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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 267]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 267]
Send date: 2011-04-08 15:47:27
Issue #: 83
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 “The water we eat” - Wednesday, April 13th
  2. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 11/04 to 15/04/2011
  3. Our video guest: Michael Hailu, CTA Director
  4. East African Countries Set to Strengthen Fishery
  5. More EU tax threats to Caribbean tourism
  6. European Commission and UNIDO to Work Closer on Accelerating Industrialization of Africa
  7. Economic partnership agreement trade talks stall
  8. Fighting the emergence of banana diseases in the Caribbean
  9. Spanish farmers take food co-ops one step further
  10. New strategy needed to stop tuberculosis reoccurring in poorer patients
  11. Mainstreaming Gender in Development
  12. EU allocates €65.9 million to support peacekeeping in Somalia
  13. Greenpeace calls for moratorium on new certification in the Congo Basin
  14. Spotlight on Nuclear Energy at EGP Council
  15. Transport to remain big polluter under new EU plan
  16. EP: Made in labels should be compulsory for textiles
  17. Council paves way for international sugar agreement
  18. Appropriate measures for the Fiji Islands
  19. Europe needs an integrated water policy
  20. EU gender equality institute: exposing, closing the gender gap
  21. EU countries reject EP call for labelling of clone-derived food
  22. “Fairer and more equitable trade starts with the conclusion of the Doha Round”
  23. EU officials to limit travel in drive to cut CO2 emissions
  24. Developing countries: MEPs vote to prolong EU system of preferences
  25. Court of Auditors evaluated devolution of EU aid management


  1. Brussels Briefing on “The water we eat” - Wednesday, April 13th
    2011-04-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment, Food Security

    We cordially invite you to our next briefing on the “Water we eat: Challenges and opportunities for ACP in times of scarcity”, to be held on Wednesday, April 13th from 8.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Brussels. The world is on the brink of an unprecedented water crisis. Water is likely to be the most important strategic resource by the end of the next decade and the key to achieving global economic development. Some countries are already under water stress as a result of population increase, industrialization and urbanization, competition of resources, and insufficient public spending for rural infrastructure and services. In our Brussels Briefing, we will raise these issues and talk about the challenges and opportunities for ACP countries in times of water scarcity. Confirmed speakers include Dr David Molden (IWMI), Tony Allan (SOAS), Ruth Mathews, Executive Director of the Water Footprint Network, Dr Elijah Phiri, CAADP/NEPAD and more. If you are interested in participating, kindly register online. You can also follow us via a live webstream.


    Link Read more
    Link The programme of the Briefing
    Link Past Briefings


  2. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 11/04 to 15/04/2011
    2011-04-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    European Parliament
    -11 April: Agriculture Committee
    -12 April: Environment Committee
    -13 April: Development Committee
    -11-14 April: Other committee meetings
    Council of Ministers
    -12 April: Foreign Affairs Council
    -13 April: General Affairs Council
    -14 April: Agriculture and Fisheries Council
    European Commission
    -11-15 April: European Sustainable Energy Week
    CTA
    -13 April: Briefing: The Water we eat
    ACP Group of States
    -13/14 April: ACP Ministerial Meeting

    You can also read our newspaper “CTA Brussels Daily” (fed by our Twitter account), follow our new Facebook group CTABrussels and our Twitter account CTABrussels to receive up-to-date information on EU-ACP events.


    Link European Parliament
    Link Council of Ministers
    Link ACP Group of States


  3. Our video guest: Michael Hailu, CTA Director
    2011-04-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Archive

    At the European Forum on Rural Development that took place from 29 March to 1 April in Palencia, Spain, the CTA organised a side event about Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for farmers. In our video of the week, CTA director Michael Hailu resumes the main points discussed at the side event.


