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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 256]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 256]
Send date: 2011-01-21 15:06:29
Issue #: 72
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. Brussels Briefing on 'Geopolitics of Food' - 2nd February 2011
  2. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 17/1 to 21/1/2011
  3. Our video guest: Dr Janny Vos, CABI
  4. EU humanitarian aid needs more funding and better co-ordination
  5. Strong CAP needed to deliver affordable food
  6. The legal trade of tropical wood must not lead to increased deforestation
  7. EU locks carbon market after security breach
  8. Sarkozy: France needs no excuse to defend EU farm policy
  9. End 16-year banana war, says International Trade Committee
  10. Future of the clean development mechanisms discussed in European Parliament
  11. MEPs call for better protection in wake of dioxin scandal
  12. Have your say on overseas aid scrutiny
  13. Merger agreement for GTZ, DED and InWEnt signed
  14. EU seeks clarity over soaring food prices
  15. MEPs take a stand for agricultural expenditure
  16. Commission under budget 'pressure' as natural disasters spike
  17. Liberal MEPs initiate Hungarian Presidency boycott
  18. ACP and EU exchange views on EU’s Green Paper
  19. EU: import licences for apples and bananas
  20. Germany investigates criminal origin of dioxin contamination
  21. Jamaica is Number One for IDB and EU


  1. Brussels Briefing on 'Geopolitics of Food' - 2nd February 2011
    2011-01-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Food Security, ACP-EU Trade

    The 21st Brussels Policy Development Briefing will be on 'Geopolitics of Food' and will take place on the 2nd of February 2011 (8h30-13h00).Feeding the world is not anymore just a question of increasing agricultural production and trade but a political question. In a globalised world, the complexity of issues involved in the global food system is increasing, the linkages between sectors influencing and being influenced by agriculture and the relations amongst actors are becoming key. The food, fuel and financial crisis, the effects of climate change and global policies have and will have an impact on the food production and future type of agriculture. In this changing context, what are the consequences for the ACP agriculture and what future for the most vulnerable farmers? What new policies and what global aid architecture would be needed?
    For more information please see our Brussels Briefing homepage or contact: boto@cta.int or lopes@cta.int


    Link Brussels Development Briefings
    Link Past Briefings
    Link Registration form


  2. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 17/1 to 21/1/2011
    2011-01-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    European Parliament (Strasbourg):
    -17/20th of January: European Parliament Plenary Session
    European Council (Brussels):
    -18th of January: Economic and Financial Affairs Council
    ACP Secretary (Brussels):
    -18th of January: Bureau of the Committee of Ambassadors
    -20th of January: Subcommittee on Sustainable Development

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


    Link European Parliament
    Link Hungarian Council Presidency
    Link ACP Group of States


  3. Our video guest: Dr Janny Vos, CABI
    2011-01-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Food Security

    Our video guest this week is Dr Janny Vos, Head Business Development Europe, CABI. We met Dr Vos at the exhibition stand of CABI during the European Development Days 2010, in Brussels. She speaks about the importance of information and scientific knowledge to find out solutions to those problems farmers experience daily on the ground.


    Link Watch the video
    Link CABI


  4. EU humanitarian aid needs more funding and better co-ordination
    2011-01-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The EU's humanitarian aid capability should be stepped up, by creating a European civil protection force, boosting funding and ensuring a clear division of labour between military and humanitarian bodies in crisis areas, says Parliament in a resolution voted on Tuesday. The recent tragedies in Haiti and Pakistan once again demonstrated that the effectiveness, speed, co-ordination and visibility of the EU's disaster response tools need to be improved. They also once again highlighted the need to create a European rapid reaction capacity, say MEPs, who call on the Commission to present a proposal to establish a European civil protection force, as advocated by Michel Barnier following the 2004 tsunami in south-east Asia. Optimising the existing Community Civil Protection mechanism, and using existing resources already available in Member States, should ensure that this initiative entails no major additional costs, they add. The resolution, drafted by Michèle Striffler (EPP, FR), discusses the implementation of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, in the light of a growing number of complex crises (large numbers of displaced persons, violence among civilians, impact of climate change etc). MEPs call for more funding, to support the growing number of humanitarian operations. They also condemn the "politicisation of humanitarian aid", whereby national interests influence the choice to provide assistance. MEPs argue that this has dire consequences, aggravating the erosion of "humanitarian space", the zone of neutrality in an armed conflict. As international humanitarian law lacks visibility, MEPs ask the Commission to use additional funding to raise its profile.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link EC: Humanitarian Aid
    Link EP: Resolution Text


