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Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

March 2019
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Saturday, 23 March 2019
This week the European Parliament holds its plenary session in Strasbourg. This is the opportunity for the 732 members of the EP to vote in or to reject EU legislation.
MEPs also have a chance to question EU Commissioners and national ministers from whichever country is currently chairing the EU. The Commission holds its weekly meeting in Strasbourg whenever the Parliament is meeting there, giving MEPs a forum to quiz them on upcoming proposals for legislation. The Commission proposes new laws and rules, while the EP and the Council of ministers have the power to adapt and approve legislation.

Reflections on a changing institution
1979 marked the first direct elections to the European Parliament. In total 410 members from 9 countries were elected through universal suffrage.
The role of the European Parliament is key also for the ACP countries since it approves the EU development policy and the corresponding budget.
Louis Michel advocates greater involvement of civil society in the EU development policy

Speaking before the European Economic and Social Committee during the adoption of a key opinion on the future development policy, Louis Michel, the Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, advocated greater involvement of the civil society. During his speech on the "New EU Development Policy" Mr. Michel presented the Commission's Communication on promoting greater cohesion and coordination between EU and EU Member States' policies to make the EU development policy more efficient. With input from ILO and other international organisations, the document highlights the consultative function and the promotion of the social dialogue, especially in policies of particular interest to the civil society such as social cohesion and decent work. Mr. Michel is counting on the EESC "to support us in this work and assist us through stronger dialogue with the partner countries, including the economic and social partners".

The future development policy – viewpoints of civil society
Mr. Michel than attended a discussion on the Committee's opinion set out in "The Future EU Development Policy - Viewpoints of the Civil Society" prepared by Mr. ZUFIAUR (Group II, Wage-earners, Spain). In this opinion, the Committee proposes that the EU development policy be given the same status as the security policy.Considering the world's current globalisation, promotion of the European social model should be a central pillar in the EU development policy. The Committee feels that the reduction of subsidies would contribute considerably to the reduction of poverty. The EESC recommends the inclusion of a social dimension in association agreements between the EU and the various countries.
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Saturday, 01 October 2005
European Commission discusses Africa Strategy with Africa’s regional organisations
Commissioner Louis Michel meets today Africa’s regional organisations to discuss the European Commission’s proposal for a new EU Strategy for Africa to be adopted on 12 October. The meeting follows on in-depth written consultation over the past two months on the major ideas of the Strategy. This Strategy should provide a common, comprehensive, and coherent framework for action for all EU Member States and the European Commission to support Africa’s efforts to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
On Thursday 29 September, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Mr Louis Michel, met with representatives from Africa’s regional economic communities (RECs) and the African Union (AU). This meeting marks the conclusion of a process of consultation where Africa’s organisations have been invited to share their views on the proposed EU Strategy. Commissioner Michel insisted on the importance of this consultation: ‘Too many times, policies have been written about or for, rather than with the African partners. It is absolutely crucial that this strategy reflects Africa’s vision and priorities.’
Recent years have seen the emergence of strong regional organisations in all parts of Africa and a continental level of political governance, namely the African Union (AU). Africa’s regional organisations are the key actors in the efforts to promote more regional trade and integration, which are key factors for peace and prosperity in Africa. “It is these organisations that will be the engines of Africa’s integration and cooperation and we should offer them our political and economic support and our experience of regional cooperation and integration”, said Commissioner Michel.

The Council and the Commission are preparing a strategy for Africa that is to be adopted in December. There are four parts to the strategy — Peace and Security, Governance, Regional Integration and Trade, Development Aid —with the following main commitments
i) Peace and Security
- Facilitate the African Peace Facility to support the African peace-keeping forces
- Strengthen the conflict prevention programmes
- Increase financial resources for post-conflict countries
- Study the question of natural resources management
- Stop the flow of weapons to conflict zones
ii) Governance
- Strengthen the African institutions, the African Union, NEPAD, and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM),
- Provide support for states fighting corruption, with more aid for states considered to be 'well governed',
- Provide support for political governance through, inter alia, election monitoring missions.
iii) Regional Integration and Trade
- Strengthen the infrastructures for regional integration
- Strengthen Africa's capacity for trade by a) supporting the development of a capacity for exporting, b) obtaining access to quota-free markets for the EPA countries, and c) simplifying the rules on product origin for products from Africa.
iv) Development Aid
- Bigger volumes and better quality (0.56% of the GDP in 2010, half is intended for Africa)
- A commitment to deliver humanitarian aid more quickly and efficiently
- Debt relief for the poorest countries
- Emphasis on the health and education sectors, including objectives for financial support for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The Eldis Trade Resource Guide has undergone a radical transformation. This is to facilitate the exploration of various key themes and sub-themes within the broad area of trade policy and development. New themes include 'EU and trade', with categories on the Everything but Arms and Economic Partnership Agreements; 'Intellectual Property Rights'; trade and agriculture; and trade liberalisation and protection.
Thursday, 29 September 2005
EU requests second WTO arbitration on its revised proposal for the banana import regime
The EU today submitted a request for a second arbitration on its proposal for a new import tariff for bananas from countries benefiting from Most Favoured Nation status. The Commission has carefully analyzed the award from the first arbitration. It is confident that its revised proposal for an import duty of € 187/tonne for MFN suppliers and a tariff quota of 775,000 tonnes at zero duty for bananas originating in ACP countries maintains market access for MFN suppliers and an equivalent level of preference for ACP suppliers as the current regime. The intention remains to have a tariff only system in place on 1 January 2006.