EU-EAC : towards a trade EPA?

The European Commission is putting growing pressure on the East
African Community (EAC) to sign a free trade agreement with the
EU, known as an “Economic Partnership Agreement” (EPA).

The EPA unit at the Commission takes the view that, if no EPA is
signed, these East African countries will either come under the “Generalised
System of Preferences” or the “Everything but Arms” system
given that no other trade instrument is available. Both these options
would result in more rigorous rules of origin and higher European
import tariffs than when trading within an EPA, with a resultant negative
impact on companies that purchase machines and equipment
goods in Europe. The provisional EPA, also known as the framework

Meeting between Mauritania and the EU

Fish Market area in Nouakchott, Mauritania, Africa. © sxc

A meeting of the Joint Committee of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania
and the European Union was held in Nouakchott between 21 and
25 March 2010.

This was the first meeting at this level since 2008. In particular, it
made it possible to consider technical aspects concerning the fishing
activities of the European fleet in Mauritania. The two parties reached
agreement on the surveillance and control mechanisms to which the
European Union attaches great importance.

The discussions also sought to take stock of two years of implementing
support for the fishery sector as provided for by the protocol that entered
into force in 2008. This sectoral support made it possible to implement

“Better training for safer food”: An activity growing by the year

In 2009 the European Commission’s “Better training for safer food” initiative  organised 110 events involving 5 000 participants. These figures are given in the fourth annual report of this programme that aims to train Member State control staff and third party participants in the fields of health (food safety and veterinary aspects) and plant health. These figures are set to increase further for 2010. This growing interest is largely due to factors such as the food crises, increasing consumer awareness, the globalisation of trade in foodstuffs and the lack of harmonisation in implementing food legislation and official controls.

Resolution on arrangements for imports into the EU

On 8 July the European Parliament adopted by 374 votes to 13, with 11 abstentions, a resolution on arrangements for importing fishery and aquaculture products (FAPs) into the European Union with a view to the future reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

SFP technical assistance to the islands of Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha yield concrete results

Remotely located deep in the South Atlantic with thousands of kilometres of water separating the two, the islands of Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha make up, together with Ascension Island, a single British Overseas Territory. Given their location, they have both developed fishing as priority activities.

The operators and authorities on Saint Helena wanted to continue exporting to the European Union, while those on Tristan da Cunha were seeking access to this new market. To assist them, Dr Ian Goulding carried out missions in August and September 2009, under the SFP Programme Module 1, to create and develop Competent Authorities (CAs) to monitor food security conditions.

New basis for European fishing

Previously, the European Parliament had been no more than a spectator
when it came to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Since
1 January it has been on an equal footing with the European Commission.

Maria Damanaki has been appointed new Commissioner as the
CFP comes up for reform. Following the entry into force of the Lisbon
Treaty (and its Articles 38 to 43 most notably), the 763 MEPs now
have an active role to play in its management.

Foreseen in the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the CFP long remained an
appendage of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) before becoming
a policy in its own right while remaining subject to direct consultation
between the Commission and the European Council. Neither of
these bodies have any elected members. The CFP now comes under

Interview: Vivianne FOCK TAVE, Ambassador of the Republic of Seychelles, Chair of ACP Ambassadorial Working Group

SFP info: In simple terms, what is the role of the ACP Ambassadorial Working Group on Fisheries? Vivianne FOCK TAVE: The Ambassadorial Working Group on Fisheries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group is the executive arm of the ACP Fisheries Mechanism. The Working Group discusses and monitors any issues which may affect the fisheries sector in ACP countries and make recommendations for follow-up actions.

The EFSA has published its 2009 annual report

Founded in 2002 in response to a series of food crises (BSE, dioxin, etc.), the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) plays a vital role in the field of food safety and risk assessment. Every year the Authority strengthens its support for its partners charged with risks management at the European Commission, European Parliament and within the Member States that look to it for advice. In 2009, the number of requests for advice increased to 317 from 285 in 2008. As a result, 636 scientific outputs were issued, 30% more than in 2008.

The EFSA’s expertise in the field of risks assessment covers the entire food chain, “ from the field to the fork”.  It is active in all fields related to the safety of food destined for human or animal consumption, the health and well-being of animals, nutrition, and the protection of plant health.