  5. Strong CAP needed to deliver affordable food
    2011-01-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Rural development

    To secure supplies of affordable food, the EU must have a strong farm policy that discourages food commodity speculation and helps more young farmers to start up, said the European Parliament on Tuesday. With worldwide demand growing and 16% of EU citizens below the poverty line, access to food is an increasingly important issue. The future common agricultural policy (CAP), now being debated by EU institutions, must ensure food security for all citizens, maintain the vitality of rural areas and guarantee food production throughout the EU, say MEPs in a resolution drafted by Daciana Octavia Sârbu (S&D, RO), and approved in plenary on Tuesday. The future CAP must also ensure that citizens have access to adequate supplies for affordable food, help to disseminate information about healthy diets and improve conditions for programmes such as school fruit and school milk, add MEPs.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link European Parliament (AGRI)
    Link EP: Resolution Text


  6. The legal trade of tropical wood must not lead to increased deforestation
    2011-01-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe welcomes Wednesday's vote in the Strasbourg plenary session of the European Parliament. The vote adopted a resolution urging the European Commission to better supervise the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) concluded with the major tropical-wood exporting countries of Cameroon and Congo and the governance and the commercial trade of wood and other wood derivatives (FLEGT). The expected development of this type of agreement poses a number of questions concerning environmental issues, and good governance.

    Source: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe


    Link Read more
    Link EC: FLEGT
    Link EP: FLEGT Resolution


  7. EU locks carbon market after security breach
    2011-01-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    The European Union locked all accounts in its carbon market on Wednesday (19 January) after a security breach, seeking to protect the battered reputation of the EU's main weapon against climate change. The European Commission suspended much of its Emissions Trading Scheme, the hub of a 92-billion-euro global market, following the suspected theft of about seven million euros of emissions permits from the Czech Republic's carbon registry. This theft and a hacking attack on the Austrian registry on 10 January follows a raft of scandals to hit the market in the past two years, including VAT fraud, a phishing scam and the re-sale of used carbon credits.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link EC: Emission Trading Scheme
    Link European Environmental Agency


  8. Sarkozy: France needs no excuse to defend EU farm policy
    2011-01-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Food Security

    Delivering a speech to the French agricultural community on 18 January, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said debate on reform of EU farm policy for the post-2013 era and bailouts of financially troubled EU countries were linked. EurActiv.fr reports. In recent weeks, France has been forced to defend the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) amid particularly difficult budgetary negotiations. Yesterday again, Sarkozy stressed his commitment to maintaining a strong CAP in the EU's next budgetary cycle after 2013. He noted that the European Commission had already made important concessions to the WTO on farm policy and said he would work to maintain the CAP budget at its current level at least, even after the reform. The French president also said that debate on EU farm policy reform and bailouts of financially troubled EU countries were linked. France has already committed nearly €100 billion to helping those countries and in doing so has shown European solidarity. "We do not have to excuse ourselves for defending Community preference and the CAP budget," Sarkozy said. Farmers are producers of agricultural goods, not maintenance workers, he added, sending a message to those who want to 'green' the CAP, which would see a reduction of subsidies related to production.

    Source: Euractiv France


    Link Read more
    Link French Mininstry for Agriculture
    Link European Parliament (AGRI)


  9. End 16-year banana war, says International Trade Committee
    2011-01-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development

