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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 257]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 257]
Send date: 2011-01-28 16:30:50
Issue #: 73
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. Briefing on ‘Geopolitics of Food’ 2nd February 2011 – Webstream available
  2. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 24/1 to 28/1/2011
  3. Our video guest: Valentin Zahrnt, ECIPE
  4. African Union faces financial difficulties
  5. Priorities of the EU Presidency
  6. The CAP towards 2020
  7. International agricultural markets
  8. EU opens technical support office in Belize
  9. Intra-ACP academic mobility scheme - Call for proposals
  10. New website on 'Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans
  11. Jamaica Minister eyes August completion for sugar divestment
  12. EP human rights committee: Implementing the right to water
  13. Kubuabola welcomes EU extension of trade agreements
  14. Ghana to sign interim EPA agreement with EU
  15. New portal gives insight into African politics
  16. France blames speculators
  17. Widespread illegal fishing by Eastern European vessels in Senegal
  18. Dioxin contamination in Germany: MEPs call for stricter controls, penalties
  19. EU vows to tackle 'blood minerals' in raw materials plan
  20. Europe devours Amazon, claims NGO
  21. IMF: Global Recovery Advances but Remains Uneven
  22. Czech minister: 'Fairer' CAP not good enough
  23. Cocoa price climbs after Ivory Coast's Ouattara calls for export ban
  24. Ending the banana wars: Who wins and who loses?
  25. Haiti: fragility of the state and political crisis worry MEPs


  1. Briefing on ‘Geopolitics of Food’ 2nd February 2011 – Webstream available
    2011-01-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    The 21st Brussels Policy Development Briefing will be on ‘Geopolitics of Food‘ and will take place on the 2nd of February 2010 (8h30-13h00) at the Charlemagne Building of the European Commission. Feeding the world is not anymore just a question of increasing agricultural production and trade but a political question. In a globalized world, the complexity of issues involved in the global food system is increasing. 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. To discuss the consequences for agriculture in the ACP states, CTA, DG DEVCO of the European Commission the ACP Secretariat, CONCORD, and other partners brings together policy experts and academics in two panels on worldwide food security.

    For more information, you can download our press release, a thematic introduction to the event and the programme of the event.

    You will be able to follow the webstream of the Brussels Briefing in English and French here. If you work in the European Commission, please refer to this link instead. During the event, you will be able to send your questions to brussels.briefings@cta.int. We will ask them for you where possible.

    For further information please consult http://brusselsbriefings.net.


    Link Brussels Development Briefings
    Link Past Briefings


  2. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 24/1 to 28/1/2011
    2011-01-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    European Parliament (Brussels):
    -24 January: Subcommittee on Human Rights: Hearing – Water as a Human Right
    -26 January: Committee on Industry, Research and Energy – Hearing on Raw Materials
    -26 January: Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development – The CAP towards 2020
    -26/27 January: Committee on Women's Rights
    Hungarian Presidency of the Council:
    -24/25 January: Briefing of the Ministerial Councils on the Presidency Programme
    European Council (Brussels):
    -24 January: Council on Agriculture and Fisheries
    ACP Secretariat (Brussels):
    27 January: Committee of Ambassadors

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


    Link European Parliament
    Link Council of the European Union
    Link ACP Group of States


  3. Our video guest: Valentin Zahrnt, ECIPE
    2011-01-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

    Valentin Zahrnt is an economist at the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE). He researched whether the agricultural subsidies given by the EU are really necessary from a food security perspective. On Wednesday 26 January 2011, Mr Zahrnt presented his findings to MEPs, Commission officials and lobbyists in Brussels.

    Next week, we invite you to see the response of an MEP from the EP Committee on Agriculture to his proposal.


