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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 317]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 317]
Send date: 2012-04-05 14:03:43
Issue #: 133
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. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 09/04 to 15/04/2012
  2. Last Brussels Development Briefing
  3. Solidarity to play on European pitches
  4. Third countries to comply with EU restrictive measures against Ivory Coast
  5. 'A huge change of mindset'
  6. EP delegations: What do they do?
  7. EU tightens international aid
  8. CAP reform is 'urgently needed'
  9. EP green agenda
  10. An Irish discussion on free market access withdrawal
  11. ACP Forest Management Project to help Jamaicans build resilience
  12. EU shows will to increase investment in Zimbabwe
  13. EU reproaches Caribbean region on EPA ownership
  14. EU-Africa Partnership for Infrastructure proves successful
  15. 3 new agreements to strengthen CARIFORUM
  16. Tax-free access to Europe walks a tightrope
  17. South Africa looks to seize new opportunities
  18. Zambia: Definitely not "a horse and rider" EPA
  19. EC to make agri-food more competitive


  1. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 09/04 to 15/04/2012
    2012-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    European Parliament
    10 April: Committee on Foreign Affairs
    ACP Group
    13 April: ACP-EU S/C on Trade Cooperation
    13 April: 4th meeting on ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration

    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.




  2. Last Brussels Development Briefing
    2012-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, ACP-EU Policy, Regional Fisheries

    The last Brussels Briefing on "Small island economies: from vulnerabilities to opportunities" took place on 4th April, 2012. More than 100 ACP and EU policy-makers, NGO representatives and Member States delegates actively participated. A wider audience followed the Briefing through a live webstream and participated via email and Twitter.
    Next week, all material related to the Briefing, including photos and the videos, will be published here.





  3. Solidarity to play on European pitches
    2012-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, Archive, Food Security

    As we announced last month, this week saw the kick-off of "Professional Football Against Hunger", a campaign which has come to European football stadiums with the message that urgent action is needed to avert a humanitarian disaster in the Sahel region of Africa.
    It has been promoted by the Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), the European Commission and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
    The campaign's message and activities have swept across the continent,involving 300 professional football clubs in 20 leagues throughout 16 European countries, reaching millions of football fans.

    Source: FAO


    Link Read more
    Link A new campaign against hunger
    Link EU Strategy to tackle fragility of Sahel region


  4. Third countries to comply with EU restrictive measures against Ivory Coast
    2012-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    High Representative Catherine Ashton has announced this week that certain third countries will comply with the recent Council Decision renewing restrictive measures against the Ivory Coast. The Acceding Country Croatia*, the Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the Country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Albania, and the EFTA countries Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia, will ensure that their national policies conform to the Council decision.
    Restrictive measures imposed by the EU may target governments of third countries, or non-state entities and individuals (such as terrorist groups and terrorists). They may comprise arms embargoes, other specific or general trade restrictions (import and export bans), financial restrictions, restrictions on admission (visa or travel bans), or other measures, as appropriate.

    Source: Council of the EU


    Link Read more
    Link EU eased restrictive measures against Ivory Coast
    Link Know more about restrictive measures


  5. 'A huge change of mindset'
    2012-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Archive, Rural development

    According to one article by EurActiv, manufacturers recognize their failure to address concerns over the environmental and health risks of pesticides. Friedhelm Schmider, director general of the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), said that the industry has learned from past mistakes and stood ready to address wider public concerns over safety and the environment.
    "We got aware that our communication was based on facts and figures – something we are so proud of – but not really listening to societal concerns. And that was big, big give".
    In words of Mr Schmider , this represents "a huge change of mindset" for the industry, which has long argued that its products are safe if properly used by farmers.
    Anxiety rose after several studies found residual levels of pesticides in fruit and vegetables put on supermarket shelves. The European Commission tried addressing those concerns by pushing through legislation banning the use of the most toxic chemicals – those that can cause cancer or affect the reproduction system.
    EU legislation also sets limits for pesticides in food – the so-called Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) above which consumption in large quantities can present a risk for human health.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link Know more about EPCA
    Link Friedhelm Schmider's interview


