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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 240]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 240]
Send date: 2010-09-17 16:17:45
Issue #: 56
Content:
Bulletin CTA
1

This weblog shares information on key ACP-EU programmes and events
from Brussels relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries.


Date : [DATE]
CTA Brussels Newsletter

Main events in the week
  1. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 20th to 24th September 2010
  2. Regional Briefing on land access and land acquisitions
  3. Our video guests this week: 'Here I am Campaign Ambassadors'
  4. President Barroso at the UN High Level Summit on MDGs
  5. Further progress in EU–Africa cooperation in Space
  6. European Mobility Week 2010
  7. Increase in the EU support for the beekeeping sector
  8. European banana producers meet in Paris to define strategy
  9. Spain continues to lead the world ranking in horticultural exports
  10. Wanted: EU chief scientist
  11. Fair trade is growing but Africans lag behind
  12. ACP evaluates EU aid in Haiti
  13. Mozambique signs trade deals with Portugal
  14. Marine Knowledge 2020: A better understanding of our seas and oceans
  15. International Investment Policy- Views from the EU Council
  16. Economic Partnership Agreements: views from the EU Council
  17. Maritime safety: new EU rules to 'name and shame'
  18. Commissioner Karel De Gucht to discuss EU-Mercosur trade negotiations
  19. France calls for stricter EU rules on commodity derivatives
  20. Financial taxes at the top of the agenda
  21. Biodiversity: Powering up local authorities around the globe
  22. 9 out of 10 Europeans express steadfast support for development aid
  23. EU revises laws to better protect animals used in scientific experiments


  1. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 20th to 24th September 2010
    2010-09-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    European Parliament (Strasbourg):
    -20th-23rd September : Plenary Session 
    EU Presidency:
    -20th-21st September (La Hulpe): Informal Council of Agriculture
    -20th-22nd September (New York): UN High Level Event on Millennium Development Goals
    ACP Secretariat (Brussels):
    -23rd September: Committee of Ambassadors

    For more information please consult the calendar on our webpage http://brussels.cta.int/


    Link European Parliament
    Link Belgian EU Presidency
    Link  ACP Secretariat


  2. Regional Briefing on land access and land acquisitions
    2010-09-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    Land is an asset of enormous importance for billions of rural dwellers in the developing world, and especially in ACP countries. The nature of property rights and their degree of security vary greatly, depending on competition for land, the degree of market penetration and the broader institutional and political context. Although there are specificities according to countries and regions, some general trends and common challenges can be identified and the pressure on land is set to increase over future decades, given the impacts of population growth, urbanisation, globalisation of markets, international investment flows, trade negotiations and climate change.

    The Rural Development Briefing in Central Africa on “Land access, land acquisitions and rural development: New challenges, new opportunities”  to be held in Yaoundé, Cameroun on 27-28th September 2010 will discuss the links between property rights, investment and economic opportunities in rural areas: Policy and Governance on Land and Forests Resources; the Land acquisition and its contribution to development and the Promotion of responsible agricultural transnational investments. The target group is more than 130 policy makers from Central Africa and other African countries.


    For further information, please contact: boto@cta.int  or verginelli@cta.int


    Link Programme


  3. Our video guests this week: 'Here I am Campaign Ambassadors'
    2010-09-17

    Our video guests this week are Ms. Joyce Kamwana and Mr. Micheal Gwaba. Both are ambassadors of the' Here I am Campaig'n. This campaign aims at sensitizing and increasing political support from donor countries for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by bringing closer human stories from the field and demonstrating the impacts of the Global Fund on the ground. In this interview, Ms. Kamwana and Mr. Gwaba talk about the impact of the Global Fund in ACP rural areas and the challenges posed by donor fatigue. They assess the support of EU member States to the Global Fund. They also analyze critically the European Commission’s commitments to the Global Fund in the light of the Millennium Development Goals.


