Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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EDITO
Monday, 26 June 2017

The projects of the African Portuguese Speaking Countries and Timor-Leste (PALOP-TL) financed by the European Union were finalised on Thursday and Friday during technical meetings held in Praia, the capital of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde). The ministerial meeting on Friday, assessed the projects to be financed by the 11th European Development Fund, with the participation of the Director General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission, Stefano Manservisi.

Fiji has again asked the European Union to grant it citizen visa-free access to the 26 countries making up the Schengen Area. The Fiji prime minister Frank Bainimarama put this to the President of the European Council Donald Tusk during a meeting in Brussels. The EU has eased travel for citizens of Pacific Island countries except for Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Mr Bainimarama said the EU should act as Fiji has met the requirements for visa-free travel. The only European countries accessible for Fiji passport holders without first obtaining a visa are Ireland and Russia. In Asia, no visa is needed for China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh and South Korea. However, visas are needed for Australia and New Zealand.

The European Commission is set to propose new measures to regulate Citrus Black Spot and False Codling Moth. This would extend the current measures on CBS and introduce a regulation for the first time on FCM. South Africa, while not the only country to be affected by these possible new regulations, would be severely affected. Some Southern EC Member States would, in addition to the regulations already in place, like to delete the derogation for citrus fruit processing [juice] with regard to CBS and on the FCM side they want to change the “consignment freedom” approach of the Commission to a mandatory cold sterlisation requirement for citrus fruit across the board. To date, discussion among the Member States (SCOPAFF) are unresolved – there is no majority in favour of either approach – and the Commission will look to make compromises in view of a tentative vote at the January SCOPAFF.

The German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Christoph Retzlaff, says the mission in Ghana will contribute its quota to ensure the country stays on course for its economic stability. Coupled with that, he said the country also had to ensure a conducive environment to allow businesses to operate to increase exports from the country. Mr Retzlaff, who was speaking at the end-of-year dinner and coronation of officers of the Ghanaian-German Economic Association (GGEA) in Accra, said the bilateral trade between Ghana and German for last year was more than half a billion euros, placing Ghana as the fourth largest West African trading partner of Germany.

The European Union has targeted 28 jurisdictions considered to have harmful tax regimes, nations that will potentially face scrutiny in early 2017 as part of the process to define its tax haven blacklist. Based on documents seen by Bloomberg BNA, the 28 countries targeted by the EU Code of Conduct Group for Business Taxation include a range of Pacific or Caribbean nations with offshore financial centers. Among them is Belize, Grenada, Cook Islands, Montserrat, Cabo Verde, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Macao, Saint Lucia and Samoa.