    Link Watch the video
    Link CTA side event
    Link CTA: ICTupdate


  4. East African Countries Set to Strengthen Fishery
    2011-04-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    Fisheries administrators of eastern African countries including Ethiopia and regional organizations reviewed this week the progress of fishery program funded by European Development Fund for the past three years. The program, ACP FISH II, is aimed at strengthening fisheries management in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The meeting, which took place from March 24-25, 2011, assessed the progress of project implementation so far and discussed on the future tasks for the Eastern Africa Region. According to Fisheries Policy Expert at the Coordination Unit in Brussels, Mr. John Purvis more than 3 million Euros have been allocated to implement 32 national and regional fisheries projects in the Eastern Africa Region. “Eleven projects will be completed at 30th May 2011. The Program continues to follow a participatory approach through which ACP countries are involved in identifying, formulating, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating projects,” he said.

    Source: New Business Ethiopia


    Link Read more
    Link ACP Fish II
    Link EAC: Fisheries


  5. More EU tax threats to Caribbean tourism
    2011-04-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    A Caribbean lobbyist says instead of providing ease for travellers to the Caribbean, Britain's decision to forgo a controversial increase in air departure tax, could result in Caribbean tourism being hit with a double whammy come next year. That is the assessment of Gilmore Smith, the deputy chair of a Caribbean tourism committee set up to lobby against Britain's Air Passenger Duty (APD). Mr. Smith says instead of one air tax, come next year, there will be two, as the European Union is also implementing a tax on air travel, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). He added that the ETS, plus next April's planned increase in Britain's APD could make travel to the Caribbean much more expensive, and could lead to a big fallout in travel to the Caribbean.

    Source: The BBC Caribbean Service


    Link Read more
    Link Caribbean Tourism Forum [PPT]
    Link EU and CARIFORUM officials to meet in Barbados


  6. European Commission and UNIDO to Work Closer on Accelerating Industrialization of Africa
    2011-04-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Aid effectiveness

    The Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Antonio Tajani, said that the Commission would work closer with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to accelerate the industrialization of Africa. Tajani was addressing the 19th Conference of African Ministers of Industry (CAMI 19) taking place in Algiers from 30 to 31 March. The event brought together some 35 African Ministers of Trade and Industry and heads of delegations from over 40 countries of the continent. Tajani said the European Commission and UNIDO had “reached a broad consensus” and were “working together in a positive spirit and with the necessary ambition”. The EU Commissioner said he had discussed with UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, co-organizing in 2012 a high-level conference on industrial cooperation that would bring together the African Union (AU), the EU, and UNIDO to develop a joint EU-AU action plan to accelerate the industrialization of Africa. […] In its Action Plan for 2011-2013, the November 2010 Africa-EU Heads of State Summit in Tripoli recognized UNIDO as a major partner. “Since its establishment by an agreement in 1993, our partnership has considerably developed. From 2001 to 2010, the EU has approved around EUR 100 million for UNIDO technical cooperation programmes for the benefit of developing countries around the world, with particular attention to Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP),” said Yumkella.

    Source: UN Brussels


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: DG Industry
    Link Green revolutions for sub-Saharian Africa?


  7. Economic partnership agreement trade talks stall
    2011-04-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations between East African Community and the European Union are reported to have stalled, EAC sources said in Arusha on Sunday. This follows an objection by the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) to the use of funds mobilised by the secretariat from a development partner to facilitate the process. The regional Assembly, currently meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, is particularly objecting the use of money from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) to finance the process. It argues that using a grant from Sida to finance the talks would not only compromise negotiations to the partner states’ detriment “but would as well prejudice and weaken any stronger stance the latter may adopt on the negotiations”. EAC council of ministers, the policy organ of the Community, deliberated on the stalled talks during its just-ended 23rd extra-ordinary meeting in the Rwandan capital. An EAC spokesperson said that the two organs of the community, the secretariat and Eala, its legislative arm, have differed on funding of the talks which have dragged on for years. “The negotiations stalled as a result of the objection by Eala members to the use of funds mobilised by the EAC secretariat from Sida to facilitate the process,” a senior official said. He said that the council has requested regional MPs to reconsider their position on the Sida grant amounting to $3.48 million estimated to cover the process. The source said the EAC-EU/EPA talks would remain stalled for the time being until the regional assembly approves expenditure of the grant for the purpose or until money is sourced from elsewhere.