    Link Watch the video
    Link Here I am Campaign
    Link MDGs


  4. President Barroso at the UN High Level Summit on MDGs
    2010-09-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Food Security

    From 20 to 22 September, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will participate in the UN High Level Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in New York. The meeting aims at reviewing progress made towards the development goals and adding additional momentum into the global fight against poverty. As the world leading donor, contributing with around 56% of global aid, the EU remains firmly committed to reaching the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and will call on all partners to increase their efforts and focus on results. To this end, the European Commission has proposed to devote up to €1 billion to reward performing partner countries and to support the most off-track ones in recognition of their engagement and needs. The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso said: “The European Commission is and will remain fully committed to ensure progress towards the Millennium Development goals. I firmly believe that they are achievable with strong political commitment from all partners and the right policies and resources. With only five years away of our target date, we now need to move up a gear. Some progress has been made to which the EU and the Commission contributed largely. But more remains to be done. Donors must live up to their promises and developing countries must take their future in their own hands. It is about solidarity, ownership and co-responsibility. We have a commitment to better the lives of billions of people and give everyone the chance to live in dignity. We must not fail those most in need. By working together we can and we will reach the goals by 2015.”

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU Contribution to the MDGs
    Link José Manuel Barroso


  5. Further progress in EU–Africa cooperation in Space
    2010-09-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Food Security

    European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani discussed today with Commissioner Jean Pierre Ezin of the African Union Commission how space applications can play a significant role in helping to combat many of the core challenges faced by the African continent. In this respect earth observation plays a crucial part which is being developed jointly under the “GMES1 and Africa initiative”. This action plan is part of the EU-Africa strategic partnership and aims to ensure that earth observation data are available to respond to African user needs in areas such as climate change, water resource management and food security. In a joint statement, Vice-President Tajani and Commissioner Ezin expressed satisfaction with the on-going cooperation between the EU and Africa to ensure the most efficient use of space applications which respond to African user needs (see Memo XX). Vice President Tajani welcomed that the EU-Africa summit at end November 2010 will be in a position to adopt the GMES Action Plan to take these initiatives forward.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link GMES and Africa initiative
    Link Global Monitoring for Environment and security


  6. European Mobility Week 2010
    2010-09-16
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    From 16 to 22 September 2010, hundreds of towns and cities across Europe and beyond will take part in European Mobility Week, the biggest global event dedicated to sustainable urban travel. The 2010 campaign theme – Travel Smarter, Live Better – recognises the detrimental effects that current urban transport trends have on citizens' health. The aim is to encourage local authorities to promote alternatives to the car and highlight their positive impact on public health and the environment. Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "Most of the world's people live in urban areas. Most of our daily journeys start and end in urban areas, so we really depend on urban transport systems. We all suffer from the negative effects of urban transport such as congestion, accidents, poor air quality or noise, which clearly diminish our quality of life. These problems are not local matters but concern the EU as a whole. By working together, I am certain we can come up with innovative and sustainable ways to tackle the mobility problems in cities and give people more alternatives that would suit their needs." Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Too many Europeans rely on their cars for short journeys. This is a concern: more driving means more accidents on the road and more air pollution. The theme of European Mobility Week 2010 – Travel Smarter, Live Better – should be a wake-up call to local authorities to think more about the impact of travel policies on the urban environment and quality of life and help people make smarter, healthier choices."

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link DG Environment


  7. Increase in the EU support for the beekeeping sector
    2010-09-16
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The Commission today approved the national programmes of the 27 Member States to improve the production and marketing of apiculture products for the period 2011-2013. The EU contribution to the financing of the programmes has increased by almost 25% compared to the previous period (2008-2010), from € 26 million to € 32 million per year. The health of the beekeeping sector is a sensitive issue given the fundamental role of bees for pollination. For several years the sector has been facing an unprecedented mortality of bees. This not only makes the economic situation difficult for beekeepers, but also poses a threat to biodiversity. The national programmes are currently the only tool available to partially offset the loss of bees. Member States have been satisfied with the benefits provided by these programmes and the positive effect of measures funded under national programmes on the sector is also widely recognized by the beekeepers. Against this background the Commission decided to increase the overall annual budget allocated for the co-financing of the national programmes to € 32 million per year for 2011, 2012 and 2013, compared to the level of EU co-financing that was available during the period 2008-2010 (€ 26 million). This will increase the effectiveness of the programmes and demonstrate the proactive approach of the Commission towards resolving the problems of a highly sensitive sector. All Member States have communicated their national beekeeping programmes to the Commission. The programmes relate to different measures: Control of varroasis, rationalisation of transhumance, support for laboratories, restocking of hives, applied research programmes and technical assistance. All 27 programmes are eligible for co-financing.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more