    Parliament should help to put an end to the world's longest-running trade dispute, by giving its final consent to the 15 December 2009 Geneva deal on banana trade tariffs, even though this deal could not fully reconcile all parties' legitimate interests, the International Trade Committee recommended on Monday. Under the 2009 deal on banana import tariffs, the EU will gradually end its preferential treatment of banana exporters in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. In exchange, Latin American countries agreed to drop their complaints against the EU at the WTO and not to seek further tariff cuts in the Doha round talks.The deal will see the EU gradually cut its import tariff on bananas from Latin America in eight stages, from €176 a tonne at the outset to €114 in 2017. Bananas from the ACP countries will on the other hand continue to enter the EU market duty free. Furthermore, the main ACP banana-producing countries are to receive help from the EU budget (up to €200 million), to help them adjust to stiffer competition from Latin America. The Geneva agreement is expected to bring benefits also to European consumers who should find cheaper bananas in stores thanks to greater competition between producers. What happens to EU banana producers? Special financial provisions are also foreseen for the EU's outermost banana-producing regions. These provisions must be now spelled out in a different EU regulation, with Parliament as co-legislator. Rapporteur Francesca Balzani (S&D, IT), considers that these additional financial provisions, proposed by the Commission in September 2010, do not offer sufficient support to EU producers. Parliament's Agriculture Committee is now studying the proposed support scheme for certain agricultural products in the outermost regions (the "POSEI" programme), the rapporteur for which will be Gabriel Mato (EPP, ES).

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link EP-International Trade
    Link Doha Talks


  10. Future of the clean development mechanisms discussed in European Parliament
    2011-01-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    Nick Campbell, Chairman of BUSINESSEUROPE's Climate Change Working Group, participated on 12 January in a hearing at the European Parliament on the future of the clean development mechanisms in the EU emissions trading scheme. A proposal for a decision restricting the use of credits from industrial gas projects post-2012 will be scrutinised by the Council and Parliament after the expected end of the comitology procedure in late January 2011. BUSINESSEUROPE recalls that these mechanisms are very important vehicles for cost-efficient emission reductions and are the first step towards a global carbon market. Future restrictions must therefore be duly justified and transparent, must not create uncertainties for the market, and must not be retroactive.

    Source:BUSINESSEUROPE


    Link Read more
    Link DG CLIMA


  11. MEPs call for better protection in wake of dioxin scandal
    2011-01-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Archive

    MEPs have called on the EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, to fully investigate the German dioxin scandal, look into improved traceability and quality controls of animal feed and processed food and discuss compensation for farmers disproportionately affected by the food scare. In a debate initiated by the Liberal and Democrat Group (ALDE) in the European Parliament, Commissioner Dalli stated that there was no immediate health risk for consumers thanks to the EU traceability system already in place. However, he stressed the need to ensure that national control systems work effectively and welcomed Germany's cooperation for a visit by veterinary staff to assess the situation. He also called for a strict segregation between industrial fats and animal feed fats. 

    Source: Liberal and Democrat Group


    Link Read more
    Link European Parliament
    Link ALDE


  12. Have your say on overseas aid scrutiny
    2011-01-20

    The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) is today launching a consultation calling for members of the public to have their say on which areas of UK overseas aid they would like to see looked at. ICAI is the independent body responsible for the scrutiny of UK aid, focusing on the delivery of value for money for the UK taxpayer, maximising the impact for recipients and promoting effectiveness of the UK aid budget. Responses to the consultation will assist ICAI to develop their work plan for the next three years. The consultation is easy to respond to and ICAI encourages anyone with an interest in what happens to the UK’s aid budget to have their say.

    Source: The Independent Commission for Aid Impact


    Link Read more
    Link DFID
    Link EU-Development


  13. Merger agreement for GTZ, DED and InWEnt signed
    2011-01-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    On 16 December 2010, the merger of the governmental development organisations GTZ, DED and InWEnt into Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) was completed in Berlin. The merger agreement was ceremonially signed by the three organisations' managers. And German Development Minister Dirk Niebel and Ministry of Finance State Secretary Jörg Asmussen signed the Articles of Association for the new organisation, which will be 100 per cent owned by the German government. GIZ became operational on 1 January. It will combine the competency and long-standing experience of GTZ, DED and InWEnt. The new agency is active in more than 130 countries worldwide. It is headquartered in Bonn and Eschborn, and it is also represented in almost all German federal states. The agency has some 16,800 staff members.

