February 2016
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 Video guest: Erich Schaitza




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Thursday, 11 February 2016

Relations between the EU and a large group of developing countries are set to change as the Cotonou Agreement nears its end. Some argue that the cooperation deal should be enlarged into Latin America and Asia. EurActiv France reports. A cornerstone of development cooperation and trade relations between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP group), the Cotonou Agreement expires in 2020. Member states and their ACP partners have already begun preparations for the next phase of their cooperation. Since the year 2000, the EU's political and trade relations and development cooperation with 78 other countries have been governed by the agreement.

The European Union (EU) will provide US$200 million to support the general budget of the State of Mozambique, under an agreement signed Sunday in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, according to Mozambican news agency AIM. The ceremony took place at the end of a hearing that Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi granted to the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, on the sidelines of the 26th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.

As a result of a major aid reform, France’s development agency — Agence Française de Développement — is poised for greater financial capacity and “more regular dialogue” with the development community, according to AFD’s director of strategy. France’s aid reform, confirmed by French President Francois Hollande last month, will include the merging together of AFD and a financial organization under control of the French Parliament called the Deposits and Consignments Fund, or CDC. AFD’s annual financing capacity will rise from 8.5 billion euros ($9.22 billion) to 12.5 billion euros by 2020 and half of that increase will be directed towards climate change — raising annual climate financing from 3 billion to 5 billion euros by 2020.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Committee of Ambassadors of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States will be chaired by the Ambassador of the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), H.E. Roger-Julien Menga for the period 1 February 2016 to 31st July 2016. He takes over from the Ambassador of Lesotho, H.E. Mpeo Mahase-Moiloa. The Committee of Ambassadors is one of the most important bodies of the ACP governing structures, comprising of one representative from each of the 79 member countries of the ACP Group. It meets at least one a month in Brussels to monitor the implementation of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, and carry out any mandate tasked to them by the ACP Council of Ministers. Much of its work is also carried out through sub-committees and working groups.

Thursday, 04 February 2016

Primary industries are the backbone of many Pacific Island countries but there is a great need for more up-to-date information on trade in the region to better understand and grow national economies. These were the sentiments expressed by Fiji’s Trade Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Navitalai Tuivuniwai, at today’s launch of a comprehensive Pacific Islands Trade Report 2010-2014 alongside the European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, H.E. Andrew Jacobs, and Pacific Community Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, in Suva, Fiji. “To date there is very little readily available information on trade statistics in the Pacific region and this report released by the Pacific Community and the European Union goes a long way to help fill that gap,” Mr Tuivuniwai said.

Overall the European Union (EU) has disbursed approximately E480 million for development assistance in Swaziland in 2015. This matched the previous record levels of disbursements attained in 2013. The government of Swaziland and the EU met yesterday at Sibane Hotel in Ezulwini to review the performance of their cooperation in 2015 and agree on the priorities for 2016 and beyond. EU Ambassador Nicola Bellomo said during 2015, financial agreements were signed for the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) high value crops horticulture project which was worth about E242 million as well as support to social protection project which stood at about E87 million.

Poffertjes and poverty are on the table for EU development ministers in Amsterdam tonight, as they get together for the first time this year. Over dinner, they will discuss the European Union’s future relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The existing framework currently governing this partnership, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, is due to expire in 2020. During the coming months, the EU will define its position for a follow-up deal, which will serve as a basis for future development cooperation. For the newly-agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its Sustainable Development Goals to be effective, this new legally-binding agreement is instrumental.

Wednesday, 03 February 2016

The very first informal meeting of EU trade ministers and ministers for development cooperation took place during the Netherlands Presidency. At a joint lunch at the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam on 2 February the ministers discussed ways for member states and the Commission to better align their policies on trade and development or 'aid and trade'. The group meeting, the first of its kind, is a Presidency initiative and is hosted by the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen.

Tuesday, 02 February 2016

The European Union’s Trade Related Assistance and Quality Enabling (TRAQUE) programme will, this year, focus on speeding up the process of establishing a National Accreditation Body for conformity assessment bodies, the Programme Director, Mr Michael Senayah has said. He said the programme last year focused on the refurbishment of laboratories and the provision of equipment to various conformity assessment bodies, but would this year channel its resources into taking the establishment of the National Accreditation Body to an advanced stage.

Monday, 01 February 2016

In Europe, a far-reaching and multifaceted policy review is under way that is likely to result in a significant change in European priorities. This process began last June when the EU's High Representative (effectively Europe's Foreign Minister) and Vice-President Federica Mogherini was mandated by European governments to develop a new strategy on foreign and security policy. Since then, it has become clear that Mogherini has decided that what is required is a comprehensive approach that embraces every aspect of Europe's external outreach. This will involve going far beyond traditional thinking about foreign development or security policy. It will also incorporate the new principle of development universality, the so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agreed last September at the United Nations.

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