  6. EP delegations: What do they do?
    2012-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    According to the EP Press service, MEPs regularly travel in delegations to other countries as part of the EP's contribution to the EU's foreign policy. Like parliamentary committees, EP delegations consist of MEPs charged with a specific task. In this case it is about maintaining contacts with their counterparts in parliaments of countries outside the EU. And unlike committees, delegations do not prepare resolutions for the plenary to discuss or vote on. Instead they focus on exchanging information and developing the Parliament's international relations.
    One of the principal aims is to help strengthen contacts with states that are considered the EU's traditional partners and promote EU values such as respect for human rights, liberty and democracy. Each delegation normally holds an interparliamentary meeting once a year with parliamentarians or representatives of civil society from a country outside the EU. They work closely together with the parliamentary committees on foreign affairs, development and international trade. The delegations consult the chairs of these committees before interparliamentary meetings take place and submit reports afterwards. The chairs of the delegations also come together in the Conference of Delegation Chairs to discuss matters regarding the running of the delegations.
    There are 41 delegations, varying in size from 12 to more than 70 members. MEPs are usually full members of one or more delegations and can be substitute members in others. Delegations, which are set up to be a fair representation of member states and political groups in the EP,  have a chair and usually two vice-chairs.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link EP delegations
    Link Pan-African parliament


  7. EU tightens international aid
    2012-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, Rural development, Archive

    In light of the eurozone crisis, EU members are tightening their fiscal belts, and notably regarding international aid. According to a press release by Concord, the European Confederation of Relief and Development NGO, almost all European countries are making cuts to their aid programmes to the developing world.
    As the figures of the OCDE indicate, the EU countries' aid allocation decreased to 0.42 %of gross national income in 2011, from 0.44 % the previous year. Concord stresses that 12 EU countries have shrunk their aid budgets,  most notably Spain (-32.7%) and Greece (-39.3%), with substantial decreases by Belgium as well.  
    Despite a degree of understanding given the crisis, there is nothing but criticism. According to Olivier Consolo, director of Concord, urges EU countries not to "turn their backs to the over three billion people living on less than $2.50 a day […] We could see Europe entering an age of aid austerity, pulling back from supporting millions of poor people in developing countries."

    Source: Concord/ Publicserviceeurope


    Link Know more about the 5TH Forum
    Link EU countries critisised
    Link TN: Budget cuts for drastic savings


  8. CAP reform is 'urgently needed'
    2012-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development

    According to Alan Matthews, Professor of Trinity College in Dublin, making the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) more sustainable will be vital for environmental as well as economic reasons. During the presentation of his report to the EP’s Agricultural Committee, Professor  Matthews stressed that the reform is urgently needed.  He analysed positive, but as well weak points of the Commission's proposal and said that the reform is urgently needed. 
    Professor Matthews examined the proposal's impact and researched possible alternatives. He highlighted several positive elements, such as it not involving additional costs, so there was no need to postpone action on it. The plan would define and fund mandatory green standards for the whole of the EU. Ecological focus areas would help to preserve biodiversity and quality, while targeted measures should be pursued, even if some member states would benefit more from them than others.
    However, professor Matthews said there were still questions that needed answering, such as would the greening scheme be mandatory for farmers. The proposal indicates there will be two payments: one for green issues and one for general farming support. Why are there two payments? Professor Matthews also said more money should be made available, for example the green aspects could be covered by the EU's long-term budget. He also questioned whether it would be fair as organic farmers are already green by definition.
    Together with the Council, the European Parliament will have to approve the proposal. The agricultural committee, which is responsible for drafting a recommendation to MEPs, will discuss the plan again on 27 March. Many MEPs have said there can be no final vote on the reform package without final figures of the EU's long-term budget for 2014-2020.
    Source: European Parliament

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Infographic on the CAP reform
    Link EP position on CAP reform


