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Australia and the EU sign Framework Agreement

Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, and the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, have signed a Framework Agreement. The agreement aims to enhance cooperation between Australia and the EU in foreign and security policy, sustainable development, climate change, and economic and trade across government, business, and civil society. It will support future negotiations on a free trade agreement between the two geographies.

Press release - Australian Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Australia EU

EU Trust Fund for Africa provides €46 million to Libya

The EU Trust Fund for Africa has adopted a €46 million program to strengthen Libyan authorities’ border-management capacity related to migration flows, migrant rescue, smuggling networks, and human rights. The Italian Ministry of the Interior will implement the efforts.

This iniative bolsters other actions that the Trust Fund is already undertaking to reduce migratory pressure along the Central Mediterranean Route. Overall, €136 million have been committed to Libya under the Trust Fund since January 2017, including a €90 million package adopted in April 2017 to reinforce the protection and resilience of migrants, refugees, and host communities.

Press release - European Union

EU Italy

EU budget chief wants to protect research from cuts in 2021-2027

Günther Oettinger, the EU Commission budget chief, stated that research should be the only EU program protected from spending cuts in the post-2020 budget period. The Commission is expected to present a proposal for the next multi-annual financial framework by mid-2018, which will include significant decreases due to the withdrawal of around €10-11 billion in UK funds annually from the EU budget. In a further push for EU research, both the draft Commission 2018 budget and the Commissioner for Research and Innovation (R&I) seek increases to the research budgets.

 

News article - Science Business

EU

EU ministers discuss future research and innovation approaches

At an informal Competitiveness Council meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, EU research ministers discussed how to enhance European research and innovation (R&I) investment. Acknowledging that R&I is a necessity for European competitiveness in the future, they highlighted the need to increase the impact and value of European research. Other topics covered included the research funding landscape and improving European R&I partnerships, as well as better aligning and streamlining of resources and activities around common objectives.

Website - European Association of Research Technology Organisations

EU

EU boosts humanitarian assistance to Libya

The European Commission has announced additional emergency assistance of €10 million to respond to increasing humanitarian needs in Libya. With 1.3 million people currently in need of humanitarian assistance, the funding comes as part of the EU's broader support to address the country's ongoing crisis and will be channelled toward food assistance, water and sanitation, shelter, and protection. The new disbursement brings the EU's total funding to €30 million since the start of the current crisis, including to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa

Press release - European Commission

EU

Council of the EU adopts conclusions on strengthened cooperation with Pakistan

The Council of the EU has confirmed its interest in a ‘stable, secure, and democratic Pakistan’ in new conclusions that underline the importance of ensuring the safe return of Afghani refugees, the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, and the empowerment of girls and women in the country.

Bilateral relations between the EU and Pakistan have deepened over the past few years through the implementation of a five-year plan, adopted in 2012. Priority areas for cooperation include politics, security, governance, human rights, migration, trade, and energy. A political framework to replace the five-year plan is ongoing and will include new focus areas such as counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, and disarmament.

Press release - Council of the EU

Recommendations - Council of the EU

EU

EU and Brazil urge WTO to limit 'trade-distorting' farm subsidies

The EU and Brazil have submitted a joint proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO), urging for reform in farm subsidies to ensure a "level playing field" for emerging economies. The proposal suggests limiting subsidies in proportion to the size a country's agricultural sector, taking into account the specific needs of developing countries. Least-developed countries would be exempted from any subsidy limits, to encourage development in their farming sector. According to the EU, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay have endorsed the initiative, which comes in the run-up to a December WTO meeting in Buenos Aires.

The EU and Brazil are the world's two biggest producers of agricultural products. 

Press release - European Commission

News article - EurActiv

EU Agriculture

EU announces additional €30 million in humanitarian assistance for Iraq

Following the 'liberation' of Mosul from the so-called Islamic State, the EU has announced that it will provide an additional €30 million in humanitarian assistance to support emergency relief in retaken areas. Funding will be used to help families who have lost their homes and civilians in need of emergency medical services. According to Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, the end of the Mosul military campaign "marks the beginning of a new phase of international support to Iraq", with a focus on protecting civilians, rebuilding the country, and increasing political stability. 

The new disbursement brings the EU's total humanitarian assistance to Iraq since 2015 to €340 million.

Press release - European Commission

EU

Germany, France, and the EU launch the ‘Alliance for the Sahel’

Together with the European Commission, the German and French governments have launched the ‘Alliance for the Sahel’. Pushed for by French President Macron, the new initiative identifies the Sahel as a core strategic area and plans to pioneer an integrated approach to address development and security challenges in the region. It aims to guarantee “security and stabilization in the short term; and development in the middle to long term”.

Regarding development, the Alliance will focus on:

  • poverty eradication
  • developing of rural areas
  • youth education and employment
  • improvement of energy infrastructure
  • governance strengthening

The Alliance also announced the establishment of advisory centers for migration in Africa to support returned refugees in domestic job markets. Other institutional partners include the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and UNDP.

Feature story – European Union External Action

Press kit – Elysee (in French)

Press release – BMZ (in German)

EU France Germany

Italian foreign minister publishes op-ed on agenda for Africa

"Europe is starting to understand that it ‘has no reason to fear Africa’ and that, with Africa, it must have the confidence to jointly build the foundations for a common partnership for growth and security," wrote Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelini Alfano in an op-ed in La Repubblica. In it, he also explained how Italy’s agenda is shaped by its specific Mediterranean interest and responsibility – “a vocation”, due partially to its geographic position connecting the two continents.

The article followed a July 6, 2017 ministerial conference initiated by Italy in which foreign ministers of several European countries and the main African states of transit met to discuss common challenges in managing migration flows. At the meeting, participants agreed to provide immediate support to Libya and other major African countries of transit that are willing to organize their border controls, with full respect to the rights of migrants and refugees and in line with IOM and UNHCR protocols. €60 million was also raised for Italy to support these countries of transit.

News article - La Repubblica (in Italian)

EU Italy