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close this bookThe Courier N 148 - Nov - Dec 1994 - Dossier: Education - Country Reports: Saint Lucia - St Vincent and The Grenadines (EC Courier, 1994, 104 p.)
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European Union

Finland votes for EU membership

In a consultative referendum held on 16 October, the Finnish electorate voted in favour of joining the European Union. The result was 57% in favour and 43% against on a 74% turnout. The final decision on ratification will be made by the Finnish Parliament.

European postgraduate degree on international humanitarian assistance

The importance of the development of international humanitarian aid in the world today has prompted new questions concerning certain fundamental areas of international law and the evolution of international affairs.

As it appears that Europe has no nationally-recognised degree in international humanitarian aid, the Commission, on a proposal from Vice-President Marin and Commissioner Ruberti, has taken the initiative of creating a European University Post-Graduate Degree on International Humanitarian Assistance. Beginning in the current academic year (1994-95), it will be offered in five EU universities - Aix Marseille III (France), Bochum (Germany), Deusto-Bilbao (Spain), the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) and Oxford (United Kingdom). The College of Europe (Bruges, Belgium) will participate in the programme as of September 1995.

The one-year course is divided into four phases:

- a two-week intensive programme in one of the network universities where students will have the opportunity to meet their counterparts from other EU Member States;
- a general course, in the university of origin, from 1 October until the end of January;
- a specialised course in one of the relevant universities from 1 February until the end of April;
- a professional traineeship in a specialised international organisation, NGO or relevant administration, from 1 May until the end of June.

The specialisations offered by each university are as follows: Law (six-Marseille, Deusto-Bilbao, Bochum), Management/Logistics (Deusto-Bilbao), Medicine (Bochum, UCL), Geopolitics (UCL), Anthropology (Oxford).

PARLIAMENT

Demand for confidence building measures in Rwanda

Rwanda has suffered 'genocide of the most horrendous and unspeakable proportions'. This was how Lord Plumb (EPP-UK) prefaced his remarks to the EP's Development Committee, on 30 August, when he set out the findings of the parliamentary delegation that had visited the crisis-torn country the previous month.

The newly appointed co-President of the Joint Assembly went on to recount, in vivid detail, some of his experiences during the trip: being held up by a gun-toting 15-year old 'soldier'; visiting a medical compound staffed by two Irish nuns who had just four bags of rice to feed 60 000 people; the ghost-city of Kigali where the new Prime Minister lives on the fifth floor of a bombed-out hotel.

Lord Plumb reported on the delegation's talks with the Prime Minister, during which the latter had emphasised his government's commitment to the rule of law. The discussion had focused on the problems of repatriation and internal security, and on the possible establishment of an international tribunal to bring those who were responsible for the massacres to justice. The key issue, Lord Plumb insisted, was confidence building. In this context, he urged that the EU should be ready to contribute to a team of civilian observers who would operate in Rwanda under UN auspices. He also argued that relay stations should be set up to provide support for people returning from Zaire and elsewhere.

The debate which followed featured some sharp criticisms of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy. The main concern was over the absence of a common approach, although there was praise for the efforts of the (now withdrawn) French peace-keeping soldiers in south-west Rwanda. As one member declared passionately, 'we have got to show our outrage over the Council's incapacity to act'.

The view that confidence building is crucial found general support among members although there was some disagreement over whether recognition should immediately be afforded to the new RPF-led administration. A representative of the Rwanda Patriotic Front, who had been invited to address the Committee, argued that recognition was what the government most needed before going on to plead for help in reconstruction.

Committee chair, Bernard Kouchner (PES-F), spoke at the outset of the possibility of establishing a 'strategic humanitarian observatory' as part of a scheme of preventive diplomacy. Early intervention was essential, he said, to prevent Rwanda-style tragedies occurring elsewhere. He indicated that an own-initiative report on this subject would be presented to the Committee in the near future.

Two weeks later, Rwanda was again discussed at the Parliament, this time in the plenary part-session held in Brussels. The members adopted a resolution submitted by the Development Committee which called, among other things, for the EU to recognise the new Government of Rwanda and for the establishment of a human rights observer team. Such a team, it was envisaged, would focus on confidence building among the Rwandan population, working closely with the UN and the OAU.