    Link View the video
    Link ECIPE
    Link Initiative Reform the CAP


  4. African Union faces financial difficulties
    2011-01-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    Projects and programmes financed by the African Union (AU) are at risk, unless alternative sources of funding are proposed by Member States during the forthcoming Ordinary Session to be held in Addis Ababa. For the last two years, the AU Commission has sought to supplement annual contributions by Member States through new finance plans in order to increase funding for its various institutions. The issue was raised at the opening of the two-day meeting of the Union’s Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), where members will discuss the budget proposal for the next two years. According to sources close to the AU Secretariat, finance ministers from Member States are considering a number of possible ideas for additional funding for the organization, but suggest that it was difficult to find agreement. Previously, it had been suggested that Member States raise funds through additional taxes on the more lucrative sectors of their economies, in particular oil exports, air travel, tourism and insurance premiums, in order to carry out AU strategic programmes. A decision regarding the proposal should be reached during the 16th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU due to start next week in Addis Ababa. The 2011/12 budget for the AU Commission, estimated at 258 million dollars, will be discussed by the Permanent Representatives and the AU Executive Board during preparatory meetings held this week. The Commission is being forced to rely more heavily on internal sources of funding as a result of the reluctance of external partners to release funds without greater assurances of proper accounting measures within the Commission.

    Source: temoignages.re


    Link Read more
    Link African Union
    Link EuropAfrica


  5. Priorities of the EU Presidency
    2011-01-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Rural development

    The 3063rd Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 24 January 2011 review the Hungarian Presidency work programme in the agriculture and fisheries sectors (5449/11). The agricultural policy priorities of the Hungarian Presidency will focus mainly on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP) towards 2020. The policy debate on the future of the CAP is the main point on the agenda of this Council meeting and will also be the main point for the February and March Council meetings. As regards legislative initiatives, the Presidency intends to continue the work on the "quality package" and on the "milk package" including the proposal on the contractualisation in the milk sector. The follow-up of the alignment of the CAP legislation on the Lisbon Treaty will also constitute a highlight of the Presidency. In the food, veterinary and forestry sectors the emphasis will be on the food information for consumers in the framework of the proposal on novel foods, the revision of blue tongue legislation and on honeybee health for which the Presidency will prepare conclusions (See below). The presidency stressed the importance of drawing up of a policy framework for sustainable forest management throughout Europe. The priorities for fisheries policy will focus on the reform of the common fisheries policy (CFP) for which legislative proposals will be tabled during this semester. Concerning horizontal fishing rules, the Hungarian presidency will also work to adopt the prolongation of the temporary legislation on technical measures. Finally, the encouragement of fisheries partnership agreements with third countries is an important point which the Presidency would like to develop.

    Source: Council on Agriculture and Fisheries


    Link Read more
    Link EP: Latest opinion on the CAP
    Link EC Communication: The CAP towards 2020


  6. The CAP towards 2020
    2011-01-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

    The 3063rd Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 24 January 2011 held a second policy debate on the Commission communication The CAP towards 2020: Meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future (16348/10). The debate, structured around a Presidency questionnaire (5205/11), focused on sustainable management of natural resources and climate action, which is the second of the three main objectives for the future CAP identified in the Commission communication. All member states acknowledged the general objective to develop a sustainable management of the European agriculture in the framework of the CAP reform. However some delegations agree with the Commission proposal to have the first pillar as the main element for the "greening" of the CAP, some others would prefer the environmental measures to be part of the second pillar and rural development. Delegations generally praise green growth through innovation and consider that precise measures would be needed to act to adapt and mitigate climate change reality. For many delegations, in order to this objective, the CAP will still need to provide some level of farm income support as well as a safety net of market measures to help farmers cope with crisis situations. Cap payments should also be seen as compensation for the higher standards which EU farmers have to fulfil compared to those applied in third countries. At the same time, the CAP needs to improve competitiveness of the agricultural sector, in particular by promoting innovation, research and training. The value share of the farm sector in the food chain will also need to be improved. Finally, delegations considered compensation for production difficulties in areas with natural constraints necessary to maintain farming activity throughout the EU and to preserve the diversity of agricultural landscapes.

