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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 300]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 300]
Send date: 2011-11-25 19:05:39
Issue #: 116
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. Webstreamed Brussels Briefing: Food price volatility
  2. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 28/11 to 2/12/2011
  3. Our video guest: Peter Thompson, European Commission (Trade)
  4. SADC EPA Group and EU hold EPA talks in Johannesburg
  5. World Bank: Stabilization policies could destabilize food prices
  6. More EU funding for the Horn of Africa
  7. EU confirms support for long-term recovery in Ivory Coast
  8. Denmark wants to make strides on EU budget
  9. EU adds 10 million EUR to fight looming hunger crisis in Sahel
  10. 10 million EUR from the European Union to Haiti
  11. Cotton: African exporters seek subsidy freeze
  12. Call for applications: Selection of observers to CAP Advisory Group
  13. ACP Parliamentarians urge 'flexibility' on EPAs
  14. EU vote could extent wheat and barley import-duty moratorium
  15. EU: Freshfel welcomes abrogation of banana import licenses
  16. EU: alarming decline in plants, molluscs and freshwater fish
  17. Nordic Climate Facility calls for proposals
  18. EU offers to boost Tanzanian transport sector
  19. Stronger cooperation and mobility at centre of new EU migration strategy
  20. Fisheries: Commission proposes full ban on shark finning at sea
  21. EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs visits Togo
  22. Parliament and Council agree on budget 2012
  23. The Council authorises approval of the international tropical timber agreement
  24. Little progress on EU-Caribbean EPA


  1. Webstreamed Brussels Briefing: Food price volatility
    2011-11-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Environment, Food Security, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy, Archive

    The next Brussels Development Briefing will take place on the 30 November 2011 and will be organised in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the European Commission (DG DEVCO) the ACP Secretariat, Concord and various other partners.

    The Briefing will discuss the main challenges in food price volatility and give a summary of the key policy issues discussed at the G20 meeting which have implications for ACP countries. It will then focus on the effects of food price volatility on the ground by bringing various experiences from different actors. We will also identify what urgent and concrete policy actions need to be in place to mitigate the negative effects of food price volatility.

    Among the speakers are Hafez Ghanem, deputy director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Máximo Torero, Director of the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division in the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Mamadou Cissokho from the Réseau des Organisations paysannes et de Producteurs de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ROPPA), Chris Moore from United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), representatives of the French and Mexican governments and others.

    The Briefing will be fully webstreamed in English and French. To learn more, to register for the Briefing and to follow the webstream on 30 November (from 2 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. CET) please visit http://brusselsbriefings.net.


    Link Brussels Briefings
    Link NEPAD
    Link IFPRI
    Link BR25_Food_volatility_Programme_1.pdf

  2. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 28/11 to 2/12/2011
    2011-11-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    European Parliament
    -30 November-1 December: Mini-plenary of the European Parliament (Brussels)
    -29 November/1 December: Committee Meetings (Brussels)
    Council of Ministers
    -30 November: Economic and Financial Affairs Council
    -30 November: Coreper II, Coreper I
    -30 November/1 December: Foreign Affairs Council
    European Commission
    -30 November: Weekly meeting of the college
    CTA
    -30 November: Brussels Briefing on Food Price Volatility

    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 Brussels Briefing


  3. Our video guest: Peter Thompson, European Commission (Trade)
    2011-11-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Peter Thompson is the Director of the Directorate for Development and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) within the trade directorate of the European Commission. In this interview, Mr Thompson speaks about the EU's decision to phase out preferential market access for ACP countries who have not implemented the EPAs by 2014 and underlines the development aspect that is contained in the EPAs.


    Link Watch the video
    Link Commission: DG Trade
    Link EPAs: The honeymoon is over


  4. SADC EPA Group and EU hold EPA talks in Johannesburg
    2011-11-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Southern African Development Community (SADC) EPA Group and EU negotiators held technical meetings on market access, rules of origin, services and investment, development co-operation and Geographical Indications, followed by Senior Officials Meetings, from 10 to 16 November 2011 in Johannesburg.

    Good progress has been made on several aspects of the text of the comprehensive EPA, but more work is needed on market access, in particular on agricultural products. Specific issues on rules of origin for fishery products were discussed with Namibia and Mozambique. Services and investment were addressed, in particular, with Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland, which have indicated their willingness to move forward with negotiations in this area.