The Parliament also agreed to follow up on Barnard Kouchner's suggestion for a 'humanitarian observatory', instructing its Development Committee to formulate more detailed proposals on the subject. The aim of such an observatory would be to monitor the situation in the world's sensitive regions and to prepare the ground for preventive political action.

Speaking during the debate, Commission Vice-President Manuel Marin expressed the view that more active intervention was needed where humanitarian crises threatened. He also emphasised the scale of the commitment made by the EU and its Member States in the face of the current tragedy in Rwanda. The EU alone had provided ECU 350 million-worth of aid during 1994. This compares with a figure of ECU 158 million allocated to the former Yugoslavia. S.H.

COMMISSION

Pinheiro gets ACP portfolio

Subject to Parliamentary approval of the new European Commission, Joao de Deus Pinheiro, the Portuguese Commissioner, will assume responsability for relations with the ACP countries and South Africa in January 1995. Mr Pinheiro (49), a former foreign minister of Portugal, is currently the Commission member in charge of communication and culture policy, and relations with the European Parliament. He will take over from Spaniard, Manuel Marin, who retains an external relations brief in the new Commission, with responsibility for relations with developing countries in other parts of the world (North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America).

The new Commission, which will serve a five-year term, will have between 19 and 21 members depending on the outcome of the referendums on EU accession still pending in Sweden and Norway. Jobs have been provisionally allocated on the assumption that these two countries will vote in favour of joining the Union and a 'No' vote in one or both will obviously entail some reallocation of tasks.

The full list of Commission members, with their portfolios, is as follows (asterisk denote new member):

Jacques Santer* (from Luxembourg), President - Secretariat General - Legal Service - Security Office - Forward Studies Unit - Inspectorate-General - Joint Interpreting and Conference Service (SCIC) Spokesman's Service - Monetary matters (with Mr de Silguy) - Common foreign and security policy (with Mr van den Broek) - Institutional questions and intergovernmental conference (with Mr Oreja)

Martin Bangemann (German) - Industrial affairs - Information technologies and telecomunication

Ritt Bjerregaard (Danish)

- Environment
- Nuclear safety

Emma Bonino (Italian)

- Consumer policy
- European Community Humanitarian Office

Sir Leon Brittan (British)

- External relations with North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, ex-Yugoslavia

- Common commercial policy
- Relations with OECD and WTO

Edith Cresson (French)

- Science, research and development
- Joint Research Centre
- Human resources, education, training and youth

Yves-ThibauK de Silguy (French)

- Economic and financial affairs
- Monetary matters (in agreement with the President)
- Credit and investments
- Statistical office

Joao de Deus Pinheiro (Portuguese)

- External relations with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, South Africa, Lomonvention

Franz Fischler (Austrian)

- Agriculture and rural development

Padraig Flynn (Irish)

- Employment and social affairs
- Relations with the Economic and Social Committee

Anita Gradin (Swedish)

- Questions linked to immigration and home and judicial affairs
- Relations with the

Ombudsman

- Financial control
- Anti-fraud measures

Neil Kinnock (British)

- Transport (including trans-European networks)

Erkki Liikanen (Finnish)

- Budget
- Personnel and administration
- Translation and information technology

Manuel Marin (Spanish)

- External relations with the Mediterranean (South), Middle and Near East, Latin America and Asia (except Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan)

Mario Monti (Italian)

- Internal market
- Financial services
- Customs and indirect taxation
- Direct taxation

Marcelino Oreja (Spanish)

- Relations with the European

Parliament

- Relations with the Member States on openness, communication and information
- Culture and audiovisual policy
- Publications office
- Institutional questions and preparation of the intergovernmental conference of 1996 (in agreement with the Presidency)

Christos Papoutsis* (Greek) Energy and Euratom Supply Agency Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) Tourism

Thorvald Stoltenberg* (Norwegian) Fisheries

Hans van den Broek (Dutch) External relations with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (PECO) and countries of the former Soviet Union, Turkey, Cypnus, Malta and other European countries Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) (in agreement with the President) External service

Karel van Miert (Belgian) Competition

Monika Wulf-Mathies* (German) Regional policies Relations with the Committee of the Regions Cohesion Fund (in agreement with Mr Kinnock and Mrs Bjerregard)

