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close this bookThe Courier N 123 Sept - October 1990 - Dossier Higher Education - Country Reports: Barbados - (EC Courier, 1990, 104 p.)
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View the documentThe convention at work
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View the documentEuropean community

The convention at work

EDF

Following the favourable opinion delivered by the EDF Committee, the Commission has decided that the projects listed below should be financed.

Western Samoa

Afulilo Hydropower Plant
6th EDF
Grant: Ecu 8 189 000

The project concerns the construction of a 4MW hydropower station in the Afulilo basin of Western Samoa’s main island of Upolu, which will generate 24GWh a year. The project aims to cover the projected increase in demand of electrical energy for about 10 years and to reduce dependence on oil imports for existing diesel generating capacity. This hydro-electric installation will generate the electricity for one of the W. Samoan Government’s most important socioeconomic development projects: the Rural Electrification Programme.

Project implementation involves the construction of the plant and the supply of equipment, accompanying actions such as consultancy for preliminary studies, engineering design, site supervision, technical assistance and institutional support for the Electric Power Corporation (EPC). Funds for many of these accompanying actions have been earmarked and committed by various external aid agencies.

Togo

Village Water Supply programme in the Savanes and Kara regions
5th and 6th EDF
Grant: Ecu 2 475 000

Togo is giving priority to water supplies in rural areas, and has set itself the goal of providing supplies of drinking water (20 litres per head per day) for rural populations estimated at 2.5 million. Around 50% of needs are currently being met.

The project fits in with this priority and will seek to provide a supply of water for approximately 75 000 people in the Kara and Savanes regions of northern Togo from 200 boreholes and 20 springs. It is in line with the aims of the 6th EDF indicative programme - improving the living conditions of the rural populations and increasing their ability to provide for themselves.

ACP States

Improvement of production and the marketing of ACP products on external markets
6th EDF
Grant: Ecu 4 628 000

The achievement of the European single market and the likely opening up of East European countries to a market economy are certain to bring about an increase in international demand. It was with this in mind that a project was devised to provide ACP exporters of tropical fruit and out-of-season vegetables with the technical and commercial assistance which they need in order to adapt themselves without delay to the evolution of international demand and the new marketing techniques resulting, for the most part, from the intensive concentration witnessed in the field of distribution.

The project will be run by the COLEACP and will provide ACP producers with:

- advanced professional training,
- a permanent source of commercial and technical information,
- assistance at both production and marketing levels,
- continuous professional liaison with European trading partners,
- systematic investigation into diversifying products and markets. c,

EIB

Mozambique: Ecu 6m for small and medium-sized projects

To finance capital investment projects by small and medium-sized enterprises and feasibility studies for SMEs in industry, agro-industry and tourism in Mozambique, the EIB is providing a conditional loan of Ecu 6 m from risk capital resources foreseen under the Third Lomonvention and managed by the Bank under mandate from the Community. The funds go to Banco de Mobique, the country’s central bank. BM itself, as well as all commercial banks in Mozambique, may use the proceeds of this global loan for financing SMEs.

To the extent BM and other banks are on-lending, in the form of conditional sub-loans, the EIB advanced the funds to BM for 20 years at 1%. Where the funds are used for financing feasibility studies, the terms are up to 10 years at 1%.

Global loans are open to financial institutions for on-lending in smaller amounts for economically, financially, technically and managerially sound investment projects. In 1989 the EIB granted 15 global loans totalling Ecu 52.1 m to financial intermediairies in African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries and Overseas Countries and Territories and approved 93 sub-loans totalling Ecu 34.2 m to final beneficiaires.

EMERGENCY AID

Liberia

The Commission has taken a number of decisions for emergency aid for the victims of the fighting in Liberia, amongst which.

Ecu 600 000 for Liberian refugees in Guinea, Ecu 400 000 for refugees in Sierra Leone and Ecu 650 000 for those affected in Liberia itself.

The aid will be implemented by the UN High Commission for Refugees, the League of Red Cross Societies and by Mcins Sans Frontis (Belgium).