  9. EP green agenda
    2012-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    What´s Parliament green agenda? EU policies have taken on a distinct green hue: Reducing EU impact on the environment has become a priority. An article by EP Press service explains what politicians mean by green.
    According to Amalia Sartori, who chairs the industry, research and energy committee,   the aim is to decarbonise the economy and that everyone, from industry to public bodies and citizens had a role to play. "Green energy is the future and industry will have to follow the trend that has become a reality in Europe and in the whole world", she states. The Parliament is currently working on an energy efficiency directive and will soon start negotiations with the Council and the Commission.
    Likewise, Zalba Bidegain, vice-chair of the economic and monetary affairs committee,  says a green economy based on renewable energy would stimulate Europe's technological development. "Moreover, this green economy will allow us to find new ways to generate jobs, wealth and respect the environment", she adds.  
    Speaking of jobs, Pervenche Bères, chair of the employment committee, stresses  that "minimising energy consumption, reducing waste and pollution or even safeguarding biodiversity, a green job may take several forms.”

    Source: European Parliament



    Link Read more
    Link Greenhouse gas emissions
    Link EP calls for global green economy targets


  10. An Irish discussion on free market access withdrawal
    2012-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, ACP-EU Trade

    According to recent reports by ACP Secretariat Press Service, officials from Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation attend the meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade this week to discuss COM (2011)598 relating to EPAs with ACP countries.
    This is the first time the Committee has a full scrutiny hearing on an EU Commission proposal. Com 2011 598 is a proposal amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007 to exclude of a number of countries from the list of regions or states which have concluded the negotiation of an Economic Partnership Agreement.
    Officials from the Department o will update the committee on the background and aim of the proposal, how it will impact the ACP countries involved and the implications for Ireland.”

    Source: CTA


    Link Read more
    Link Irish Foreign Affairs Committee
    Link See proposal


  11. ACP Forest Management Project to help Jamaicans build resilience
    2012-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    With the aim of allowing communities to co-manage forested areas while building their resilience to the risks that come with natural hazards, around 215 hectares (531 acres) of watershed areas have been replanted utilising 113,914 seedlings. This initiative has been carried out under the Local Forest Management Committee (LFMC) project, implemented through funding from the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) in the ACP Group.
    During the course of the  Smithfield LFMC in Cascade (Hanover) Hon. Luther Buchanan, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, stressed this projects help residents become stakeholders in the preservation of the protected forests of the island. “This is exactly the type of community involvement project that is needed to foster awareness about the environmental importance of our forests,” he stated.
    The project is managed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), and is being implemented by the Forestry Department, National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Environmental Management Division of the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, and the Meteorological Service.

    Source: ACP


    Link Read more
    Link EU-Jamaica
    Link EU supports Rural Jamaican communities


  12. EU shows will to increase investment in Zimbabwe
    2012-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    As the EU has announced its willingness to increase trade and investment relations with Zimbabwe, it has urged the country to take advantage of the bloc’s support for the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), to which the EU is providing technical assistance with the aim of reinforcing regional integration.
    Accordingly, the EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia, has recalled that the bloc was working towards attracting European investment to Zimbabwe.
    It is worth remembering that last week, the Zimbabwean government launched the Industrial Development Policy (IDP) and the National Trade Policy to increase the country’s export competitiveness. A key objective of this recently launched trade policy is to promote the diversification of the country’s export basket by harnessing comparative advantage in key priority sectors.
    The policy also targets to increase export earnings by 10% annually to US$7 billion by 2016 from the US$4,3 billion recorded last year.

    Source: ACP


    Link Read more
    Link EU-Zimbabwe
    Link Zimbabwean ministry of industry & commerce


  13. EU reproaches Caribbean region on EPA ownership
    2012-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The EU representative to Antigua & Barbuda and the East Caribbean, Valeriano Diaz,  recently criticised regional governments and the private sector for moving slowly to give effect to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA),  signed more than three years ago. He said that CARIFORUM must “take ownership” of the economic and trade pact. “Let me make it clear that the EU has not abandoned the Caribbean […]ownership of the EPA does not belong to the European Union; it is the purview of the regional governments. They have to ensure that the legislative and other frameworks are in place so that the private sector, entrepreneurs and others can reap the benefits which the EPA offers”
    According to the Antigua Observer, Ambassador Diaz urged the regional private sector to stop “standing passively on the sidelines” and be more proactive in seeking information on the EPA.
    Speaking of EPA’s awareness,  he stressed that it is perplexing to  hear via the media, some business persons lamenting that they do not know much about the EPA. “We live in the information age and given the time since the signature of the agreement, this kind of defeatist attitude is difficult to understand,” he concluded.