COUNCIL

Racism and xenophobia: consultative commission holds first meeting

We reported in issue 147 (News Round-up, page III) on the establishment by the European Council in Corfu of a consultative commission whose task would be to look at ways of stepping up the fight against racism and xenophobia. The first meeting of the commission was held on 19 September with Jean Kahn of France, who is President of the European Jewish Congress, in the chair. The twelve EU Member States, the four applicant countries and the European Commission are each represented on the commission by an independent 'personality'. The members come from a variety of backgrounds and include parliamentarians, academics and people involved in international human rights and anti-racist organisations. The commission was due to meet again on 19 October with a view to presenting concrete proposals to the Heads of State and Government. These will be set out in an interim report to the European Council which is scheduled to meet in Essen from 9-10 December and a final report to be presented at a summit meeting held under the French Presidency during the first half of 1995. In drawing these up, the commission decided to hold 'round-table' meetings with interested parties in each of the 16 countries concerned, as well as to obtain the relevant statistical information about racist and xenophobic acts. Three sub-commissions have also been set up to look respectively at the issues of information and communication, education and training, and the police and justice systems.

COURT OF JUSTICE

New President and other personnel changes

Spaniard, Gil Carlos Rodriquez Iglesias has recently been appointed as President of the European Court of Justice. He takes over from Ole Due of Denmark who has retired. Born in 1946 in Gijon (Asturias), Mr Rodriguez Iglesias held professorial posts at a number of universities (Oviedo, Fribourg, Madrid and Granada) before becoming a judge at the Court of Justice in 1986. Alongside this nomination, there have also been a number of other personnel changes at the Court of Justice. The full complement of judges and advocates-general is listed below: Judges: Josarlos de Carvalho Moitinho de Almeida (P); David Alexander Ogily Edward (UK); Claus Christian Gulmann (Dk); Gunter Hirsch (G); Renoliet (B); Constantinos Kakouris (Gr); Paul J.G. Kapteyn (Nl); Antonio La Pergola (I); Federico Mancini (I); John Loyola Murray (Irl); Jean-Pierre Puissochet (F); Fernand Schockweiler (L); Advocates-General: Georgios Cosmas (Gr); Michael Bendik Elmer (Dk); Francis Jacobs (UK); Phillippe Lr (F); Carl Otto Lenz (G); Giuseppe Tesauro (I);

COMMON FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY

Within the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the European Union has recently issued a number of statements, details of which are set out below:

Criticism turns to praise as Lesotho crisis is resolved

Statement of 24 August 1994

The European Union condemns the purported suspension of the Lesotho constitution and the dissolution of the Lesotho Parliament and Government by King Letsie III, and calls upon the King and the armed forces to abide by the provisions of the constitution and to respect the democratically elected government of Lesotho. The EU also condemns the shooting of demonstrators at the Royal Palace on 17 August 1994 and hopes that there will be no repetition of such acts of violence against the population. The EU is also concerned that the longstanding political crisis that triggered the current events might lead to further confrontation with potentially devastating consequences. It appeals to all political forces in the country to seek a lawful solution through negotiation and mediation. Unless the constitutional process is immediately restored and the purported removal of the democratically elected government reversed, the EU will proceed to a review of the relations between the EU and Lesotho, including the programme for development cooperation. The acceding country Sweden associates itself with this communiqu

Statement of 16 September 1994

The European Union welcomes the resolution of the constitutional crisis in Lesotho. It applauds the efforts of the three mediation countries, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe in achieving a peaceful solution to the problem through dialogue. The EU hopes that the restoration of the democratically elected government will lead to continued peace and stability in Lesotho and welcomes the commitment made in the memorandum of understanding signed by His Majesty King Letsie III and the Prime Minister of the Government of Lesotho, Dr N. Mokhele, as well as by the Presidents of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, to consult with all interested parties in order to broaden the democratic proœss in Lesotho. The acceding countries Finland and Sweden associate themselves with this statement.

