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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 258]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 258]
Send date: 2011-02-07 17:32:43
Issue #: 74
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
  2. Main EU-ACP events for the week of 31/1 to 4/2/2011
  3. Our video guest: Astrid Lulling, MEP
  4. EU spot carbon market reopens amid safety fears
  5. European Council: 2020 energy efficiency targets not on track
  6. Stronger EU-Africa Partnership at World Social Forum
  7. Commission’s “Buying Social” guide: small step for sustainable procurement
  8. MEPs urge EU to fight tuberculosis worldwide
  9. How can commodity prices be regulated?
  10. Pacific: Renewed Impetus Sought For EPA With EU
  11. Non-tariff measures affecting agro-food trade between the EU and Africa
  12. Papua New Guinea could lose trade deal if Thailand benefits
  13. Update on recent agricultural commodity and food price developments in the EU
  14. World Economic Forum in Davos discussed the way forward
  15. Organised civil society to have a strong say in food security policy
  16. Strengthening Parliament's scrutiny over EU external financing instruments
  17. World food prices reach new historic peak
  18. Commissioner Piebalgs at the African Union Summit
  19. Finding the key to the cotton issue at the WTO cannot wait!
  20. Commission: opening of consultations with Guinea-Bissau over democracy
  21. Renewable Energy: Commission calls on Member States to boost cooperation
  22. EU clamps down on member states' water quality


  1. Brussels Briefing on Geopolitics of Food
    2011-02-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Environment, Archive, Food Security

    On February 2nd, 2011, the CTA organized a Brussels Briefing on Geopolitics of Food in cooperation with DG DEVCO of the European Commission, Concord and other partners. 159 policy-makers from the European Commission, the Council and EU and ACP embassies followed the discussions live in the European Commission, with another 80 followers of the internet webstream. Among the speakers were Prof Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hafez Ghanem of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, and Doaa Abdel Motaal, Agricultural and Environmental issues, WTO among others.
    A written documentation of the event, as well as the videos of the different speeches will be made available on http://brusselsbriefings.net shortly.


    Link Read more
    Link UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
    Link FAO: Hafez Ghanem


  2. Main EU-ACP events for the week of 31/1 to 4/2/2011
    2011-02-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    European Parliament (Brussels):
    -2/3 February: Plenary Session in Brussels on Banana War, Electronic Waste
    Council (Brussels):
    -31 January: General and Foreign Affairs Council
    -4 February: European Council on energy and economic governance
    ACP Secretariat (Brussels):
    -4 February: Special Committee of Ambassadors with World Customs Organization
    CTA (Brussels):
    -2 February: Brussels Briefing on Geopolitics of Food

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


    Link European Parliament
    Link Council of the European Union
    Link Brussels Briefing on Geopolitics of Food


  3. Our video guest: Astrid Lulling, MEP
    2011-02-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment, Food Security

    Our guest of the week is Astrid Lulling, a member of the European Parliament from Luxembourg. She has been part of the Agriculture Committee since 1965, and has followed the Common Agricultural Policy since its birth. In this video, she reacts to Mr Valentin Zahrnt's ideas (last week's video).


    Link Watch the video
    Link Site de Astrid Lulling
    Link Commission: The CAP after 2013


  4. EU spot carbon market reopens amid safety fears
    2011-02-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Archive

    The European Union's spot carbon market reopened on Friday (4 February) after cyber attacks had forced a closure lasting more than two weeks, but was quiet as some traders expected further thefts of emissions permits. The European Commission last month closed the electronic warehouses where permits are kept, called national registries, after the theft of EU allowances (EUAs) worth at least 45 million euros. Five registries reopened on Friday, in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Britain, while the Paris-based BlueNext spot exchange resumed trade. Some 125 EUA lots had traded by 1400 GMT on the exchange, compared with 740 lots for the whole day on the corresponding date last year.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: European carbon market
    Link European Environmental Agency


  5. European Council: 2020 energy efficiency targets not on track
    2011-02-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive, Environment

    At the European Summit on February 4, European leaders conceded that energy efficiency targets for 2020 is not on track. To meet the schedule, they demand more investment in energy infrastructure. Until 2014, they want to establish a fully functioning, interconnected and integrated internal energy market in the EU, so as to allow gas and electricity to flow freely. Major efforts are needed to modernise Europe’s energy infrastructure and to interconnect networks across borders. More solidarity between member states, the European Council notes, will make it possible to establish alternative supply routes and sources of energy in Europe. The Council also invites the Commission to table new initiatives on smart grids, while it clarifies that the bulk of the financing cost for infrastructure investments has to come from the market. To address the volatility of energy prices, the EU will further cooperate with third countries and will take this work forward within the G20.

