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Wednesday, 26 September 2018
Commission welcomes the adoption of the directive for environmentally friendly design of energy-using products
The European Commission welcomes today’s adoption by the European Parliament of the Directive on the eco-design of energy-using products. This initiative aims at improving the environmental performance of products throughout their life-cycle by systematic integration of environmental aspects at the earliest stage of their design. EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said that the Directive will deliver long-lasting and increasing energy savings beneficial to consumers that will also contribute to a reinforced security of energy supply for the Community. Vice President Verheugen added that the Eco-design Directive will prepare EU industry to face worldwide challenges related to environmental improvement of their products.

What is eco-design?
Eco-design, means the integration of environmental considerations at the design phase of the product, which is the best way to improve their environmental performance. It is also a long-lasting contribution to securing energy supply and achieving sustainable development. Businesses and consumers will benefit not only from better products and an improved environment, but also economically, because of a more rational use of resources. Easier access to an enlarged EU single market will help enhance competitiveness in the global market place, where environmental concerns are becoming increasingly important.
Questions and Answers on Commission Millennium Development Goals Package

1. What is the package about?
The Commission has approved today 3 Communications on the subject of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals). The documents suggest the Union’s joint undertakings for the MDG progress review at the UN’s General Assembly in New York in September this year. The package makes proposals in the areas of Finance for Development, Coherence for Development and Focus on Africa. Commissioner Michel stated that these proposals – if supported by Council and Parliament - will put the EU as the world’s largest donor in the political lead.

2. Why do we need these proposals?
In September 2005 the UN General Assembly will review progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals which were agreed by the world community in 2000. These MDGs have become the central theme of global development cooperation efforts. The EU has at several occasions underlined the importance of the MDG Review in September as a decisive opportunity to accelerate progress towards achieving the MDGs. In November 2004, the Council invited the Commission to ‘prepare specific and ambitious proposals for action, in particular in the areas of Finance for Development, Coherence for Development and Focus on Africa`. As the world’s biggest donor (over 50% of worldwide official development assistance - ODA), the EU has an important role in the process of achievement of the MDGs. Several reports taking stock on the fulfilment of the MDGs have identified substantial shortcomings, in particular in sub-saharan Africa. Calculations show that – given the current speed of progress – some MDGs would only be achieved in several decades. This is morally and politically unacceptable.

3. What is new in the Commission’s proposals?
Focus on Africa: The Commission wants the Union to make a difference in areas where it has a comparative advantage or where it can fill existing gaps and catalyse the actions of other partners. The Communication proposes to assign Africa a political priority and to accelerate the EU’s actions in a limited number of areas:
- the volume of resources should be increased, a sufficient share of the rise in official development assistance should go to Africa
- all proposals on policy coherence and on quality of aid should be applied in Africa as a priority. The aim is to formulate a common European response.
- the Commission proposes key commitments for action in a number of areas identified by the Africans themselves as crucial to their development, these include:
- improving Africa’s governance
- interconnecting Africa’s networks and trade
- striving towards equitable societies, access to services and environmental sustainability.
Coherence for Development: Commitments on coherence already steer EU policies. However, with the present communication, these commitments and actions are assessed within the framework of global efforts to achieve the MDGs. With this, the EU reconfirms and strengthens its engagement to effectively deliver and monitor delivery within the given MDG timeframe between today and 2015.

In reply to the Council request to look at options to strengthen the coherence of EU policies in support of attaining the MDGs, the Commission has identified a number of priority areas including trade, environment, agriculture where the challenge of attaining synergies with development policy objectives is considered particularly relevant. For each of these priority areas the Commission has defined general orientations, or ‘coherence for development commitments’ that it considers relevant contributions to accelerating progress. The Commission invites the Council, the European Parliament and the European Social and Economic Committee to confirm its acceptance of these commitments, as a joint engagement of the EU and its Member States towards improved coherence, and a substantial EU contribution towards the MDGs

More finance and improved aid delivery are important, but in itself not sufficient to allow the developing world to reach the MDGs by the year 2015. For this purpose the contribution of non-aid policies in attaining the MDGs must also be considered. (see also points 6 and 7)