    Source: Council on Agriculture and Fisheries


    Link Read more
    Link EP: Latest opinion on the CAP
    Link EC Communication: The CAP towards 2020


  7. International agricultural markets
    2011-01-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    The 3063rd Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 24 January 2011 was informed by the Commission on the current situation of the agricultural markets at the international level, as well as the state of play of the discussions in WTO and the future discussion in the G20 (5496/11). The current situation for foodstuffs is not comparable to the one in 2008: the prices are high but there is no depletion of stocks as it was the case two years ago. The G20 will initiate its work on the food security and the volatility of markets with the support of the Commission.

    Source: Council on Agriculture and Fisheries


    Link Read more
    Link Council on Agriculture and Fisheries
    Link Council: Rescue the bees!


  8. EU opens technical support office in Belize
    2011-01-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The Delegation of the European Union which has responsibility for Jamaica, Belize, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Cayman Islands has opened a Technical Support Office in Belize.  The office was inaugurated on December 20, 2010 by His Excellency Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union. The EU Office’s main objective is to foster the mutual relations between the EU and Belize as well as to ease the implementation of ongoing development cooperation programs. The cooperation programs between the EU and Belize have in fact increased in volume in recent times, bringing a combined allocation for the period 2010-2013 of €85 million (BZ $219 million), making Belize one of the highest per-capita recipients among ACP countries. In 2009 alone the EC disbursed €7 million (BZ$18 million) in grant project funds. The main goal of EC assistance in Belize is to support the national poverty reduction strategy of the Government and this is the reason why all on-going programs have an important bearing on poverty reduction and rural development. Such is the case for the Belize Rural Development Program (BRDP), the Banana Support Program (BSP) and the Accompanying Measures for Sugar (AMS).  Concrete and tangible results are already visible throughout the country, especially in terms of new livelihood and employment opportunities for the rural poor as well as the rehabilitation of strategic infrastructure funded either by the BRDP (nation-wide), the banana support program (south) or by the sugar program (north). Another important area of cooperation which will commence shortly is the Climate Change Adaptation program. In this area €3 million (BZ$7.7 million) has been earmarked for a bilateral project to be implemented by the UNDP and the Ministry of National Resources and Environment. An additional €8 million (BZ$20.6 million) has been earmarked for a regional program to be implemented by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre based in Belmopan.

    Source: European External Action Service


    Link Read more
    Link Belize Government Website
    Link DG DEVCO: EU-Belize Development Cooperation


  9. Intra-ACP academic mobility scheme - Call for proposals
    2011-01-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The intra-ACP academic mobility scheme promotes cooperation between higher education institutions (HEIs) and supports mobility in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific regions. This scheme builds on the African Union’s Mwalimu Nyerere programme for Africa, granting additional funding, and setting up a similar scheme for the Caribbean and Pacific regions.

    Cooperation between HEIs and mobility of students (at masters and doctoral level) and staff will take place within:

    • Lot 1 - Africa;
    • Lot 2 - the Caribbean and the Pacific

    This Call for proposals aims to support 3 projects under Lot 1 (EU budget available: € 7 million) and 1 project under Lot 2 (EU budget available: € 2 million), and it is available here.

    The deadline for submission of applications is 6 May 2011.

    In this context, we take the opportunity to remind you that the Agency will need experts for assisting with the evaluation of grant applications to be received. We would like to establish a list of potential experts from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

    Experts are asked to submit their applications by 28 February 2011, using this online form.

    Source: EACEA


    Link Read more
    Link EACEA
    Link EACEA: Intra-ACP mobility scheme


  10. New website on 'Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans
    2011-01-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries, Environment

    The European Commission's Environment Directorate-General has launched a new website on 'Marine Pollution Awareness'. Marine litter currently represents a vast and growing threat to the marine and coastal environments. Plastic waste, for example, eventually enters the food chain as animals confuse debris with food and may cause serious health problems. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), adopted in June 2008, aims at achieving 'good environmental status' (GES) of all marine waters of the European Union by 2020. It identifies marine litter as one of eleven chief pressures on the marine environment. The new website provides direct access to presentations and videos from a major workshop on marine litter that took place on 8 November 2010 in Brussels.