The funds allocated will enable medical supplies to be purchased.

A further amount of Ecu 250 000 has also been allocated to the International Red Cross Committee for the supply of medicine and for essential goods and services.

Mozambique

In response to cholera and malaria epidemics in Mozambique in the past weeks, Ecu 300 000 has been allocated for the purchase, transport and distribution of vaccines and other medicines as well as for the sending out to Mozambique of medical teams from the Non-Governmental Organisation “Solidarieton il Terzo Mondo”.

A grant of Ecu 3 000 000 has also been approved as a contribution to humanitarian organisations aid programmes for the victims of the fighting and for the malnourished.

Za

Emergency aid totalling Ecu 450 000 has been granted for Angolan refugees in Zaire.

Somalia

In view of the consequences of the continuing conflict in the north of Somalia, which has resulted in extensive needs, and in particular an increasing need for medical care for the injured and civilian population living in the conflict zone, and following a new appeal to the Community from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Commission has decided to grant emergency aid, under Article 203 of the Lomonvention, amounting to Ecu 435 000 in favour of this population in Somalia.

This aid is to finance a medical and relief programme, including the air transport of medical goods and personnel, medical care, etc. and will be implemented by ICRC.

Angola

Aid totalling Ecu 3 000000 has been granted as a contribution to aid programmes being carried out by humanitarian organisations for the victims both of the present fighting and of the drought in Angola.

Cd’Ivoire

Ecu 260 000-worth of aid has been allocated for Liberian refugees who are pouring into Cd’Ivoire (particularly in the Guigio and Tabou provinces). The aid will be implemented by Mcins Sans Frontis (France) and will go to providing essential supplies,

Sudan

A grant of Ecu 5 000 000 has been approved as a contribution to humanitarian organisations’ aid programmes for the victims of the fighting in Southern Sudan.

FOOD AID

After favourable opinions by the Food Aid Committee, the Commission has taken the following decisions:


Food aid

VISITS

The President of Burundi visits the Commission

Major Pierre Buyoya, the President of the Republic of Burundi, met Manuel Marin, the Commission Vice-President responsible for development and fisheries, on 22 June 1990. President Buyoya was accompanied by Cyprien Mbonimpa, Minister of External Relations and Cooperation, Gilbert Midende, Minister of Energy and Mining, Salvador Sahinguvu, State Secretary for Planning, and Fridolin Hatungimana, State Secretary for Cooperation.

The talks provided an opportunity to take a general look at cooperation between the Community and Burundi and at the prospects for the implementation of LomV.

President Buyoya outlined his policy of National Unity and Development, which reflects the Government’s desire for social harmony and economic development, stressing the importance it attaches to decentralising development to the communes and to ensuring the awareness and involvement of the population of Burundi.

He said that he appreciated cooperation with the Community, explaining his Government’s guidelines for LomV programming and raising one or two specific matters of particular interest to his country - Stabex intervention this year, Community support for structural adjustment, the possibility of Community support for the communal intervention funds (which the Burundi Government is to set up to support decentralised economic development) and regional cooperation.

Commissioner Marin again affirmed that the Community supported the Burundi authorities’ drive for peace and development. The Commission, he said, welcomed the Burundi Government’s approach in the process of National Unity towards the adoption of a new constitution. He stressed that the new Convention indeed put top priority on the sort of decentralisation and involvement of the people enshrined in Burundi’s Charter of National Unity, so that the instrument of LomV should enable the Community to help implement this policy.

The Commissioner went on to assess the latest events on the international political scene and to see what effects they might have on the development of Africa, underlining the importance of respecting human rights and having an economic democracy to ensure the wellbeing of the population as a whole.:

General information

GSP policy for the 1990s

The Generalised System of Preferences, designed 20 years ago to promote industrialisation and development in the Third World, is due to be reviewed this year.

A number of findings emerge from an analysis of the way it works:

1. Erosion of the preferential margin, in particular by the successive reductions in customs duties negotiated under GATT, has made GSP less attractive than it was.