Finance for Development: Following the Council’s mandate to present “concrete proposals on setting new and adequate ODA targets for the period 2009-2010 while taking into account the position of the new Member States”, the Commission proposes two intertwined targets to be reached by 2010:
- individual ODA targets for each Member State, differentiated between old and new Member States: The Commission proposes old Member States to increase their ODA to a new individual baseline of 0.51% GNI, in case they have not yet reached it. The Commission proposes the new Member States to reach 0.17% GNI.
- a collective average target for the Union of 0.56% ODA/GNI.
Both targets – if achieved - could allow the EU to reach 0.7% of ODA by 2015. This would put the EU as the world’s largest donor in a position to comply with a basic international aid target. In addition, the proposal ensures fair burden sharing between Member States.
MAP(Monitoring Agri-trade Policy) is a quarterly newsletter which provides in-depth analysis on relevant agricultural trade and agri-trade policy issues. The first issue of March 2005 focuses on U.S. farm policy and domestic support – how it has evolved, the main elements of its domestic support system and how it compares to EU farm policy. This Newsletter is produced by the General Directorate of Agriculture of the european Commission.
Wednesday, 13 April 2005
2651st Council meeting - Economic and Financial Affairs; Luxembourg, 12 April
The Council held an exchange of views on funding development aid on the basis of a document submitted by the Commission which examines both fiscal and non-fiscal options for measures to increase the volume of aid. Ministers will discuss this issue in greater detail at their informal meeting in Luxembourg on 13 and
14 May. The aim is to prepare an EU position for a high-level meeting planned for September, on the initiative of the United Nations, to take stock of the progress made in implementing the
Millennium Development Goals laid down in 2000. Some Member States will not achieve the intermediate goals laid down for 2006 as regards the share of their national budgets devoted to development aid, and after that date a great deal of funding will still be required to meet the Millennium goals. Alternative sources of funding could ensure that a high level of aid is achieved. The Commission document examines both a United Kingdom proposal for an International Financing Facility (IFF) and fiscal options, including proposals from Germany and France for taxes on air transport: a tax on aviation fuel and a tax on airline tickets. It also considers the possibilities for a multilateral reduction in the debt of the most indebted countries.
Monday, 11 April 2005
Report on budgetisation of the European Development Fund-
Committee on Economic Development, Finance and Trade
Co-rapporteurs: David Matongo (Zambia) and Thierry Cornillet. Report to be discussed in the 9th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly to be held in Bamako, 16-21 April 2005.

The European Development Fund (EDF) is today the main European Community instrument for providing financial assistance for the development of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It does not form part of the general EU budget but it is financed by voluntary contributions from the EU Member States, and is the subject of negotiations (five-year financial protocol). The European Parliament requested the full inclusion within the general budget of financing for EU-ACP cooperation in order to be more closely involved in the control of public funds. The context is also shaped by the enlargement of the EU to 25 Member States and the need to incorporate aid to ACP countries within the financial perspective taking account of the accession of new Member States;the development of the European Union's development aid policy, which is in future to be integrated into the Union's wider external policy; efforts to ensure that resources allocated to development aid are used more effectively.

On the ACP isde, the current discussions on the prospect of budgetisation of the EDF are taking place at a time when the ACP Group faces many challenges which will have an impact on the substance of the partnership: mid-term review in 2004 and end-of-term review in 2006; improvement in the capacity to absorb resources; revision of certain provisions of and annexes to the Cotonou Agreement; the need to make a 10th EDF available to the ACP States in order to enable them to
achieve the objectives of the Cotonou Agreement; negotiation of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and the resulting financial requirements.

The attached draft report emphasises the need to address the concerns expressed by the less well-performing ACP countries that budgetisation of the EDF could entail a reduction in the funds allocated to them, and calls on the Commission to explain how it intends to guarantee that the interests of these countries are not affected. It alos notes the concerns expressed by the ACP countries about the possible effects of the annuality principle applied to the Community budget, even though the Commission has made it quite clear that this does not preclude multi-annual programming. It reiterates the importance of the resource predictability offered by the current EDF, which facilitates long-term programming in ACP countries and reaffirms the need, in any codecision procedure relating to a future EDF regulation, to safeguard the principles of partnership and ownership of development programmes by ACP countries and their involvement in all decisions regarding the use of funds.