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Democracy, Money For Terror, Scary Planes And Dazzling Dairying

  • July 4th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

eu-flag-site.pngVoting in East Timor has met with the approval of EU observers, once again; air services from Indonesia — and several other countries – have met with disapproval in Brussels, causing a ban on their flights into Europe; a trans-atlantic deal is made over surveillance of money flows, in the war on terror; and good times for the dairy industry in Europe (as well as Australia) become a reason for off-loading traditional (and contentious) subsidies programs.

TIMOR VOTE OBSERVED

The European Commission’s election monitoring team in East Timor (Timor Leste) has given a thumbs up to the country’s parliamentary elections held on 2.7.07.

Its External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero–Waldner called the outcome satisfactory.

“According to the first preliminary statement by our Election Observation Mission, headed by MEP Javier Pomés, these elections, as the previous presidential elections in April and May this year, were held peacefully with a high turnout and were reasonably well-administered by the national authorities despite the challenging environment.

“Timorese democracy will be strengthened by these two elections…”, she said.

WATCHING THE MONEY-FLOW

A settlement has bee reached between Europe and the United States over the passing of personal financial data kept in Europe to American authorities trawling for information on the bankrolling of terrorism.

Regulators in Belgium intervened last September, placing objections to the transmission of data on inter-bank payments managed by the Belgian-based company SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Inter-bank Financial Telecommunication)

After negotiations between the European Union and the United States, American authorities proposed that the information be processed through a shared system called “Safe Harbour” where handling of it will be in accordance with EU policy on privacy.

The European Commission Vice President for Justice and Security, Franco Frattini, welcomed the solution, proposed, he said, by Europe’s “most important partner in the fight against terrorism”.

He had just declared that cocaine traffickers were engaging in a major offensive on EU markets, generating a rise in usage.

The Commissioner said nearly 3% of he adult population in the European Union — some 10-millioin people – had had some experience of the drug.

EU authorities were stepping up both preventative measures and law enforcement.

Further information on initiatives by Franco Frattini: http://www.ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/frattini/index_en.htm

GARUDA BIRD BAN

An air safety committee that checks on companies flying into Europe blacklisted all Indonesian airlines, it was announced on 26.6.07.

“Once more, the EU black list will prove to be an essential tool not only to prevent unsafe airlines from flying to Europe and to inform passengers travelling worldwide but also to make sure that airlines and civil aviation authorities take appropriate actions to improve safety”, said the European Commission.

It intended to adopt a set of new restrictions and adjust some of the existing ones in its blacklist system:

(1) a ban on all the 51 airlines certified in Indonesia.

(2) a ban on the Angolan passengers carrier, TAAG Angola Airlines.

(3) a ban on a cargo operator from Ukraine, Volare Aviation Enterprise.

(4) the operational restriction already imposed on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) since March 2007 will be modified in order to allow operations into the EU with specific Boeing 747 and Airbus 310 aircraft in addition to its Boeing 777 fleet already authorised.

(5) a revision of the list of existing Kyrgyz companies inserted in the List.

It said the update was complemented by actions of some governments with companies on the list.

Russia had prohibited all operations to the EU by four local passengers airlines; Bulgaria had revoked the certificates of four cargo carriers; and the Republic of Moldova had withdrawn the certificates of eight carriers .

FULL CREAM SUCCESS

The success of dairy foods companies and high dairy prices internationally has been taken up the European Commission as good support for its current drive to withdraw from its traditional farm subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) .

The Agriculture Commissioner, Marfiann Fischer Boel, told an industry forum in Brussels (26.6.07) it was a pleasure to be dealing with good news.

“No one would claim that dairy prices are in difficulties at the moment.

“They have been riding so high that we have been able to set all dairy export refunds at zero, for the first time since they were introduced,” she said.

The trend supported the inclusion of dairying in the new Single Payment Scheme set up to replace production-based assistance — favouring payments for efficiency and sustainable operations instead.

“The message seems to have got through that there will not be heavy budgetary support in future for the production of milk powder and butter,” she said.

” Our powder stocks are gone; our butter stocks are almost gone.

“The sector is producing greater volumes of high-value products such as cheese, for which demand is very strong.

“This is good news if we’re serious about an agri-food strategy based on quality.”

“However, this doesn’t mean that we have now come to a full-stop in terms of policy decisions.

“As you know, the Commission is carrying out a “Health Check” of the reformed CAP – to ensure that it’s meeting its objectives effectively and efficiently, in a European Union of 27 Member States, and in the foreseeable international setting.

“The dairy market regime will be included in the Health Check – partly on the basis of the market report which we will submit by the end of this year.

“It’s safe to say that we will look at all of the market tools in the dairy regime.”

Reference: Mariann Fischer Boel, Panel Discussion on “Designing the Dairy Market of the Future”, 27.6.07, SPEECH/07/427

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