    Source: DG Environment


    Link Read more
    Link DG ENVI: EU Maritime Policy
    Link Euractiv: Dossier Maritime Safety (2008)


  11. Jamaica Minister eyes August completion for sugar divestment
    2011-01-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Privatisation of Jamaica's sugar industry is expected to be completed by August, ahead of the second disbursement of the 120 million euro which the European Union (EU) has made available to assist the Government in transforming the industry. "By August we hope to see a fully privatised sugar cane industry in Jamaica and that is an important part of the transformation," Agriculture Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said yesterday. Dr Tufton later told the Observer that the Chinese sugar investors will take full control of both the fields and the factories by then. The focus for the next three years, he said, will be on doubling sugar cane production and expanding factories. A refinery is also to be constructed by this year. Jamaica has moved to make the sugar industry more competitive now that there are no more guaranteed European markets for the product. Under previous agreements African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries who are signatories to the Sugar Protocol were guaranteed markets and predictable prices. However, with the conclusion of that arrangement, the EU has assisted these countries with funding through the AMSP programme, which is slated to last until 2013. According to Dr Tufton, sugar producing countries have to be careful not to permit sense of entitlement to European markets to allow them to become complacent in making the sugar a competitive one. As such he urged them to move towards establishing a more sustainable industry.

    Source: Jamaica Observer


    Link Read more
    Link EU Delegation to Jamaica
    Link EEAS: EU-Relations with Jamaica


  12. EP human rights committee: Implementing the right to water
    2011-01-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Archive

    In September 2010, the United Nations established a universal human right to water. On January 24, 2011, the European Parliament debated how to include the right into its development cooperation. MEPs from the human rights and the development committees hosted Catarina De Albuquerque, UN expert on safe drinking water and sanitation, and Danielle Morley from the UK-based NGO Freshwater Action Network. Catarina De Albuquerque highlighted that all States must ensure sufficient structures to give all citizens access to affordable and safe drinking water and sanitation. She cited an example in Egypt where the state installed taps for the citizens – but the water coming out of the tap was black. De Albuquerque insisted that States be held to account by their citizens to provide drinking water, or to request international aid where they cannot meet the requirements. While she pointed to the difficulty of giving remote communities or excluded social groups access to water, De Albuquerque emphasized that this could not be an excuse for governments to refuse implementation. Danielle Morley reminded MEPs of the EU’s responsibility to promote the right to water in development cooperation. Where citizens were unable to invoke the right on their own, the EU should take a clear stance with a view to ensure universal provision of water. The Commission highlighted that the European policy on water already reflected many of the provisions established by the UN. However, the human rights dimension might be an additional asset that could facilitate the work with partner countries overseas. Chair Nirj Deva, European Conservatives and Reformists, reminded the audience that water conservation was one of the main challenges for the EU to tackle. While 80% of water in Europe is used for industrial production, 1.31 bn people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water, meaning that 5000 children die every day.

    Source: CTA


    Link Read more
    Link United Nations: OHCHR: Water, Sanitation and the MDGs
    Link UN: Water resolution text


  13. Kubuabola welcomes EU extension of trade agreements
    2011-01-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has welcomed the decision of the European Union extending its trade agreements with Fiji and Papua New Guinea following a vote by members of the EU Parliament. The Interim Economic Partnership would further increase the economic opportunities and in turn enhance the strong bilateral relations Fiji has with the European Union. Ratu Kubuabola reiterated the importance of the agreement to the survival of the Fiji Sugar Industry. He hoped that after 2015, the agricultural reforms undertaken by the European Union will ensure that the interest of Fiji and other ACP Sugar producers will be maintained in the European Union market. Ratu Kubuabola is also positive regarding the future development of Fiji's fisheries industry and fish exports under the agreement. The Interim Economic Partnership Agreement was initialed by Fiji and PNG in 2007, in order to ensure that preferential exports of Sugar and Fish, respectively, into the European Union market continue after the expiry of the trade preferences.


