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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 323]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 323]
Send date: 2012-05-21 16:45:14
Issue #: 139
Content:
Bulletin CTA

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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 21/05 to 26/05/2012
  2. EU to help grow SMEs agribusinesses in Uganda
  3. AFET MEPs call on EU to take action on Sudan-South Sudan issue
  4. Solomons Prime Minister gives EU a pat on the back
  5. Supporting a greener CAP, if it's flexible
  6. Joint statement on the future role of freshwater aquaculture
  7. Guyanese MPs unanimously ratify EPA
  8. Ministers delve deeper into certain aspects of CFP reform
  9. Lack of EU vessels in Mauritanian waters prompts concern
  10. Prospects for improvement of Zimbabwean trade
  11. Uganda: towards a new EU development cooperation approach
  12. First iEPA with African region comes to pass
  13. Scholarships to microfinance policymakers from ACP countries
  14. ACP-EU updates: MFN clause, EP committees and SA message to Hollande


  1. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 21/05 to 26/05/2012
    2012-05-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    European Parliament
    -21/24 May: Plenary session (Strasbourg)
    -21 & 24 May: Committee on Foreign Affairs
    -21 May: Committee on Fisheries
    Council of Ministers
    -23 May: Coreper I
    -23 May: Coreper II
    ACP Group
    -21 May: Consultations on the Pan-African Road Map on Cotton
    -21 May: Stakeholders’ Workshop on the UNDP-sponsored on Future Perspectives of the ACP Group
    -21 May:  6th meeting on ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration
    -22 May: Meeting of Brussels-and Geneva-Based representatives of ACP Cotton-Producing Countries
    -22 May: 17th Meeting of the COS-Coton
    -23/30 May : Joint ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly (Horsens, Danemark)
    Research Events
    -21/24 May: Customs 2013 Workshop – The role of Customs in Environmental Protection (Rønne, Denmark)

    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. EU to help grow SMEs agribusinesses in Uganda
    2012-05-16
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, ACP-EU Policy

    Although Uganda is often considered a mainly agricultural country, its recent performance has been assessed as being “disappointing”. According to an article by New vision, a lack of financing in the sector is resulting in the country's not being able to reach its full potential and become a major agricultural power in East Africa. Experts point to investment in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as being beneficial  for farmers. Likewise, greater public spending in the sector and clearer policies could lead to a very noticeable improvement.
    Accordingly, H.E. Ambassador Roberto Ridolfi, head of the European Delegation, has noted  the EU’s support to the efforts of the Government of Uganda in these areas. Notably, the EU,  along with other development partners,  is working with the country  to explore the possibilities of setting-up an equity fund for SME agribusinesses.

    Source: New vision


    Link Read more
    Link EU-Uganda
    Link New EU development cooperation approach


  3. AFET MEPs call on EU to take action on Sudan-South Sudan issue
    2012-05-16
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    Once more, tensions in Africa and China’s engagement in the continent, oblige the EU to re-evaluate its foreign policy. The Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) urged the EU to take action on the crises in West, Central and East Africa, particularly regarding the tensions between Sudan and South Sudan. AFET MEPs underlined China's role in Sudan – South Sudan relations, as the country  has been very active in the region.  Highlighting that the EU has been dragging its feet with regards to helping resolve the conflict, MEP Mario Mauro has asked the committee : “What is the EU's role here?”
    Nicholas Westcott, director for Africa at the European External Action Service (EEAS), said the reason why no agreement had yet been reached was that the two countries lacked experience in coping with the situation. Likewise, the EU Special Representative for Sudan, said the EU and China shared the same goal because they were both encouraging the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to develop a solution for peace. However, she considered that "China acts proactively because Chinese enterprises are affected by Sudanese oil".
    In line with other MEPs, Véronique de Keyser expressed concerns and said that if one were to compare the situation in 2011 and that in 2012 between Sudan and South Sudan, one would see that “the situation has degenerated”.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Europe and China in Africa
    Link The EU and China’s engagement in Africa


