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close this bookThe Courier N° 127 May - June 1991- Dossier 'New' ACP Export Products - Country Reports Cape Verde - Namibia (EC Courier, 1991, 104 p.)
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View the documentWALLONIA - ‘A new political entity and a new partner in co-operation’, says Minister Albert Liénard in the ‘Courier’.

European community

Action Jean Monnet 1991

‘University courses in European integration’

45 more chairs in October 1991

The Commission has agreed to support 242 university schemes to set up new courses on European integration at the beginning of the 1991-92 academic year.

The idea of Action Jean Monnet, which Jean Dondelinger, Commissioner for the Community’s audiovisual and cultural policy, launched in response to demand from the academic world, is the rapid creation of special courses on European integration, i.e. on the construction of Community Europe and its institutional, legal, economic and social developments. The main subjects involved are law, economics, political science and history.


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The Commission’s financial support is primarily to endow 45 chairs of European integration within the Community.

Action Jean Monnet I created 46 chairs in 1990 and, in less than two years, 100 or so universities and other higher educational establishments have brought in compulsory, permanent basic courses in law (33 chairs of Community law), economics (24 chairs of European economic integration) political science (20) and history (14 chairs of the history of European integration).

Action Jean Monnet II is also offering support for 188 permanent courses and modules in European studies and a total of 250 establishments will now have a wider range of European and Community courses on their timetables. The Commission has benefited from the advice of the University Council for Action Jean Monnet II in its running of the scheme. This body has vetted the 778 applications and suggested an order of priority in the light of syllabus content and the innovative and obligatory character of the new courses. Priority in any case goes to 1st and 2nd cycle courses.

The enthusiastic response from higher education reflects the academic world’s concern to speed up the training of graduates for the Europe of 1992 and political union thereafter.

The third and final stage of Action Jean Monnet is due in 1992, when an equivalent number of European chairs and permanent courses should benefit.

The University Council for Action Jean Monnet plans to continue cooperating with the universities with a view to ensuring general availability of European integration courses by the end of the century.

Further information can be obtained by telephoning Brussels/236 19 19 or 235 25 86.

SINGLE MARKET

Help for border regions

Bruce Millan, European regional policy commissioner, spoke on the suppression of barriers in Europe and the role of inter-regional cooperation at a conference organised by Kent County Council in Ashford recently. What he said is outlined below.

‘The subject of this conference Breakthrough Europe’ is a very pertinent one, as we are indeed witnessing some important, nay historic, breakthroughs in Europe at the present time.

The single market is about to be completed, one of the most important steps along the path to full European integration. The Community has embarked upon the next step of the process too, by organising inter-governmental conferences on economic and monetary union and political union. And 1991 could well be the year in which we stop the clock for the Community’s next big leap forward, monetary union, and take important steps towards closer political integration.

Future historians will, I am sure, see the dramatic changes which took place in Eastern Europe a year and a half ago as among the most significant advances in democracy and individual freedom this century.

Closer to home, here in Kent, you were also witness to a vital happening when, for the first time, a Frenchman and a Briton shook hands across a new frontier in the Channel Tunnel, that immense scheme which also symbolises the rapid disappearance of obstacles to cooperation throughout Europe.

However, there is cause for serious concern here and that is that there may well be losers as well as winners in the single market. When the Single Act was signed in 1987, the weakest parts of the Community were worried that a single market would expose them to irresistible competition. The response to this was to point to the need for more vigorous promotion of economic and social cohesion within the Community and get it enshrined in the treaties.

The Community’s principal instruments of economic and social cohesion are the three structural funds. Although the prime aim of these funds is to help the underprivileged regions improve their internal structures, it is clear that our duty is to help the regions and the towns set their drive for economic development in a broader Community context. This is particularly true for the frontier regions, which have the opportunity to work more closely with their neighbours now that barriers to the movement of goods, services, workers and capital are down.

But it will take more than the removal of the barriers to alter the pattern of economic activity which has been developing in a distinct national context for many years. This is why we have set up INTERREG, a Community scheme to help the frontier regions of the Community to adapt to their new situation in a single, frontier-free market and foster a spirit of active cooperation between the regions either side of the national frontiers.

Thanks to an ECU 900 million budget, INTERREG can help with the joint planning and implementation of cross-border programmes. It can also help with measures to improve the flow of information across frontiers between public bodies, private bodies and voluntary institutions in the regions concerned. And lastly, it can cofinance mixed institutional and administrative projects to promote cooperation.

As you can see, INTERREG is a vast programme with enormous opportunities when it comes to imaginative initiatives. These could include, say, cooperation in supplying SMEs with services and equipment. They could also cover cooperation with pollution control and with organising joint marketing bodies or units to provide vocational training, including language training.

Economic and social cohesion is a complex objective. The obstacles to it may change as time goes by and vary from one region to another. Accordingly, the Commission has always to monitor new problems, posing new challenges, as they emerge. The regional development fund finances experimental schemes in the form of studies and pilot projects to find out how the Community can take its economic and social cohesion policy further...

The Commission also encourages contact and cooperation between towns and regions all over the Community. At the end of 1989, it launched a programme to facilitate contact and the exchange of information on this and there have been 120 exchanges since. Phase two of this interregional cooperation drive started at the end of the year with the setting up of 12 networks to help groups of regions and towns run projects of mutual interest.

The towns and regions are giving more proof of political dynamism too, by forging strategic alliances and stressing the role the regional and local authorities should play in the European Community. The Commission has responded to this by setting up a regional and local authority advisory Council. This offers the authorities an ‘infra-national’ forum in which they can make their contribution to Community decision-making on a consultative basis. Over the past few months, this body has taken another look at its role and made a number of suggestions as to how it can boost its influence over the decision-making process. Its opinions will be discussed at the inter-governmental conference on political union. It is too early to say what the outcome of this might be, but my personal feeling is that we will probably see the political powers of the regional and local authorities increased’.

