Customs: Provisional agreement reached on EU single window which will make customs clearance easier and faster
Today, the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on a single window for customs which sets the appropriate conditions for digital collaboration between customs and partner competent authorities. The aim is to make international trade easier, shorten customs clearance times and reduce the risk of fraud. It will also help reduce the administrative burden for traders.
Efficient customs clearance and controls are essential to allow trade to flow smoothly while also protecting EU citizens, businesses and the environment. Once fully implemented, businesses will no longer have to submit documents to several authorities through different portals. The single window environment will allow customs and other authorities to automatically verify that the goods in question comply with EU requirements and that the necessary formalities have been completed.
Energy policy is at the centre of EU foreign policy
HR/VP Blog - We face a major geopolitical crisis with the war against Ukraine and at the same time a major ecological and security threat with climate change. REPowerEU is the integrated response to this double challenge. The Commission and I tabled this week specific concrete proposals in many domains including a more ambitious and targeted EU energy diplomacy.
Energy policy has always been a geopolitical issue and this has become even clearer now with the war on Ukraine. For years we have debated the need to reduce our dependence on energy imports from Russia, a country that uses energy as a political weapon. Now we know we can no longer afford to put this off: we are funding the Kremlin’s ability to wage war against Ukraine. Doing this will not be an easy task and will require internal actions on numerous fronts detailed in the REPowerEU plan.
“We have to ensure that our short-term goal - depriving Putin of the resources and levers that fossil fuels give him - is coherent with our medium-term objectives of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.”
Child labour: Commission invests in a new action to target agriculture value chains
The European Commission will invest €10 million in a new action that mainly targets agriculture value chains, where child labour is prevalent and exports to the EU significant. European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen announced it at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour, which takes place in Durban, South Africa, on 15-20 May. The conference is organised by the government of South Africa, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Alliance 8.7.
“Child labour is a complex problem with many root causes. To address this, the EU has provided over €200 million to support 150 projects targeting child labour in 65 countries since 2008, and remains committed to exploring innovative approaches to intensify the fight against child labour. Today, I am proud to announce that, as we boost efforts to scale up food security in partner countries, the EU is investing €10 million in a new action to target child labour in agriculture value chains. By working strategically – whether it’s on value chains, education, or supporting livelihoods, we can get closer to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal of ending all forms of child labour by 2025. The EU is proud to be joining Alliance 8.7, and we look forward to working with all to enhance knowledge and scale up best practices that work,” said the Commissioner Urpilainen at the high-level panel.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts the global economy at risk
HR/VP Blog – Last weekend I attended in Germany the G7 meeting of ministers of foreign affairs. One of our main topics was the massive negative impact on the world economy of the war on Ukraine with significant risks of destabilization in many regions and countries. It could also weaken international support to condemn Russian aggression as our video conference with the Indonesian foreign affairs minister confirmed. Europeans need to be fully aware of those risks and act to limit them globally.
Many voices are warning of the recession that the war against Ukraine could cause. “War sets back economic recovery” the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated recently. "Is the global economy flying into a perfect storm, with Europe, China, and the United States all entering downturns at the same time later this year? ", the American economist Kenneth Rogoff asked. Such a negative dynamic could trigger a new global financial crisis.
European Commission and EIB sign an Agreement to enable further investments worldwide
Today, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed an ambitious Guarantee Agreement through which the European Commission will support up to €26.7 billion of EIB financial operations to enable crucial public investments in sectors like clean energy, digital and transport infrastructure, health and education over the next seven years, rolling out Global Gateway worldwide.
Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, said: “Today's landmark guarantee agreement with the European Investment Bank will enable to finance the implementation of our Economic and Investment Plans for the Western Balkans, the Southern and Eastern Neighbourhood. We launched these three substantial investment plans to support their post-COVID socio-economic recovery and to speed up the closing of their development gap with the EU. We worked together with the region to identify the key bottlenecks of their development. Although each investment plan is individually designed for the region it aims to build faster and more sustainable road, rail and digital connections, decarbonise the economies, ensure safe energy supplies, create sustainable business opportunities and put conditions in place that make the young generation stay in the region. In the next years together with the EIB we will be able to deliver in the Western Balkans, the Southern Neighbourhood, and the Eastern Partnership countries these much needed and awaited investments, bringing growth and jobs directly and on a larger scale than ever before.”
