Archive pour la catégorie ‘Co-op & Development’

European Council and Signing of the Accession Treaty with Croatia

Jeudi 8 décembre 2011

The leaders will discuss the economic strengthening of the eurozone, energy and the enlargement of the European Union.

EU leaders will review the overall economic situation in Europe and measures to boost growth and jobs.
They will consider proposals to monitor draft budgets and cut deficits for all eurozone countries – with even tighter economic and budget surveillance for countries facing serious financial instability or needing bail-outs.

Treaty change

Leaders will also examine the potential benefits of joint eurozone bonds, for instance whether they would help reduce and stabilise the interest rates countries have to pay to borrow money.
The Commission has put forward 3 options for these so-called stability bonds , with an analysis of financial and legal implications. An amendment to the EU’s Lisbon Treaty – which governs how the Union functions – might be required.

Energy plan

Safe, secure, sustainable and affordable energy is high on this European Council’s agenda.
Leaders will consider energy-saving and efficiency measures that would set legally binding requirements for EU countries to improve energy efficiency at all stages – production, distribution and final consumption.
This would provide significant financial, economic and employment benefits – and help consumers reduce their energy bills.
EU leaders have also called for a single energy market by 2014, enabling energy to be bought and sold more freely across national borders. An open market with smart, integrated infrastructure would be more competitive.

New EU members

Also on the table is the possibility of admitting new countries into the EU, a plus for the Union’s strategic interest, security and prosperity. The Commission has recommended that negotiations be opened with Montenegro. It has also proposed granting EU candidate status – the first step in the process – to Serbia.
Meanwhile, Croatia is in the final stages of becoming the EU’s 28th member. The EU concluded negotiations in June, paving the way for the signature of the accession treaty on 9 December.
Croatia will soon hold a referendum to decide if the country will join the EU on 1 July 2013.

The enlargement is positive for Europe !

Jeudi 8 décembre 2011

The Council welcomed progress made by the candidates but efforts are still needed.

Key challenges remain in the enlargement countries. Good governance, rule of law and administrative reforms are essential to come closer to the EU. Problems affecting freedom of expression and the media remain a particular concern. Improving the social and economic inclusion of vulnerable groups, including the Roma, should continue.

Enlargement countries are also affected by the global economic and financial crisis and have taken steps towards economic recovery. Further efforts to deliver structural reform and fiscal consolidation reforms for jobs and growth should accelerate these countries’ recovery and growth.

Regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations remain essential parts of the enlargement process. They contribute to prosperity, stability, reconciliation and a climate conducive to addressing disputes and the legacy of the past. All parties concerned should address bilateral issues in a constructive spirit.

The enlargement process continues to reinforce peace, democracy and stability in Europe and allows the EU to be better positioned to address global challenges. It generates far-reaching political and economic reform in the enlargement countries which also benefits the EU as a whole.

The enlargement countries are the candidate countries (Iceland, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey) which have opened accession negotiations, and potential candidates, two of which (Albania and Serbia) have applied for membership, whereas two others (Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo) have not applied. Croatia has concluded negotiations, and the signature of the Accession Treaty takes place on 9 December in the margins of the European Council.

The summit on 9 December will decide on the possible next steps for any country moving towards EU membership on the basis of each of the countries’ own merits.

The European Commission presents its external budget for the next programming

Mercredi 7 décembre 2011

The new budget will fund the EU priorities: the fight against poverty and promoting democracy, peace, stability and prosperity.

The range of instruments will support developing countries as well as countries in the European neighbourhood and those that are preparing accession into the EU. The Commission will seek to target its resources where they are most needed, where they will have the highest impact while ensuring more flexibility to be able to react swiftly to unforeseen events. This budget will also enable the EU to further reinforce its role on the global stage and promote its interests and values.