    The next technical meetings will take place in the region from 30 January to 3 February 2012. Senior Officials are scheduled to meet on the week of 27 February – 2 March.

    Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland are negotiating a comprehensive regional EPA with the EU as members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) EPA Group. Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Mozambique initialled an interim EPA in 2007 and then signed it in 2009, with the exception of Namibia, still pending. South Africa also has a separate Trade and Development Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) with the EU.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU/Southern Africa: Endgame nears in trade negotiations
    Link Access to EU markets for exporters from ACP countries


  5. World Bank: Stabilization policies could destabilize food prices
    2011-11-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Food Policy

    In a discussion on the situation of net food importing developing and least developed countries, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported that the world’s food import bill is heading for a new peak of US$1.29 trillion this year, an unprecedented surge of US$250 billion, with all food categories registering double-digit percentage increases.

    The World Bank also reported that “price-insulating policies by [WTO] members during the crises have magnified price movements,” an assessment that sparked a critical response from some delegations. […]

    Although this is a regular annual item on the committee’s agenda, this year delegates had in their minds proposals to include food security on the agenda of the 15-17 December WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva and the wider concerns raised by the G-20 group of world leaders. Several members welcomed the G-20s creation of the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), hosted by the FAO and with the participation of a number of international organizations including the WTO (www.wto.org/foodsecurity).

    One of the proposals for the Ministerial Conference came from the net food importing developing countries and African and Arab groups, presented by Egypt. Discussed at a specially convened meeting the previous day, the proposal would ask WTO members’ ministers to recognize that ensuring food security for their populations is governments’ first priority. It proposed that the Ministerial Conference direct the General Council to set up a comprehensive work programme for least developed and net food-importing developing countries.

    Source: WTO


    Link Read more
    Link Lamy: The key ingredients to tackle food crisis
    Link The WTO and the post-global food crisis agenda


  6. More EU funding for the Horn of Africa
    2011-11-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Archive

    The Council of Ministers on 24 November approved EUR 23.86 million in commitments to the Horn of Africa, in addition to the EUR 157.4 million of humanitarian assistance which the EU has already provided to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti. The new resources will be used notably for food assistance, interventions in under-funded sectors like health and water and assistance to refugees. The eastern Horn of Africa has experienced two consecutive seasons of significantly below-average rainfall which led to failed crop production, livestock mortality and has driven food prices to record levels.

    Source: Council of Ministers


    Link Read more [PDF]
    Link Commission: DG ECHO
    Link Humanitarian News


  7. EU confirms support for long-term recovery in Ivory Coast
    2011-11-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, ACP-EU Policy, Archive

    European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso on 23 November met the President of the Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, to announce support for the country's forthcoming elections, as well as to help social and economic recovery. This is President's Ouattara's first ever official visit to the European Commission. A package of €125 million was formally signed on 23 November at a ceremony in Brussels. This money will go towards five key projects to improve the lives of the Ivorian population, specifically supporting the health service, professional training (especially helping young people to access the job market), transport, civil society and governance.

    The €125 million package is funded by the European Development Fund (EDF) and will specifically go towards:

    1. Transport, maintaining the road network and rehabilitating one of the most disrupted roads between Ivory Coast and Ghana, helping to get the country moving once again

    2. Professional training; particularly helping young people to get back into the job market. Several training centres will be rehabilitated and equipped.

    3. Health, helping to improve healthcare and enable the country's poorest people to access essential medicines.

    4. Financial and institutional support, especially to improve the national statistic system of the Ivorian budget system to allow for clearer results

    5. Civil society, especially women and young people's groups. This will help to boost participation in democracy and help the process of national reconciliation.

    The European Union has around €420 million of ongoing funding being delivered in the Ivory Coast. This will support the country in areas like debt relief, governance, agriculture and the justice sector. In particular the EU is supporting the upcoming elections to the tune of €11 million through the Instrument for Stability (IfS).