    Link Read more
    Link Fiji Government Website
    Link European Delegation in Fiji


  14. Ghana to sign interim EPA agreement with EU
    2011-01-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Ghana will go ahead and sign an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) with the European Union this year following the lack of progress at the ECOWAS level. The Interim Economic Partnership Agreement will among other things give Ghana Duty and Quota free access into the EU for all imports with transition periods for rice and sugar. Ghana will in return liberalize 80% of imports from the EU. Ghana has been pursuing a regional Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU but the process has continuously stalled because members from the West African sub-region have failed to come to a consensus on critical issues in the EPA. According to Minister of Trade and Industry Hanna Tetteh, the delay has left Ghana disadvantaged hence the need to side-step ECOWAS and seek Ghana’s interest first. “In any year, at least 40% of our exports go to the European Union, and therefore for us the EU is a significant trading partner. So notwithstanding the fact that as a regional entity we are unable to make progress, we certainly have to protect our access to markets.”

    Source: bilaterals.org


    Link Read more
    Link Ghana Government Website
    Link ECOWAS Website


  15. New portal gives insight into African politics
    2011-01-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The Africa Portal is an online knowledge resource for policy-related issues on Africa. An undertaking by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Makerere University (MAK), and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), the Africa Portal offers open access to a suite of features including an online library collection; a resource for opinion and analysis; an experts directory; an international events calendar; and a mobile technology component—all aimed to equip users with research and information on Africa’s current policy issues. A key feature to the Africa Portal is the online library collection holding over 2,500 books, journals, and digital documents related to African policy issues. The entire online repository is open access and available for free full-text download. A portion of the digital documents housed in the library have been digitized for the first time as an undertaking of the Africa Portal project. Facilitating new digitization projects is a core feature of the Africa Portal, which aims to improve access and visibility for African research.

    Source:  Africa Portal


    Link Read more
    Link Portail Afrique (EN)
    Link African Union (AU)


  16. France blames speculators
    2011-01-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Food Security

    France, the European Union's biggest grain producer, has blamed financial speculation for contributing to soaring commodity prices, although analysts are divided over whether this has played as significant a role as economic fundamentals in driving price levels. Wheat prices in Europe nearly doubled in 2010, while a global economic rebound helped push oil prices nearly 30% higher in the last four months of 2010 alone. Policymakers are concerned that rising food prices could stoke inflation, protectionism and the kind of unrest that has been seen in Tunisia and Algeria in recent weeks. High food prices could also hit consumer spending in fast-growing emerging countries that are leading the revival of the global economy. Washington has already acted to prevent spikes in food prices and Europe is following suit, with proposals that would force traders to disclose their positions, put a cap on large trades and give regulators new powers to intervene to curb speculation. But there are deep divisions within the broader G20 on how far any new global regulations should go, with major commodities producers pitted against consumer nations. "It's going to be difficult to have a global consensus on position limits until the case is better made," a G20 source told Reuters after Sarkozy spoke.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: Agricultural and Food Prices
    Link French foreign ministry: G20-Presidency


  17. Widespread illegal fishing by Eastern European vessels in Senegal
    2011-01-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    For at least two months, fishing vessels largely from Eastern Europe, have been fishing illegally in Senegalese waters. There are under Russian, Georgian or Ukrainian flag… Some of them officially come from the Comoros or from Belize. None of them have an authorization, and they are a particular threat to Senegalese fishers.

    Source: Radio France Internationale


    Link Read more
    Link CTA: ACP-EU Fisheries Relations
    Link ECOWAS: Agriculture and Fisheries


  18. Dioxin contamination in Germany: MEPs call for stricter controls, penalties
    2011-01-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

     

     

     

    The EU is considering stricter food security rules following the recent dioxin scandal in Germany. The cancer-causing compound was found in eggs and poultry, some of which were exported to other EU countries. MEPs debated the issue with European Commission representatives during the January plenary and during the Environment Committee on 24 January. In December 2010 German health authorities discovered dioxins in eggs and poultry after  fat intended for use in industry was mixed with animal feed. Thousands of farms in Germany were closed. Potentially contaminated exports have been reported in the Netherlands and Britain and have also found their way to France and Denmark. Several countries have since banned imports of German farm products, including Slovakia, South Korea and China. Although the eggs found on certain farms in Germany had five times the legal limit of dioxin, consumers would have to eat vast quantities of eggs, or their by-products, for it to pose a serious risk to human health. The Commission has said there are no grounds for a ban on exports of German products as they pose "no immediate health risk" and called the import restrictions by South Korea "out of proportion".