    Source: German Federal Ministry for Development


    Link Read more
    Link DG DEVCO
    Link German Federal Ministry for Development


  14. EU seeks clarity over soaring food prices
    2011-01-19
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Food Security

    Before rushing into finding solutions to halt a new hike in global food prices, leaders of the world's rich economies gathering for a G20 meeting at end of the month need to first ascertain what exactly is driving prices to soar, European Commission officials said on 13 January. Current fears regarding a repetition of the 2007-08 food price crisis are not completely justified, noted the EU executive.Anxiety about prices was sparked last week with the publication of the United Nations' latest food price index, which showed a 32% rise in wholesale prices of agricultural commodities in the second half of 2010.But EU officials underlined that the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation index results are "not true generally," as the index only looks at the export share of developing countries for each commodity.As the Group of 20 leading economies prepares to discuss ways to tackle soaring food prices at its Paris meeting on 27-28 January, Commission officials stressed that before trying to find a solution, leaders would need to define the problem in order to get off on the right track: what is driving up prices?Much has been said and reported about the effect on prices of soaring demand from emerging economies, decreasing yields due to unpredictable weather patterns, and the impacts of biofuel production or energy prices, for example.According to officials, however, the biggest problem is the link between agricultural markets and other commodity markets that have nothing to do with agriculture. While in the past assumptions regarding food price trends were based on agricultural trade patterns, "now prices are affected by completely different things," they said.In particular, the financial markets are dragging prices up and down irrespective of agricultural realities, one noted.The EU officials' comments on food prices were made off the record to journalists attending a briefing on new market forecasts for agricultural production and consumption in the European Union between 2010 and 2020.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link UN-World Food Situation
    Link FAO


  15. MEPs take a stand for agricultural expenditure
    2011-01-19
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Food Security

    Members of European Parliament from various political colours defended agricultural spending in the post-2013 multiannual financial framework (MFF) during a meeting of the EP's special committee on the policy challenges and budgetary resources for a sustainable European Union after 2013 (SURE), on 13 January. The meeting was called to discuss the orientations of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).“The budget must be proportional to the ambitions,” said Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos present at the meeting. “A reduction would mean a reduction in ambitions,” he said. Ciolos underlined that the CAP is one of the most "communautaire" policies, which explains, according to him, it taking the lion’s share of the EU budget – over 40%.

    Source:Europolitics 


    Link Read more
    Link EP-Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
    Link DG Agriculture and Rural Development


  16. Commission under budget 'pressure' as natural disasters spike
    2011-01-19

    A dramatic increase in the number of natural disasters last year has sparked calls for more funding, cooperation and cost-efficiency from European Commission services. A report by Munich Re, one of the world's largest insurance firms, says that 2010 saw 950 natural disasters - the second highest number since 1980 - and 295,000 people died as a result.The fact that 90% of the disasters were weather-related provided "further indications of advancing climate change," the report warned.   Global losses from floods, heatwaves, earthquakes and hurricanes in 2010 reached €99 billion euros, of which just €28 billion euros was insured. In the EU, just one disaster, Storm Xynthia, a gale which hit France and Spain, caused €4.5bn of losses, € 2.3bn of which was insured.Last year actually saw the second highest number of natural disasters in the last 30 years and it was only good luck that prevented one of the most severe hurricane seasons on record from wreaking terrible damage, as the storms mostly took place at sea.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link DG ECHO
    Link DG for Budget


  17. Liberal MEPs initiate Hungarian Presidency boycott
    2011-01-18

    MEPs from the European Parliament's liberal ALDE group have called for the venue of a meeting to be changed from Budapest to Brussels, as a sign of protest against a controversial media law recently adopted in Hungary, the country holding the rotating EU presidency. Liberal MEPs will convene next Thursday (20 January) to decide whether the EU-African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Joint Parliamentary Assembly should be held in Hungary, which has raised eyebrows across Europe with a media law that is widely seen as undemocratic.Belgian MEP Louis Michel, co-chair of the EU-ACP assembly, called a special meeting after receiving a letter from Luxembourg colleague Charles Goerens, who wrote that the law ''violates democratic principles recognised by EU member states''.Michel is remembered for leading calls for the EU to take harsh measures against Austria in 2000, when Jörg Haider's far-right Freedom Party entered into a coalition government with the Austrian People's Party.The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly brings together MEPs and elected representatives from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries that have signed the Cotonou Agreement.MPs from the ACP states meet their European counterparts for two plenary sessions a year, focusing on democracy and human rights. The 2011 meetings are scheduled for 16-18 May in Budapest and 21-23 November in Sierra Leone.