    This package also includes humanitarian support. The European Union has been on the ground in Ivory Coast since the first days of the humanitarian crisis. In December 2010 it announced a decision to help refugees fleeing the violence to camps in neighbouring countries like Liberia. In Ivory Coast itself the Commission has been helping to meet basic needs like providing water, food and sanitation, as well as civil protection. In order to guarantee a link between humanitarian assistance and long-term development, the Commission will also open a humanitarian aid bureau in Abidjan.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU cooperation with Ivory Coast
    Link Commissioner Piebalgs on official visit to Burkina Faso


  8. Denmark wants to make strides on EU budget
    2011-11-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Aid effectiveness, ACP-EU Policy, Archive

    The incoming Danish EU Presidency will try to get "as far as possible" on the next EU budget for 2014-2020, knowing that a deal is unlikely to be struck until the end of its term, the country's ambassador in Brussels said on 23 November.

    The EU's budget for 2014-2020 – called the multiannual financial framework, or MFF, in EU jargon – "will be the biggest single item in the agenda of the Danish Presidency," said Ambassador Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen. He was addressing a gathering organised by the European Policy Centre ahead of the Danish EU Presidency in the first half of 2012.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link The Danish presidency
    Link EU: Budget


  9. EU adds 10 million EUR to fight looming hunger crisis in Sahel
    2011-11-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is immediately increasing its funding to the Sahel region of Africa to safeguard the lives of half a million people in a rapidly developing food crisis. Seven million people are already facing shortages in Niger, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, with major shortfalls in food production in many areas. The figures point to a massive problem of food availability next year.

    The Commission is therefore adding a futher €10 million humanitarian funding to the 45 million euros it has given to the Sahel already this year. It means that a further 500,000 men, women and children – in addition to the 6.2 million already being reached with EU funding - from the most vulnerable households in the worst affected areas will be protected at the onset of the lean period three months from now.

    "By acting now and anticipating the crisis ahead we can avoid the terrible suffering that has struck in another part of Africa this year", said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. "The real effects and the extent of this situation will only be visible in a few months, when the poorest will have no food reserves or money to buy much dearer food, as prices are already rising. Tragically there has not been sufficient time since the last crisis in 2010 for a population already weakened by hunger to recover. That is the vicious circle we want to break, but one single donor will not be able to face this huge challenge. I call on everybody to respond to this emergency before it becomes a crisis".

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EEAS: Sahel Strategy
    Link Commission: DG Humanitarian Aid


  10. 10 million EUR from the European Union to Haiti
    2011-11-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    On 14 November 2011, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Religious Affairs, Laurent Lamothe, announced in the presence of Benoist Bazin, Head of Infrastructure Section of the Delegation of the European Union to Haiti and Price Pady, the national authorising officer of the European Development Fund, a donation of €10 million for Haiti, for the reconstruction of damaged or destroyed ministries on January 12, 2010.

    "I thank the EU to be with us today, and the National Authorising Officer for this visit aimed at helping the Haitian government in the reconstruction of our ministries," declared the chancellor "we had a very good meeting today with the charge d'affaires of the European Union, as part of the reconstruction of the Ministry Foreign Affairs, Ministry of TPTC and the office of the authorizing officer. This is a project valued at about 10 million euros, of which about 3 million for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

    "We will soon launch the tender to begin the reconstruction... because it is time to give the state the means to work well, because we are in a difficult situation in our premises. We thank once again the Chargé d'affaires to work closely with us and we appreciate the cooperation and the collaboration of the European Union in its assistance to Haiti."

    Source: defend.ht


    Link Read more
    Link EU Delegation to Haiti
    Link EU humanitarian aid for Haiti


  11. Cotton: African exporters seek subsidy freeze
    2011-11-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The US and EU should freeze trade-distorting support for cotton at current historically-low levels, West African exporting countries have argued in a WTO proposal. The proposal was discussed informally last Friday among some of the members concerned.

    High prices for cotton and other commodities have caused trade-distorting subsidies to drop in recent years, as these support payments are designed to be triggered by low prices. A ‘standstill principle’ should apply to these subsidies while a negotiated solution is being reached, cotton-exporting countries in the so-called ‘C-4′ group - Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali - claim.

    The proposal is included as part of a draft decision that the C-4 countries have submitted for trade ministers to agree upon at the WTO’s eighth ministerial conference, scheduled for 15-17 December. The text calls for members to implement agreements on cotton that were reached at the global trade body’s fifth ministerial conference, held six years ago in Hong Kong.