  4. Solomons Prime Minister gives EU a pat on the back
    2012-05-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    In light of Europe Day, the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands,  Gordon Darcy Lilo, extended his congratulations. Recalling the EU’s role as a “development driver”, he stressed that the EU would remain a key partner. He also noted that through Cotonou’s provisions  the Solomons receive substantial assistance in crucial areas of development, such as agriculture or climate change.
    According to the Solomon Star, Mr. Lilo also appreciated the EU’s assistance in budget support under the Solomon Islands Economic Recovery Programme. Taking note of the financial crises faced by EU members, he applauded the “unwavering commitment by the EU to international development”, particularly in ACP countries

    Source: Solomonstarnews


    Link Read more
    Link EU-Solomon Islands
    Link EU’s assistance in budget support


  5. Supporting a greener CAP, if it's flexible
    2012-05-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment

    Following discussions held in March 2012, agriculture ministers re-visited the environmental aspects of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), in view of its upcoming reform. In particular, delegations exchanged views on possible ways to encourage farmers in Europe to adopt more environmentally friendly practices. Potential greening measures that were put forward focused on an increase in crop diversity; the creation and maintenance of permanent pastures; and the preservation of natural areas.
    Furthermore, 30% of direct payments would be expected to be reserved for farms which use the aforementioned  practices, though organic farms and small farmers would be exempt. As ministers have already noted during previous meetings, even if they generally support the greening approach, they would like measures to take into account the diversity of EU members and the needs thereof. Therefore, members are aiming for the proposed measures to be wide in scope and flexible in application.

    Source: Council of the EU

     

     


    Link Read more
    Link Council in favor of a green CAP
    Link  CAP reform


  6. Joint statement on the future role of freshwater aquaculture
    2012-05-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    Following the conference entitled "Common Fisheries Policy: which future for aquaculture?", which took place in Salzburg last week, ministers at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council were briefed by the Commission. As a follow-up of the event, 21 member states signed a joint statement on the future role of freshwater aquaculture in the CFP.
    The statement underlines the importance of aquaculture in the EU, as it can provide long-term sustainability in ecologic, economic and social terms, as well as contribute to  increase food supplies and the recovery of fish stocks. It also recalls that aquaculture plays a vital role for the economy, employment and the quality of life in rural areas, and suggests that this sector should consequently be promoted in particular through the EMFF .

    Source: Council of the EU


    Link Read more
    Link Read the statement
    Link EU aquaculture


  7. Guyanese MPs unanimously ratify EPA
    2012-05-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Weeks after the visit of Jolita Butkeviciene, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Directorate General for EuropeAid Development and Cooperation (DEVCO),  Guyana’s  parliamentarians have unanimously approved a motion ratifying the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
    Guyana will have the possibility for a review once every five years, as it was among countries that originally declined signing the accord if such a possibility didn’t exist.  According to Guyana’s Foreign Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, the EU accepted the country’s request in the final hours of negotiations.
    Guyana now joins some other countries that  have already ratified the agreement, such as Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, and the Dominican Republic. So far, the CARIFORUM region remains the only region to have completed a comprehensive EPA with the EU.

    Source: The Gleaner


    Link Read more
    Link EU relations with the Caribbean
    Link EPAs: Guyana pulls ahead of its neighbours


  8. Ministers delve deeper into certain aspects of CFP reform
    2012-05-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    During the course of the last Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries, ministers exchanged views on certain aspects of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Two main issues were discussed: while the first debate focused on achieving environmental sustainability through maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and the integration of environmental law requirements into the proposal covering the basic provisions of the CFP; the second issue delved deeper into the proposal for a regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), replacing the existing European fisheries fund.
    Although there was a general agreement regarding the inclusion of MSY as an objective in the CFP, most delegations urged a progressive approach. They suggested that the deadline for reaching the MSY for certain fish stocks could be set in 2015, in line with the EU's international commitments (Johannesburg), if scientific advice was available and no third countries were involved in the fishery. In other cases, in particular when thescientific information available was poor, a deadline could be set in 2020 at the latest.
    Concerning the EMF, though delegations broadly agreed on the current proposal, some questioned whether the part of the fund dedicated to controls and data collection was sufficient. With this in view, some countries mentioned a possible transfer from the allocations for direct management to the allocation for shared management.