    Source: Bilaterals


    Link Read more
    Link EU-Antigua&Barbuda
    Link EPA impact on the Caribbean


  14. EU-Africa Partnership for Infrastructure proves successful
    2012-04-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Archive, Environment

    During the the Fourth Meeting of the Steering Committee of the EU-Africa Partnership for Infrastructure, held last week, members  assessed the implementation of the AU-EU partnership, particularly with regards to the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). The general assessment was positive, as some of the remarks  emphasised that it has proven to be quite successful in supporting some of the very large-scale infrastructure programmes, which help meet Africa’s needs. Nevertheless, it was noted that  there was still much work to do, notably regarding continental transport, energy, water management and ICT networks.
    Dr. Elham Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission (AUC), explained how PIDA provides African stakeholders with a common framework that  will help better integrate transport, energy, information communication technology (ICT) and trans-boundary water networks, to stimulate trade, facilitate growth and create jobs. “The African Union Commission will spare no efforts to make the Africa - EU Infrastructure Partnership a model of cooperation for infrastructure development in Africa” she stated.
    Mr. Aboubakar Baba Moussa, Director of Infrastructure & Energy at the AUC, reminded of the great progress that African economies are making, and pointed out that these are becoming an attraction for investment, especially in the area of infrastructure.
    EU-Africa partnership on infrastructure was adopted within the frame work of Africa - EU common strategy in December 2007. This common strategy is on areas of trade, regional integration and infrastructure. During this partnership, the Steering Committee has been working  in implementing its action plan.

    Source: Starafrica


    Link Read more
    Link Know more about PIDA
    Link EU strategy for Africa


  15. 3 new agreements to strengthen CARIFORUM
    2012-04-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy, Rural development

    The Caribbean Forum of the ACP Group (CARIFORUM) and the European Commission (EC) recently signed three financial agreements. While the first agreement will focus on economic and trade integration, the second deal is expected to help develop areas of government procurement, labour market information systems and e-commerce.  The third agreement is intended to improve the CARIFORUM’s capacity to benefit from EPA provisions.
    With a total value of €82.6 million, the financing agreements provide EC support for, among other things, the economic integration and trade of the nine-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS); the further development of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), with special allocations for Belize and Haiti ; and CARIFORUM’s implementation commitments under the CARIFORUM-EC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
    The CSME-related Programme, will lend support to develop areas of government procurement, labour market information systems and e-commerce. It will also place emphasis on transferring social security benefits, and building capacity in statistics, among other areas. Funds have been set aside under this agreement to support Belize and Haiti to be better placed ot take advantage of the CSME, as well as to assist other CARICOM Member states to bridge the implementation gap.
    The third agreement provides €46.5 million to boost CARIFORUM’s capacity to take full advantage of the provisions of the EPA and to honour its commitments therein. The programme provides support for fiscal reform and adjustment; sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures; services; the rum sector and (removing) technical barriers to trade..
    While the signature of the agreements signalled a beginning, the Secretary-General cautioned that the end product would have no meaning if the people of the Region did not feel the impact of the resources.

    Source: ACP


    Link Read more
    Link Know more about Cariforum
    Link EU-CARIFORUN flow of investments


  16. Tax-free access to Europe walks a tightrope
    2012-04-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    According to an article by Tralac, an EU lawmaker recently warned that should some African countries fail to sign a deal to replace preferential agreement, which the World Trade Organisation has rejected,they could lose tax-free access for exports to the EU. The EU and ACP countries had until the end of 2007 to sign the EPA to replace existing unilateral trade preferences, or risk disrupting European trade.
    Since then the EU’s talks with most of the countries have dragged on longer than planned as activists in Europe argued that the availability of more African products would hurt Europe’s farming and manufacturing sectors.
    Vital Moreira, chairman of the EU Parliament’s International Trade (INTA) Committee, said the EU Commission planned to change its Market Access Regulation, which if passed, would remove preferential access after January 2014 for any country that failed to ratify the EPA by the end of 2013.

