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European Union Delegation to New Zealand: Newsletter 318

Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard in New Zealand, 6 - 7 September

The European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard is visiting New Zealand for the Pacific Islands Forum, for meetings with the New Zealand Minister for Climate Change Issues and the Environment, the Honourable Nick Smith, and other NZ Members of Parliament.

She will also have meetings with Pacific leaders. ''I look forward to discussing with our partners from the Pacific region how to move forward in the international climate talks. I equally look forward to substantial discussions with the New Zealand's government, business sector and civil society on how to continue our collaboration to face the climate challenge.'' said Commissioner Hedegaard.

Commissioner Hedegaard will also be in Australia 4 - 5 September.

President Barroso's visit to New Zealand, 7-9 September
The President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso will be in Australia from 4-7 September and New Zealand from 7-9 September.
Ahead of the visit, President Barroso said: "I look forward to a very constructive and substantive visit to two key global partners and friends of the European Union. Despite the geographic distance, Australia and New Zealand are very close partners with whom we share the same values and strong links and want to shape a rules-based global system."

In New Zealand, President Barroso will meet Prime Minister Key and political and business leaders and deliver the Europa Lecture at the University of Auckland. He will also attend the Pacific Islands Forum and meet Pacific leaders in Auckland to discuss the Union's role in tackling climate change in the region.

"In New Zealand," said President Barroso, "I will discuss a reinforcement of bilateral ties as a way to give greater impetus to our common interests and values. I will also discuss our shared political approach towards the Pacific.

In the same vein, at the Pacific Islands Forum, I will reemphasise the key role the EU intends to play as the region’s second largest donor to promote sustainable development and in helping to mitigate the impact of climate change in the region."
Caption: EC President Barroso at the G8 summit this year

President Barroso outlines his priorities
In a video broadcast following the European Commission's extended meeting on 31 August, President Barroso outlined the most pressing tasks for the weeks and months ahead. "When it comes to recapitalising our banks, Europe has acted decisively.

Our banks are significantly better capitalised now than they were six months ago and further measures are being taken following last July's stress tests. We are committed to seeing the process through. I will be discussing key issues with our G20 partners, such as Australia, where I will travel next week. This visit will also take me to Singapore and New Zealand, two other important partners in the region."
This video message is now available on the Delegation website together with a transcript

European Crisis Response team arrives in Tripoli

The European Commission has deployed to Tripoli a multi-sectoral team of humanitarian experts and has opened a humanitarian office in the Libyan capital. The experts from the Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department are ensuring that the assistance given by the European Union in health, medicines, food and drinking water is delivered expeditiously, and that new needs are identified and addressed immediately.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) Crisis Response team arrived in Tripoli on 31 August. The purpose of the mission is to assess the situation on the ground to prepare for the opening of a European Union delegation. The team will also make contact with members of the National Transitional Council (NTC) already present in Tripoli.

"I have sent an EEAS team to Tripoli today to further develop contacts with members of the NTC present in Tripoli and to prepare the opening of an EU delegation in Tripoli," said EU High Representativere Catherine Ashton. “We are there to support the people of Libya during the period of transition. The European Union is ready to provide assistance under the leadership of the United Nations and the NTC." [read more]

EU deplores worsening human rights situation in Syria

The spokesperson of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton issued the following statement on 30 August:
"The High Representative expresses her continued deep concern about the violence perpetrated by the Syrian regime against peaceful demonstrators, human rights activists, and the Syrian people at large. She renews her unequivocal condemnation of the brutal repression. The attack against the cartoonist Ali Ferzat, who was abducted and brutalised for having expressed his views, is just one example of widespread human rights violations.

Many other activists, independent minds and human rights defenders have been subject to similar acts of barbarism and disregard for human rights, including alleged instances of torture. In addition, thousands remain in detention without charges. But the crackdown is not limited to activists.

The attack against the al- Rifai mosque in the Kfar Sousseh district of Damascus on Saturday 27 August early morning, during the most holy night of the Ramadan, is yet another illustration of the reckless and indiscriminate violence by the Syrian security. All such attacks and the broad repression must immediately stop, detained protesters released and a way opened toward the fulfilment of the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.” [read more]

EU reaffirms its support to peace and security in Africa with €300 million

The European Commission has decided to replenish the African Peace Facility with €300 million to support African peace and security actions both at regional and continental levels. The funding will be available to the African Union and African Regional Organisations for the period 2011-2013 in order to support relevant, targeted, continental and regional initiatives in the area of conflict prevention, management and resolution, and peace building.

