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Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2018
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EDITO
Tuesday, 25 September 2018
Communicable disease outbreaks can pose a significant threat to the health and well being of the European Union’s citizens. In a European Union where millions of people cross internal and external borders each day, tackling health threats requires a much closer co-operation between Member States, the European Commission, the World Health Organisation and affected countries around the world. The European Union citizens place a very high value on the protection of their health. Since 1999, the Commission has managed a Communicable Diseases Network. This is currently based on ad hoc cooperation between Member States within the legal framework of Council and Parliament Decision 2119/98/EC. However, there is a need for a substantial reinforcement of this system if the European Union is to be in a position to control communicable diseases effectively.
In Spring 2004 the Council and the European Parliament adopted enabling legislation to create a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. This new EU agency will provide a structured and systematic approach to the control of communicable diseases and other serious health threats which affect European Union citizens. The ECDC will also mobilise and significantly reinforce the synergies between the existing national centres for disease control.
Main tasks of the ECDC will include:
- Epidemiological surveillance and networking of laboratories
- Early Warning and Response
- Scientific opinions
- Technical Assistance and Communication
Mrs Zsuzsanna Jakab, a senior public health official from Hungary, has been nominated the Centre’s first Director.

At the international level, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) of teh World Health Organisation is a technical collaboration of existing institutions and networks who pool human and technical resources for the rapid identification, confirmation and response to outbreaks of international importance. The Network provides an operational framework to link this expertise and skill to keep the international community constantly alert to the threat of outbreaks and ready to respond.The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network contributes towards global health security by combating the international spread of outbreaks and ensuring that appropriate technical assistance reaches affected states rapidly and contributing to long-term epidemic preparedness and capacity building.
Efforts on alerts on communicable disease outbreaks in African countries are key and require obviously more attention (see last Marburg outbreak in Angola).
The number of women in top positions in science is growing, but only slowly. At EU level, women only make up 14% of top academics, but constitute 44% of graduates in science and technology subjects. In a report on Gender Equality in Science, the European Commission sets out the actions on-going and under preparation at European level to promote the role of women in science. Increasing the number of women engaged in science is a crucial element in achieving the EU’s target of 3% of GDP invested in Research and Development.
For the future, a further €5.7m has been earmarked for Women and Science in 2005-2006, bringing the total in the Sixth Framework Programme to around €20m. The Commission will give €2m to start up the European Platform of Women Scientists, which will establish networks of women scientists and organisations working towards gender equality in scientific research. The Commission is also proposing the creation of a European award on excellence in gender research, to raise awareness of the importance of such research.
Tuesday, 29 March 2005
The Commission has undertaken a significant effort to improve the quality of the planning and organisation of its work. The ‘Basic facts’ section of this site will answer some of your initial questions about the Commission, including those you might have regarding its role in the legislative process, in decision-making and in other areas of its competence.
Saturday, 26 March 2005
The Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA)will take place in Bamako (Mali), from 16 to 21 April 2005. The Assembly will consider the reports of its Standing Committees on:
- Progress made in achieving universal primary education and gender equality in the ACP countries in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)
- Budgetisation of the European Development Fund
- Post-conflict rehabilitation in the ACP countries
Urgent topics with resolution will cover the situation in Sudan and in the African Great Lakes Region. A debate on the consequences of the tsunami for the ACP countries will also take place.
In addition to the statements of the Commission and of the Council, the Question Time and the debates with these two institutions, the Assembly will also hold a debate on the progress of the negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreements with Mr Peter Mandelson, Member of the Commission in charge of trade. Within the framework of the debate on the report of the Committee on Social Affairs and the Environment and in view of the adoption of a Bamako Declaration on the Millennium Development Goals, the Assembly will also listen to Mrs Evelyne Herfkens, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Campaign.
Attached details on the 3 standing committees and report of previous sessions.
- Committee on Political Affairs
- Committee on Economic Development, Finance and Trade
- Committe on Social Affairs and the Environment

To learn more about the JPA see weblog under ACP-EU institutions.
Friday, 25 March 2005
Statement of the Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson to the Development Committee of the European Parliament on 17 March 2005.

Trade is the third leg of the development triad. Actions on trade, aid and debt need to complement one another. Action on one dimension alone is not enough. Neither are all three sufficient in combination.

Mr Mandelson underlined that trade can help promote development, but only if accompanied by the right domestic policies, and only if developing countries integrate trade into a broad programme of development that includes action on infrastructure, killer diseases, education, better governance and corruption – something the Commission for Africa report, published last Friday, has unambiguously brought home. First, market opening must be properly sequenced and adapted to development situations and needs. In other words, in contrast to the neo-liberals, don’t expect open markets to work like a magic wand. Second, open markets must be underpinned by an open, equitable, rules-based multilateral trading system, that has protection of the weaker nations of the world explicitly built into its rulebook and modus operandi. That principle has to become second nature to all involved in trade negotiations. Third, the creation of new opportunities to trade must be combined with the active support for building the necessary capacities to trade for the poorer countries. That means in practice - aid directed at promoting trade. 2005, with the Monterrey and United Nations reviews, with a G8 Presidency focussed on Africa, is presents a real window of opportunity for progress – in all meanings of that word. The EU must through its trade policy make a strong contribution.

On Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA's), he declared that the multilateral route is not the only route to development. We must also nurture and renew our traditional bilateral relationship with the ACP family, using the Economic Partnership Agreements under Cotonou as positive development tools. This is why he decided, in agreement with Commissioner Michel in charge of Development, to put in place a new monitoring mechanism, to check on a systematic basis what benefits our money and assistance and money is actually bringing our ACP partners in terms of capacity building. In other words, is it addressing their ‘real needs’? Is there enough help available? And is it being effective in what it aims to do? Within the Commission a dedicated structure of people will be in place to review the progress of our aid programmes to our EPA partners and identify any possible bottlenecks that may arise across the whole range of programs and projects that constitute our EPA-related assistance. We have to be coherent if our aid is to be effective.