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New EU-Australia deal on aid; Australians re-visit the battlefields …

  • April 27th, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

Villers BrettoneuxAustralia and the European Union have made a new arrangement for sharing their development aid commitments, described as further strengthening the level of cooperation.

The agreement was signed in Brussels, 15.4.14, by the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, and the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs.

Later the Minister would attend the Anzac day commemoration at Villers Bretonneux (picture).
DELIVERY OF AID

Bishop Piebalgs 4-2014A joint statement at Brussels said the declaration marked the commencement of delegated development programs in Fiji and in South Sudan where the European Union and Australia will administer aid on each other’s behalf.

“These arrangements – the European Union’s first with a non-European donor – bring Australia and the EU closer on development matters and will ensure our aid programmes are delivered more efficiently and effectively”, it said.

The arrangements would also allow donors to “leverage one another’s expertise” and provide administrative efficiencies and greater value for money.

Australia will commit  €1.7- million  (A$2.5-million) over three years to an EU food security initiative to support the Government of South Sudan, “to strengthen the quality and use of food, livestock and nutrition information in decision-making.”

The EU will delegate €4-million (A$5.9-million) over three years to provide formal training and job placements through the Australian-Pacific Technical College for those affected by changes in the sugar industry in Fiji;  expected to benefit up to 1500 people.

(The move matches a decision by the current Australian government to start going easier on Fiji’s military regime, extending cooperation in view of its latest undertaking to restore democratic elections. The EU began stepping back from development aid to Suva, affecting the sugar industry in particular, after the Bainimarama coup d’etat in 2006. It continued its commitment to humanitarian aid. See EUAustralia Online: EU keeps squeeze on Fiji army, 28.9.10; Fiji military defiant, braves sanctions, 12.4.09; EU moves on Fiji regime, 22.1.07.)

 

AID TO MIDDLE EAST

The Australian Minister later visited Jordan and Lebanon, declaring strong support for both countries by Australia, in handling the impacts of the crisis in Syria.

Lebanon is host to 500 000 refugees from the fighting in Syria, and Jordan one-million .

Ms Bishop announced a contribution of A$20 million to the United Nations’ ‘No Lost Generation’ initiative, to help child victims of the crisis.

CENTENARY YEAR IN FRANCE

Anzac graves-at-tyne-cotShe later visited France, conferring with the Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, on matters including the G20 summit planned for Brisbane in November, and the crisis in Ukraine.

See video, Foreign Ministry, Paris: http://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/Pages/2014/jb_mr_140424.aspx?ministerid=4, (28.4.14).

Mr Fabius commented on the two countries “commemorating their common engagement for liberty”, in the centenary year of the start of World War I.

Ms Bishop later took part in the Anzac Day commemoration at the Australian War Memorial, at Villers-Bretonneux.

That event, like the dawn service at Gallipoli, has seen steadily increasing numbers, as the ranks of actual veterans of war grow thinner. See EUAustralia Online: Anzac revival brings some crowding to the Western Front, 24.4.12; Australians on the Western Front, 22.4.07.

BomanoThe sun hardly sets on gatherings of Australians at dawn on 25th April, from London, to military outposts in Afghanistan or the Middle East, on board warships at sea, far-flung Pacific Islands, or at the memorial to Kokoda, the Bomana war cemetery outside Port Moresby, (picture, commemoration in 2013).

Reference

Hon. Julie Bishop, Foreign Minister, Australia, (media release): Strong and enduring ties with France, 24.4.14; Foreign Minister’s visit to Jordan and Lebanon, (23.4.14); Australia and the EU sign declaration to strengthen development cooperation, (joint media release), 17.4.14.
http://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/…, (28.4.14).

 

Pictures

EU, quay d’Orsay

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