Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

December 2017
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EDITO
Monday, 18 December 2017
The European Commission's Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development has launched a new product, "Agricultural Policy Perspectives" Briefs. The Briefs will discuss policy aspects of the CAP from an analytical angle, linking this to the discussions on the future of the CAP. The first Brief, covers the development of the CAP over the last two decades and considers the current position of the policy following recent reforms and how this will influence future policy changes. This first Brief will then be followed by more in-depth Briefs focusing on different policy areas, such as direct payments, market support, and rural development.
African and Pacific countries continue to negotiate the challenging Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union. These new agreements have the potential to help African countries accelerate their economic growth and develop more resilient economies. However, the presence of negotiating deadlocks or a sense of fatigue as well as the lack of real appetite for these agreements among many African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) negotiators, raise legitimate questions regarding their structure and content, as well as their ability to constitute instruments to leverage economic growth. Read Essays on the Future of Economic Partnership Agreements.
Tuesday, 05 January 2010

The European Commission is providing €50 million in humanitarian aid to vulnerable drought-affected people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. The funds are channelled through the Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) under the responsibility of Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

A huge disappointment is what the European Parliament delegation to the COP15 said about the agreement on climate change which was reached at last in Copenhagen. The outcome and the procedure show an urgent need to reform the UN working method.

The Moroccan and EU negotiators signed an agreed minute concluding negotiations that have been ongoing for almost four years in view of a future agreement on improving bilateral trade conditions for products from the agri-food and fisheries sector. The conclusion of the negotiations is subject to the approval of the respective authorities. In particular, the agreement will reinforce the position of European exporters on the Moroccan market, particularly exporters of processed agricultural products, representing a major offensive interest for the EU with full liberalisation planned in stages over the next ten years, with the exception of pasta, for which a quantitative restriction is provided. In the agricultural products sector, the agreement will allow for the immediate liberalisation of 45% of the value of EU exports and 70% in ten years. The tinned food, dairy products, oilseeds and fruit and vegetable sector will benefit fully from total liberalisation. The fisheries sector will also be opened up for EU products (91% after five years and 100% in 10 years).

Monday, 04 January 2010
On 9th December 2009, more than 100 experts attended the 15th Brussels Development Briefing on "From Global Food Crisis to Local Food Insecurity" organised by the CTA and its partners. The Briefing examined the domino effects of increased speculation in food markets and the impacts of the global food and financial crisis on food production, food distribution and developing countries’ food security. The risks for global food production and the role that small-scale farming can play in times of crisis in least-developed countries have been discussed, along with the policy options that can secure food supply and availability at global and local level. For more information (including presentations and interviews): http://www.brusselsbriefings.net.

The European Union is considering imposing a tax on multinational corporations which shirk their tax responsibilities in developing countries while hiding their profits away in secrecy jurisdictions/tax havens. EU Development Commissioner Karel De Gucht suggested last week a tax in Europe for multinationals operating in developing nations but squirrelling profits off to tax havens. "We must take our responsibilities regarding multinationals based in Europe with activities in the developing world and not consider that financial transfer to tax havens have been duly taxed", De Gucht told a good governance conference at the European Parliament in Brussels. Asked for details, he said that Europeans should find a system to allow them to raise considerable funds for development aid. Currently tax evasion is "at least three times bigger than development aid", he added.

Friday, 18 December 2009
At the 2986th Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 14-16 December 2009, the delegation of Netherlands provided information regarding the conclusions of the International conference on "GMOs in European agriculture and food production" policy in Europe held in The Hague on 15-16 November 2009. Some delegations warmly thanked Gerda Verburg, Minister for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and her colleague, Jacqueline Cramer Minister for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment who jointly organised the event. The Austrian and Hungarian delegations welcomed the idea to have a Commission’s proposal allowing individual Member States to adopt national measures leading to regulate and/or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs on their own territory. Commissionner Vassiliou reminded ministers of President Barroso's political guidelines regarding GMOs: "In an area like GMOs, for example, it should be possible to combine a Community authorisation system, based on science, with freedom for Member States to decide whether or not they wish to cultivate GM crops on their territory".
The 2986th Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 14-16 December 2009 took note of the presentation by the Commission of its report on options for animal welfare labelling and the establishment of a European Network of Reference Centres for the protection and welfare of animals. The report identifies various issues concerning animal welfare labelling and communication, and the possible establishment of a European Network of Reference Centres for the protection and welfare of animals, based on the results of an external study provided to the Commission in January 2009. The feasibility study on animal welfare labelling shows that the best option for EU action empowering consumers to make informed purchasing decisions is a Community Animal Welfare Label modelled after the EU organic label. A Community Animal Welfare Label can be expected to have more direct effects on animal welfare than other voluntary options, depending on the market share of the label.
The deadlock in trade negotiations between the EU and South Africa that threatened to break the world's oldest customs union, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), is set to ease off, thanks to progress being made in ironing out differences between the two parties. The Head of Delegation of the EU in Botswana, Paul Malin said he was confident SACU would stay intact after the EU softened its stance and agreed to apply a common tariff to its exports to the region. This was the contentious issue that led to a breakdown in negotiations when South Africa insisted on a Common External Tariff for the southern African region in spite of its separate trade agreement with the EU-Trade, Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). "In principle, we have agreed to harmonise the TDCA and the interim Economic Partnership Agreement so that a common tariff can apply to the whole region", Malin said.