    Copyright © International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, ICTSD. All rights reserved.


    Link Read more
    Link ideasCENTRE: Cotton newsletter
    Link WTO subcommittee on cotton


  12. Call for applications: Selection of observers to CAP Advisory Group
    2011-11-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Environment, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    By decision of 23 April 2004, the Commission has set up various advisory groups, which may be consulted by the Commission on all matters relating to the common agricultural policy and to the policy of rural development and its implementation. This includes the international aspects of agriculture, such as trade and development.

    The Commission will set-up an Advisory Group on International Aspects of Agriculture. The Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development is therefore calling for applications with a view to selecting NGOs active in the field of trade and development in relation to agriculture in order to participate in the Advisory Group International Aspects of Agriculture. The deadline for applications is the 9 December 2011.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more [DOC]
    Link Commission: DG Agriculture
    Link EU development cooperation with NGOs


  13. ACP Parliamentarians urge 'flexibility' on EPAs
    2011-11-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Parliamentarians from the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific concluded their twice-yearly plenary last week in Lomé, Togo with discussions on Economic Partnership Agreements, development cooperation with European partners, and the future of the ACP Group beyond the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020.

    “While the Caribbean have finalised an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU, it is to be noted that the negotiations with the rest of our sub-regions in Africa and the Pacific have proven more protracted than any of us would have wished.  We are all aware of the new deadline that the Commission has set for the conclusion of these negotiations,” ACP Secretary General Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas stated at the 26th session of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly. […]

    “I hope that [the upcoming Joint Parliamentary Assembly] will be a catalyst to finding a way out of the current impasse. It is our expectation that the European Commission will demonstrate flexibility in the negotiations to ensure EPAs that are development-friendly and that enhance regional integration,” stated the Secretary General. The Joint Parliamentary Assembly is held this week, 19-24 November.

    Source: ACP Group of States


    Link Read more
    Link More EU participation needed in JPA, say MEPs
    Link ACP countries should not suffer from EU crisis


  14. EU vote could extent wheat and barley import-duty moratorium
    2011-11-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The European Union may vote this week to extend a moratorium on wheat and barley import duties until June 30, reports Bloomberg. “It’s on the agenda listed as possible, as it would be this time of year,” the news network quotes EU spokesman Roger Waite. Bloomberg pursues that according to Waite, a vote may take place as soon as Nov. 24. As it currently stands, the moratorium is set to continue until the end of December.

    The EU had relaxed its import duties in June after drought in parts of the UK, France, Spain and Germany which severely endangered production. With increased precipitation in July and August, production picked up again, causing wheat prices to decline.

    Source: Bloomberg


    Link Read more
    Link EUROSTAT
    Link Commission: DG Agriculture


  15. EU: Freshfel welcomes abrogation of banana import licenses
    2011-11-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Food Policy

    Freshfel Europe highly welcomes this week’s decision of the EU Management Committee for the Common Organization of Agricultural Markets to abolish the banana import license system. For several months, Freshfel already advocated for a repeal of the banana import licenses as this monitoring tool became redundant after the move of the import regime to a tariff only system. The monitoring licenses have been unnecessarily burdensome for operators and provided no added value for the administration.

    The decision to abolish the banana import license system is expected to enter into force 1st January 2012, awaiting publication in the EU Official Journal in the coming weeks. Yearly, around 4,8 million Tons of bananas originating from third countries are imported into the EU. As bananas originating from ACP-countries (around 900.000 Tons) no longer needed import licenses since the total market liberalisation in 2008, other supplying countries (mostly Central and South America) have been until now still requested to lodge import licenses when bringing bananas in free circulation in the EU.

    Philippe Binard, General Delegate of Freshfel, explains: “The banana import licenses have currently only a purely monitoring role, are administratively burdensome and costly for operators (e.g. capital requirements of 10 million EURO at EU-level and associated collateral costs). Moreover they have no added value as previous preferential quota no longer exist and reliable information on volumes of banana imports can be gathered today through existing EU databases like Eurostat. Therefore, Freshfel highly welcomes this step which will bring benefits to EU banana importers as well as national administrations.”

