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Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

May 2019
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Sunday, 26 May 2019
European Commissioner for Development Louis Michel and European Commissioner for Trade Peter Mandelson will attend the 9th EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Bamako, Mali on April 19. The forum brings together parliamentarians from the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. Commissioner Michel will report to the Assembly on the European Union’s humanitarian and development relations with the ACP, and the recent proposals adopted by the Commission on the EU contribution to the UN’s Review of the Millennium Goals in September this year. Commissioner Mandelson will report to the Assembly on the state of the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations with the six ACP regions. He will also make a strong show of support for cotton producers in West Africa.

In addition to their participation in the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, both Commissioner Michel and Commissioner Mandelson will meet with Malinese President Amadou Toumani Toure and Prime Minister Ousmane Issoufi Maiga. Commissioner Michel will also meet with Foreign Minister Moctar Ouane. Speaking before his arrival in Mali, Commissioner Michel said: Last week the Commission adopted a series of proposals to ensure the EU’s leadership role in development cooperation, particularly in view of the review of the Millennium goals this year. With our ACP partners, we need to do more, we need to do it better and we need to do it quicker. I look forward to discussing these issues with the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly. Commissioner Mandelson said: Two months ago I promised an important reshaping of the EPA negotiation process that would benchmark it against development goals. In Mali I will be delivering on that promise. The European Commission has put in place a monitoring mechanism that will ensure that EPAs are genuine development tools. Both Commissioners Michel and Mandelson will stress the European Union’s commitment to development in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
As part of the communications approved by the Commission last week, it is proposed to set a new EU Official Development Aid target for 2010 at 0,56%, as well as to undertake action to increase coherence and make sure the different EU policies use all their potential to contribute to development. It also proposes a specific EU-Africa Partnership on infrastructure, thus strengthening the interconnectivity and the supply side capacity of our partners.Although the EU is the most important export market for ACP goods, its share of that market has shrunk dramatically over the last decade. The European Commission believes that increasing this trading relationship through the EPA process and improved continued preferential terms of trade is a key development goal. Reflecting the particular importance of cotton production in Mali and other parts of West Africa, Commissioner Mandelson will visit a cotton factory and meet with representatives from the West African cotton industry. Commissioner Mandelson said: Cotton is a development issue and an area where WTO negotiations could be moving further and faster to ensure some security for vulnerable West African producers.
The Commission has published a list of 26 genetically modified (GM) products which have been legally on the EU market since before the new legislative framework for authorising GM food and feed had entered into effect. These so-called existing products were either approved under former EU legislation, or did not require approval at the time that they were put on the market. They have been added to a specific section of the Community register of genetically modified (GM) food and feed in order to clarify exactly which GM products are legally permitted to be sold in the EU and to have full information on these products.
Since the entry into force of Regulation 1829/2003 on GM food and feed in April 2004, all GM products seeking to enter the EU market as food or feed have to undergo a thorough authorisation procedure, including a scientific safety assessment by EFSA. However, there are certain GM food and feed products which can be legally sold in the EU according to the rules in place before Regulation 1829/2003.. In order to cover these GM products, Regulation 1829/2003 stipulated that operators who wished to continue marketing an existing product had to notify the Commission and submit detailed information on the GMO before 18 October 2004. Non-notified products will no longer be allowed on the EU market. The Commission, in co-operation with the Joint Research Centre, examined the validity of the notifications it received and agreed to enter 26 GMOs into a specifically created section of the Community register of genetically modified food and feed. Once one of these existing products is on this register, it can legally be sold in the EU for a set period of between 3-9 years, after which it has to resubmit an application for the renewal of the authorisation.
The European Commission and the World Bank agreed to an intensified partnership to support Africa's push to accelerate economic growth and make faster progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.The Commission and World Bank said they will work more closely to support African countries' development priorities, particularly in the critical areas of infrastructure, trade and regional integration. Representatives from the two institutions also stressed that improved governance and strengthened capacity were crucial to successful outcomes in each of these areas. The European Commission and World Bank are the two largest sources of development aid to sub-Saharan Africa. The potential benefits to Africa of strengthened coordination and collaboration in EC and Bank development support are considerable. The agreement stemmed from a meeting of Louis Michel, European Commissioner for development and Humanitarian Aid and Gobind Nankani, Vice President for the Africa Region at the World Bank. The discussion, taking place within the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings, builds on a strong working partnership between the two institutions, and follows consultations in January laying the groundwork for enhanced collaboration in Africa. The discussions took place against a backdrop of increased attention to the development challenge presented by Africa. Both the EC and the World Bank are in the process of formulating strategies for Africa's development. Beyond these efforts, there has been a succession of analytical reports centered on Africa's development needs, but also the opportunities for accelerated growth and sustained poverty reduction. Recent reports by Jeffrey Sachs and by the World Bank have underscored the urgency of mobilizing new support for meeting the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in Africa. The Commission for Africa has called for significantly increased development assistance for the region, making specific funding recommendations to be taken up by the G-8 industrialized nations at its summit this summer. Together we represent a critical mass which can make a real difference for Africans in daily lives, said Mr. Michel. We need more resources, rapidly mobilized, and coordinated more effectively-the partnership with the World Bank moves this agenda forward. As Africa's international partners scale up development programs, it will be crucial that we retain our focus on country-owned, country-specific strategies for shared growth, said Gobind Nankani, World Bank Vice President for Africa. Our experience tells us that countries themselves are the best positioned to identify the obstacles and opportunities they face, and to fashion strategies for meeting the MDGs. Officials from the EC and World Bank plan to meet in Brussels next month to develop specific modalities for collaboration in the key sectors. Officials will identify programs that lend themselves to innovative support mechanisms drawing on the distinct strengths of the two institutions.
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Monday, 18 April 2005
At the Conference of Presidents on 14 April, the European Parliament's political group leaders gave the green light to the new framework agreement governing relations between Parliament and the Commission. The agreement still has to be endorsed by the EP Constitutional Affairs Committee, which will begin discussing it next Tuesday, and then formally approved by the full Parliament.
Greater political accountability and increased legitimacy for Commissioners as well as closer dialogue between Parliament and Commission are the key points of the new agreement. The first code of conduct between the two institutions dates back to 1990 and was amended twice, in 1995 and 2000.
Parliament President Josep Borrell welcomed the completion of the negotiations, saying: With this agreement, the European Parliament and the Commission have shown that they wish to work in a climate of mutual trust, have an efficient working relationship and be completely transparent vis-à-vis the European public. The roles of the two institutions are now clearly defined for the next five years.

