european union

EU pleas for Forum to stay united

In February, the five Micronesian members of the Forum announced they would leave in protest at the failure of the organisation to appoint their nominee for secretary general of the regional body.

Instead of choosing Marshall Islands diplomat, Gerald Zackios, the Forum chose former Cook Islands prime minister, Henry Puna.

The Pacific delegation for the EU has issued a statement, saying it believed a strong Pacific Islands Forum, as the premier political regional organisation for the Pacific, was fundamental for this region.

EU urged to adopt 'vaccine passports'

The idea of such a document, likely to be a certificate, would be to permit those who have been vaccinated to travel freely within the EU.

The proposal was put forward during a virtual discussion between EU leaders.

But a vaccine passport faces opposition from some of the bloc's 27 member states.

France and Germany say such documents could be premature because data on the efficacy of vaccines in preventing a person from carrying or passing on the virus is incomplete.

European Union provides EUR 5.7 million to strengthen Pacific trade capacity

The project titled “Strengthening Pacific Intra-Regional and International Trade (SPIRIT)” (SPIRIT) aims at boosting and increasing intra-regional and international trade by strengthening institutional and technical capacity in the region. It will facilitate the implementation of trade agreements, in particular the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and of the Pacific’s Aid-for-Trade Strategy 2020-2025. SPIRIT will also contribute to the development of a statistical monitoring framework that will foster greater regional economic integration.

New era for UK as it completes separation from European Union

The UK stopped following EU rules at 23:00GMT (midday NZ time), as replacement arrangements for travel, trade, immigration and security co-operation came into force.

Boris Johnson said the UK had "freedom in our hands" and the ability to do things "differently and better" now the long Brexit process was over.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the UK remained a "friend and ally".

UK ministers have warned there will be some disruption in the coming days and weeks, as new rules bed in and British firms trading with the continent come to terms with the changes.

EU will mobilise and redirect €119 million to aid Pacific combat COVID-19

Fifteen partner Pacific islands countries and four European Overseas Countries and Territories will benefit from this support.

The EU action will focus on strengthening partner countries’ health, water and sanitation systems and their research and preparedness capacities to deal with the pandemic, as well as mitigating its socioeconomic impact.

EU to redirect funds for pandemic response in Pacific

The bloc's ambassador to the Pacific, Sujiro Seam, said 15 Pacific states and four territories would be eligible for the support.

The money will be redirected from existing EU-funded programmes in the Pacific.

Mr Seam said the money would help strengthen countries' preparations, the capacity of their health systems and mitigate the pandemic's socioeconomic impact.

A detailed support programme for the Pacific will be announced "in the coming days".

     

EU keen to deepen ties with Pacific on number of issues

The EU is one of the region's largest donors, but the Suva-based ambassador, Sujiro Seam, said he was working to make the EU's relationship with the region more than an aid donor.

He said his bloc's support for the Pacific on issues like multilateralism and climate change were increasingly important.

"The top priorities of the new leadership of the European Union is very much on par with the Pacific priority issues. And mainly, it means that the new top priority for the European Union is the European Union green deal."

EU acknowledges Nauru’s positive steps on taxation

The European Commission produced a list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions in 2017 as part of the European Union’s work to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance.

In total, 213 countries were pre-assessed on 1600 indicators and from that list 92 countries were subject to further assessment.

In March, the Commission announced 15 countries had been blacklisted while another 34 countries will continue to be monitored on the grey list, while 25 countries from the original screening process had been cleared.

European FAO candidate promising Pacific focus

Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle is up against five other candidates to head the office.

Ms Geslain-Lanéelle said the Pacific had little representation within the organisation, which needs to change as the challenges the region faces are immense.

"And this region is very much affected by climate change. We still have countries where have hunger, we have malnutrition and where we have food waste and loss. So this is important to address all of these challenges."

PNG deepens trading arrangements with EU, ACP

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Rimbink Pato, who attended the ACP-EU Joint Ministerial Trade Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on 26 October, signed the ACP Administrative Cooperation Agreement (ACA).

This makes it possible for PNG to enter into intra-ACP trade relations with the cumulation of the rules of origin.

Under this WTO multilateral trading rule, countries within the same Trade Agreement region could cumulate rules of origin.