    Source: freshplaza.com


    Link Read more
    Link EU Management Committee
    Link End of the Banana Wars


  16. EU: alarming decline in plants, molluscs and freshwater fish
    2011-11-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    Europe's natural heritage is showing an alarming decline, according to new research published today. The European Red List, a part of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, assessed a considerable portion of Europe’s native fauna and flora, finding that a large proportion of molluscs, freshwater fish and vascular plants now fall into the threatened category. The assessment of some 6000 species reveals that 44% of all freshwater molluscs, 37% of freshwater fish, 23% of amphibians, 20% of a selection of terrestrial molluscs, 19% of reptiles, 15% of mammals and of dragonflies, 13% of birds, 11% of a selection of saproxylic beetles, 9% of butterflies, and 467 species of vascular plant species are now under threat. [...]

    Freshwater molluscs are the most threatened group assessed so far. Spengler’s Freshwater Mussel (Margaritifera auricularia), once widespread, is now restricted to a handful of rivers in France and Spain. Currently listed as Critically Endangered, it was considered to be nearly extinct in the 1980s. The species is one of two for which a European-level Action Plan was designed, and there are ongoing conservation programmes which allow hope for its future. [...]

    Freshwater fish are also highly threatened, especially as a result of pollution, overfishing, habitat loss and the introduction of alien species. Sturgeon are particularly at risk, with all but one of the eight European species now Critically Endangered.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link IUCN: European Red List
    Link Commission: Biodiversity


  17. Nordic Climate Facility calls for proposals
    2011-11-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    The Nordic Climate Facility (NCF) launched the Third Call for Proposals on "Innovative low-cost climate solutions with a focus on local business development in eligible developing countries." The deadline for submitting proposals is 16 January 2012.

    The aim of the Nordic Climate Facility (NCF) is to promote the transfer of technology, know-how and innovative ideas between the Nordic countries and low-income countries facing climate change challenges. The main goal is to bolster the capabilities of low-income countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change challenges and implement sustainable development measures which will lead to the reduction of poverty.

    Grant financing of up to EUR 500 000 can be granted to partnerships between relevant Nordic (i.e. Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland) institutions, organisations, companies, authorities and qualified local Partners in low-income countries.  

    Countries eligible for the grant financing programme include:  Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe; Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam; Bolivia, Honduras and Nicaragua. NCF is financed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and implemented jointly with NEFCO. The total budget for the Third Call is EUR 6 million.

    The Second Call, with an emphasis on renewable energy and urban adaptation to climate change, was launched in October 2010 and attracted 176 proposals, 12 of which were approved for funding.

    Source: NEFCO


    Link Read more
    Link Brochure on the Nordic Climate Facility [PDF]
    Link ACP primes for COP17 with energy summit


  18. EU offers to boost Tanzanian transport sector
    2011-11-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    The European Union (EU) has committed itself to working with the ministry of Transport to solve the challenges that are now facing the transportation sector in the country. The intervention would be directed towards solving the problems currently facing the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), thus increasing the speed of operations especially at the Dar es Salaam port.

    The head of the European Commission in Tanzania, Ambassador Tim Clarke, said in Dar es Salaam that the port had the potential of being a leader in the country's economy by creating higher incomes and job opportunities. He noted that it was important that efforts to improve its operations are supported. He also pointed out the importance of the port for East African regional integration.

    "The European Union has interest in helping you get over the challenges, and I want to assure you that a win-win situation will be achieved by both parties...the operations here (at the port) are very complex but I am sure we will overcome these challenges," Ambassador Clarke said.

    Source: AllAfrica/The Citizen


    Link Read more
    Link EU Delegation to Tanzania and EAC
    Link Tanzania Ports Authority


  19. Stronger cooperation and mobility at centre of new EU migration strategy
    2011-11-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The EU needs to boost its relationships with non-EU States to better reap the mutual benefits migration can bring. Although migration is high on the European Union’s political agenda, the Arab spring and events in the Southern Mediterranean in 2011 further highlighted the need for a coherent and comprehensive migration policy for the EU.

