitary products. The Commissioner argued that the EU needs to ensure that European and international standards are scientifically justified and that trade development assistance needs to be better used to help developing countries to meet those standards so they continue to benefit from access to the EU market.
Commissioner Mandelson said: “I am committed to open markets and clear regulatory frameworks. For European exporters that should mean transparent, scientifically justified standards applied in the same way by third countries to all Member States. The EU should use trade development assistance to help importers from poorer countries invest in the capacity to meet Europe’s standards and so not lose the advantage of trade with the EU.”
Commissioner Mandelson argued that market access for European Union’s exports could be better secured if we addressed problems relating to sanitary and phytosanitary standards in third countries with a single voice. He also said European diplomatic representations need more specific veterinary and phytosanitary experience to deal with what is a relatively new field of rule-making. Commisisoner Mandelson raised the possibility of the EU’s border inspection posts functioning as a single export certification service, and asked if Europe would not benefit from a single Veterinary and Plant Health service “from the standpoint of practical common sense, not starry-eyed integrationism”. He argued that a more co-ordinated export certifying system would give the EU a more coherent voice in negotiating on standards with its trading partners.
Commissioner Mandelson stressed the need to help poor exporters in the developing world build the long-term capacity to meet European and international standards through trade development assistance and better co-ordination between the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank. Commissioner Mandelson called for greater effort in developing internationally agreed sanitary and phytosanitary standards in close cooperation with developing countries.
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The Women and Science Unit in collaboration with the Statistical Correspondents of the Helsinki Group on Women and Science and Eurostat have been collecting data on women scientists for nearly 2 years. These pages contain consolidated statistical information from the cross-national perspective for all available years since 1990 on a variety of themes.
European research funding has been set aside for a huge consortium of partners who will develop new sustainability impact assessment tools for the forestry and forest-based sector, reports the lead partner, the Swedish Forestry Research Institute (Skogforsk).
Forest-based industries (FBI) provide direct employment and income for up to 3 million people in the European Union and account for close to 10% of the manufacturing industry's total production and value-added, according the European Commission’s FBI website. The EU forestry sector’s clients are mostly small and medium-sized local and national enterprises. Wealth creation through FBI is significantly above industry averages, the site adds.
This underscores the importance of making the sector efficient and environmentally sustainable. But to ensure this is the case in Europe, cutting edge research is critical. Research funding schemes, such as the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), provide a platform and the right momentum for researchers and a bevy of different stakeholders to collaborate on major projects of value to Europe’s bottom line.