2. The system changed from being an alternative to a supplementary system to GATT when the developing countries stepped up their involvement in the multilateral negotiations and their integration in the world trade system became one of the aims of these negotiations.

3. GSP’s usefulness as a supplementary instrument is attenuated by the fact that the Community scheme is complicated to manage and short on stability and transparency.

An instrument of this kind is still a necessary part of the Community’s development policy, but it will have to be revised in the light of developments since its inception if it is to work properly.

The idea of the proposed guidelines is to make GSP attractive again so it can go on doing a useful job. Experience suggests that this means simplifying it, first of all, in particular by doing away with the quantitative restrictions hampering utilisation, and ensuring that there is a proper system for taking the sensitivity of products and the competitive position of countries into account.

And this means making a special effort to improve the way the LDCs use the system, particularly the rules of origin.

Lastly, a look should be taken at the consequences of expanding international trade to non-traditional sectors- a trend clearly reflected in the extension of the sectors covered by the multilateral negotiations going on under GATT and one which should also be taken into account in the general framework of cooperation with the developing nations.

The Community should revise GSP in line with the developing countries’ more active involvement in the outcome of the Uruguay Round and their greater acceptance of multilateral discipline. The most advanced of the developing countries also think that the countries of Eastern Europe should open their markets to the LDCs.

A comparable degree of harmonisation of donor country policies should also be sought to ensure a fairer spread of the costs of liberalisation.

The Commission feels, therefore, that the new scheme for the other developing countries cannot really be finalised until the results of the Uruguay Round are known - which means carrying over the 1990 system, on a provisional basis, into 1991. And the improved rules of origin arrangements for the LDCs will be put into effect in 1991 as a contribution to the Conference of Paris scheduled for September 1990.

European community

EEC Summit in Dublin

Heads of State and Government of the 12 Member States of the Community met at their customary end-of-presidency summit on 25 and 26 June. Since Ireland held the presidency of the EC for the first six months of 1990, the meeting took place there - in the capital, Dublin - under the chairmanship of the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Charles Haughey.

As always on such occasions, the scope of their discussions was wide. Important decisions were made on the holding of two intergovernmental conferences - one on economic and monetary union (to be opened in Rome on 13 December) and one on political union (on 14 December). In both cases the aim was to achieve ratification of results by the end of 1992.

The Council also requested the Commission to consult with the Soviet government with a view to preparing, as a matter of urgency, proposals for short-term credit and support for longer-term structural adjustment measures.

It also heard a report from the German Federal Chancellor on progress towards German unification. It welcomed the signing of the Inter-German State Treaty, which will facilitate and speed up the integration of the territory of the German Demogratic Republic into the Community.

On the environment, the Council agreed that a more enlightened and a more systematic approach needed to be adopted as a matter of urgency. Mr Haughey welcomed the adoption of what he termed a “major declaration” on the environment, in which guidelines for future action were set out. The Commission was asked to prepare an appropriate programme to deal with the threat to tropical rain-forests, in consultation with the countries concerned, in particular Brazil.

The question of South African sanctions was debated and, having paid homage to the roles played by both President de Klerk and Mr Nelson Mandela in the efforts to bring about changes in South Africa, the Twelve affirmed their willingness “ to gradually relax the pressure exerted on the South African authorities” (see declaration below). On sub-Saharan Africa, the Council expressed serious concern about the overall economic situation and about Africa’s indebtedness in particular.

Finally, the Twelve agreed to renew Mr Jacques Delors’ mandate as President of the Commission for a further two years.

Declaration on Southern Africa

“The European Council welcomes the important changes that have taken place in Southern Africa since it met in Strasbourg.

The European Council warmly welcomes the successful conclusion of the process of bringing Namibia to independence with a constitution based on multi-party democracy and human rights. The European Community and its Member States will continue to give aid and support to the people of Namibia as they build their new country, in particular in the framework of the new Lomonvention. They welcome the talks which have taken place between the Angolan Government and UNITA under Portuguese auspices. They look forward to the resolution of the conflict in Angola and also of that in Mozambique through dialogue.