Concern about arrests in Nigeria

Statement of 26 August 1994

The European Union is greatly concerned at the latest news coming from Nigeria. Last year, the EU deplored the annulment of the 12 June elections and, in November, condemned the decision of the Nigerian armed forces to reverse the democratic process. On 30 June, the EU condemned the arrest of Chief Abiola and appealed forcibly to the Nigerian Government to respect the fundamental human rights of all its citizens. Now the EU reams with great concern that, against a background of political turmoil and rapid economic decline, the Nigerian authorities have closed several newspapers, and have dissolved the executives of two trade unions and of the Nigerian Labour Congress. This has been followed by the arrest of several well-respected political figures and of trade union leaders, in addition to the continuing detention without bail of Chief Abiola. As a long-standing friend and partner of Nigeria, the EU deeply regrets these developments, which can only damage further the already fragile political and economic situation. The EU accordingly calls on the Nigerian military authorities to reverse these trends and to move rapidly to restore Nigeria to a civil democracy to which all Nigerians, including the present regime, have pledged their support. The acceding country Austria associates itself with this communiqu

Welcome for first steps back to democracy in Haiti

Statement of 19 September 1994

The European Union welcomes the fact that the illegal military rulers in Haiti, after stubbomly refusing for a long time to comply with their obligations under the Governor's Island agreement, have finally been induced to declare their readiness to step down by 15 October at the latest, and that military confrontation and bloodshed may thus be avoided at the last moment.

The EU expects the illegal military rulers this time to keep strictly to their word so that military enforcement can also be avoided in the future.

The EU hopes that constitutional government under freely elected President Aristide will be able to resume its lawful functions in the country without delay. It supports the multinational force in its policy of creating secure and stable conditions that will permit the UN mission (UNMIH) to begin its programme of assistance immediately. The EU is ready to support the new government of concord to be appointed by President Aristide in its struggle for national reconciliation, and in particular in the organisation of the next parliamentary elections, which will allow the Haitian people to express their free will.

The EU hopes that these actions will promote an environment of stability, respect for law and reconciliation, as well as help to solve the problem of Haitian migrants which is currently affecting the region.

The EU reiterates its willingness to participate in the reconstruction of Haiti and to do everything in its power to support emergency aid programmes for the suffering population.

Some Member States have already announced their participation in the international police monitoring team and in humanitarian efforts intended further to normalise democracy and the rule of law and to alleviate the situation of the Haitian people.

Norway, Austria and Finland, as acceding states, associate themselves with this statement.

New Burundi President takes office

Statement of 5 October, 1994

The European Union warmly welcomes the installation of the President of Burundi. The investiture of President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya is the culmination of a long and difficult process in which political parties, the civilian population and moral forces in Burundi worked together to establish institutions and mechanisms capable of tackling the country's problems and in particular the grave crisis which began in Burundi nearly one year ago.

The EU has noted the spirit of reconciliation in which the political consultations took place and pays tribute to the efforts made to that end.

The EU expresses the hope that the dialogue thereby established will strengthen the democratic principles on which Burundi must be able to build its future. It is convinced that the commitments made by the various political partners will be honoured, and that the new Head of State, and the government which will shortly be called to lead the country with him, will be able to rely on the support of all.

The EU trusts that the people of Burundi, having reached this fuming point in their political life, will see their legitimate aspirations to peace and security borne out by the measures which their new leaders will surely take.

The country's economic and social recovery will undoubtedly call for the mobilisation of all available energies. In this connection, the European Union reaffirms its willingness to provide appropriate and diversified aid to support the effort which will be made in close consultation with other bilateral or multilateral partners to ensure, in the requisite climate of stability, the development of the entire nation and to improve the well-being of the people of Burundi.

The EU is also ready to lend its support to measures which will be taken to foster tolerance and the protection of human rights.

Gambia rebuked
Statement of 13 October 1994!

The EU regrets that in spite of the Gambian Government's pledges there has been no movement towards the restoration of democratic government. It recalls Gambia's long-standing reputation for democracy and human rights and that free and fair elections were last held there in April 1992. The EU therefore considers that there should be no obstacle to an early return to constitutional rule. The EU has been concerned by repeated arrests of former ministers and by the trial of journalists for the expression of political views. It has also noted that some 30 army and police officers remain in prison uncharged, and denied proper access by the International Committee of the Red Cross. In response to these developments, the EU is suspending all military cooperation and balance of payments support to Gambia, and will review new aid projects on a case by case basis. Projects designed to help those most in need in Gambia will continue as before.