    Source: nation.co.ke


    Link Read more
    Link ACP BIZCLIM Paper
    Link impact of Lisbon Treaty on ACP-EU Partnership


  8. Fighting the emergence of banana diseases in the Caribbean
    2011-04-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Food Security, Archive

    The newly launched Cabaré project has as its objective the dissemination in the Caribbean of new varieties of banana free from any phytosanitary risks. CIRAD is coordinating the project, funded by the Interreg IV Caribbean programme, in partnership with three research organizations in Cuba and another in the Dominican Republic. Banana and plantain play a key role in food security and the socioeconomic balance of the whole Caribbean region. The emergence of new diseases, in particular Black Sigatoka, or black leaf streak, caused by a fungus, is threatening the long-term cultivation of these crops. However, the export market is highly dependent on a single variety (Cavendish), which is highly susceptible to Black Sigatoka. Current protection measures involve regular, frequent – and thereby expensive and polluting – aerial fungicide treatments. There are only two countries in the Lesser Antilles, Dominica and Guadeloupe, that are still free from Black Sigatoka. However, the disease has been spreading through the region for the past fifteen years, and is now a direct threat to these countries. In order to control the disease effectively in the long term, it is necessary to develop cropping systems based on the use of resistant hybrid varieties.

    Source: CIRAD


    Link Read more
    Link EU hosts seminar on EPA
    Link Knowledge sharing for the Caribbean


  9. Spanish farmers take food co-ops one step further
    2011-04-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Food Security

    Independent farmers on the Mediterranean island of Majorca are bypassing distributors and selling their organic produce directly to customers over the Internet. The idea originated in food co-operatives, where consumers form groups to buy produce in bulk directly from farmers. But instead of waiting for potential customers to found a co-op and find the farmers, Majorcan growers are now selling their products on a website called "Aforavila." Choices are few when it comes to competing with larger industrialized farms. Small farms are numerous but produce only a fraction of the overall agricultural output. Their prices are usually higher than what the mass producers ask. Cutting out wholesalers and distributors helps level the playing field and creates a win-win situation for farmers and customers. Farmers earn more than they would using a middleman, while customers pay less for their organic produce.

    Source: DW-World


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: Cooperatives and SMEs
    Link Rural Forum: Strengthening small farmers


  10. New strategy needed to stop tuberculosis reoccurring in poorer patients
    2011-04-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The standard approach to re-treating tuberculosis (TB) in low and middle income settings is failing, according to new research. In a study published in the journal PLoS Medicine, scientists call for improved access to rapid diagnostics for drug-resistant TB, second—line TB treatment and antiretroviral HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) therapy. They point out that each year, between 1 in 10 and 1 in 5 patients treated for TB see their disease return after failing, interrupting or relapsing from treatment. The aim of this study, by researchers in South Africa, Uganda, the UK and the US, was to investigate treatment and survival outcomes in patients who had been treated for TB in the past and identify the factors associated with poor treatment outcomes. The findings highlight the need for more effective strategies to treat people with recurring TB.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Blog Andris Piebalgs: Tuberculosis
    Link EU Tuberculosis Programme


  11. Mainstreaming Gender in Development
    2011-04-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The European Commission is committed to promoting gender issues in development cooperation, and that means bringing a gender perspective to all areas of their interventions. A part from being a goal in its own right and one of the five essential principles of EC development cooperation, gender equality has now to be implemented in all cooperation programmes and projects, with specific targets and deadlines for the COM Delegations, European External Action Service (EEAS) and European Union Member States. These obligations come from the EU Gender Action Plan 2010-2015, adopted by the Council in June last year. That means that women’s empowerment, action against violence and discrimination against women and girls must be top of the agenda in EU policy and political dialogue and cooperation programming all around the world.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Women in Rural Development
    Link EU: Strategy for gender equality