On the new European Neighbourhood and Pre-accession instruments Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle commented: “These new instruments will allow us to respond even better in the future to our partner’s needs and ambitions. Through the new European Neighbourhood Instrument and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, support to our neighbours will become faster and more flexible; allowing for increased differentiation and incentives for best performers. At the same time it will continue to ensure the success of the democratisation process and improve economic and social development in our immediate neighbourhood, and support the reform process in those countries preparing for EU membership. ”

The budget proposals will support the Commission’s new approach - the “Agenda for Change”- to focus EU aid in fewer sectors supporting democracy, human rights and good governance and creating inclusive and sustainable growth.

Under the new principle of “differentiation,” the EU will allocate a greater proportion of funds where aid can have the highest impact: in the regions and countries that are most in need, including in fragile states. Countries that can generate enough resources to ensure their own development will no longer receive bilateral grant aid and will instead benefit from new forms of partnership; they will continue to receive funds through thematic and regional programmes. This will be complemented by different innovative cooperation modalities such as the blending of grants and loans.

One of the major innovations and a key external policy tool is the new Partnership Instrument. It will aim to advance and promote EU interests and to address major global challenges. It will also allow the EU to pursue agendas beyond development cooperation with industrialised countries, emerging economies, and countries where the EU has significant interests.

Background
Today’s texts are the legal proposals to implement the Multiannual Financial Framework presented by the Commission on 29 June 2011, in the area of external action. The package covers the full range of external support under the EU budget and includes: A Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council: “Global Europe” and the legislative proposals for nine geographic and thematic instruments accompanied by a common implementing regulation

The total amount proposed for these nine instruments is €96,249.4 million over the period 2014-2020 (current prices).

- Pre-accession instrument (IPA): €14,110 million

- European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI): €18,182 million

- Development Cooperation Instrument DCI): €23,295 million

- Partnership Instrument (PI): €1,131 million

- Instrument for Stability (IfS): €2,829 million

- European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR):€1,578 million

- Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation: €631 million

- Instrument for Greenland: €219 million

- European Development Fund (EDF, outside EU Budget): €34,276 million

The package will be transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council and is expected to be adopted in 2012. (For more details on the various instruments, see MEMO/11/878)

The differentiation approach
Differentiation will be applied first in countries covered by DCI and ENI. Under the DCI it is proposed that 17 Upper Middle Income Countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Thailand, Venezuela and Uruguay) and 2 large Lower Middle Income Countries whose GDP is larger than 1% of global GDP (India, Indonesia) graduate to new partnerships that are not based on bilateral aid. Emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India, in particular, are currently regarded more as EU partners for addressing global challenges.

The Neighbourhood and Pre-Accession Instruments
In the context of the renewed approach to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the new ENI Instrument will provide streamlined support to the same 16 partner countries1 as the previous European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). In line with the principles of differentiation and “more for more”, the ENI will support the strengthening of relations with partner countries and bring tangible benefits to both the EU and its partners in areas such as democracy and human rights, the rule of law, good governance, sustainable economic and social development and progressive economic integration in the EU single market.

The EU will continue its support to enlargement countries2 through a renewed Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), building on the positive experience from the current instrument. IPA will help these countries implement the comprehensive reform strategies needed to prepare for future membership, with emphasis on regional cooperation, implementation of EU laws and standards, capacity to manage the Union’s internal policies upon accession, and delivery of tangible socio-economic benefits in the beneficiary countries. More use will be made of innovative financing arrangements set up with international financial institutions, with EU funds acting as a catalyst for leveraging investment in infrastructure.

European Development Days in Warsaw

Lundi 5 décembre 2011

The European Development Days will be held in Warsaw on 15 and 16 December with the theme of the Spring and Arab democracy.

Interim Prime Minister of Tunisia, H.E. Beji Caid el Sebsi, and Chairman of the National Transitional Council of Libya, H.E. Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil, are the latest special guests to confirm their attendance at European Development Days on 15-16 December, which in the wake of this year’s Arab Spring events, will focus for the first time on democracy, human rights and governance.