  8. European banana producers meet in Paris to define strategy
    2010-09-16
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The European Association of Banana Producers (APEB) has convened a meeting in Paris for September 7 in order to make a strategy for the negotiation in Brussels of the possible increase of the financial statement of the Posei for the community banana growers.The APEB indicated in a statement that in the last period of the year the possible increase of the financial statement of the Posei for the banana growers of Martinique, Guadeloupe, Madeira and Canary Islands will be discussed in Brussels. The multilateral international agreements to which the European Union reached in Geneva at the World Trade Organization, and bilateral agreements with Latin American countries were signed in Madrid, will bring negative consequences to the Community producers. This has led the APEB to seek compensation through the increase of the current financial statement as a way to minimize the serious impact that these agreements will have for the outermost regions and in this way be able to maintain both EU banana production and farmers incomes. The purpose of this meeting of the APEB is to analyze the current situation of these negotiations and develop the partnership strategy in this last quarter of the year.

    Source: Freshplaza


     


    Link Read more
    Link Banana Market


  9. Spain continues to lead the world ranking in horticultural exports
    2010-09-16
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Spain continues to occupy the first place in the world ranking of exports of fruit and vegetables, with a market share of 9% of the total, followed by the Netherlands and the United States, with shares of 7% and 6% respectively, according to FAO data of 2007. Spain's export of fruit and vegetables worldwide in that year stood at 9.1 million tons, the Netherlands was at 7.3 million tons and the United States stood at 6.4 million tons.  After these three countries, ranking fourth in the world of fruit and vegetables is China with 6.1 million tons and Ecuador is in the fifth place with 5.6 million tons. The following countries are: Mexico, with 5 million tons, Chile with 4.3 million tons, France with 4.1 million tons, Belgium with 4 million tons and Costa Rica to 3.9 million tons. By product, the most exported by Spain is the tomato in the field of vegetables, with 880 630 tons, according to FAO data and in fruit is the tangerine, with 1.6 million tons. For FEPEX, maintaining the competitive position of Spain in the international area requires the development of policies, adapted to the needs of the sector.

    Source: Freshplaza

     

     

     


     


    Link Read more
    Link ACP horticultural exporters


  10. Wanted: EU chief scientist
    2010-09-16
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Food Security

    The EU executive has yet to appoint a chief scientific advisor, almost one year after European Commission President José Manuel Barroso announced plans to recruit a top scientist to offer advice on controversial issues including climate change and genetically-modified food. The post - which will come with a salary just shy of €200,000 - has not even been advertised, despite all EU commissioners having formally backed Barroso's plan to create the new position. Debate has been ongoing over the precise role of the chief scientific advisor, with some in the research sector hoping the position would be independent of political institutions, while others suggesting the scientist would merely be one of many counsellors to the Commission president. It now seems the latter scenario is more likely. EurActiv has learned that the chief scientist will be given an office in the Commission's Berlaymont building and will slot into the Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA), reporting directly to Barroso. Although the job has not been advertised and there is no immediate plan to do so, the Commission has agreed that the ideal candidate should have "appropriate professional experience of at least 15 years" and will be paid the same rate as a director-general.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link DG Research


  11. Fair trade is growing but Africans lag behind
    2010-09-16

    Despite its minuscule share of world trade, fair trade is a booming business, importing certified foodstuffs and products from all over the world to Northern supermarkets. But there is increasing concern that this growth is yet to benefit poor countries in Africa. The movement to ensure decent prices and working conditions for producers in the developing world represents less than one percent of global commercial exchanges. But, according to the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations, one of its main promoters, “the sales of fair trade certified products have been growing with an average of almost 40 percent per year in the last five years”. Between 2007 and 2008, global sales grew by 22 percent, reaching €3.6 billion in 2009. In the same year, in spite of the global financial and economic crisis, fair trade sales in France alone increased by 10 percent. But fair trade’s expansion in terms of sourcing from poor countries in Africa has been much slower. “It is obvious that fair trade does not focus enough on least developed countries,” says Christophe Eberhart of Ethiquable, a cooperative that imports fair trade foodstuffs to France from African least developed countries (LDCs). One of Ethiquable’s initiatives supports vanilla farmers in Comoros, an island state off the eastern coast of Africa. The cooperative buys their flavouring vanilla pods at €100 per kilogram, instead of the market prices of €25. Fair trade statistics do not disaggregate production figures by region, or by countries’ income category, which makes it hard to see the extent to which fair trade benefits LDCs. Moreover, “it is much easier to implement fair trade in countries such as Costa Rica, Thailand or India than in many sub-Saharan countries”, Eberhart contends. Most fair trade success stories hailing from the South are from South America and Asia, rather than Africa. The Fairtrade Labelling Organisations’ 2009 report lists a growing number of consumer prizes awarded to fair trade products. Among an estimated 6 000 products, Bolivian vodka, Ecuadorian spicy banana chips and other niche delicacies were endorsed. But no African goods made the list. The Fairtrade Labelling Organisations have developed a standard that applies not only to producers but also to traders. Its certification body, FLO-CERT, audits and certifies producers and traders before sales start. But limited resources and market structures make it almost impossible to check the entire chain from African fields to supermarket shelves. Still, networks are expanding rapidly. The World Fair Trade Organisation now claims 600 member organisations in 70 countries. It is estimated that 1.5 million workers and producers participate in fair trade in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

    Source: Trade Law Center of Southern Africa


    Link Read more
    Link Flo-cert


  12. ACP evaluates EU aid in Haiti
    2010-09-16
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    A delegation from the ACP/EU joint parliamentary assembly has been visiting Haiti since Monday to evaluate the state of reconstruction efforts in the country and how European aid has been used.
    The delegation met the President of the Republic and several members of government on Tuesday and are due to visit schools and building sites that received EU aid, as well as the displaced persons camp in Tabarre Issa.“We are here to take stock of European aid in the country in order to see what has been done since last January and to evaluate how we can provide greater assistance to Haiti,” stated James Nicholson, Vice President of the joint parliamentary assembly.The UK MEP expressed grave concern for the future of Haiti: “We are looking for assurances of a good transition from emergency humanitarian aid and the reconstruction process,” he added. The EU representatives proposed a different understanding of international aid by insisting that the every aspect of the reconstruction of Haiti should be done in consultation with the Haitian government. "If you want to do something lasting, it is the Haitians who must have control over the type of society they want for their future," said French Green MEP Michèle Rivasi, who also pointed out that European aid in Haiti was far greater than other donors. After visiting Haiti, the delegation will continue on to neighbouring Dominican Republic in order to evaluate the involvement of authorities there in the reconstruction process in Haiti.

    Source:


    Link Read more
    Link Haiti and the EU


  13. Mozambique signs trade deals with Portugal
    2010-09-16
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, ACP-EU Trade

    Mozambique and its former colonial power, Portugal, have signed three agreements formalizing closer bilateral cooperation ties, private newspaper O País reports on Wednesday. According to the newspaper, the deals were signed on the second day of the week-long 46th Maputo International Fair by Mozambican Minister of Industry and Trade Antonio Fernando and Portugal’s Secretary of State for Trade Fernando Serrasteira. One of the agreements envisages the installation of basic food logistics platforms in the provinces of Maputo, Sofala and Nampula.The other two agreements seek to create a framework to promote technical cooperation between the National Directorate of Trade of Mozambique and the Portuguese competition regulator.Mr Fernando reiterated his country’s willingness to increase investment in Mozambique in several sectors in order to strengthen ties between the two countries.

    Source: Afriqueavenir


    Link Read more
    Link EU Relations with Mozambique


  14. Marine Knowledge 2020: A better understanding of our seas and oceans
    2010-09-14
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    European Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki has today unveiled the Commission's Marine Knowledge 2020 proposal to unlock the potential of Europe's marine knowledge. This three-pronged approach seeks primarily to enhance our understanding of Europe's seas and oceans, make using marine data easier and less costly and foster competitiveness among marine data users. For Commissioner Damanaki, this proposal is both timely and beneficial. "Marine Knowledge 2020 is a direct response to the call by marine data users for the EU to step in. We have therefore come up with this comprehensive proposal, which has three basic objectives. Firstly, by freeing bottlenecks and reducing operational costs for those who use marine data, we can help private industry compete in the global economy and meet the challenge of sustainability; we can improve the quality of public decision-making at all levels; and we can strengthen marine scientific research. Secondly, by providing wider access to quality-checked, rapidly available coherent marine data, we can step up competition and innovation amongst users. And thirdly, by reducing uncertainty in knowledge of the oceans and the seas, we can provide a sounder basis for managing future changes. This will provide businesses and public bodies with the means to meet the crucial aims of our Europe2020 strategy."

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link The proposal
    Link Marine Knowledge 2020


  15. International Investment Policy- Views from the EU Council
    2010-09-13
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The 31st Council meeting on Foreign Affairs held in Brussels on 10th September 2010  took note of the presentation by the Commission of a communication on the development of an EU policy on international investments and It held an exchange of views. Globalisation has seen a dramatic increase of capital movements in recent years; in 2007, FDI flows reached a record high of almost EUR 1.5 billion. Under article 207 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force in December 2009, foreign direct investment (FDI) is a policy area of exclusive EU competence as part of its common commercial policy. Until now, the member states have negotiated bilateral investment treaties with third countries. As a first step in addressing the effects of this new EU competence, the Commission presented in July a policy package comprising the communication and a proposal for a regulation aimed at establishing transitional arrangements for the member states bilateral investment treaties. The communication addresses issues such as the definition of FDI, the criteria for selecting prospective negotiating partners, standards for future investment agreements at EU level and the settlement of disputes. During the course of the Council's discussion, delegations highlighted the need to put into place as soon as possible a comprehensive and efficient framework for investment agreements at EU level. They underscored the need, in doing so, to ensure legal certainty for operators, as well as predictability and maximum protection for EU investors abroad, and to maintain the EU as an attractive destination for investment.

    Source: Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link EU investment policy
    Link Q&A on EU investment policy


  16. Economic Partnership Agreements: views from the EU Council
    2010-09-13
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The 31st Council meeting on Foreign Affairs held in Brussels on 10th September 2010 held an exchange of views on the situation and the way forward as regards the negotiation of economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and regions. It took note of suggestions by the Commission for adjusting the EU's negotiation strategy so as to reinvigorate the negotiation process.

    Source: Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link DG Trade on EPAs
    Link ACP-EU Trade


  17. Maritime safety: new EU rules to 'name and shame'
    2010-09-13
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries, ACP-EU Trade

    New rules to enhance and improve the safety performance of ships were adopted today by the European Commission. The rules will introduce, from January 1st 2011, a new online register to "to name and shame" shipping companies which are performing poorly on vital safety inspections (port state controls), while those with strong safety records will be given good public visibility. Port state controls are crucial for preventing shipping disasters and the tragic loss of life and huge environmental damage that can result. Companies and states which show up as poorly performing will be subject to more intensive, co-ordinated inspections in EU ports. Manufacturers or other industries will be able to choose the shipping companies they use for freight or passengers in full knowledge of their safety record. Vice-president Sim Kallas, responsible for Transport, said: "Safety is the first priority for EU. We have seen the devastating effects of maritime disasters like the sinking of the ferry Estonia or the Erika or Prestige in terms of tragic loss of life and massive environmental damage. As ever I am strongly convinced about the power of transparency. We want to shine a light on the safety records of shipping companies, flag states and certification organisations. More transparency in this sector will showcase companies with a strong safety records giving them a competitive advantage. The register will also put poor performers in their spotlight so that with tougher inspection regimes and public pressure there is every incentive for them to raise their game rather than face a ban from EU waters."

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Port state control visit
    Link EU Maritime Transport Policy


  18. Commissioner Karel De Gucht to discuss EU-Mercosur trade negotiations
    2010-09-13
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will make a key visit to Brazil, which currently holds the presidency of Mercosur, and Argentina on 13-16 September. The Commissioner will explore with his counterparts how to advance the ongoing EU-Mercosur trade negotiations and how to seize the potential export opportunities in these markets."Given Mercosur's economic growth, I see important opportunities for EU exporters, investors and service providers in this region in the coming years." said Commissioner De Gucht. "A balanced and ambitious free trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur could therefore bring substantial economic benefits to both sides and contribute to the economic recovery."The Commissioner will meet high-level political representatives in Brazil on 14 September, notably Foreign Minister Celso Amorim and Trade Minister Miguel Jorge. During his visit to Argentina on 15 September, the Commissioner will meet with the Chancellor Hector Timerman and with Industry Minister Deborah Giorgi. In both countries, the Commissioner will address the ongoing negotiating process between the EU and Mercosur as well as key bilateral trade issues. The Commissioner will also meet with business leaders and European industry representatives.

    Background

    The EU began free trade negotiations with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) in 1995. There were suspended without agreement in 2004. The European Commission decided to relaunch the negotiations with Mercosur in May 2010. This was endorsed by the EU-Mercosur Summit in May. Since then, one negotiating round took place in Buenos Aires in June 2010. The next round will take place in October 2010 in Brussels.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Re-lauch of negotiations with Mercosur
    Link EU's trade relations with Mercosur


  19. France calls for stricter EU rules on commodity derivatives
    2010-09-13
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Three French ministers, finance minister Christine Lagarde, energy and environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo and the agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire, have sent a letter to the EU Commission demanding increased supervision of commodity derivatives markets.French president Nicolas Sarkozy last week said stabilizing commodities markets would feature high on France’s agenda when it chairs the G-20. This position was followed on 31 August by the letter from the three French ministers, addressed to the EU Commissioners for the Interior, Agriculture and Energy, in which they called for a European initiative on improving “regulation of trade in commodity derivatives and assimilated goods.” The ministers listed specifically such instruments based on oil, gas, metals, agricultural produce and carbon quotas.“Failing [a legal proposition], a statement from the Commission could lay down European guidelines on regulating raw material derivatives,” the ministers clarified. These principles could be “repositioned” within the framework of the review of directives on market manipulations and markets in financial instruments (MiFID).

    Greater transparency
    In a note attached to the ministerial letter, France acknowledges that these mechanisms anticipate “a system of market manipulations” related to raw material markets. The note, prepared by Bruno Le Maire’s office, also recommends greater transparency, “especially on physical markets”, in order to improve the way prices are set. The authors of the note consider that “the financial markets of raw materials currently suffer from inadequate and inappropriate European regulation.” Not only are the physical markets not covered by “real measures of framework”, but also on the financial side, “only part of the raw materials derivatives is subject to financial regulation,” according to the note.
    The note also points out the “fear of contamination” between the financial sphere and the physical sphere on the commodities markets, citing the spectacular increase in cereal prices. In the first semester of 2007, the price of wheat doubled on European markets.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link ACP Agricultural Commodities


  20. Financial taxes at the top of the agenda
    2010-09-13

    EU economy ministers are preparing to examine a Commission report on the possible introduction of a bank levy and a tax on financial transactions, but the neutrality of the report has already been called into question by the European Parliament. The introduction of an EU-wide Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) and a Financial Activities Tax (FAT) will be discussed by EU economy ministers on 7 September, “on the basis of a working paper” presented by the European Commission.“We intend to show the positive and negative effects of these taxes on Europe,” confirmed EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta’s spokesperson to EurActiv. We will present a very objective and neutral discussion paper,” the spokesperson added. However, MEP Pascal Canfin (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance) disputes the neutrality of the report, claiming it is “broadly hostile to a financial transactions tax for ideological reasons.” Canfin called on governments “not to give in to the Commission”. According to the Green MEP, all the arguments against the introduction of such a tax are irrelevant. In response to the fears of the Commission, Canfin cited the idea of “exonerating non-financial institutions from the tax. Since these organizations represent on 18 percent of transactions on the market, by far most of the derivative products will be subject to the tax without any negative impact on non-finacial institutions.”
     Canfin also referred to the position of the Greens on the subject and the presentation to the European Parliament in mid September of the proposal to introduce an EU tax on financial transactions.

    Source: Euractiv


     


    Link Read more


  21. Biodiversity: Powering up local authorities around the globe
    2010-09-13
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    How can local authorities save money while boosting economies, enhancing quality of life and generating employment? By factoring ecosystem services into policy-making, according to a new report. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Local and Regional Policy Makers report shows local policy makers how to improve their understanding of the value and services provided by natural capital like woodlands, parks and waterways, and to reap benefits in local policy areas such as urban management, spatial planning and protected areas management. European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik said: "Local and regional planning authorities wield enormous power, and can be a tremendous force for good. This report showcases numerous examples of the successful integration of biodiversity-friendly thinking into local planning decisions around the world, with detailed benefits for local citizens. In many cases, it's a roadmap to environmental success." TEEB Study Leader Pavan Sukhdev said: “Nature’s multiple and complex values have direct economic impacts on human well-being and public spending at a local and well as national level. By focusing on the various benefits from nature we can see the direct and indirect ways that we depend on the natural environment and this insight can substantially support local policy and public management. We urge local authorities to read this report and recognize the benefits provided by nature and the economic dimension of their local natural capital.”

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link All TEEB reports
    Link Environment DG


  22. 9 out of 10 Europeans express steadfast support for development aid
    2010-09-13
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    European citizens continue to show resolute support to aid provided to developing countries according to a special Eurobarometer published today. One week before the UN High Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals, the survey shows that 89% of respondents consider development aid is important or very important. Two in three Europeans believe that the EU should honor, or even improve, on its promises to increase development aid to 0.7% of GNI by 2015, the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goal. This support, shared by a vast majority of citizens regardless of the nationality, has remained consistently high despite the financial crisis and the economic situation in Europe. In this context, three quarters (76%) of Europeans believe that there is added value in EU countries working together which contributes to avoid duplication and ensure aid effectiveness. European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said: “European citizens sent a very clear message to all of us: despite the economic slowdown, EU's solidarity and responsibility towards those in need must be pursued. I personally see this as a mandate to remain relentlessly determined in attaining the Millennium Development Goals. Clearly, we need to ensure the highest impact of EU aid, which is the biggest in the world.”
     

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Eurobarometer number 352
    Link  Commissioner Andris Piebalgs


  23. EU revises laws to better protect animals used in scientific experiments
    2010-09-13

    The European Parliament has voted to revise legislation on animals used for scientific purposes. The revised legislation, first proposed by the European Commission in 2008, will strengthen the protection of animals still needed for research and safety testing. The new directive will also play a significant role in minimising the number of animals used in experiments, and require alternatives to be used where possible, whilst ensuring a level playing field for EU industry and enhancing the quality of research conducted in the EU. European Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Today's vote ends a long negotiation process, which has shown how sensitive and important the issues at stake are. However, everyone agreed that it is vital to improve the situation for animals still needed in scientific research and safety testing, whilst maintaining a high standard of research and improving the focus on finding alternative methods to animal testing. The European Union will soon have the highest standards of experimental animal welfare in the world."

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Lab animals



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