  12. EU allocates €65.9 million to support peacekeeping in Somalia
    2011-04-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Aid effectiveness, Archive

    During the annual joint meeting of the Ministers of Finance and economy of the African Union, Commissioner Piebalgs confirmed European Commission's support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by announcing an additional EUR 65.9 million to help keep the peacekeeping force in place and provide them with the means to do their job more easily, including medical care, transport and allowances. EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, said: "There is no development without security. AMISOM does a vital job in Somalia, ensuring that human rights are respected, citizens are protected and internally displaced persons and refugees can return home in safety and dignity. This additional funding will enable the African mission to carry out its role in helping to protect the people of Somalia." Today's increase in funding brings the EU allocation to AMISOM to a total of EUR 208 million funded under the African Peace Facility (APF) since 2007. AMISOM has had an uninterrupted peacekeeping presence in Mogadishu since March 2007. The renewed EU support will mean that it can continue to provide protection to the Transitional Federal Institution, assist in the implementation of the National Security and Stabilisation plan (NSSP), facilitate humanitarian operations and provide support to disarmament and stabilisation efforts.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)
    Link EU: Security and Development


  13. Greenpeace calls for moratorium on new certification in the Congo Basin
    2011-04-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Environment

    FSC label (Forest Stewardship Council) is a very important tool for distinguish the provenance of wood products and guaranty that they’re coming from ecologically and socially sustainable forest management. Greenpeace has been involved for years in maintaining the quality standards of this label. But concerns are increasing regarding the rapid expansion of FSC certification in the Congo Basin.

    Source: Greenpeace


    Link Read more
    Link Read the report
    Link EU: Timber and Timber Management


  14. Spotlight on Nuclear Energy at EGP Council
    2011-04-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Archive

    At the Council of the European Greens which took place this weekend in Budapest, there was of course a sharp focus on the continuing nuclear disaster in Japan. Greens across Europe have been gearing up for a campaign that would prevent the further development of the nuclear industry, in favour of more sustainable options. In some places, such as Germany, this has already provoked a reaction. In others, such as Italy, where there will shortly be a referendum on the question, the fight still lies ahead. The Council provided a great opportunity for Greens across Europe to rally together in support for the anti-nuclear cause, and to raise awareness. An action on the streets of Budapest, with green umbrellas displaying anti-nuclear slogans, was one way in which the conference used its location and the presence of so many Greens together, in order to try to raise awareness of the campaign among other European citizens. The action was a great success.

    Source: europeangreens.eu


    Link Read more
    Link EU: Environment and Natural Resources Programme
    Link Renewable energy prospects rise with nuclear unease


  15. Transport to remain big polluter under new EU plan
    2011-04-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Archive

    Europe's transport chief called for a shift away from fossil fuels on 28 March to cut greenhouse gas emissions and protect the economy from oil price spikes, but critics said his strategy lacked meaningful action. EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said in a strategy paper that greenhouse gas emissions from transport should be cut to about a fifth below current levels by 2030, and to 60% below 1990 levels by 2050. In the long term, that means eliminating oil-fuelled motor cars from cities, shifting half of road freight onto trains and barges, and getting around 40% of aviation fuel from sustainable biofuels. The economic crisis has made the objective even more pressing, given that the EU spends around 210 billion euros a year on importing oil. "Trains, planes and ships last for decades," Kallas told reporters. "The choices made today will determine the shape of transport in 2050, and that's why we are acting now to achieve a transformation." Kallas stressed that increasing mobility and cutting emissions should be tackled at the same time. "We can and we must do both. The widely held belief that you need to cut mobility to fight climate change is simply not true," he said. "Curbing mobility is not an option," Kallas insisted.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link EC outlines ambitious plan to increase mobility, reduce emissions
    Link Transport 2050: The major challenges, the key measures