    Source: Council of the EU




    Link Read more
    Link CFP proposal
    Link Know more about the EMFF


  9. Lack of EU vessels in Mauritanian waters prompts concern
    2012-05-15

    Given the current deadlock in negotiations with Mauritania, the Polish delegation briefed the Council on the consequences of the suspension of fishing by EU vessels in Mauritanian waters. The Polish request to the Commission for action was supported by several members states, as this partnership agreement is considered to be of high importance for the EU fishing fleet.
    According to the Press service of the Council of the EU, fishing vessels from six member states (Poland, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, the United Kingdom and Germany) have been severely affected by the decision  to suspend fishing in Mauritanian waters from last month.
    The closure affects freezer trawlers under the fisheries partnership agreement between the EU and Mauritania, which fish mainly for pelagic species such as sardine, sardinella and mackerel. This decision as taken to prevent overfishing.

    Source: Council of the EU


    Link Read more
    Link Note from the Polish delegation
    Link FPA with mauritania


  10. Prospects for improvement of Zimbabwean trade
    2012-05-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    As the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) comes into effect this week, Zimbawbe will benefit from a €50 million financing scheme under the Regional Integration Support Programme (RISP), which is intended to assist the country in terms of trade development and facilitation.
    In the words of Mr. Aldo Dell'Ariccia, the EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe: "The facility also includes technical assistance, which will result in Zimbabwe businesses getting access to updated information on the EU market, and at the same time investors in the EU can get a realistic picture of the local business environment”.
    Mr Aldo Dell'Ariccia  also said the iEPA would help improve EU-Zimbabwe trade. "Zimbabwe-EU trade has doubled since 2009, and the iEPA is further expected to enhance Zimbabwe's exports to the EU", he stated.

    Source: All Africa


    Link Read more
    Link Know more about RISP
    Link Little hope for EU change of heart before Zimbabwe


  11. Uganda: towards a new EU development cooperation approach
    2012-05-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy, Rural development

    With the aim of finding a way to implement a new approach to development cooperation, and in line with the recently released EC communication “An Agenda for change”, the EU Delegation in Uganda exchanged views with East African stakeholders last week.  Talks were also intended to start the preparation of the  programming exercise for the 11th European Development Fund.
    As Uganda’s needs point to energy, water and sanitation systems, transport and communication, a combination of  EU grants with loans coming from different financial institutions, including private capital and banks, may boost effectiveness in terms of  infrastructure development, as stressed by the EU delegation. Likewise, this new approach could lead a reform of the existing EU-Africa Trust Fund for Infrastructure.
    The main investors will be the European Union and EU member states, official finance institutions, private banks, international finance institutions and foundations. Other include National Social Security Funds (NSSF) and other interested private investors from Uganda and abroad.

    Source: New Vision


    Link Read more
    Link An Agenda for change
    Link EU Delegation in Uganda


  12. First iEPA with African region comes to pass
    2012-05-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Regional Fisheries, ACP-EU Policy

    Four African countries, namely Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and Zimbabwe,  will gradually open their markets to European exports over the course of 15 years. Following long negotiations, the trade and development agreement concluded by the EU and the aforementioned African countries is set to take effect this week. “This is excellent news and I salute the hard work of negotiators and colleagues on all sides. With this trade deal we hope to accompany the development of our partners in Eastern and Southern Africa and open up better and lasting business opportunities", praises EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
    The agreement, which aims to facilitate European exports to these African markets, with exceptions for several products that are considered sensitive,  covers provisions on rules of origin, development cooperation, fisheries, trade defence instruments and dispute settlement
    At the end of 2007, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe concluded an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU. Four countries (Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe) went ahead and signed it in August 2009 in Mauritius. These four countries have now taken and completed steps towards ratification or notified application, so that the agreement can be applied as of today. Once all parties ratify, including all EU Member States, the Agreement will officially enter into force.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Interim EPA
    Link ESA-EU framework agreement


