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Sunday, 24 February 2019
The European Union has agreed to increase public spending on development aid by 20 billion euros ($25 billion) over the next five years, reinforcing Europe's role as a leading donor to poorer countries. In a meeting of EU ministers for development in Brussels on Tuesday, the 25-nation bloc agreed to fix a target for development aid by 2010 of 0.56 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The increase will bring EU aid from 46 billion euros in 2006 to 66 billion euros in 2010.
The EU's 15 older -- and richer -- member states are to make up the bulk of the effort to reach the objective with a commitment to raise development aid to 0.51 percent of GDP in 2010. The other 10 countries that joined the EU in May 2004, agreed to try to reach a target of 0.17 percent of GDP in 2010. While signing on to the deal, Germany, Italy and Portugal also stressed that they were having deep financial problems trying to meet EU deficit limits, an EU source told the AFP news agency. Looking further ahead, EU members agreed that public development aid should reach 0.7 percent of the EU's GDP by 2015, the EU's Luxembourg presidency announced Tuesday. The 0.7 percent objective is one of the targets laid out in the UN millennium goals fixed in 2000 with the aim of slashing the number of people living on less than a dollar a day by half by 2015.
French deputy minister for development Xavier Darcos said that France Germany and Spain were considering a plan to introduce a scheme for "voluntary contributions" to development aid on each airplane ticket. "We have to find more money. In a couple of years, innovative sources of funding will become common, mainly because we will not have enough public money," he said.
The scheme for voluntary contributions on airplane tickets comes after EU members failed to agree to an obligatory levy and a French-backed plan for an international tax on financial transactions was shot down.

UN praised the EU
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today praised the European Union's agreement to substantially boost its official development assistance (ODA) over the next decade, with half of the increase going to Africa.
"The Secretary-General notes that the EU decisions are well in line with the recommendations in his report 'In Larger Freedom,' and that they send a valuable message about the importance the EU attaches to the global partnership for development," a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement released in New York.
That 50 per cent of the EU's agreed ODA increase will go to Africa "will make a real difference for millions of people on the continent, and provide a significant boost to efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015," the spokesman added.
The statement said that all Member States which joined the EU before 2002 will reach the 0.7 per cent target for ODA as a percentage of gross national income by 2015, with an intermediate target of 0.51 per cent by 2010. Member States which joined the EU after 2002 will reach a 0.33 per cent target by 2015, with an intermediate target of 0.17 per cent by 2010.
According to the statement, the Secretary-General also praised the EU's agreements on debt relief, targets for improving aid effectiveness and the Doha trade negotiations.
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Thursday, 26 May 2005
EU launches “AthenaWeb” – a new professional portal for audiovisual scientific information – to boost science film production, circulation in Europe
Launched in close coordination with European science TV professionals and research organisations, AthenaWeb is a robust, user-friendly platform with innovative functionalities designed for the exclusive use of science communication professionals. A concrete response to well identified needs, AthenaWeb has five key objectives:
- to valorise existing science programming from all sources (broadcasters, independent producers, research organisations, industry) in Europe,
- to facilitate the development, production and circulation of new science television programmes,
- to facilitate new coproductions, through more efficient search for partners, and pooling of ideas and resources,
- to improve circulation and visibility of science and research news,
- to enhance networking between scientists and communication professionals.
Patrick Vittet-Philippe
Press and Information Officer
DG Research, European Commission
Tel: +32.2.2969056
Mobile + 32 477 274663
Email: patrick.vittet-philippe@cec.eu.int
Wednesday, 25 May 2005
Remarks of Peter Mandelson to the Trade Committee of the European Parliament

On Economic Partnership Agreements with the ACP countries, he noted good progress with all six regions, the EC immediate focus being on helping partners integrate their economies regionally: for the impetus given to growth of regional markets is one of the most important innovations of this EPA process.
Roadmaps will be tailored to the needs of each region. They cover capacity issues such as customs and revenue, trade facilitation, help with meeting standards and managing change in specific sectors. With some regions, if they wish, we are also discussing a broader agenda of trade in services, competition and investment policies, IPR issues and public procurement. The interests of our ACP partners are always put first.
Commissioner Mandelson reminded that EPA agenda is emphatically not about opening markets to our own exports: it is about opening European, as well as crucial regional markets to developing countries and enabling them to take advantage of these opportunities. To comply with our WTO obligations there has to be an element of reciprocity in these agreements, but there will be no equality in these obligations. Our ACP partners will only be expected to open their markets progressively over a long period, and only as their capacity to trade allows. And further access to our markets will be part of the package for ACP countries which are not LDCs.