  16. EP: Made in labels should be compulsory for textiles
    2011-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    "Made in" (country of origin) labels should be made mandatory for textiles imported from third countries and sold in the EU, so that consumers are not misled, said the Internal Market Committee on Tuesday, amending a new draft law on textile labelling. For products made in the EU, origin marking would be voluntary. The committee, voting at the second reading, reinstated most of Parliament's first-reading amendments, on indicating the country of origin, labelling of animal-derived materials and a review clause for possible new labelling requirements, which had not been taken up by the Council. The draft law aims to simplify existing textile labelling rules, so as to encourage the development and use of new fibres. It should encourage textile and clothing innovation, whilst making it easier for fibre users and consumers to benefit from innovative products. Although Parliament was initially asked to vote only on a technical proposal by the Commission (to cut the time it takes to place new fibres on the market), MEPs turned this into a more political one, by seeking to make country of origin labelling mandatory.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link EP: Internal Market Committee
    Link Commission: Textile and clothing


  17. Council paves way for international sugar agreement
    2011-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The Council adopted a decision establishing the position to be adopted, on behalf of the EU, within the International Sugar Council as regards the extension of the International Sugar Agreement 1992 (5481/11). The International Sugar Agreement 1992 was concluded by the EU and entered into force on 1 January 1993. Since then it has been regularly extended and remains into force until 31 December 2011. A further extension of this agreement by up to two years entails the prolongation of the EU contribution to its administrative budget. The International Sugar Council was created in 1937, originally to deal with problems concerning sugar surpluses and sugar distribution through the International Sugar Organisation. This organisation aims to ensure enhanced international cooperation in connection with world sugar matters and provide a forum for intergovernmental consultations on sugar so as to improve the world sugar economy, to facilitate trade by collecting and providing information on the world sugar. The purpose of this decision is to seek the Council’s authorisation for the Commission to vote, on behalf of the Union, in favour of the extension of the agreement up to 31 December 2013 within the International Sugar Council.

    Source: Council of Ministers


    Link Read more
    Link EC tables measures to ensure market balance in the sugar sector
    Link EU advises sugar producers to diversify markets


  18. Appropriate measures for the Fiji Islands
    2011-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Aid effectiveness

    The Council extended until 31 October 2011 the appropriate measures for the Fiji islands in order to assist the country's return to democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law (7162/11). The measures were initially adopted on 1 October 2007, concluding consultations under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement. They came in the wake of the military takeover in Fiji on 5 December 2006, which the EU considered a violation of democracy and the rule of law, both essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement.

    Source: Council of Ministers


    Link Read more
    Link Fiji scores another victory at MSG meet
    Link Frank's Fiji


  19. Europe needs an integrated water policy
    2011-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment, Food Security

    We need an integrated approach, for the future of water resources in Europe, the various Union policies must be coordinated for the protection of water. This was concluded in the informal meeting of the Environment Council, on 25 March 2011, in Gödöllő, near Budapest. The Hungarian Presidency aims to facilitate the adoption of a closing document on the sustainable utilisation of water, by the Environment Council, which is due to take place in June. [...] At their working lunch, the Ministers discussed the possible role of water in other EU policies, including the difficulties of integrating water policy into other policies; and ways to reach improved mobilisation of financial resources available in multi-annual budgets, for the benefit of water management. In addition to the 27 Member States, eight non-EU states (five candidate countries, two members of the European Economic Area and Switzerland), and representatives of invited European institutions and non-governmental organisations of environment protection, also attended the meeting. Preparations by the Commission to issue in accordance with the Water Framework Directive a comprehensive policy report under the title “Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources”, in 2012 lent currency to the debate of the Ministers. The opinion that environmental policy must receive a political impetus dominated the meeting. The Ministers formulated a message for the Commission, underlining the need for an integrated water management policy that sets medium and long-term objectives, and is capable of meeting new challenges such as climate change.