The two new speakers will join a long list of high profile world leaders and figures from the international stage who are already confirmed; including the President of Niger, H.E. Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, Haitian President H.E. Mr Michel Martelly, the President of Georgia H.E. Mr Mikheil Saakashvili, H.E. Ms Roza Isakovna Otunbaeva, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, and Professor Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Laureate.

European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, and Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, will all attend. The Polish President, Bronisław Komorowski, will take part in the opening ceremony.

Web-streaming
You can watch the event online while it takes place or choose particular panels and speeches. Photos and videos will be available for download and the website will also include a quote service. We invite you to follow the event at www.eudevdays.eu

Other High-level participants and programme
European Development Days, which this year is organised by the European Commission and the Polish Presidency, has become known as one of the key events on the international development calendar, and will take place in Warsaw between 15 and 16 December.

The key theme of European Development Days will be the link between development and democracy. Organized for the first time in a country east of the former Iron Curtain and in the context of the ongoing political changes in the Arab World the 2011 edition will bring together key players from both regions.

The event will provide a platform for putting the transition experiences of Eastern Europe into a new context.

The other main themes are:

- Aid effectiveness
- The new EU approach to development cooperation: an “Agenda for Change”
- Human rights

The two day event will also provide an opportunity for the development community to discuss the European Commission’s new approach to development cooperation the “Agenda for Change” – a commitment to increase the impact of aid by focusing on fewer sectors and those countries most in need.

Background
European Development Days was launched in 2006 as an opportunity for key partners to come together to talk about how to make aid more effective. The five previous editions have featured 36 heads of state, 60 heads of government or ministers and 7 Nobel Prize laureates. The last edition in 2010 in Brussels attracted a total of 5,000 participants.

Organised by the European Commission and the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, European Development Days is Europe’s premier forum on international affairs and development cooperation. It has global reach and provides a collaborative platform bringing together thousands of development advocates, decision-makers and practitioners.

“Development and Democracy” is the 2011 edition’s main theme and focus. Twenty years ago, Central and Eastern Europe experienced intense transitions. Last year saw the beginning of uprisings in Northern Africa and the Middle East. What better time than now to bring together the development community to take stock, analyse and review the links between political change and socio-economic progress.

The European Commission proposes an asylum policy more inclusive

Vendredi 2 décembre 2011

The Commission has responded to the events of the Arab Spring and lack of mutual trust between Member States

Solidarity has to be at the core of EU asylum policy and the European Commission is working in this direction. Even though common rules are, to a large extent, already in place, asylum solidarity between EU member states is still far too weak. Some countries’ asylum systems do not function well enough. Other countries simply accept far too few asylum seekers, for example, in the first half of this year, over 75% of all asylum applications were made in only 6 Member States (France, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Italy), meaning that many EU members could take a far greater share of the responsibility. In addition, unforeseen events can over-stretch the capacity of any Member State and the European Union has to be prepared to support these Member States, so that people who arrive are received in dignity.

In a Communication adopted today on “Enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum”, the European Commission proposes to improve asylum systems through the interaction of EU legislation, an enhanced practical cooperation and a better use of EU funding mechanisms.

This will notably be achieved by:

- making the supporting role of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) more effective. Practical cooperation could, for example, be strengthened by making it easier to send officials to help Member States facing particular pressure
- increasing the amount of funds available to Member States and making these more flexible, taking into account significant fluctuations in the number of asylum seekers
- further developing and encouraging the relocation of beneficiaries of international protection amongst EU Member States, notably through financial assistance
introducing an evaluation and early warning mechanism to detect and address emerging problems in Member States’ asylum systems.
Drawing on lessons from the Union’s reaction to the migratory consequences of the events in the Southern Mediterranean, the Communication emphasises in particular the need for better coordination between Union agencies such as, Frontex, Europol and the Fundamental Rights Agency. A reinforcement of cross-agency cooperation is important both when reacting to emergencies and in proactive work, such as risk analysis and early warning capacity.

