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EU Delegation in New Zealand Newsletter 341


issue date: 12 April 2013
Pacific Energy Summit a great success

The Pacific Energy Summit, co-hosted by EU Commissioner Piebalgs and Foreign Minister McCully, from 24-26 March, was a great success, bringing together 650 participants. NZ$635 million was pledged towards clean & efficient energy in the Pacific. As Minister McCully pointed out, New Zealand and the EU, as well as the Pacific region, have much to gain from a partnership founded on the former's local knowledge and expertise and the latter's reputation as the world's biggest donor. Implementation is already underway with the EU & NZ to cooperate on Pacific energy projects worth €25 million. http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/new_zealand/press_corner/focus/focus_items/20130325_piebalgs_mccully_en.htm

Applications for the 2014 European Union Visitors' Programme (EUVP) close 19 April

The EUVP (established in 1974) enables young, promising leaders from countries outside the European Union to gain first-hand experiences of the EU's goals, policies, institutions and achievements. The programme also serves to increase mutual understanding between professionals from non-EU countries and their EU counterparts. Successful applicants will have a unique chance to take part in an individual five-to-eight-day programme of meetings with EU officials at the EU institutions in Brussels, Strasbourg and /or Luxembourg. For further information and the application form please visit http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/australia/more_info/euvps/index_en.htm

EU Delegation in New Zealand launches Arts Competition for Europe Day 2013

9 May, or Europe Day, is the anniversary of the 'Schuman declaration'. Speaking in Paris in 1950, Robert Schuman (the French foreign minister) proposed a new form of political cooperation for Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable. Schuman’s proposal for a union of European states is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union and today, 9 May is celebrated as a key moment in the creation of the EU.

The EU Delegation to New Zealand celebrates Europe Day 2013 with the launch of the Europe Day Art Competition and invites New Zealand Arts students from the Schools of Fine Arts from Auckland University, Canterbury University and Massey University to participate and submit artwork related to the following theme: "Europe in New Zealand".

Submitted paintings, collages or photography should express New Zealand's perception of Europe. How Europe is visible in New Zealand or what relates the country with Europe?

The successful winner will receive funding for a university arts course to the amount of NZ $2,000. This course needs to be part of the participant's degree. Please note that the funding is not redeemable for cash. In addition, the top three pieces will decorate the newly renovated meeting room at the EU Delegation in Wellington. The selection committee will include the Ambassadors of the EU member states in New Zealand.

To participate, please send in your art work and a short note discussing how you approached the theme 'Europe in New Zealand' by Friday 26 April to the following address: Delegation of European Union to New Zealand, PO Box 5106, Wellington 6145 or handed in at our physical address: 119 Featherston Street, Wellington.

For further information please click here or contact delegation-new-zealand@eeas.europa.eu

Procurement Opportunities

The Wellington Delegation has published its Programme of Administrative Contracts on its website. Providers of services, goods or works are encouraged to view the programme and to register their interest in any of the procurement lists here .

Improving procedures for obtaining short-stay ‘Schengen’ visas: survey

Have you obtained a short-stay ‘Schengen’ visa over the past three years? The European Commission is reviewing the procedures for issuing these visas and would like to hear your views on your experience. The idea is to modernise the policy and your input via this public consultation will help us to make the right changes.

The legislation ( Regulation No 810/2009 Visa Code ) on issuing short-stay visas for travel in the Schengen area (the ‘Visa Code’) has now been in force for three years. Now the Commission wants to assess whether the legislation has achieved its objectives. Building on this evaluation, the Commission plans to propose amendments to revise the Visa Code and to further develop and modernise the common visa policy.

Among the aims of this review are to ensure that EU visa policy fosters economic growth and cultural exchange by facilitating the process for legitimate travellers to the EU, such as business people, tourists, students and young people, while ensuring a high level of security for the EU.

The Commission wants to hear from the main ‘users’ of the common visa policy: individuals, interest groups, advocacy groups and professional organisations. We want to hear from as broad a range of users as possible, as it is important to get views and input from all stakeholders. This consultation will be active until 17 June 2013. Read more: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/australia/eu_travel/visa/20130328_schengen_survey_en.htm

European Investment Bank backs development of remote aviation in the Pacific

The European Investment Bank has agreed to help examine safety improvements, upgrading of terminal facilities and more efficient power use at airports in the Cook Islands and Samoa. The USD 1.1m technical assistance programme (EUR 850,000) will be used to improve preparation of key investment expected to improve tourism, regional integration and economic development.

The technical assistance agreements were signed in Auckland by Hon Henry Tuakeu Puna, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands and Hon Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa and European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for lending in the Pacific, Pim van Ballekom currently visiting the region.

In the Cook Islands the technical assistance will help the Cook Islands Airport Authority examine how to improve runway safety at Rarotonga airport, upgrade the airport terminal and examine ways to increase use of renewable energy.
In Samoa the European Investment Bank support will help ensure long-term viability of the Samoa Airport Authority crucial for transport across the seven islands in the archipelago and essential for tourism, commerce, education and medical support. This technical assistance will complement a short-/medium-term investment programme of the World Bank to improve operational safety and oversight of international and domestic air transport that will be carried out under their Pacific Aviation Investment Programme.

The EIB is highly committed to work closely with the Government of Samoa, the World Bank and Australia in the implementation of this project alongside the technical assistance project of the European Investment Bank. read more: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/australia/press_corner/all_news/news/2013/20130326_eib_aviation_pacific_en.htm

caption: Pim van Ballekom, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, signs an agreement with the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Hon Henry Tuakeu Puna in Auckland on 26 March 2013
The European Commission calls on EU Member States to fulfil their commitments towards the world's poorest

Aid figures released by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) on 3 April show that the European Union and its 27 Member States remained the world's largest donor in 2012, providing more than half of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) reported by Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The economic crisis and severe budgetary constraints facing most developed countries have impacted global Official Development Assistance (ODA) levels negatively, resulting in a nominal decrease of more than €8 billion compared to 2011.

Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: "It is with regret that I see some Member States carrying out reductions of their ODA budgets. The EU is still the leading donor, but we are not moving in the direction of reaching our collective target of providing 0.7% of the EU Gross National Income (GNI) for development purposes. I realise some EU countries are in a dramatic situation due to the on-going crisis but we need to deliver on our commitments. Let me recall that even in times of crisis Europeans show their deeply rooted solidarity with partner countries: according to the Eurobarometer survey of October 2012, 85% of EU citizens believe that Europe should continue helping developing countries. I call on all Member States to redouble their efforts towards increasing ODA to 0.7%."

EU collective ODA consists of the total ODA spending of the EU27 Member States and the ODA of EU institutions not attributed to individual Member States. Read more: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-299_en.htm

New publication - EU ETS : building an international carbon market

The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is the cornerstone of the European Union’s drive to reduce its emissions of man-made greenhouse gases which are largely responsible for warming the planet and causing climate change. The EU ETS is inspiring the development of national or regional emissions trading systems in several parts of the world. Europe is looking to link the EU ETS with compatible schemes in other countries, and a pathway for linking with Australia’s system has been agreed in principle.

In a major step towards the first full inter-continental linking of emission trading systems, the European Commission and Australia have agreed that the EU ETS and the Australian emissions trading scheme should be fully linked by mid-2018. There will be an interim link from 1 July 2015, allowing Australian businesses to use EU allowances to help cover their emissions under the Australian scheme.

Download the publication: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/australia/eu_australia/fields_of_cooperation/environment_and_energy/20130405_eu_ets_en.htm

Q&A: next steps for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform

Why, after the vote at the European Parliament and the last Council of EU Ministers of agriculture, is CAP reform not already adopted?

The new ordinary procedure under the Lisbon treaty (former "codecision" procedure) is applied for the first time for a CAP reform. That is why, following the vote by the European Parliament on March 13 and the agreement among EU Agriculture Ministers on March 19 – finalising their respective negotiating mandates – the final phase of negotiations on CAP reform started on April 11, with two trilogues gathering together representatives of the European Commission, Council and European Parliament to negotiate on the Direct payment proposal and the SCMO.

More information: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-324_en.htm

European economy

The employment and social situation in the EU remained critical in the fourth quarter of 2012 with employment receding overall and unemployment rising further, while households' financial situation remained serious according to the European Commission's latest Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review.

In March 2013, the Business Climate Indicator for the euro area decreased by 0.14 points to 0.86. The assessment of current order books (overall and export) and past production declined markedly.

In March the Economic Sentiment Indicator decreased in both the euro area and the EU, putting on hold the recovery that had started in November of last year.

The quarterly report on the euro area from the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission, available as a free download at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/qr_euro_area/2013/qrea1_en.htm

Cyprus

Olli Rehn, European Commission Vice-President, and Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, on 3 April issued a joint statement on the Cypriot authorities’ multi-annual reform programme to address the economic challenges facing the country. “Its goals are to stabilise the financial system and achieve fiscal sustainability in order to lay the foundations for a recovery of economic activity and the growth potential that will preserve the longer-term prosperity of the population. The programme builds on important steps already taken by Cyprus to address the problems in the two largest banks and includes a set of measures aimed at ensuring a stable, sustainable and transparent financial sector.”

While the Cypriot government has already adopted important fiscal consolidation measures, the programme entails a well-paced fiscal adjustment that balances short-run cyclical concerns and long-run sustainability objectives, while protecting vulnerable groups. The social welfare system will be reviewed with the view to ensuring sustainability and social fairness.” Read more: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-301_en.htm

On the same day, the European Commission issued a statement on the capital controls imposed by the Republic of Cyprus, which in part states “The Commission takes note of temporary restrictions on the free movement of capital, including capital controls, imposed by the Republic of Cyprus as part of a series of measures to prevent the significant risk of uncontrollable outflow of deposits which would lead to the collapse of the credit institutions and to the immediate risk of complete destabilisation of the financial system of Cyprus.”

While the imposed restrictive measures appear to be necessary in the current circumstances, the free movement of capital should be reinstated as soon as possible in the interests of the Cypriot economy and the European Union's single market as a whole” concludes the EC statement. Read more: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-298_en.htm

Iran: Nuclear talks continue in Almaty

Talks between the E3+3 and Iran have begun in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The E3+3 is made up of the United States, Russia, China, France, the UK and Germany. The talks are led by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton. Speaking ahead of the talks EU HR Ashton said "we’re back here in Almaty for the second time. When we were here for Almaty I, we put forward a very clear and concise proposal for a confidence building measures, as part of our approach to try and tackle our concerns about the nature of the nuclear programme of Iran. What we are looking for today, when we meet with Dr Jalili and his team, is an opportunity to hear from them their response, which we trust will be a considered, balanced and well thought out response to try and reach an agreement on how we move forward". More information http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/136651.pdf

Arms Trade Treaty: Adoption by the UN General Assembly

The United Nations General Assembly last week adopted the Arms Trade Treaty. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton welcomed the decision and described the treaty as "a balanced and robust text". This treaty will make trade in conventional arms more responsible and transparent, thereby reducing human suffering, and tangibly contributing to international peace, security and stability. The EU has always argued that in order to make a real difference to people affected by the irresponsible and illicit use of conventional arms, the international community needed a treaty that is strong and robust. The Treaty adopted by the General Assembly meets these requirements. The EU will continue to actively support the swift entry into force and effective implementation of the ATT by all EU Member States. Read more: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/136624.pdf

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