The European Council greatly welcomes the significant changes that have taken place in South Africa in recent months: the release of Nelson Mandela and of other political prisoners; the unbanning of political organisations; the substantial lifting of the state of emergency; the commitment by the Government to abolish the apartheid system and to create a democratic and non-racial South Africa, and its willingness to enter into negotiations on the future of South Africa with the representatives of the majority.

They pay tribute to the parts played in bringing about these changes by President F.W. de Klerk and Mr Nelson Mandela. The efforts of President F.W. de Klerk to bring about a new era in South Africa are testimony to his foresight and courage. Mr Nelson Mandela, a prisoner for 27 years, has inspired millions of South Africans opposed to apartheid and thereby amply demonstrated his qualities of statesmanship, qualities that will be required in the challenging period ahead in South Africa.

The objective of the European Community and its Member States is the complete dismantlement of the apartheid system’ by peaceful means and without delay, and its replacement by a united, non-racial ant! democratic state in which all people shall enjoy common and equal citizenship and where respect for universally recognised human rights is guaranteed. They welcome the joint commitment between the South African Government and the ANC in the Groote Schunr Minute to stability and a peaceful process of negotiations. They call on all parties in South Africa to endorse this objective. It is the intention of the European Community and its member States to encourage, by every means available to them, the early opening of negotiations leading to the creation of a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa.

Negotiations on a new South Africa should get under way without delay. The substantial progress made towards removal of the obstacles represented by the state of emergency and the detenton of political prisoners is welcome. The European Council looks forward to early agreement between the South African Government and the ANC on the conditions in which exiles can return and on the definition of political prisoners leading to their release. The European Council calls on all parties to remove the remaining obstacles to peaceful negotiations and to refrain from violence or advocacy of violence.

The European Council fully recognises that a new post-apartheid South Africa should be able to avail itself of all the economic resources, including access to external finance, required to ensure its future prosperity and the full development of all its people. South Africa faces acute socio-economic problems, especially in the areas of employment, education and housing, against a background of a high rate of population growth. These problems have been greatly exacerbated by apartheid. Positive action is needed to rectify imbalances.

Through the programme of positive measures, the Community has, for a number of years, been providing assistance to the victims of apartheid. In the light of the recent developments in South Africa and as a strong signal of political support to those disadvantaged by apartheid and of the will to contribute to a new socio-economic balance, the Community intends to release the funds being made available under its programme and to adapt the programme to the needs of the new situation, including those connected with the return and resettlement of exiles. It welcomes the positive attitude being displayed by all parties, including the new South African Government, to such programmes.

At its meeting in Strasbourg last December, the European Council decided that the Community and its Member States would maintain the pressure that they exert on the South African authorities in order to promote the profound and irreversible changes which they have repeatedly stood for. The European Council affirms its willingness to consider a gradual relaxation of this pressure when there is further clear evidence that the process of change already initiated continues in the direction called for at Strasbourg.”

DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

The European Parliament’s Development Committee met in mid-June to discuss both the 1991 budget for development and a number of issues of direct or indirect interest in the context of the Community’s development policy or programmes, including the Uruguay Round, German unification, relations with Central America, NGOs, the conservation of tropical forests and the protection of African elephants.

In addition, the Commissioner for Development, Mr Marin, addressed MEPs, informing them of the Council’s approval of further assistance to the victims of apartheid and of its support for the maintenance of sanctions; of progress towards the implementation of LomV and of the outcome of his recent visits to East Africa.

In the debate that followed Mr Marin’s address, questions were raised on the slow pace of implementation of Community programmes, and on the possibility of enlivening the Lomnstitutions - the Joint Assembly and the ACP-EEC Council. Mr Saby (Soc, F.), the Development Committee’s present Chairman, raised the issue of a special session of the Parliament, to be devoted to development and of a high-level seminar on the implementation of the Community’s development policy, suggestions which were both welcomed by the Commissioner.

