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July Events

  • July 5th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

josesocrates3.jpgA long list building up as the days get warmer: a new President, wine, Summer initiatives on sunscreens and sport, bio-defences for Europe, equal pay, more Euros, and some special arrangements for criminals.

NEW PRESIDENCY

The rotating Presidency of the European Council has passed to Portugal from 1.7.07, placing the Portugese Prime Minister in the chair when European Heads of Government meet at their next summit. The Prime Minister (picture) goes by an illustrious name: Jose Socrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa. He’s an engineer, 49, leader of his country’s Socialist Party.

SUMMER WINE

The European Commission began this month (4.7.07) announcing that after long debate it would adopt a legal proposal for the reform of its common market organisation (CMO) for wine.
It said:

“Europe is by far the biggest producer and exporter of wine. But while EU exports are still growing, ‘New World’ exports are increasing much faster, especially to those European countries where consumers are drinking more wine.

“Europe is also left with large quantities of wine for which there is no outlet. As a result, we spend too much money – around half a billion Euros a year [A$ 793 439; dcerates.com, 5.7.07] – on measures to dispose of, store and distil wine surpluses into alcohol. This money could be more usefully spent on improving market balance, boosting quality and promoting sales of European wines. EU winegrowers are also hamstrung by over-complex rules on wine-making practices and labelling, which also confuse consumers. The Commission is not advocating reducing the annual budget for wine – around 1.2-billion Euros [A$ 1.9-billion] – but using it more intelligently.”

It said the reform must:

  1. Increase the competitiveness of the EU’s wine producers, strengthen the reputation of EU quality wine as the best in the world, recover old markets and win new ones in the EU and worldwide;
  2. Create a wine regime that operates through clear, simple rules – effective rules that ensure balance between supply and demand;
  3. Create a wine regime that preserves the best traditions of EU wine production and reinforces the social and environmental fabric of many rural areas.

Producers have continued resisting some of those “market orientated” moves, especially grubbing out commercially under-performing vineyards, or closing down wine-making in certain “traditional” village areas.

SOME PLANS

Sun and sport for Summer: new-formula sunscreens are to be announced, for the battle against UV, and the European Union will be putting up its first-ever “comprehensive initiative on transport”.

New moves are being foreshadowed also for legislative action:

  • to begin reducing the pay gap between men and women;
  • to set up the transition of Cyprus and Malta to use the Euro currency from the start of next year;
  • and to start setting out “bio-protection and food defence” measures. Open borders have underlined concerns world-wide about biological materials causing widespread new infections among people and animals, destruction of agriculture and attacks on the food supply.

Judicial authorities will be reporting this month on their experience with the new European Arrest Warrants. It’s being claimed already that judges using these Europe-wide papers have been able to transfer wanted persons between EU member countries much more quickly than under conventional extradition processes between individual countries.

Reference:
Portugese Presidency:
http://www.eu2007.pt/UE/aEN/Reunioes_Eventos/ReunioesInstitucionais/JMPGEC.htm
Wine industry:
Wine reform:
http://ec.europa.eu/comm/agriculture/capreform/wine/index_en.htm

Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel:
http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/fischer-boel

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