    Source: CTA/European Council


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: DG Energy
    Link Euractiv: Dossier European Energy Market


  6. Stronger EU-Africa Partnership at World Social Forum
    2011-02-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The improvement of the partnership between Africa and the European Union will be at the centre of discussions between a delegation of Member of the European Parliament and the participants of the World Social Forum, to be held from 7 to 10 February in Dakar. At a time where Europe and the United States are turning their interest away from Africa, captured by the rise to power of countries like India or China, the Socialist and Democrat Members of Parliament will stress the importance of a strong partnership with Africa. "We want to push a progressive common agenda of shared development, fair trade and a new solidarity", declared the vice-president of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly EU-ACP Kader Arif (France), who is leading the socialist delegation. The members of the delegation will meet with participants, trade unionists and representatives of civil society from all continents in four panels that deal with Water as a Global Public Good, Migration as a development tool, Social Protection, and Fair Trade, Decent Work and the Financial Transaction Tax. Next to Mr Kader Arif, four Members of the European Parliament attend the delegation: Zita Gurmai (Hungary), Jo Leinen (Germany), Corina Cretu (Romania) and Kristian Vigenin (Bulgaria). The World Social Forum takes places every two years. Panels are organized by the Global Progressive Forum, the European Foundation of Progessive Studies, the International Confederation of Trade Unions and Solidar.

    Source: Socialist and Democrat Group (S&D)


    Link Read more
    Link World Social Forum
    Link EP: Employment and Social Affairs Committee


  7. Commission’s “Buying Social” guide: small step for sustainable procurement
    2011-02-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The European Commission has launched today the long-awaited “Buying social: a guide to take account of social considerations in public procurement”. A network of trade unions, social and sustainable development organisations considers this guide fails to reflect the true potential of public procurement as an instrument in support of social and sustainable development objectives. Much more is needed if the EU and Member States are to live up to the EU Treaty commitments and international obligations in this field. As a follow-up to the adoption of the Public Procurement Directives, the European Commission (EC) issued in 2004 a “buying green” guide, which allowed contracting authorities to choose between products on the basis of their environmental characteristics. Whilst welcoming the fact that the EC has finally put forward at last its views on social considerations in public procurement, the “buying social” guide launched today puts forward a restrictive interpretation on what is allowed by the Directives. Public authorities are advised by the EC to treat most social considerations as “contract performance” issues, rather than use social considerations to distinguish between offers when deciding to whom to award a contract. This is a missed opportunity to actively encourage authorities to introduce social considerations in public procurement in the context of a proactive approach to sustainable procurement. A comprehensive approach to promoting sustainability would treat the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainable development in an integrated way.

    Source: Fair Trade Advocacy Office


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: Buying Social guide
    Link DG Internal Market: Public procurement


  8. MEPs urge EU to fight tuberculosis worldwide
    2011-02-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The fight against tuberculosis should be included in the flagship Europe 2020 Strategy, says Parliament in a resolution adopted on Thursday. And European research should be made to count in developing countries, where the disease is most deadly, demand MEPs. The resolution, adopted by 578 votes to 9 with 52 abstentions,  highlights the role the EU can play in meeting the UN Millennium Development Goal to "halt and begin to reverse the trend" of tuberculosis by 2015. While progress has been made, the disease still causes almost 2 million deaths a year, with mortality especially high in developing countries and among sufferers of HIV/AIDS. MEPs highlight the central role that can be played by Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI), an EU-supported but independently run European organisation that develops new vaccines, with the aim of making them globally accessible and affordable. The TBVI's work should be included in the practical operation of the Europe 2020 Strategy, according to the resolution. Wider pharmaceutical research efforts are also needed to tackle neglected diseases, which are generally those affecting developing countries, it adds.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link UN: Millenium Development Goals (MDGs)
    Link Resolution Text (doc)


  9. How can commodity prices be regulated?
    2011-02-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Food Security

    The issue of commodity price regulation is at the heart of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s agenda during his country’s presidency of the G20; however, opinions are divided over how best to achieve this goal. In a communication on commodity markets and raw materials, released 2 February, the EU Commission has taken a new stance on the issue, acknowledging the link between speculation and price volatility: “It is clear that there is a strong correlation between positions on derivative markets and spot prices”. The latest position is quite different from previous statements issued by the Commission. In a draft version obtained by EurActiv, it was claimed, “There is no conclusive evidence on the causality between speculation in derivatives markets and increased volatility and price increases in the underlying physical markets”. This sentence triggered a fierce debate between Paris and Brussels. It was finally deleted from the final version of the document.