    Source: EU Presidency


    Link Read more
    Link Presidency invites sciences to contribute
    Link Report on African Water Governance


  20. EU gender equality institute: exposing, closing the gender gap
    2011-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The EU has come a long way towards closing the gender gap but women still make up only 14% of ambassadors, 9% of university deans, 3% of large company presidents and 2% of ministers. Women on average earn €2 an hour less than their male counterparts and do 13 hours more work in the home. We know all this thanks to European Institute of Gender Equality, which gathers and analyses information on stereotypes, pay, violence and the "glass ceiling" across the EU. Gender Institute Director Virginija Langbakk came to talk to Parliament's Women's Committee 14 March and urged action on gender issues. "I'm happy I was not born 100 years ago (but) we don’t have another 100 years. Europe can no longer afford to live with the existing gender gap." Society pays a high price for gender-based inequalities and violence. Employment among women remains 12% lower than among men and, according to the data gathered by the Institute from national sources, thousands of women are killed in Europe every year by partners or ex-partners, while the cost of domestic violence in the EU in 2006 was €16 billion. Collection and analysis of data is at core of the Institute's tasks and Ms Langbakk said the possibility to evaluate and compare the real situation in different EU Member States by having reliable information available will have a positive impact.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link A conversation with Michelle Bachelet
    Link Women in Rural Development


  21. EU countries reject EP call for labelling of clone-derived food
    2011-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Archive

    Meat from the offspring of cloned animals could find its way onto the EU market, with no-one being any the wiser, after member state representatives refused the Parliament's demand to label clone-derived products. The two sides met until late Monday night to discuss updating novel food rules, but were unable to reach agreement on clone-derived food and nanotechnology. The first animal clone, Dolly the sheep, was created in 1996 and since then cows, pigs and goats have also been cloned, raising the question of whether or not we should use cloned animals for food. The EP had wanted bans on the sale of meat from cloned animals and their offspring and the use of cloning technology to produce food. The Council and Commission backed a ban on cloning for food production, but rejected a ban on food from offspring, leading MEPs to propose a compromise of labelling clone-derived meat. Council agreed only to label fresh beef, which MEPs found insufficient given that a 2008 Eurobarometer study shows 63% of EU citizens are unlikely to buy food from cloned animals, while 61% find animal cloning morally wrong. "It is deeply frustrating that the Council would not listen to public opinion," the Chair of the EP delegation to the Conciliation Committee talks, Gianni Pittella, and the EP rapporteur on novel foods, Kartika Liotard, said in a joint statement. "Measures regarding clone offspring are absolutely critical because clones are commercially viable only for breeding, not directly for food production. No farmer would spend €100,000 on a cloned bull, only to turn it into hamburgers."

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Information about the regulation
    Link Conciliation on novel foods failed


  22. “Fairer and more equitable trade starts with the conclusion of the Doha Round”
    2011-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Environment, Regional Fisheries

    “We cannot shut ourselves into our shells” but rather need to combat the “fear dominating debate in our societies,” said European Parliament Vice-President Stavros Lambrinidis (S&D, EL), at the 7th Parliamentary Conference on the WTO in Geneva. “The role of Parliaments in the global trade round lies not only in the ratification of the final agreement, but also in transmitting the public’s concerns to negotiators before a final deal is struck”, he added. […] In the conference's final outcome document, parliamentarians emphasise the “need for a strong and effective parliamentary dimension to the WTO and welcome the fact that, for the first time ever, an annual session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO took place on the premises of this intergovernmental organization”. The text also stresses the importance of concluding the Doha round of trade talks, as “it is imperative to change gear, fuelling and sustaining the momentum in order to bring the negotiations to a close by the end of the year”. Parliamentarians also mentioned the crucial links between trade liberalization and sustainable development, arguing for greater efforts at policy coherence among various global governance bodies such as the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank, the UN, and the ILO. After some tough negotiations among delegations, the outcome document calls on developed countries to provide “immediate, predictable, duty-free and quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all products originating from least developed countries”, but also insists that “developing economies that are advanced enough to do so, or declare themselves in a position to do so, should also contribute to this process”.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link WTO Doha Agenda
    Link EP-WTO Parliamentary Conference