    That is why the European Commission proposes to strengthen dialogue and operational cooperation with non-EU partner countries in the area of migration and mobility, deepening the proposals contained in the Communication on a Partnership and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean, of 8 May. The new approach is detailed in a renewed 'Global Approach to Migration and Mobility' which places mobility of third country nationals at its centre and which makes partnerships more sustainable and forward-looking. Mobility of third country nationals across the external EU borders is important as it applies to a wide range of people, such as short-term visitors, tourists, students, researchers, business people or visiting family members and linked to visa policy. […]

    Priority will now be given to two main operational frameworks:

    Firstly, Mobility Partnerships will be offered to the EU's immediate Neighbourhood and to Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt in the first instance. Mobility partnerships offer a concrete framework for dialogue and cooperation between the EU and non-EU countries. These partnerships are focused on facilitating and organizing legal migration, effective and humane measures to address irregular migration, and concrete steps towards reinforcing the development outcomes of migration. Concluding visa facilitation and readmission agreements are to be part of these partnerships.

    For other countries, the Commission proposes to set up Common Agendas on Migration and Mobility that will constitute an advanced level of cooperation, based on a number of common recommendations, targets and commitments for dialogue and cooperation.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link More information
    Link Read the global approach strategy


  20. Fisheries: Commission proposes full ban on shark finning at sea
    2011-11-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    The European Commission on 21 November proposed to forbid, with no exemptions, the practice of 'shark finning' aboard fishing vessels. Shark finning is the practice of cutting off the fins of sharks – often while they are still alive - and then throwing back into the sea the shark without its fins. The Commission proposes that from now on, all vessels fishing in EU waters and all EU vessels fishing anywhere in the world will have to land sharks with the fins still attached. To facilitate storage and handling onboard vessels, fishermen will be permitted to slice partly through each fin and fold it against the carcass of the shark. The aim of the new rules is to better protect vulnerable shark populations across the world's oceans.

    The Commission’s proposal strengthens the existing EU legislation banning shark finning, which allows by exemption and under certain conditions, to remove fins aboard and to land fins and shark carcasses in different ports. The Commission proposes that this should no longer be possible. As a consequence, EU Member States will no longer be able to issue special fishing permits, so that vessels flying their flag can fin sharks on board. […]

    Sharks are generally very vulnerable to overexploitation: they grow slow, mature late, and have only a small number of young per birth. In recent years, some shark populations have become seriously threatened following a dramatic increase in demand for shark products, fins in particular.

    The existing 2003 Regulation on banning shark finning generally bans finning, but allows by exemption and under certain conditions, to remove fins aboard and to land fins and shark carcasses in different ports, but the weight of the fins must not exceed 5 per cent of the live weight of the sharks caught. […]

    The Spanish and Portuguese freezer vessels are those most concerned by the new rules proposed, since those countries issue most permits for on-board processing. Allowing partially slicing the fins and folding them against the carcass, answers the fishing sector's valid concerns with regard to storage and handling.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link DG Fisheries: Sharks
    Link Public consultation on shark finning


  21. EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs visits Togo
    2011-11-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, Rural development

    On 20 November, European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, arrived in Togo for a two-day visit to look at the country's progress and challenges in the wake of renewed development cooperation with the EU, post-2007.

    The Commissioner is taking part in the 22nd Session of the ACP – EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, which takes place in Lomé from 19 until 23 November and brings together Members of the European Parliament and the elected representatives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states. He also meets President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé and Prime Minister, Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, amongst others.

    After a long suspension of development cooperation between 1993 and 2007 due to the political situation, the EU and Togo resumed full cooperation at the end of 2007. Together with the government, the Commissioner will take stock of the first results of the renewed cooperation during the visit and look ahead at the priorities which are necessary to foster economic development and consolidate democracy.

    The Commissioner will also announce a new funding of €7.2 million to foster macroeconomic reforms and improvement in public finance management in order to contribute to poverty reduction. Besides the necessity of improving the rule of law in a country affected by decades of political turmoil, the essential needs of Togo are to improve infrastructure and strengthen economic recovery and the private sector through good governance, economic and institutional reforms.

    Commissioner Piebalgs will also visit a major EU-funded infrastructure project (PAUT) through which roads, sanitation projects and drainage outfalls are built. The latter offer protection against flooding and reduces illnesses caused by stagnant water (malaria, typhoid and cholera).