Background
Asylum flows are not constant, nor are they evenly distributed across the EU. They have, for example, varied from a peak of 425 000 applications for EU-27 States in 2001 down to under 200 000 in 2006, and up to 260 000 in 2010. An increase is expected this year, with the number of asylum applications up by 14% in the first half of 2011 compared to the first half of 2010.

Solidarity has been a central tenet in the field of EU migration for over a decade, since the very beginning of the Union’s common asylum policy (CEAS), and is now enshrined in Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The need to translate solidarity into concrete measures flows from practical realities since Member States’ asylum systems are also interdependent: an overburdened or malfunctioning system in one Member State has a clear impact on all the others.

It is thus the Union’s responsibility to assist these Member States and to uphold the Union’s common values and fundamental rights. Member States, in turn, must ensure that their asylum systems meet the standards set by international and European law, notably through the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

The Stockholm Programme, the roadmap for EU action in the justice, freedom and security field, also calls for the Union to strengthen solidarity on asylum. In particular, it calls for solidarity between Member States as they collectively shoulder the responsibility of setting up a humane and efficient system to manage asylum flows. Today’s Communication is a step closer in answering that call.

The European Union is helping the agriculture in third countries

Jeudi 1 décembre 2011

20 programs will be launched with a total budget of more than 30 million

The total budget of the programmes, running for a period of three years, is € 60.2 million of which the EU contributes € 30.1 million (50%). The selected programmes cover fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, milk and milk products, PDOs (Protected Designations of Origin), PGIs (Protected Geographical Indications) and TSGs (Traditional Specialities Guaranteed), organic food and farming, olive oil, wine and spirits, cereals and rice, horticulture and meat.

Within the information and promotion scheme and in addition to programmes already accepted for co financing in 2011, targeting the internal market (see IP/11/829) and those adopted to fight the consequences of the E-Coli crisis in the sector of fresh fruit and vegetables (see IP/11/1373), the Commission services received, end of June 2011, 31 programmes targeting third countries. Out of those, 20 programmes were selected for co financing for a total budget of € 60.2 million, with an EU contribution of € 30.1 million.

The full list of programmes and budgets adopted today is available in the annex.

Background
In 2000 the Council decided that the EU could assist in financing measures that provide information on or promote agricultural products and food on the EU single market and in third countries. The total annual budget available for these promotion programmes is around €55 million.

The measures financed can consist of public relations, promotional or publicity campaigns, in particular highlighting the advantages of EU products, especially in terms of quality, food safety and hygiene, nutrition, labelling, animal welfare or environmentally-friendly production methods. These measures can also cover participation at events and fairs, information campaigns on the EU system of protected designations of origin (PDO), protected geographical indications (PGI) and traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG), information on EU quality and labelling systems and organic farming, and information campaigns on the EU system of quality wines produced in specified regions (QWPSR).

The EU finances up to 50% of the cost of these measures (up to 60% in programmes promoting the consumption of fruit and vegetables by children or concerning information on responsible drinking and the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption), the reminder being met by the professional/inter-branch organisations which proposed them and in some cases also by the Member States concerned.

For promotion on the single market and in third countries, interested professional organisations can submit their proposals to the Member States twice a year. The Member States then send the list of programmes they have selected to the Commission along with a copy of each programme. Subsequently the Commission evaluates the programmes and decides whether they are eligible.

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Mardi 29 novembre 2011

It was at this same date in 1947, the Assembly of the UN decided the partition of Palestine

Since 2000, the European Commission has provided almost €600 million in humanitarian aid to help meet the basic needs of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Particular attention is paid to those refugees who do not receive aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near-East (UNRWA) and other organizations, especially those living in the 42 unofficial ‘gatherings’ in Lebanon, lacking the legal status to benefit from UNRWA’s aid programme.