  23. EU officials to limit travel in drive to cut CO2 emissions
    2011-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Archive

    The European Commission wants to lead by example on reducing CO2 emissions with a decision to apply the world's first personal carbon quotas on commissioners and other Brussels officials. Connie Hedegaard, the EU's climate commissioner, will unveil the measures today (1 April) as part of the Commission's contribution to the Rio Earth Summit in 2012. "The Commission should lead by example in the fight against global warming and cut travel wherever possible," Hedegaard said, emphasising the role that videoconferencing can play in reducing unnecessary travel. Janusz Lewandowski, the EU's budget commissioner, added: "With the current austerity mood, this is a measure that will also enable us to save on expenditure and keep costs under control." Personal carbon quotas impose a maximum quantity of CO2 that each individual may emit into the atmosphere each year. Those who exceed their quota – for instance those who travel frequently by air or those who drive large gas-guzzling cars – can buy unused credits from individuals who have not used their own.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link Personal emission quotas
    Link DG Climate


  24. Developing countries: MEPs vote to prolong EU system of preferences
    2011-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

     

     

     

    Parliament backed an extension of the EU’s generalised tariff preferences for developing countries from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2013 in a vote on Thursday, after receiving a pledge from the European Commission on information sharing. Parliament had decided to "extend a great deal of trust to the Commission and extend the Generalised System of Preferences by dropping our amendments", said lead MEP Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL, DE). International Trade Committee MEPs had voiced concern that the Commission had not involved Parliament in the way prescribed by the Lisbon Treaty. The Commission gave assurances that information-sharing and Parliament's other concerns about the decision-making process surrounding the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) will be revisited in negotiations on the general (Omnibus) review of the scheme later this year. MEPs therefore agreed by an overwhelming majority (598 in favour, 5 against and 16 abstentions) to extend the GSP until such a review can be completed. "The Commission has heard the EP's concerns on the decision making aspects of GSP loud and clear", said Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht before the vote. "We reconfirm our full and active support for the EP to play its role in trade policy as foreseen in Lisbon Treaty, and are committed to discuss, in a constructive spirit, the Parliament's concerns" in the context framework of the Omnibus proposals, he continued, adding that "the Commission will make every effort to facilitate the EP's request to be informed of the work related to essential aspects of GSP, and will inform the Parliament immediately, and in parallel with Council, about developments in GSP, as well as provide access to all relevant documents." Mr Scholz said he "welcomes the tabling of the Omnibus 1 package, and the willingness of the Commission to start intensive negotiations about the proposals within, and we very much urge the prompt tabling of Omnibus 2."

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link DG Trade: GSP
    Link EP: Resolution Text


  25. Court of Auditors evaluated devolution of EU aid management
    2011-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The European Union is the world’s largest aid donor, with the European Commission managing a significant proportion of the aid. […] This gave increased responsibilities to its offices (delegations) in partner countries. The Court’s audit assessed how these new management arrangements have been working. In particular, it looked at how far the objectives of improving the speed and quality of aid delivery and establishing sound financial procedures have been achieved. The audit’s overall conclusion is that devolution has contributed to better aid delivery. Speed of aid delivery has improved as has the robustness of financial procedures. There are also indications that the quality of aid is now better, but the Commission’s systems for measuring this are not sufficiently developed to allow firm conclusions to be drawn. The full potential benefits of Devolution have, however, not yet been realised and the report contains a number of recommendations to address the areas where improvements are necessary. The report emphasises the need for the Commission to improve how it assesses the quality and results of its aid, in particular, through strengthening its monitoring, reporting and evaluation functions. The report also indicates a number of steps which the Commission should take in order to make the best use of the human resources available both in its delegations and headquarters.

    Source: Court of Auditors


    Link Read more
    Link Read the report
    Link Court of Auditors



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