The Peace Facility provides substantial and predictable funding to African-led peace support operations and relevant capacity building activities for African organisations. It constitutes the major financing instrument of the Africa-EU strategic partnership in Peace and Security.

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said: "The EU is sparing no effort to support the African Union's work to bring peace to the continent, as this additional contribution demonstrates. We applaud those countries that have mobilised troops for missions supporting peace, such as Amisom in Somalia. However, more effort is still required. We encourage other African countries to step forward and support the AU in this endeavour. And I call on the whole international community to step up their contribution to help build peace and stability in Africa." [read more]

Baroness Ashton pictured on a recent trip to Sudan

Towards a more efficient EU migration policy

In October/November the EU will adopt a new directive providing for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the EU, and for a common set of rights that will put them on an equal footing with the nationals of the member state where they reside. This new directive envisages a "one-stop shop", one application for a single residence and work permit - a both simpler and faster procedure and an easier way to control the status of third-country immigrants. The basic socio-economic rights which the directive guarantees third-country workers and which puts them on an equal footing with member state citizens concern minimum working conditions, recognition of diplomas and professional qualifications, tax benefits, trade union rights, and social security. [read more]

European economy

The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.0% in July 2011, unchanged compared with June. It was 10.2% in July 2010. The EU27 unemployment rate was 9.5% in July 2011, unchanged compared with June. It was 9.7% in July 2010. Compared with July 2010, unemployment decreased by 451,000 in the EU27 and by 247,000 in the euro area. [read more]

Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 2.5% in August 2011 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat. It was 2.5% in July. [read more]
The Business Climate Indicator for the euro area fell for the sixth month in a row in August 2011. The current level of the indicator remains positive, but the steady fall observed since March suggests that euro-area industry has entered a phase of growth moderation.[read more]

In August, the Economic Sentiment Indicator declined by 5.0 points to 97.3 in the EU and by 4.7 points to 98.3 in the euro area. This decline resulted from a broad-based deterioration in sentiment across the sectors, with losses in confidence being particularly marked in services, retail trade and among consumers. Only the construction sector in the euro area recorded an improvement. [read more]

On 1 September the European Commission made a statement saying that media reports on the state of the Belgian government and the economic situation are "unfounded". The European Commission has full confidence that the current caretaker government will take the necessary decisions in the current context. The Commission also has confidence in the democratic process in Belgium. [read more]

"Thijs" and "Natalia" to be launched on 20 October 2011

The child with the best drawing related to space or aeronautics in each EU Member State will have his or her name given to a satellite of the Galileo programme. Two satellites to be launched on 20 October will bear the names of children who won a similar competition earlier this year - Thijs from Belgium and Natalia from Bulgaria. The European Commission has now rolled out the competition in the other 25 Member States for children aged 9-11. The winners' names will be given to satellites launched up until 2019.
The Galileo Programme is Europe's own venture into the field of satellite navigation. It is putting in place a global satellite navigation system similar to GPS. With the ever growing importance of satellite navigation applications for both businesses and citizens, Galileo will ensure the independence of Europe in this important domain, securing the availability of those applications. [read more]

EU Tube : President Barroso

"We needed a credible package: we have a credible package" . "It is the first time since the beginning of the crisis that we can say that politics and the markets are coming together" said President Barroso after the meeting of the Heads of State or Government of the Euro area. He underlined that the adopted package "deals with both the concerns of the markets and of citizens. It responds also to the concerns of all Member States of the Euro area. It is a package that every government has signed up to." http://www.youtube.com/user/Barroso
[watch video] EUtube - http://www.youtube.com/eutube

Academic news and events

European Association of International Education: The role of partnerships between universities in the Middle East-North Africa and Europe in tackling causes of unrest will be high on the agenda of Europe’s biggest international education conference. The European Association of International Education event, to be held from 13-16 September in Copenhagen, is expected to attract up to 4,000 educators.

Full report on the University World News site
Call for Papers: European Dilemmas: Internal and External issues facing the European Union, December 7-8, 2011, University of Waikato, New Zealand. More information: www.eucnetwork.org.nz .

The Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association unites all the students and graduates of the Erasmus Mundus programme. The Oceania Chapter has launched a Facebook page and a Webpage,. If you are a newly selected Erasmus Mundus student, we encourage you to join EMA - the registration is free of charge.

ENDS

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