FRONTIER CONTROLS

More simplification of frontier controls pending abolition in 1993

The Internal Market Council took a big step towards the single market in March when it reshaped a 1983 directive already intended to simplify customs formalities and controls. The new text does more to facilitate the goods trade in the Community, pending abolition of the frontiers in 1993. ‘The idea is to get the traffic in the Community flowing better’, said Mrs Scrivener, the commissioner for tax and the customs union. ‘Transporters and businesspeople will be seeing major improvements in trade in the Community this year, pending the opening of the real single market in 1993’.

Directive No 83/643, already amended in 1987, provides a whole series of measures to cut the waiting time for goods at the Community’s internal frontiers. One thing is the new spot checks on goods, replacing the systematic checking there was before, with only one article examined per consignment between two Member States. There are customs posts throughout the Community territory, not just on the geographical frontiers, and it is therefore more rational to use their services rather than those of frontier posts which get crowded with traffic. This should make the queues at frontiers much shorter.

The directive will maximise the effects of this redistribution by increasing the minimum opening times of customs posts inside the Member States to make formalities easier. They will therefore now have to be open 10 hours per day from Monday to Friday and six hours on Saturday.

The Member States will have to implement these provisions on I September at the latest. The directive will be withdrawn in 1993, when the Community’s internal frontiers come down.

EIB

ECU 5 million loan for an iron ore mine in Mauritania

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending ECU 5 million for developing an open-cast iron ore mine in Northern Mauritania. The funds from risk capital resources provided for under the third Lomonvention and managed by the EIB, are made available in the form of a conditional loan (3) for 18 years at 3 percent to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. The Government will pass on the proceeds of the loan in the form of a convertible shareholder’s advance to Soci Nationale Industrielle et Mini (SNIM), a semi-public company in which the State has a majority holding.

The project is expected to cost ECU 155 million and comprises mainly handling equipment, crushing and stockpiling facilities, a power line and road and rail links for transporting of the mine’s output to the export harbour.

The EIB is envisaging further lending for this project under the fourth Lomonvention which is expected to enter into force later this year.

Additional funding is also expected to come from the Caisse Centrale de Cooption Economique (Paris), the African Development Bank and the World Bank Group.

For further information, please contact the Information Division (Mr M. Messner, tel.: Luxemburg 4379-3243).

IN MEMORY OF Marina Baraldini

Eighteen months ago, our friend Marina Baraldini, an expert on health problems at the Directorate-General for Development, tragically met her death in the Tresert in Niger. She had been returning from a mission to Chad when her plane crashed as a result of terrorist action.

By unveiling a plaque in her memory at the entrance to the Berlaymont meeting room, the Directorate-General for Development has sought to betoken our friendship, our remembrance and her continued presence among us.

Mr Ignacio Garcia-Valdecasas, Head of Cabinet to the Vice-President Mr Manuel Marin, presented condolences to Mrs Baraldini, Marina’s mother, on behalf of the Commissioner who was detained in Luxemburg for talks on the famine in Africa.

Mr Dieter Frisch, Director-General for Development, expressed his sympathy and condolences to her family and to her many friends at this time of sorrow.

He retraced Marina Baraldini’s career with the Development Department. Following two years with the Secretariat of the Committee on Development of the European Parliament, Marina Baraldini then joined DG VIII in 1984. Her brief was to follow up the ‘Health’ dossiers, and it was in this capacity that the vice-President, Mr Lorenzo Natali, assigned to her the task of launching the Community Programme to combat Aids. Throughout her brief career, Maria Baraldini was devoted to meeting the fundamental needs of the ACP peoples, and gained widespread recognition for her competence and her truly remarkable sense of commitment, passion, endeavour and dedication.

Her smile and her joie de vivre will remain with us always.

IRAN/TURKEY

Community Emergency Aid to refugee and displaced peoples

Between 3 and 12 April 1991, the Community assigned a total of ECU 105 million in emergency aid to the refugee and displaced peoples of Iraq. Of this amount, 2/3 will go to Iran, and 1/3 to Turkey. The amount actually committed is ECU 68 527 500 including:

Flights

336

Family tents

66 672

Blankets

1 448 803

Foodstuffs

24 445.5 t

incl. protein biscuits

2 003.80 t

Expatriate staff

218

Local staff

450

The Community’s operational partners in this action to bring aid to the refugee and displaced peoples of Iraq include humanitarian organisations (Mcins du Monde, Mcins sans Frontis, Pharmaciens sans Frontis, etc...), specialised UN organisations (UNHCR, ICRC) and the European Communities Commission itself.

FOOD AID

Following the favourable opinion of the Food Aid Committee, delivered at its 61st meeting on 21 March 1991, the Commission has taken the following decisions:


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Since the end of 1990, there have been growing indications of a massive food crisis developing in sub-Saharan Africa. The Council of Ministers for Development of 5 November 1990 had already highlighted the real danger of an unprecedented famine caused by the drought, and worsened by the political situation, sweeping over the Horn of Africa region.

The Horn of Africa is not the sole victim of the effects of this famine; Southern Africa, including traditionally self-supporting and indeed even exporting countries, the Sahel as well as West Africa, are currently suffering serious problems (Somalia, Liberia, Mali, Angola, Mozambique, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Cameroon).

The combined response of donors at present covers 2 million tonnes (i.e. less than 50% of needs) and could reach as much as 3 million tonnes (i.e. 68% of needs) if account is taken of unconfirmed intentions, leaving an uncovered deficit of between 1.5 and 2 million tonnes.