The framework agreement establishes a code of conduct governing the appointment of Commissioners, changes to their portfolios and any replacements of Commissioners in mid-term. It thereby addresses three politically sensitive issues: the procedure to be used if an individual Commissioner has a conflict of interest, the consequences of a no-confidence vote by Parliament against a Commissioner and the steps to be taken to replace a Commissioner in the middle of his or her term of office. The agreement also lays down new rules for broadening dialogue and improving the flow of information between the two institutions. The Commission will be required to inform Parliament of the membership of any groups of experts who assist it in its legislative work. In parallel, the two institutions will introduce arrangements to protect the confidentiality of any information they send each other. In addition, the Commission is required to provide any assistance needed by MEPs taking part in election monitoring missions outside the EU. Lastly, measures are envisaged to improve the coordination of procedures and the work programmes of both institutions.
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The Council of Ministers of Economic and Financial Affairs in their meeting of 12 April 2005 adopted a Decision establishing a new programme on promoting safer use of the Internet and new online technologies, in particular for children, and on combating illegal and unwanted content. This Community programme, called "Safer Internet Plus", is established for the period from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2008. The Decision allows for a budget of EUR 45 million, including 20 million for 2005 and 2006. The programme entails four measures, with expenditure being broken down by way of guidance as follows:
- fighting against illegal content, 25-30%;
- tackling of unwanted and harmful content by the final user, 10-17%;
- promoting a safer environment, 8-12%;
- awareness-raising, 47-51%.
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