POLITICAL COOPERATION

Liberia

The Community issued the following statement on 25 July:

“The Comunity and its Member States follow with deep concern the course of events in Liberia. They deplore in particular the loss of life among the civilian population and the wholescale destruction caused by the civil war and support the efforts of all those who are working to restore peace in the country. The Community and its Member States launch an urgent appeal for an end to the sufferings of the Liberian people and to havoc and war in the country.

Angola and Mozambique

The Community issued the following statement on 13 July:

“The Twelve reaffirm their conviction that a solution of the conflicts in Angola and Mozambique is possible through dialogue and note, in this respect, some encouraging developments.

- In Angola, they welcome the commitment to a pluralistic political system, contained in the communiquf the MPLA Central Committee, published on 4 July. This commitment will certainly enhance the prospects for a genuine dialogue and for internal reconciliation in Angola.

They have also noted with interest the contacts which are taking place under Portuguese auspices between the government of Angola and UNITA.

- On Mozambique, they welcome the positive outcome of the first official meeting between a delegation of the government of Mozambique and one of RENAMO which took place in Rome on 8-10 July. They feel encouraged by the decision of the parties to reconvene in Rome at an early date.

In the light of such positive steps, the Twelve urge all parties concerned in each of the two countries to work to establish a cease-fire as an indispensible preliminary for the negotiation of a lasting political settlement.

The Community and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to support this process by aiding the reconstruction and development of both these countries.”

SOUTH AFRICA

The Commission of the European Communities approved, in June, a communication to the Council on new lines to be taken in the EEC’s Special Programme for the victims of apartheid in South Africa.

The Commission suggests that the “ political dimension “ of the programme be maintained (until such time as there is proof of irreversible progress towards the complete abolition of apartheid) and that relations with bodies such as the South African Council of Churches, the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Kasigo Trust and trades unions be continued would be taken into account and on-the-spot coordination would be improved.

According to the Commission, priority under the programme would be given to training and education, rural development, community development and to emergency health care. Projects would be expected to support and promote in some way the concept of racial equality.

The Member States are expected to decide on these proposals sometime in the autumn.

The new lines the Programme would take was one of the topics of discussion in the talks held between the President of the Commission, Mr Jacques Delors, and Mr Nelson Mandela when they met in Strasbourg in June (see The Courier N°122, Yellow Pages, p. I) in the presence of two of the Commission’s Vice-Presidents, Mr Frans Andriessen (External Relations and Trade) and Mr Manuel Marin (Development and Fisheries).ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION

On 1 July 1990, the European Community entered into stage one of

At the same time, the difficulties the achievement of Economic and arising out of the return of exiles Monetary Union as was decided by the European Council in Madrid 12 months ago.

In Dublin, the European Council decided to convene the Intergovernmental conference on EMU on 13 December. The Council also considered that the first stage should be used to ensure convergence in the economic performance of Member States, to advance cohesion and to further the use of the ecu, all of which are of importance for further progress towards EMU.

“Stage one will be crucial to the success of the whole process”, according to Vice-President Henning Christophersen, “ It must bring about greater convergence of economic performance through the strengthening of economic and monetary policy coordination within the existing institutional framework.” The Vice-President believed that preparations for stage one have been successfully concluded:

- Capital movements, which were to be liberalised no later than 1 July in all Member States except four, have been freed from restrictions ahead of schedule.

- A system of multilateral surveillance has been set up in order to coordinate economic policies more efficiently and has already been used successfully in the ECOFIN Council on 11 June.

- The Committee of Central Bank Governors has been strengthened and the framework for the coordination of monetary policies has been improved.

- The European Monetary System has been consolidated by extending the common rules to the Italian lira and the Belgian franc, and exchange rate parities have been stable for 3 1/2 years. Full participation of the pound sterling at an early date seems likely.

Finally, the work for the completion of the internal market by the end of 1992 is well on track.

The goal of stage one is to prepare the ground for subsequent stages, Mr Christophersen added. The Heads of State and Government declared in Dublin that the Intergovernmental Conference on Economic and Monetary Union should conclude its work rapidly, with the objective of ratification of the results by Member States before the end of 1992.