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: Dioxin exposure and health
    Link EP: Food Security Committee


  19. EU vows to tackle 'blood minerals' in raw materials plan
    2011-01-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development

    The European Commission is expected to table plans by spring aimed at ensuring that European companies get better access to raw materials around the world, amid calls for greater traceability of imported minerals from African countries. The communication, which was initially expected to be adopted on Wednesday (26 January) but has since been postponed, aims to ensure better access to raw materials on world markets for European companies. It follows the 2008 raw materials initiative, which set out a strategy for the EU's policy response to global resource scarcity. The plan also follows moves by China to restrict exports of rare earths, which are used in everything from wind turbines to mobile phones and hybrid cars. The EU is dependent on imports of "high tech" metals such as cobalt, platinum, rare earths and titanium, which are essential for the production of cell phones, laptops or green technologies linked to renewable energy and electric vehicles.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link DG Trade: Raw Materials
    Link DG Industry: Raw Materials


  20. Europe devours Amazon, claims NGO
    2011-01-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    "European consumption threatens to destroy Amazon Rainforest," warns Público, in an article highlighting the findings of a report published by the NGO Friends of the Earth (FoE) on 25 January. According to the newspaper, the surface area of the rainforest could be dramatically reduced by 2020, "as a result of the steep increase in European consumption of meat, biofuels and animal feed from Brazil," a phenomenon "that is expected to increase exponentially over the next decade." The daily points out that the EU trade bloc, which is the world’s biggest importer of ethanol, is also home to the fourth largest market for imported meat and one of the main markets for GMO soya. Consumption of these "three pillars of the Brazilian economy" will lead to the permanent degradation of the Amazon Rainforest, which will have a "major negative impact on climate change, biodiversity and the lives of thousands of people," warns Adrian Bebb, agrofuels campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe.

    Source: PressEurop


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: EU-Carribean cooperation
    Link Report by Friends of the Earth


  21. IMF: Global Recovery Advances but Remains Uneven
    2011-01-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The two-speed recovery continues. In advanced economies, activity has moderated less than expected, but growth remains subdued, unemployment is still high, and renewed stresses in the euro area periphery are contributing to downside risks. In many emerging economies, activity remains buoyant, inflation pressures are emerging, and there are now some signs of overheating, driven in part by strong capital inflows. Most developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, are also growing strongly. [...] Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa have recovered quickly from the global financial crisis, with the region projected to grow 5½ percent in 2011. But the pace of the recovery has varied within the region. Output growth in most oil exporters and low-income countries (LICs) is now close to precrisis highs. The recovery in South Africa and its neighbors, however, has been more subdued, reflecting the more severe impact of the collapse in world trade and elevated unemployment levels that are proving difficult to reduce.

    Source: IMF


    Link Read more
    Link International Monetary Fund (IMF)
    Link African Union (AU)


  22. Czech minister: 'Fairer' CAP not good enough
    2011-01-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Food Security

    Eastern European countries have waited long enough to get their fair share of the EU's farm budget, said Ivan Fuksa, the Czech agriculture minister, in an interview with EurActiv.cz. He dismissed European Commission proposals for an additional transition period to even out differences in payments between 'new' and 'old' EU members.The European Commission's Communication on the post-2013 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), tabled in November 2010, is "a good starting point" for the discussions, Fuksa said. However, "one of the essential problems is that the Commission is proposing a transitory period before a fair CAP has been finally established,” he said. Indeed, the Commission has noted that even if differences in payments between the EU-15 and EU-12 cannot be continued, a transition period is needed to avoid "a revolution" and to enable farmers who are receiving historial payments to adapt to their new situation. "We disagree here. The CAP should be fair, not only 'fairer' as outlined in the Commission's options for reform, and it should also be fair from the first day the new rules are applied, not after several years," Fuksa stressed.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link Conclusions of the Council
    Link Commission: Reform of the CAP