    Source: Euractiv.fr


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: Raw materials communication
    Link ECDPM: Raw materials, implications for EPAs


  10. Pacific: Renewed Impetus Sought For EPA With EU
    2011-02-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Regional Fisheries

    The Pacific region's top trade officials, experts and Ministers gathered this week in Apia, Samoa, to deliberate on key issues surrounding negotiations with the European Union on a fair and comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Pacific ACP (PACP) Trade Officials began discussions which formed the basis for advice to Pacific ACP Trade Ministers, who met later in the week. "These are going to be very challenging meetings, and very important ones," said the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade. "We are at a turning point where we must rally our efforts with renewed impetus, as one region, and as guided by our Leaders, to seek a truly mutually beneficial agreement with the European Union." With the exception of the Caribbean, which has signed a comprehensive EPA with the EU, ACP regions are facing difficulties in concluding negotiations across the board.

    Source: voxy.co.nz


    Link Read more
    Link European Delegation for the Pacific
    Link EU: Economic Partnership Agreements


  11. Non-tariff measures affecting agro-food trade between the EU and Africa
    2011-02-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development

    This report contains the presentations and the summary of the IPTS workshop "Non Tariff Measures (NTMs) affecting agro-food trade between the EU and Africa" held in September 2010 in Seville. The workshop brought together experts from research, policy making and business in order to exchange knowledge and discuss about NTMs and the issues associated with them. The workshop first gave an overview of NTM classifications as well as the methods in the analysis of NTMs. With this background case studies were presented, focusing on NTMs from the perspective of African exporters of agro-food products.

    Source: European Commission Joint Research Centre


    Link Read more
    Link CTA: Brussels Briefing on Geopolitics of Food
    Link WTO: Technical Barriers to Trade


  12. Papua New Guinea could lose trade deal if Thailand benefits
    2011-02-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    The European Parliament has asked the European Commission (EC) to suspend the exceptions to the rules of origin given to Papua New Guinea (PNG) if the deal this year proves to have “a disruptive impact” on European industry. European Ministers expressed their concern that the exceptions to the rules of origin for PNG and now also Fiji will become a platform for processing and export, benefiting China, Philippines, Thailand, USA and Australia. Besides the fishery products from PNG, also those from Fiji will be able to enter the EU market more easily, after the European Parliament (EP) approved a trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the two Pacific countries. The economic partnership agreement provides for the elimination of tariffs and more flexible rules of origin for various food products, such as canned and frozen tuna. That is, the fishery resources of PNG and Fiji will have to meet less stringent conditions for exporting to the EU.

    Source: Pacific Islands News Association (PINA)


    Link Read more
    Link CTA: PNG Global Sourcing Debate
    Link Commission: DG Fisheries


  13. Update on recent agricultural commodity and food price developments in the EU
    2011-02-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

    EU prices for agricultural commodities increased further in November 2010 compared to one month before (with the exception of SMP and butter whose prices exhibited a negative trend and those of durum wheat, maize and pork whose prices remained unchanged). Most EU agricultural prices have been growing for many months but in November 2010 they were still well below the peak reached in 2007/2008. While, the prices for soft wheat, barley, cheese (Edam), beef and poultry increased by 2%, 4%, 1%, 4% and 2% respectively, the quotations for SMP and butter fell by 3% and 1%, in November 2010 as compared to one month before.

    Source: European Commission, DG Agriculture


    Link Read more
    Link CTA: Brussels Briefing on Geopolitics of Food
    Link Commission: Non-tariff measures in agrotrade


  14. World Economic Forum in Davos discussed the way forward
    2011-02-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 28 to meet trade ministers and political leaders from around the world and discuss possible ways forward on concluding the negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda. The annual high level meeting is attended by leaders from industry, governments, academia, civil society and the media and thus provided a platform to explore strategies and solutions that may help to build a renewed momentum to the Doha talks in the coming months.

    Source: European Commission, DG Trade


    Link Read more
    Link World Economic Forum Davos
    Link World Trade Organization (WTO)


  15. Organised civil society to have a strong say in food security policy
    2011-02-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

    The President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has called on agriculture ministers from Europe and elsewhere in the world to involve civil society players in discussions on trade and global food security. During International Agriculture Ministers’ Panel discussions in Berlin, President Nilsson stressed the need to involve farmers, consumers, and other civil society stakeholders in discussions geared to finding sustainable solutions to food security.