The EU hopes that the armed forces provisignal ruling council will take concrete steps towards the restoration of democracy, to enable such cooperation to be resumed.

GENERAL INFORMATION

South Africa joins SADC

South Africa has become the 11th member of the Southern African Development Community. The signing ceremony, at which the Republic was represented by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, was held in Gaborone on 29 August during the most recent SADC Summit. Mr Mbeki delivered a speech in which he acknowledged at the outset the role played by SADC members in supporting the creation of a democratic South Africa. He went on to talk about the redefinition of relations between the countries of the region. 'We are trying to reconstruct the entire social and economic framework within which our region can develop and profer its people economic wellbeing, social stability and lasting peace.' Among other things, he said, this would entail addressing the current imbalances in trade patterns within the region and facilitating more equitable two-way flows of capital goods and services. Mr Mbeki insisted on the importance of raising the international profile of SADC, and of engaging in 'strategies aimed at securing our rightful place within a just international economic order.' He also emphasised the need for regional stability and peace if the objectives of SADC were to be attained.

The Deputy President concluded by arguing that development in the SADC region would be judged not only by 'economic quantities and technological progress' but also by 'the improvement in the quality of life of our peoples, by their cultural and spiritual fulfilment, by the attainment of race, ethnic and gender equality, by the extra care we give to our environment and by our ability to be at peace with ourselves and the world.'

HUMANITARIAN AID

Prolongation and extension of 'ECHO' flights

As we reported on page Xl of the News Round-Up in issue no 146 (July-August 1994), the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) began operating humanitarian aid flights to eastern Africa in May of this year.

In view of the positive results of this operation in integrated regional transport, the Commission has decided to prolong it until the end of this year, as well as to extend it to central Africa to take account of the crisis in Rwanda. It has accordingly allocated a further ECU 4.5 million to the operation which involves a system of regular, inter-connected flights providing aid for refugees and displaced people in Somalia and Southern Sudan.

In less than three months, the four aircraft in the fleet, based in Nairobi, Djibouti and Mogadishu, have transported 5300 people and 273 tonnes of humanitarian aid, notwithstanding the hostile environment and difficulties of access.

The new decision will allow this service to be maintained and provide for regular flights to Kigali using two additional aircraft. It will also pay for the continued operation of the Belgian Air Force's regular humanitarian flights to Southern Sudan up until the end of the year.

Aid decisions

The Commission has recently taken the following decisions to provide humanitarian aid (including emergency and food aid):

ACP countries Chad: ECU 160 000 for cholera victims in the capital, N'Djamena.

Kenya: ECU 400 000 in emergency medical aid for people in western Kenya displaced as a result of the violent two-year long dispute between different groups over the control of cultivable lands.

Non-ACP countries

Albania: ECU 300 000 for medical assistance and the provision of medical supplies for the hospital at Lushnie to the southwest of Tirana. This is the only public health facility of this nature in the area.

Albania: ECU 200 000 to help combat the cholera epidemic in the district of Kucova.

Croatia: ECU 1.8 million for food aid for displaced people.

Croatia/Bosnia-Herzegovina: ECU 1.58 million to prolong, for the month of October, logistical support for the distribution of food aid to refugees and displaced people.

Moldova: ECU 500 000 in the form of basic assistance for flood victims.

Russia: ECU 100 000 to purchase sterilisation and disinfection materials for the only paediatric hospital in Moscow specialising in the treatment of children with serious bums.

Algeria: ECU 400 000 for the victims of the earthquake at Mascara in the west of the country.

Iraq: ECU 2 million in food and sanitary aid for the poorest sections of the population in the central and southern areas of the country.

Palestine: ECU 10 million for a rehabilitation programme for some 12 000 former detainees in the West Bank and Gaza.

India: ECU 200 000 for the purchase of antibiotics to help combat the epidemic of pneumonic plague.

Pakistan: ECU 200 000 for the purchase and distribution of basic essentials for the victims of flooding caused by torrential rain in the provinces of Sind and Punjab.

Tadjikistan: ECU 5 million to provide food aid for displaced people and the most vulnerable sections of the population in regions affected by the civil war.

Tadjikistan: ECU 350 000 to provide emergency medical aid for the people of the autonomous region of Gorno-Badakhstan (Pamir), who have been cut off because of the armed conflict.