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU-Togo Cooperation
    Link ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Togo


  22. Parliament and Council agree on budget 2012
    2011-11-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    The European Parliament and EU Member States struck a deal on Friday night on the priorities and size of the EU Budget for 2012. The European Parliament had focussed in its proposals on growth, innovation, employment, border control, migration management and support of democratic development in the Arab world and those priorities were all taken on board by the Member States.

    "We were very selective with our priorities and I am glad they were accepted by the Council", said Parliament's rapporteur for most of next year's budget, Ms Francesca Balzani (S&D, IT). "This is the first budget in real support of the EU2020 strategy for growth and innovation. It means more money for research, better job qualifications and a competitive Europe."

    The MEP who steered the administrative budgets through Parliament, Jose Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT), said the budget for administration - making up somewhat less than 6% of the budget - "strikes the right balance between austerity and administrative needs". He underlined that administrative budgets for the different institutions were treated with rigour and will grow by around 1% only, which is a cut in real terms.

    Chairman of the EP delegation in conciliation, Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR), welcomed the agreement: "This budget shows that the EU institutions, in difficult times, are ready to agree on a budget combining budgetary discipline and investing in future growth."

    The increase in payment appropriations will be limited, as requested by the Member States. The Commission, Council and Parliament agreed to take stock in the course of next year to see if the budget is realistic or if repairs are necessary.

    The overall budget for next year will amount to €129.1 billion (1.86% increase) in payments and €147.2 in commitments.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link The reaction of the budget commissioner
    Link Commission: DG Budget


  23. The Council authorises approval of the international tropical timber agreement
    2011-11-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Environment

    The 3123rd Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries adopted a decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the EU, of the 2006 international tropical timber agreement (5812/11). The conference set up within UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) concluded its work on the replacement of the 1994 international tropical timber agreement with the adoption of a new agreement on 27 January 2006.

    This agreement was opened for signing at the UN in New York. Although tropical timber agreements are generally trade agreements covered by Article 133 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, they are considered as unconventional commodity agreements covering both trade and the environment through sustainable management for the conservation of tropical tree species.

    The purpose of this decision is therefore to approve the international tropical timber agreement 2006 and authorise the EU to deposit the instrument of approval with the UN international treaties office.

    Source: Council of Ministers


    Link Read more [PDF]
    Link International tropical timber agreement
    Link Commission: FLEGT Action Plan


  24. Little progress on EU-Caribbean EPA
    2011-11-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    In 2008, the EU concluded its first Economic Partnership Agreement with a group of member states’ former colonies. So far, this agreement has not made much progress. […]

    Cariforum, so far, is the only regional organisation to have signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). The EPA will come into force once all member countries have ratified it. Until then, Cariforum and the EU have pledged to provisionally apply the EPA. It was agreed in October 2008. […]

    The EPA has hardly made progress so far. There are several reasons, including diverging opinions and even clashes among Cariforum members on the one hand and lack of action on behalf of the EU on the other. According to Junior Lodge, the technical coordinator for the CARICOM Office of Trade Negotiations, there are several major implementation bottlenecks, including

    – the lack of human resources, funding and political will,
    – the lack of coherence between EPA implementation and other economic policymaking in general (including multilateral trade negotiations) and
    – the lack of dynamism in the regional integration process.

    Cariforum is challenged by deep and unresolved differences between Caricom and the Dominican Republic. The process of EPA implementation, moreover, has proven to be inefficient and fastidious, requiring regular meetings of the Joint Council of EU and Cariforum. To attend these meetings at government level, Cariforum countries depend on support from the European Development Fund (EDF).

    To date, only five Cariforum countries – Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana and St. Kitts and Nevis – have started reducing their tariffs. The others are still preparing for such steps. Only Barbados, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica have set up EPA implementation units.

    Source: inwent.org


    Link Read more
    Link EU-ACP EPAs
    Link Caricom EPA implementation unit



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Isolina BOTO
CTA
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Editor: André Feldhof (feldhof@cta.int)

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For more information on the full range of CTA activities please go to http://www.cta.int/
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Copyright © 2011 Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU. Email:cta@cta.int
The opinions expressed in the comments and analysis are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CTA.

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