    Source: Tralac


    Link Read more
    Link Pressure to unlock negotiations
    Link What is it worth?


  17. South Africa looks to seize new opportunities
    2012-04-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development

    The Department of Trade and Industry (Dti) has identified food processing as a priority area in the South African economy. Following the announcement of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme (MCEP) will be launched in April to support the development of industry and to help businesses improve their competitiveness. Trade and Industry Minister Dr. Rob Davies recently explained that the MCEP could enhance growth and development of the sector.
    According to Mr Davies  while agricultural production of crops in South Africa is thriving, “processing is lacking”.  As he thinks that the food processing industry is closely linked to the agricultural sector from where it draws its inputs, he believes, it is important to build a greater symbiosis between agriculture and food processing,  thereby creating more jobs. "Our agro processing businesses must not stay stuck in a rut, but seize new opportunities,"  he recently stated.
    Davies added that the Dti is also focusing on new export market opportunities in Africa, the Middle East region, and BRICS countries as South Africa needs to develop market access “to more dynamic economies". Furthermore, traditional export markets for South African food products, namely the EU and the US, are expected to register relatively low growth for the next two to three years. "There are still opportunities in Europe, but in newer members of the EU and Eastern European countries",  he stressed.

    Source: Bizcommunity


    Link Read more
    Link Know more about the Dti
    Link Know more about the MCEP


  18. Zambia: Definitely not "a horse and rider" EPA
    2012-04-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    According to the recent statements of the Zambian Trade and Commerce Minister Robert Sichinga, the country will not be pressured into signing unfavourable EPAs with the EU.  In a meeting with the EU delegation in Lusaka, Minister Sichinga noted that he considered the provisions provided by EPAs as being based on  “a horse and a rider” relationship.
    Mr. Sichinga stressed that the EU is an important trading partner and that they would remain committed to the EPA process since it is their belief “that a development-friendly EPA can contribute to the sustainable development of our economies”. However, he also remarked that EU is pushing through deals that don’t take into account unequal power relations between rich and poor countries.
    Likewise, the Zambian minister said that these negotiations might result in fragmentation rather than regional integration,  as some countries have already signed bilateral agreements outside of the en bloc EPAs as they fear losing market access.

    Source: Southern Times


    Link Read more
    Link EU delegation in Zambia
    Link Reservations on EPAs' potential


  19. EC to make agri-food more competitive
    2012-04-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development

    The European Commission  (EC) has recently adopted a Communication which aims to make the agriculture and agri food sector more dynamic and more competitive and to promote sustainable, intelligent and inclusive growth. Entitled 'Promotion measures and information provision for agricultural products: a reinforced value added strategy for promoting the tastes of Europe', the  Communication is the second stage of the promotion policy reform process launched in July 2011.
    Speaking of  the world market, Dacian Cioloș, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, pointed out  that exports in this sector already represent more than €100 billion. “In an increasingly open world, the success of European agriculture also depends on its capacity to strengthen and develop its position. This entails new ambition for our promotion policy and putting in place a real Community strategy for optimising the use of our products”.
    The EU rules in force on information and promotion in the agri food sphere were drawn up in the 1980s. They have been adapted over the years, particularly thanks to the increase in the number of quality labels. The EU budget spent on promotion under Council Regulation (EC) No 3/2008 was €47 million in 2011 and €55 million is earmarked for 2012.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Read the communication
    Link Evaluation of agri-food promotion



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Ms Isolina BOTO
Head
CTA Brussels Office
39 rue Montoyer
1000 Brussels - Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 2 513 74 36 (direct); Fax +32 (0) 2 511 38 68
E-mail: boto@cta.int
Website: http://www.cta.int/
Brussels weblog: http://brussels.cta.int/
Brussels Briefings: http://brusselsbriefings.net/

Editor: Alejandra Morales (morales@cta.int)

NOTE
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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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