  23. Cocoa price climbs after Ivory Coast's Ouattara calls for export ban
    2011-01-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The internationally recognised winner of Cote d’Ivoire's presidential election, Alassane Ouattara, ordered a month-long ban on cocoa exports on Monday in an attempt to starve his rival Laurent Gbagbo of funding. Cocoa prices soared in reaction. Ouattara has called for a halt in exports to remain in place until 23 February. Commodity analysts saw cocoa prices reach a one-year high on the New York Board of Trade and a five-month peak on the London futures exchange in trading on Monday. “Cocoa prices are reacting,” Kona Haque from Macquarie Bank told RFI. She said it could lead to a “major supply disruption”. Correspondent Marco Chown Oved in Abidjan said Ouattara’s announcement has “sown confusion at the ports” in the world’s biggest cocoa producer. “Exporters are still loading cocoa beans onto ships,” Chown Oved told RFI, although these exports were all registered and paid for before Ouattara’s call for a ban. The ban was declared in a statement signed by Ouattara’s prime minister Guillaume Soro. He warned traders who violated the ban that they would be considered to be “financing the illegitimate regime” of Gbagbo. “Gbagbo controls from bush to port, all the intermediary points,” said Haque. “So if you are banning exports of cocoa, ultimately this will hit the finances of Gbagbo,” she added. Cocoa accounts for about 20 per cent of Cote d’Ivoire’s Gross Domestic Product and a ban could seriously hamper Gbagbo. [...] The European Union has said a trade embargo is a future option. The EU is already waiting for agreed sanctions to take effect. Eleven economic entities will be affected, including the important cocoa exporting ports of Abidjan and San Pedro. This means that in principle EU ships and companies can no longer do business with them.

    Source: Radio France International


    Link Read more
    Link Ivory Coast Government Website
    Link EEAS: EU-Relations with Ivory Coast


  24. Ending the banana wars: Who wins and who loses?
    2011-01-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The EU is the world's biggest importer of bananas. As it produces only about a tenth of the bananas needed to satisfy Europeans' voracious appetite for the world's most important fruit, banana exporters from Africa and Caribbean and their competitors from Latin America fight hard for shares on the EU market. MEPs recently approved plans to make it easier for big multinationals to sell Latin American bananas in the EU, but warned that livelihoods of small farms from ACP might be threatened. On 17 January Parliament's international trade committee (INTA) supported the deal on trade in bananas (rapporteur Francesca Balzani, S&D) reached in December 2009 between the EU and the US, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. Under the deal the EU will gradually cut its import tariffs on bananas from Latin America in eight stages, from €176 a tonne at the outset to €114 in 2017. In return, the other side will drop the actions it brought against the EU before the WTO for infringing the rules of international trade.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Resolution text (Draft)
    Link Commission: ACP-EU Trade


  25. Haiti: fragility of the state and political crisis worry MEPs
    2011-01-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    One year after the earthquake, Haiti is still in chaos, an emergency situation where rebuilding has barely begun, say MEPs in a resolution adopted on Wednesday. They recognise the considerable efforts of NGOs on the ground but emphasise the weak capacity of the Haitian state and the risk that the political crisis could deteriorate. Commending the work of humanitarian organisations active in Haiti, MEPs say better communication is needed about the non-visible effects of the humanitarian measures because it is thanks to these that the situation on the ground has been brought under control. The recent cholera epidemic has highlighted the almost total inability of the Haitian state to cope with a disease which is easy to prevent and cure, and the limits of international aid in a country receiving massive humanitarian resources (12,000 NGO staff). Humanitarian actors "should not and cannot continue to overcome the weaknesses of the Haitian state or even replace it", according to the resolution. It urges the state to respect its commitments, strengthen its authority and build up the capacity of local and national institutions.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link European Parliament: Plenary
    Link Commission: DG Humanitarian Aid (ECHO)



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