  13. Scholarships to microfinance policymakers from ACP countries
    2012-05-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    In the framework of its partnership with the Campus of the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation ITC ILO, ACP/EU MICROFINANCE offers scholarships to microfinance policymakers from ACP countries. The Programme will award 20 scholarships to staff of Central Banks, Ministries of finance and Supervisory bodies.
    The scholarships, worth USD 4,500, will cover tuition expenses but will not cover the accommodation or travel expenses. The Boulder Microfinance Training Programme will take place at the ITC ILO in Turin, Italy, from July 16th to August 3rd, 2012.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link How to apply
    Link EU Microfinance II (2010-2014)


  14. ACP-EU updates: MFN clause, EP committees and SA message to Hollande
    2012-05-14
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    Despite vocal criticism of the EU, this is tempered by a number of positive notes. The former president of Tanzania, Benjamin William Mkapa, who warns on a weekly basis of the negative effects of the EPAs, emphasised last week that there exists a certain sympathy within the EU for Africa’s concerns, as the European Parliament committees on Development (DEVE) and International Trade (INTA) recently drafted proposals rejecting the proposal for the amendment of Regulation 1528/2007, which provides duty-free and quota-free market access to the EU market. Furthermore, he has noted that the EU will greatly benefit from African development and prosperity. "We trust therefore that the EU will heed ACP countries’ and Africa’s proposals for a mutually-beneficial partnership ahead", he stated.
    However, concerns over the inclusion of  the most-favored-nation (MFN) clause in the EPAs did not go unnoticeable. According to The East African, the EU aims to restrain the bloc from making deals with emerging economies, particularly with China and India, as it would require that the EAC extend to the EU the same preferences granted to third parties. EAC stakeholders said the clause could severely weaken South-South trade. James Ndahiro, Rwanda’s representative to the East African Legislative Assembly, stated  accordingly that the MFN clause should be removed or modified to restrict its application to agreements with more developed economies.
    The latest events at the EP level made for some of the most reported-on stories this past week. The EP hosted conference highlighting the issue of the use of child labour on cocoa farms and called upon consumers to buy Fair Trade.  Participants at the event were shown a special film by CNN about child labour on West African cocoa farms, where tens of thousands of children are involved in backbreaking and sometimes dangerous work.
    Moreover the EP approved the EC expenses for 2010, along with the finances of almost all other institutions, agencies, and notably the European Development Fund.
    Given the situation in Somalia, where piracy has escalated and become a threat to regional stability, world trade, and all forms of maritime transport, MEPS called upon Member states to provide more material assistance and naval vessels to the operation ATALANTA, the European Naval Force launched in December 2008 and extended by the Council until the end of 2014. The EP also asked for more humanitarian assistance in order to improve the on-shore situation.
    South Africa has also set the media abuzz. Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe called upon Germany to invest in South Africa's massive state-led infrastructure drive. "We are targeting a range of areas, including roads, rail, ports, water infrastructure and telecommunications. To this end we wish to invite the government of Germany and German cooperates to participate in this important initiative," he stated.
    Following Francois Hollande's takeover of the French presidency, South African President, Mr. Jacob Zuma said he looks forward to further strengthening  bilateral and trade relations between the two countries, as he emphasised the role of France in international fora. "On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, I congratulate Mr Francois Hollande on winning the French Presidential elections. We would like to take this opportunity to extend our congratulations to Mr Hollande and the people of France for a successful election," he stated.
    The CTA –Brussels Office also updated its readers on the €89 million EU grant to Rwanda, which aims to support agricultural programmes focused on increasing nation-wide food production.
    Other articles of note regarding the development community dealt with the future establishment of a new Center for European Studies in the Dominican Republic, and a high-level conference on the modernisation of Trade Defence Instruments (TDI),  held in Brussels, which brought together more than 240 stakeholders who discussed possible modifications to these defence instruments to allow them to function better in the current global trading environment.


    Link Read all ACP-EU updates



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Please feel free to forward this newsletter to other interested colleagues.

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
If you have questions or suggestions, please write to us at : boto@cta.int
For more information on the full range of CTA activities please go to http://www.cta.int/
More information on CTA activities in Brussels at : http://brussels.cta.int/
CTA is an institution of the ACP Group of States (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) and the EU (European Union), in the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is financed by the EU.
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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