    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
    Link European Parliament-Committee on Development


  18. ACP and EU exchange views on EU’s Green Paper
    2011-01-18

    The ACP Committee of Ambassadors and the European Commission exchanged views on EU’s Green Paper on the Future of Budget Support to Third Countries. In a special meeting held on 11 January 2011, members of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors were given the opportunity to express their opinions on the Green Paper and sought clarification on certain parts of the paper from the Commission. The purpose of the Green Paper is to gather views from stakeholders regarding the objectives and use of EU budget support, building on the joint experience of the last ten years, while recognising differences in the context and nature of EU cooperation which different regions and countries. Meanwhile, the specific objectives of the Green Paper are to identify opportunities and challenges, to raise specific questions on how these opportunities can be exploited and challenges addressed, to collect views and evidence that will improve EU’s support to budget support.ACP states are major recipients of EU budget support.The Commission also presented the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Initiatives, which is a proposal under the 10th EDF. The meeting was chaired by the Chairman of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors and Ambassador of Guyana, H.E Mr. Patrick I. Gomes.

    Source: ACP Secretariat


    Link Read more
    Link ACP Secretariat
    Link  Green Paper on the Future of EU Budget Support


  19. EU: import licences for apples and bananas
    2011-01-18

    According to the European Commission, abolishing import licences for apples is still set for September 1st 2011. The European Commission hasn't taken a formal position on abolishing banana licences. Since the introduction of the tariff-only system for importing bananas, the import has been tracked by so-called monitoring licences. A check has established that the import figures provided by the monitoring licenses hardly differ from the figures from Eurostat and TAXUD. The northern states, including the Netherlands, argue for the abolition of import licenses. The southern states want to keep the current system, they wish to have as much market information as possible.

    Source: Productschap Tuinbouw


    Link Read more
    Link DG Taxation and Customs Union
    Link Eurostat


  20. Germany investigates criminal origin of dioxin contamination
    2011-01-18
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

    The dangers of the recent dioxin-contaminated eggs, which originated from Germany, were again downplayed by the European Commission today . But Germany announced it was now investigating whether the contamination, which is now of European proportions, is of criminal origin.  After highly toxic dioxin was found in German poultry and hogs on 23 December, German consumers were warned of potential product contamination. The Commission said it had asked Germany to report on developments. Over 4,700 farms were closed, and it is estimated that the agricultural industry is losing as much as €60,000 per week over the scare.The contamination was due to animal feed that had been tainted with oils meant for industrial use. The feed was distributed from Schleswig-Holstein to farms in several German Länder.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link DG Health and Consumers
    Link European Food Safety Authority


  21. Jamaica is Number One for IDB and EU
    2011-01-17

    The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is easily Jamaica's biggest supporter among the international financial institutions. During 2010, the IDB provided us with a total of US$630m, making the IDB's Jamaica programme the largest loan programme in the history of the bank as a percentage of GDP and on a per capita basis.The programme consists of policy-based lending and investment loans for development projects in a wide range of sectors. The bank has also provided grants for technical assistance which provides support for the achievement of economic growth, the maintenance of macroeconomic stability, improving public sector efficiency, poverty reduction and cushioning the impact of adjustment on the poor.Jamaica was the largest recipient of European Union (EU) development funds in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2009. Disbursements to the country totalled 75.7 million or approximately J$9.0 billion. This means that in 2009 the EU contributed an average of 27.81 or J$3,300 for every Jamaican citizen. The upshot is that we received from the EU more than several countries whose populations are larger and whose GDP per capita is lower than ours, for example, Haiti and Bolivia.The disbursement of EU resources to Jamaica in 2010 amounted to 79 million or J$9.2 billion, an increase over the previous year largely attributable to the implementation of budget support programmes, the debt-reduction programme, support to the police force and justice reform.These are considerable and unprecedented achievements for the IDB and the EU and we commend the work of Mr Gerrard Johnson, the IDB representative in Jamaica; Ambassador Richard Bernal, executive director for the Caribbean at the IDB; and Ambassador Marco Alemanni, head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica.


    Source: Jamaica Observer


    Link Read more
    Link European Development Fund
    Link EU Delegation in Jamaica



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