Trade and development
In partnership with the ACP, a development review mechanism has been put in place to ensure that the support given for supply side development and regional integration actually translates into capacity building. He stressed that this is about building markets and the ability to trade, rather than opening markets to our own exports and that EPAs aim to be pro-development, pro-reform instruments.

The EU is both the world’s most open market for developing countries and their largest trading partner. This is the conclusion of a report published on May 23 by EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson. The first of its kind, the report analyses developing countries’ access to the EU market between 1999-2003. It shows that almost half of the EU’s imports come from developing countries and that 79% of these imports enter the EU duty free or at reduced rates of duty.
The European Commission today urged EU Member States to accelerate the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting. Digital broadcasting provides improved picture quality, better sound, better portable and mobile reception, more TV and radio channels and enhanced information services. As digital broadcasting uses spectrum more efficiently, it would also free up spectrum capacity for other uses, such as new broadcasting and mobile telephony services, which will in turn stimulate innovation and growth in the TV and electronic communications industries. The Commission expects the transition to digital to be well advanced by 2010 and proposes a deadline of early 2012 for phasing out traditional analogue terrestrial broadcasting. The Commission also calls for a co-ordinated approach to making freed-up spectrum available across the EU.
Tuesday, 24 May 2005
European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel is working on a "master plan" for Africa.
The initiative aims at improving the transport and communication infrastructure in Africa, but Michel also wants to make European development policy more coherent. Money will be no problem if the European ministers for development education endorse this week a proposal of the European Commission to spend an extra 20 billion Euro on development cooperation by 2010, says Michel. Africa needs more and better roads, ports, railroads and airports in order to grow faster.Telecommunication also needs to be improved urgently. Michel wants to give priority to this kind of big infrastructure projects. "The EU has the expertise in building big international infrastructure networks, and the commission can invest more money in big projects than most of the member states," Michel told journalists last Friday.
"The master plan will be conceived as a 'shopping list', from which member states can pick projects that they can cofinance." In that way, the development commissioner hopes to make European development initiatives more coherent. Michel stressed that Europe has to do more for Africa. "If we don't do anything, it will take until 2129 before all African children have access to basic education, and until 2147 before the number of Africans that have to live on one dollar a day is halved. I don't want to wait that long."
According to Michel, Europe should not overlook the fact that its geostrategic interests were at stake. "For that reason, the United States are active for a long time in Africa already, but nowadays, also the Chinese presence is getting stronger. We cannot stay away."
This Monday and Tuesday (May 23 and 24), the EU development cooperation ministers will discuss a proposal of the Commission that sets interim goals for the increase of development aid in the member states. The 15 'old' member states would have to spend 0,51 percent of their GDP by 2010; the 10 new member states would have to reach 0,17 percent. The total amount of European development aid - of the EU and of the member states combined - would rise by 20 billion Euro to 66 billion Euro.

For some countries, that implies quite a tough job. But Michel, who is touring the European capitals in order to drum up support for his ideas, says that he does not have the impression that member countries will oppose the proposal. "Countries like Italy and Germany, who are facing budgetary constraints, might have problems to individually reach the target, but they do not discard the general goal." Germany spent 0,28 percent on development aid in 2004, Italy did even worse with 0,15 percent.
The 46 billion Euro the EU and its member states are now spending on development aid, make up 56 percent of the total global developmentt ais. That puts a big responsibility on the EU's shoulders. Source IPS

See also attached article on support to africa. Britain has declared that the development of Africa will be a priority at the G8 summit, but little agreement is in sight over the preferred aid route.