    Source: EESC


    Link Read more
    Link Council of Ministers
    Link European Economic and Social Committee


  16. Strengthening Parliament's scrutiny over EU external financing instruments
    2011-02-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness, ACP-EU Trade

    The need to strengthen Parliament's power of scrutiny over EU funding of projects in third countries (e.g. promoting development cooperation, stability, or democracy and human rights), was reiterated by MEPs in the Development, Foreign Affairs and International Trade committees. With the Lisbon Treaty in force, Parliament co-decides with the Council on almost all new laws, but lacks real control over EU instruments for development cooperation, promoting stability in third countries, cooperating with industrialised countries and promoting democracy and human rights.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link EU: Treaty of Lisbon
    Link EP: Constitutional Affairs Committee


  17. World food prices reach new historic peak
    2011-02-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

    World food prices surged to a new historic peak in January, for the seventh consecutive month, according to the updated FAO Food Price Index, a commodity basket that regularly tracks monthly changes in global food prices. The Index averaged 231 points in January and was up 3.4 percent from December 2010. This is the highest level (both in real and nominal terms) since FAO started measuring food prices in 1990. Prices of all monitored commodity groups registered strong gains in January, except for meat, which remained unchanged.

    Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO)


    Link Read more


  18. Commissioner Piebalgs at the African Union Summit
    2011-02-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs attended the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on 30/31 January. Leaders met to discuss the theme of the summit - "Greater Unity and Integration through Shared Values". The European Union is working in close partnership with the African Union in promoting sound governance, rule of law, human rights, gender equality and culture. He also attended a meeting organised on the situation on Somalia chaired by Ban-Ki-Moon, and he held a series of bilateral meetings with key representatives of the continent to discuss political and aid issues.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Africa-EU Partnership
    Link EP: EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly


  19. Finding the key to the cotton issue at the WTO cannot wait!
    2011-02-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The representatives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP), meeting on January 27, 2011, in a cotton workshop in Geneva have studied the state of the cotton issue at the WTO, including the question of whether to bring this issue before the Dispute Settlement Body. Given that a solution to this problem can no longer wait, the ACP Group draws the attention of the general public, and particularly that of the Ministers currently meeting in Davos, to this unique situation. The trade dispute United States - Cotton remains without a solution. To the contrary, the support measures announced on 5 April 2010 for Brazilian cotton producers, as part of the USA-Brazil interim agreement, only serve to reinforce inequality in treatment and go against the interests of other producers, in particular ACP producers. The ACP Group deplores the present impasse consisting in an unprecedented and exceptional situation where a WTO Member is avoiding bringing its trade policy into compliance with its obligations towards the Organisation in return for a payment made towards the producers of one other Member only.

    Source: ACP Group of States


    Link Read more
    Link WTO: Cotton sub-committee
    Link ACP Cotton


  20. Commission: opening of consultations with Guinea-Bissau over democracy
    2011-02-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Aid effectiveness

    The Commission today welcomes the Council's decision to open consultations with Guinea-Bissau, following the Commission's proposal from 20 December 2010. This initiative is based on Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement and reflects concerns about the situation in Guinea-Bissau in terms of respect for democratic principles and the rule of law. The decision also indicates a willingness to put in place a strategy to end the crisis together with the various parties involved. Part of EU development cooperation will be preliminary suspended. European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said: ”Today, the EU unanimously followed the proposal of the Commission calling to start consultations with Guinea Bissau in order to discuss the situation with regard to democratic principles and respect for the rule of law. I hope that this dialogue will help resolve the situation and lay solid foundations for Guinea-Bissau's long term development. Pending the outcome of the consultations, the Commission will temporary suspend part of its ongoing development cooperation, for example in the field of budget support or security sector reform programmes.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: EU relations with Guinea-Bissau
    Link Overview over the Cotonou-Agreement


  21. Renewable Energy: Commission calls on Member States to boost cooperation
    2011-01-31
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Archive

    The European Commission on 31 January presented its Communication on the progress of renewable energy in the EU. It shows that the 2020 renewable energy policy goals are likely to be met and exceeded if Member States fully implement their national renewable energy action plans and if financing instruments are improved. It also stresses the need for further cooperation between Member States and a better integration of renewable energy into the single European market. Estimates indicate that such measures could lead to 10 billions Euros savings each year. Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said: "We have to invest much more in renewable energy and we need smart, cost-effective financing. If Member States work together and produce renewable energy where it costs less, companies and consumers and the tax payer will benefit from this." The EU is committed to reaching the objective of a 20% share of renewable energy by 2020.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Communication on renewable energy
    Link Commission: Press conference


  22. EU clamps down on member states' water quality
    2011-01-31
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Archive

    Four European countries are in hot water with the European Commission after failing to meet environmental standards for wetland preservation and surface water quality. Greece has been referred to the European Court of Justice after failing to stem pollution of Lake Koroneia – a wetland for 150 bird species and one-time fishing Mecca – that has now become too dirty to bathe in. The European Commission announced on 27 January that it would also be suspending a pledge to pour €20 billion into a lake rehabilitation fund for Koroneia, in the Thessaloniki region.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link DG ENVI: Press release
    Link Water Directive



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