Food insecurity: the time to act is now
The brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine has provoked massive hikes in food prices and created the risk of food shortages. We must act now to protect the people affected. Last month, the Commission launched a plan to fight food insecurity and has already started its implementation. We took stock of the situation at the last College of Commissioners.
Food is essential for all of us, but this is particularly the case in developing countries where it represents a dominant part of household expenditure. Many of these countries depend heavily on imported food. North Africa and the Middle East in particular import over 50% of their cereal from Ukraine and Russia. Record food prices preceded the ‘Arab spring’ a decade ago and social tensions might mount again in the region. Others, like for instance Niger, Madagascar or Somalia, already face severe food crises, and Lebanon or Turkey are subject to major economic crises. The South Caucasus countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, are also in great danger due to their extreme reliance on imports from Russia and Ukraine.
Food crisis: the EU takes action to support Africa's Sahel and Lake Chad regions
In the context of the aggravation of the food security and nutrition due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the European Union is today reinforcing its political and financial commitment to partner countries in Africa. A total of €554 million in 2022 will be targeted at increasing food security in Sahel and Lake Chad, where millions of people already suffer an acute situation and whose situation could worsen.
The EU support, announced at the high-level event on food security in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions co-organised by the EU, the Sahel and West Africa Club and the Global Network against food crises, includes both a humanitarian response and support to work on the root causes of food insecurity in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria.
Global Gateway: President von der Leyen announces major participatory event on 21-22 June
The 2022 edition of the European Development Days (EDD) will take place on 21 and 22 June under the theme ‘Global Gateway: building sustainable partnerships for a connected world’. The event will bring together high-level participants from around the world to take stock of progress on the implementation of the Global Gateway strategy.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “In a world marked by rising instability and shared global challenges, our partner countries need reliable friends. With Global Gateway, the European Union redoubles its efforts and offers partnership based on mutual values and common objectives for green, smart and inclusive investments. I’m looking forward to welcoming political leaders, representatives of civil society and the private sector from around the world to the European Development Days, where we will discuss concrete implementation of Global Gateway.”
Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, added: “Global Gateway aims to mobilise up to €300 billion of investment by 2027, in a Team Europe approach between the EU, Member States, Development Financial Institutions, and the private sector. The Global Gateway Initiative has been largely welcomed, and several Member States have already presented their concrete contributions. The European Development Days will be the key event in 2022 to discuss how we, as Team Europe, can work with partner countries, including the private sector and European businesses, to deliver flagship initiatives.”
Commission adopts a roadmap to improve the European financial architecture for development
The European Commission adopted a roadmap to ensure a more impactful, efficient, coordinated and inclusive European financial architecture for development.
Amidst ongoing global geopolitical challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, a new approach to EU’s cooperation with partner countries is needed, promoting EU political, economic and security interests around the world.
While the EU and its Members States are the world’s biggest development donor, public resources are not sufficient to address the magnitude of financing gaps for our partner countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), estimated at €3.7 trillion.
Food security: Commission steps up support for global action to transform food systems via eight Global Coalitions
In light of the dire food security situation and high food prices, after two years of COVID-19 pandemic and the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Commission is today stepping up its support to the transformation of food systems by actively engaging in eight global Coalitions for Action. These will assist partner countries in their efforts to transform food systems and help to advance the Farm to Fork Strategy agenda internationally. The decision to actively engage in these eight voluntary alliances for collective action is a follow-up to the Food Systems Summit held on 23-24 September 2021 in New York. The alliances gather national representatives, civil society organisations, researchers and international organisations to achieve transformation action in the field of food security. The Commission will be a major partner in eight coalitions: