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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 247]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 247]
Send date: 2010-11-06 13:48:17
Issue #: 63
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 8 to 12/10/2010
  2. UK, Germany resist attempted EU power grab on trade
  3. London hopes to extend trade relations with Dakar
  4. African power – EU’s second energy facility
  5. Cameroon and Germany seek to strengthen economic ties
  6. €13M EU economic crisis package for Benin
  7. €10M German loan to Cameroon bank
  8. EC proposes updated mandate of the European Maritime Safety Agency
  9. Customs concerns frustrate EU-ACP trade talks
  10. EU and DRC Congo jointly fight illegal logging
  11. EU trade deal with SADC unlikely in 2010
  12. EU must act on containers lost at sea
  13. Britain to enhance collaboration with OECS
  14. Karel De Gucht meets EU Development Ministers and African Ministers
  15. Save the date: Come and join the JED
  16. Milk: three Member States face levies worth € 19 million
  17. Guidelines to reconcile wind energy and biodiversity
  18. Commission further reshuffles its Senior Managers


  1. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 8 to 12/10/2010
    2010-11-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

     European Parliament (Brussels):
    -9th November: Exchange of views with Commissioner de Gucht & Hearing on FDI
    -10th -11th November: Plenary session
    EU Presidency  (Brussels):
    -10th November: Competitiveness Council
    -11th November: Economic and Financial Affairs Council
    ACP Secretariat (Brussels):
    -8-10 November: 92nd Session of the ACP Council of Ministers


    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. UK, Germany resist attempted EU power grab on trade
    2010-11-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    EU's daily decision-making is facing resistance from a group of countries led by Germany and the UK, who are insisting on keeping a say on trade policy. EU diplomats are meeting in Brussels today (5 November) to discuss a Commission proposal to review the so-called 'comitology' procedure, in line with the Lisbon Treaty. The fast-track procedure, which stands accused of being too opaque and complex, involves powerful committees of national experts who pass implementing acts accompanying EU legislation, based on a Commission proposal. Decisions on milk quotas or on approving chemical substances, for example, are all routinely taken via comitology. The procedure's main advantage is that it is much faster than the normal legislative machinery. But it bypasses the European Parliament on decisions that sometimes carry high significance. The influence of member states, especially small ones, is also disproportionately high. The Lisbon Treaty, adopted in December last year, reformed the comitology procedure by increasing the Commission and the Parliament's say in the system. Under the previous system, national capitals were able to block a Commission proposal by a simple majority. The new procedure enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty foresees instead that member states will only be able to stop a Commission decision with a qualified majority.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link Proposed review of comitology
    Link FAQs on comitology


  3. London hopes to extend trade relations with Dakar
    2010-11-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The United Kingdom would like to strengthen bilateral trade agreements with Senegal, with the aim of “opening new markets and removing obstacles for investment,” according to a press release by the UK Foreign Office. “We would like to build a network of increased bilateral relations between the United Kingdom and Senegal, a network that will function like a system of veins and arteries responsible for the circulation of trade exchanges so that our two countries can grow and prosper together,” stressed Foreign Secretary William Hague, who was quoted in the release. “We must do all we can to launch the economic recovery within the UK,” added Mr Hague. “But we must also look abroad for new opportunities and new partners.”

    Source: Allafrica
     


    Link Read more
    Link EU Relations with Senegal
    Link DFID


  4. African power – EU’s second energy facility
    2010-11-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    Most Africans in rural and semi rural areas have no access to electricity, a problem particularly acute in ACP countries. Working around the problem means using traditional fuels whose smoke is both polluting and can be a health threat. With €200 million at its disposal, the European Union’s Energy Facility co-finances local projects and governance programmes aimed at ensuring everyone, with an emphasis on the poorest populations, has access to sustainable, modern services across the continent.

    The Facility and the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (SAAP)
    Launched at the 2nd Africa-EU summit, 2007, the Africa-Europe Energy partnership (AEEP) was set up to increase European and African investments in energy infrastructure and interconnections, both within Africa and between the continent and Europe. The Facility is one of the key ways of achieving this goal. Figures from the first phase of the Facility indicate that nearly seven million people benefited from 74 projects jointly financed by the Facility. The total investment was €196 million for a total cost of €430 million for total project costs. Ninety-seven percent of the projects funded focused on generating energy based on renewable sources and hybrid solutions. The first phase also demonstrates how effective the facility is in leveraging finance from other sources such as the private sector, European development banks, NGOs and EU Member States.

    The second Energy Facility
    The Second Energy Facility prioritizes projects that promote the use of sustainable energy such as geothermal sources, solar, wind farms and biomass, together with energy efficiency in buildings. The objective of these projects aims to increase access to energy services for the poor. This second Energy Facility, with a budget of €200 million, will be implemented, in particular through two calls for proposals. The first call for proposal, worth €100 million, was launched on 30 November 2009. Two other tools help to implement the Facility: a pooling mechanism that involves European donors and development financing institutions for medium-sized projects and support to energy governance through the EU Energy Initiative – Partnership Dialogue Facility. This second Energy Facility encourages private sector participation, particularly among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and potential investors in the energy sector. The participation of local actors (SMEs, local authorities and communities) is preferred. At the national level, authorities in the energy sector are particularly involved in the governance component. In order to ensure consistency with national priorities, projects must be approved by these authorities.

    Source: Afriqueavenir


    Link Read more
    Link Second Energy Facility


  5. Cameroon and Germany seek to strengthen economic ties
    2010-11-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Cameroon and Germany agreed on Friday to strengthen their bilateral economic ties, at the end of their maiden three-day cooperation talks held in Douala. Taking place under the aegis of Premier Philemon Yang, the talks organized by the Club of German Friends (CAA) saw the participation of 40 German business people and their partners from the Cameroon inter-employers’ grouping (GICAM). The forum also got the institutional support of the Cameroonian government and the German embassy in Douala. During the three-day forum, the two delegations deemed it necessary to strengthen their economic relations, with the German side insisting on improvement to the legal framework conducive to investment in Cameroon. “The issue is to see how to improve judicial governance, reduce the red tape, foster tax incentives, and combat corruption as such difficulties deter foreign investors,” CAA chairman Jacques Bimai said. Cameroon’s exports to Germany have reached 21 billion FCFA, equivalent to about two percent of its exports to the European Union. As for Cameroon’s imports from Germany, they have reached 57 billion FCFA, about eight percent of Cameroon’s purchasing from the European Union.

    Source: Afriqueavenir.org


    Link Read more
    Link EU Relations with Cameroon


  6. €13M EU economic crisis package for Benin
    2010-11-05

    The European Union (EU) plans to approve financial support to the Benin government worth around 13 million euros (8.5bn FCFA) in order to help the country deal with the effects of the global economic crisis. An agreement to this effect was recently signed in Cotonou by Benin Finance Minister, Idriss Daouda and the head of the EU delegation in Benin, Ms Françoise Collet. “During the G20 summit in April, the EU agreed to provide support for ACP countries to manage the consequences of the global economic and financial crisis,” explained the EU head. Ms Collet stressed that the EU had decided to allocate additional resources to Benin, extending the economic crisis package from 2009, after a careful examination and analysis of the specific needs of the country in the context of the crisis. According to Ms Collet, the additional funds could be paid out in the form of general budgetary support. “It will allow the government of Benin to deal with the consequences of the economic crisis and will contribute to the implementation of the Growth Strategy for Poverty Reduction and continue efforts to meet Millennium Development Goals,” she added. EU-Benin relations are founded on a political dialogue between policy-making partners and a programme of extensive development activities. Since independence, Benin has received more than 900 million euros from the European Development Fund (EDF), in addition to regional development resources and funding from the European Commission. EU-Benin development funds have been based on a series of previous strategies (7th, 8th and 9th EDF), focusing on road infrastructure, health and macroeconomic budgetary support.

    Source: Afriqueavenir.org


    Link Read more
    Link EU Relations with Benin


  7. €10M German loan to Cameroon bank
    2010-11-05

    The German Investment Bank (DEG) has approved a loan worth almost 10 million euros (6.5bn FCFA) as part of financial convention signed with Afriland First Bank Cameroon on the final day of a German-Cameroon business forum. According to the CEO of DEG, Philip Kreutz, the convention will allow Afriland First Bank “to increase its credit facilities and to extend its operations to regions that do not currently have access to banking services”. “With our quasi-equity loan, we will strengthen the capital basis of a long-time customer, thereby enabling Afriland to further expand its financial services,” he added. The two institutions have been partners since Afriland First Bank was first set up, developing an “innovative approach” that has allowed the local bank to gain twelve percent of the market, becoming the third largest bank operating in Cameroon, just behind two international French banks. An effective banking sector in a country such as Cameroon enables financing for small and medium-sized enterprises and can “contribute to making Cameroon an emerging market” by 2035 as forecast by the Government. In this context, Afriland head, Alamine Ousmane Mey, noted that projects are planned for financing growth-intensive Cameroonian and regional companies through the “Catalyst Fund 1”, which provides long-term capital financing.

    Source: Afriqueavenir.org


    Link Read more
    Link DEG


  8. EC proposes updated mandate of the European Maritime Safety Agency
    2010-11-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    The European Commission adopted a proposal modifying the mandate of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to enable it to deal with new challenges in an ever-changing world. EMSA is widely recognised as an important contributor to the European Union's maritime transport and safety policy in close cooperation with the Commission, the Member States and stakeholders from the sector. Developments since the agency's start in 2003 require now a limited update of its mandate. Vice-president Siim Kallas, responsible for Transport, said: "Safety is a cornerstone of the EU transport policy. The European Maritime Safety Agency was created back in 2004 in response to disasters such as the ones involving the ferry Estonia or the tankers Erika or Prestige and I am very pleased to see it today as a well respected player, providing high value professional services to maritime transport and beyond. It is now time to update its mandate to allow it continuing successfully on this path."

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EMSA
    Link EU Maritime Transport Policy


  9. Customs concerns frustrate EU-ACP trade talks
    2010-11-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Trade negotiators from the European Union and its former colonies were unable on Friday to agree how to break an impasse over regional trade accords, agreeing only on the need for the accords to be sealed soon. Efforts to seal accords between the EU and six different groupings of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations have been deadlocked for years. "Since 2007 there has been an impasse (in negotiations). We cannot stay here forever," EU trade chief Karel De Gucht told journalists after meeting with trade and economy ministers from ACP states. African countries in particular -- many of which depend on customs incomes for their national budgets -- have balked at EU demands that they replace regional border taxes within their regional groups with other forms of fiscal income such as VAT. "Europe needs African countries," Gabon's Economy and Trade Minister Paul Boundoukou-Latha told journalists after the meeting -- a reminder of the wealth of resources on the continent and growing interest by China, India and Brazil to seal agreements with countries there. EU development ministers meeting in Brussels separately on Friday said the 27-nation bloc should continue trying for pacts with the six ACP country groupings. South African trade negotiators last month called for a less ambitious approach to the talks.  An EU-Africa summit scheduled for late November is expected to try to generate ideas for how to progress or scale back the talks. (Reporting by Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck, Editing by Alison Williams).

    Source: Reuters


    Link Read more
    Link ACP EU Trade


  10. EU and DRC Congo jointly fight illegal logging
    2010-11-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, ACP-EU Trade

    Timber and wood products from the Democratic Republic of the Congo that are sold in the European Union must carry a license showing a legal origin under an agreement expected to be finalized by mid-2013. In Brussels on Thursday, EU and DRC officials signed a declaration to launch the negotiations for a voluntary partnership agreement on the export of legal timber to the European market under the 2003 Forest Law Enforcement Government and Trade Action Plan, or FLEGT. DRC Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism Jose Bononge Endundo; European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs; and Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation Charles Michel, on behalf of the EU Belgian Presidency, signed the declaration."The decision of the Democratic Republic of Congo to commit to the fight against illegal exploitation of forests is good news for the DRC and for the EU. It will help forestry sector of DRC to develop in a sustainable way and to create jobs," said Piebalgs. "Europeans, on their side, will be reassured that all the wood products coming from are both legally produced and exported," Piebalgs said. A voluntary partnership agreement is a World Trade Organization-compatible trade agreement between a producer country and the EU to work together to stop illegal logging. Although voluntary, voluntary partnership agreements are legally-binding on the two parties, once agreed.

    Source: ens-newswire.com


    Link Read more
    Link FLEGT / FLEG
    Link EU Relations with DRC


  11. EU trade deal with SADC unlikely in 2010
    2010-11-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

     SADC's hope for a conclusion of negotiations on a new economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) before December is fizzling out as new demands from the EU threaten to scupper chances of a new trade pact. Sourhern African Development Community  countries are currently trading with the EU on preferential terms without legal backing following the expiry of the old trade deal in 2008. African states have been negotiating for a new trade pact with the EU since 2002 when the Cotonou Agreement ended. Negotiations have stalled, first with the SADC countries rejecting an initial draft which they argued are heavily tilted in favour of the EU. Annascy Mwanyagapo, Director of International Trade in Namibia's Ministry of Trade and Industry expressed doubt that a pact would be sealed soon. In any case, Mwanyagapo told The Southern Times that the EU indicated at the negotiators' last meeting in Johannesburg early this month that 'time is not of essence' as it tries to push through a raft of new generation issues such as government procurement, services, competition policy and intellectual property rights. Insistence by the EU on the new generation issues clause could scupper chances of parties ever reaching an agreement.

    Source: southerntimesafrica.com


    Link Read more
    Link SADC
    Link EPA


  12. EU must act on containers lost at sea
    2010-11-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    Rapporteur on Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) whose report was adopted in the European Parliament this morning drew attention to the vast number of containers lost at sea from commercial shipping and the potential damage they are presenting both to the environment and to other shipping. "Every year in the EU, approximately 2,000 containers are lost overboard accidentally, often because they are too heavy or not correctly stowed. We are not fully aware of the toxicity or hazardous nature of most of them. 15% of the containers eventually get washed up on the coasts while another 15% remain floating at sea endangering other vessels and the environment."  "Operators of short sea shipping often untie the lashings of containers before entering port for speed but in so doing are, increasing the risk of losing the containers overboard. Research shows also that only 45% of vessel operators store containers properly. EU regulations exist, so measures must be taken now to improve enforcement." Improving our maritime environment is one of many issues the EU needs to tackle for a more integrated maritime policy: "We want a safer, greener and more sustainable maritime sector given the importance to our economy. The EU has 320000 km of coastline, where a third of our population lives. Our economic activities in the sea and the coast produce 40% of European GDP and forecasts suggest there is still further potential." "But recent events like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico show the fragility of the marine ecosystem. Only 10% of the sea is now researched but nevertheless we receive 15 thousands different products from it.  It carries 90% of our exports, and 40% within the EU, but this means that we need to ensure our commitment to reduce CO2 emission and to mitigate the specific impact of climate change on coastal and island regions. In particular, shipping should be brought within the EU's emission's trading scheme, along with other transport modes."
    "Sea is a great resource in term of fishing, aquaculture, energy production and extraction, tourism and blue technologies. We must improve our use of the sea in a more harmonious way while protecting it from overexploitation."

    Source: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe


    Link Read more
    Link EU Maritime Affairs


  13. Britain to enhance collaboration with OECS
    2010-11-04

    The United Kingdom and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) established relations at the diplomatic level on October 13, 2010, and in doing so, Britain’s Permanent Representative to the OECS, Paul Brummel, gave an assurance that Britain was cognizant of the challenges faced by the member states of the OECS, and that it would enhance its collaboration with the OECS to address current global concerns. He cited in particular the ongoing collaboration of the UK with the countries of the Eastern Caribbean in respect of national security, and reiterated the UK’s commitment to assist the countries of the Eastern Caribbean in this regard.The United Kingdom is the seventh country to establish relations at the diplomatic level with the OECS, following Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Finland and France.

    Source: caribbeannewsnow.com


    Link Read more
    Link OECS


  14. Karel De Gucht meets EU Development Ministers and African Ministers
    2010-11-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Friday 22 October in Brussels European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs met European Development Ministers. This was followed by a Joint Ministerial Trade Committee (JMTC) with African Ministers. The JMTC, in particular, addressed the Doha Development Round, Aid for Trade and World Trade Organisation (WTO) Accession process for ACP States. Other issues on the agenda included the future of EU trade policy, an update of EU Free Trade Agreements (FTA) negotiations with third countries, rules of origin and commodities. The JMTC then devoted a special session on ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), with a dialogue on status and future perspectives.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Aid for Trade


  15. Save the date: Come and join the JED
    2010-11-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    On 6 and 7 December, the European Commission will organise the 5th edition of the European Development Days (EDD) in Brussels, in cooperation with the Belgian Presidency of the European Union. President José Manuel Barroso will deliver a keynote speech at the opening of this major political discussion forum which brings together current and former Heads of State and Government from Europe, Africa and rest of the world; high-level representatives of governments, international organisations as well as development practitioners, NGOs, media and civil society. Organised a few days after the Africa-EU Summit in Tripoli, in parallel to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancún, the European Development Days provide a timely and focused interface for stakeholders and governments to address global challenges in an open and often informal atmosphere To attend the European Development Days, please register at http://register.eudevdays.eu/.

    “The European Development Days are a landmark event in the European development calendar and Europe’s foremost platform for dialogue and exchange on development issues", European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said. "It provides a unique opportunity for development actors to debate and share ideas; it provides a channel for the public to discover music, art, and films from the developing world. This year’s edition of the European Development Days takes place at a crucial time when development policy is evolving in response to the EU's new institutional set-up and the current global context. ”

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link The EDD draft programme
    Link The EDD draft programme


  16. Milk: three Member States face levies worth € 19 million
    2010-11-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development


    Denmark, the Netherlands, and Cyprus were the only Member States which exceeded their milk quotas in the 2009/2010 quota year, triggering superlevy fines for a total of €19 million, according to provisional figures published by the European Commission today. This compares with the €99m triggered last year and €340m the previous year. Following the increase in quotas agreed under the 2008 CAP Health Check, Italian production finished within quota for the first time, as global EU production finished some 7% below global quota volumes, compared with the 4.2% margin in the 2008/09 quota year (April-March). Dacian Cioloş, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: "Although these figures confirm that Italy has finally managed to stay within its quota, the 2009/2010 quota year will only be remembered for the particularly difficult market situation witnessed in so many Member States. Through our High Level Group established specifically to examine the market crisis, we have studied the situation carefully, and I am optimistic that the proposals that I will present in December will enable dairy producers to respond better to evolutions in the market and provide a more stable environment as we move towards the end of the quota regime in 2015.”

     Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Agriculture and Rural Development


  17. Guidelines to reconcile wind energy and biodiversity
    2010-11-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    While in general terms wind energy does not represent a threat to wildlife, poorly sited or designed wind farms can have a negative impact on vulnerable species and habitats. That's why the European Commission has published today guidelines for wind energy development in protected natural areas. The guidelines apply to the Natura 2000 network, a cornerstone of EU biodiversity policy and a key tool to achieve the EU target of halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2020. Wind energy has an important role to play in meeting the EU target of 20% renewable energy in Europe’s total energy consumption by 2020, and its deployment in Natura 2000 areas is not automatically excluded. But such developments need to be evaluated on a case by case basis. Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment said: “These new guidelines will give Member States and industry clarity regarding the undertaking of wind energy development activities in accordance with Natura 2000 requirements. There is no change of legislation or policy, but merely guidance on existing law. Our aim is to ensure that renewable energy targets are met while fully respecting EU law on species protection."

    Source: European Commission

     


    Link Read more
    Link Guidance on wind energy
    Link EU nature and biodiversity Policy


  18. Commission further reshuffles its Senior Managers
    2010-11-02

    The Commission has taken today (27th october), upon a proposal from President Barroso and Vice-President Šefčovič, a number of decisions in order to implement its mobility policy for Senior Staff. This is the second mobility package since the start of this Commission. This package deals with the transfer of David O'Sullivan to the function of Director General of RELEX with a view to ensure a smooth transition towards his new role of Chief Operating Officer within the European External Action Service, as already announced by High Representative and Vice President Catherine Ashton, the transfers of a former Director General and of a Director General to other Directorates General, the transfer of one Deputy Director General, and the promotion of one Director to a Deputy Director General function. With this package, the Commission reaffirms the principle that appointments are made on the basis of merit as a first criteria, as well as the principle of mobility.The College decided on the same occasion to modify the organisation charts of a number of Directorates General. Among the decisions is the merger of DG EuropeAid (AIDCO) and DG Development (DEV) to a new Directorate-General "EuropeAid Development and Co-operation Directorate-General" (DG DEVCO).

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more



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