In 2011, the Commission’s assistance supported:

- getting food assistance to 1,130,000 people;
- provided healthcare and psychosocial support for 471,000 vulnerable Palestinians;
- made clean water available to 413,000 people in Gaza, West Bank and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon;
- provided shelter for 655 Palestinians in Lebanon and contributed to the protection and care of children and adult Palestinian refugees.

EU-US summit

Lundi 28 novembre 2011

At the invitation of Mr. Obama, the presidents of the European Council and the Commission will be in Washington today

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and the European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht will also accompany the Presidents.

EU and US leaders will discuss, among other matters, global economic issues, bilateral relations and opportunities to promote growth and jobs. They will also share views on foreign policy issues, including how best to contribute to the development of democracy and prosperity in European neighbourhood, including north Africa and the Middle East and the promotion of common values in other regions of the world.

The summit in Washington will also take stock of progress achieved since the previous summit in Lisbon in 2010, including, among others, on how best to address global challenges and strengthen the security of their citizens.

The Council of the EU strengthens energy policy of the Union

Lundi 28 novembre 2011

The Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council adopted conclusions on strengthening the external dimension of the EU energy policy.

These conclusions aim at improving the coordination of the external dimension of the EU energy policy and EU cooperation with third countries, deepening energy partnerships and supporting developing economies.

While acknowledging that the respective competences of the EU and the member states have to be respected and that the negotiations on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) must not be prejudiced, ministers stress that the EU external energy policy should contribute to ensuring a safe, secure, sustainable energy and be consistent with the EU 2050 energy and low carbon policy perspective. For this policy to be effective, a fully functioning, interconnected and integrated energy market is essential, and regulatory cooperation and convergence with our neighbours will have a key role to play.

The Commission is invited to present a report on the implementation of these conclusions at the latest in 2013.

Last February, the EU’s heads of state or government set out orientations on energy which were later developed by the TTE Council. In September, the Commission submitted a communication on security of supply and international cooperation; this communication provides the basis for the comprehensive conclusions adopted by the TTE Council.

A new platform to improve health research and education in Africa

Lundi 28 novembre 2011

A new platform was set up by the European Commission with researchers from Belgium, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Spain and Switzerland

Titled ‘AFRICA BUILD’, the project aims to set up excellence centres supported by advanced information and communications technologies (ICT) with the overall aim of building research networks between cooperative health projects based in Africa.

The project is funded in part with almost EUR 2 000 000 as part of the ‘Building sustainable capacity for research for health in Africa’ sub-programme of the Seventh Framework Programme’s (FP7) ‘Health’ Theme. From August 2011, AFRICA BUILD partners have been laying the groundwork for setting up these sustainable networks of health researchers, educators and workers.

The project will run until 2014, and the hope is that ICT can provide support for building an open and collaborative platform. The excellence centres set up as part of AFRICA BUILD will be focal points for sharing best practices and new methods of education and training. They will be the hubs of the project, employing specialised workers and purchasing ICT equipment that will be used for initiating e-learning courses on health, medical informatics and ICT.

The project also aims to encourage the use of advanced ICT developments such as cloud and mobile computing. The thinking is that African countries should be able to gain access to supercomputers and large software systems to store information and to access and use open source software.

Pilot projects born out of the AFRICA BUILD initiative will also use advanced ICT to deal with some of the most pressing health problems beleaguering many African countries, such as AIDS.

Collaboration is also a cornerstone of the project; AFRICA BUILD will set up a volunteer network that can participate in medical informatics research and development (R&D) projects and offer distance learning courses in partnership with existing African aid projects.

To kick things off, the researchers have already carried out a series of ambitious cloud computing experiments, namely clinical database integration, and supercomputing for bioinformatics and access to open source software tools or medical image processing.

Using just a laptop and a mobile phone connection, researchers in Burundi, a central African country with little ICT infrastructure, have already managed to access databases and perform complex bioinformatics calculations on MAGERIT, a supercomputer based at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain.

This early result bodes well for the future of the project and indeed for the future of collaboration between Europe and Africa, not to mention the potential for the use of ICT to foster better health care.