Political and Security Committee discusses climate change
On 25 January, the EU's Political and Security Committee (PSC) held a debate on the growing security implications of climate change. Member States highlighted climate-related migrations as a specific area of concern and emphasized the links between climate and environmental goals such as water and biodiversity, or broader ones like development and economic diplomacy. Progress in the implementation of the Paris Agreement was also discussed. A call was made to the European foreign and security community to step up their support of global climate action and EU climate diplomacy due to the rapidly escalating problem globally.
European Strategy on Plastics
The first Europe-wide strategy on plastics has been launched. It strategy aims to make all plastic packaging on the EU market recyclable by 2030 whilst reducing single-use plastics and restricting micro-plastics. This initiative promises to be a business opportunity as well as an ecological solution: The new 'plastic economy' will encourage investment and generate jobs in the transformation of plastic design, use and recycling EU-wide. As it stands, only 30% of European waste is collected for recycling. First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans reiterates, "The only long-term solution is to reduce plastic waste by recycling and reusing more", emphasizing, "With the EU Plastics Strategy we are also driving a new and more circular business model." He hopes that this initiative will inspire global change and increase awareness world-wide.
Western Balkans Strategy: journey towards EU integration
The European Commission on 6 February adopted a strategy for 'A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans', as announced by President Juncker in his 2017 State of the Union address. The Strategy confirms the European future of the region: "It is a clear path for the Western Balkans, all our six partners in the Western Balkans, to finally join the European Union", said HRVP Mogherini. The Strategy spells out the priorities and areas of joint reinforced cooperation, addressing the specific challenges faced by the Western Balkans countries. Sustained efforts and irreversible reforms in crucial areas such as the rule of law, fundamental rights, the fight against corruption and organised crime, as well as economic reforms will be required for a credible enlargement perspective.
Read HRVP Mogherini's speech on the Western Balkans Strategy here.
EU chairs Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was launched in 2002 as a response to the role diamonds play in financing some of Africa's worst civil wars. In December 2017, the EU formally took over chairmanship of the Kimberley Process from Australia and it will now lead the international operation to prevent the trade of conflict diamonds. HRVP Federica Mogherini described the Kimberley Process as "part of our work for sustainable development. It is part of our work for sustainable peace."
The European Union has been at the forefront of the process since the outset and last chaired the Kimberley Process in 2007. The principles of sustainability, inclusiveness, responsibility and dialogue will guide the EU's efforts. Our focus will be on further strengthening the implementation and effectiveness of the Process and on ensuring sustainable livelihoods for producing communities. A series of events will be organised in Antwerp in June and in Brussels in November.
Read more here.
Zero Tolerance towards FGM
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a practice rooted in discrimination towards the female gender. It affects the lives and health of girls and women inside and outside the EU every day. On 6 February, HRVP Mogherini met with Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, and Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vĕra Jourová for International Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation Day and reaffirmed the EU's strong commitment to eradicate the practice. They released the following statement:
"At the international level, together with the United Nations, we have launched an unprecedented initiative – the Spotlight Initiative – to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Through this initiative, we will focus in particular on our efforts to fight female genital mutilation in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region where this practice is still prevalent... We want a society where women are free from violence and free to change the world."
Polish Perspectives on the Asia-Pacific Region
The Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs and the Centre for Strategic Studies invites you to a talk by Professor Jakub Zajączkowski and Ambassador of Poland to India Tomasz Lukaszuk. Poland now regards the Asia-Pacific as the most important region in its non-EU and NATO foreign relations. The talk will cover Poland's policies towards Asia-Pacific countries, its role in EU relations with Asia-Pacific and also future prospects and issues that the region presents such as the current situation in the Korean Penninsula. The talk will take place on 15 February. The event is free of charge.
To find out more info and to register, click here.
The Dutch Embassy invites you to Te Hono Ki Aotearoa
The National Library, Toi Maori and the Dutch Embassy have come together to present a film tracing an extraordinary intercultural partnership. The film 'Te Hono ki Aotearoa' follows the journey of a waka taua (ceremonial canoe) hewn from a 600 year old Kauri and ceremonially gifted, on permanent loan to the Museum Volkenkunde in Holland.
The screening will take place on Tuesday, 20 February (5:30pm-7:30pm) at the National Library in Wellington. Refreshments are provided after the screening. There’s also an optional pre-event; a guided tour of 'He Tohu' exhibition starting at 4:30pm.
RSVP by 15 February to this email address.
EU Data Regulation Workshops
All businesses that collect the personal data of EU data subjects must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in full by 25 May 2018, whether your operations are based in NZ or the EU. Due to the significant penalties for which companies could be liable, the German-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce has organised a series of national workshops to educate as many businesses as possible about these changes.
Register and find out more here.
EUVP Applications now open for 2019!
The European Union Visitors Programme (EUVP) aims to provide professionals from non-EU countries with an increased understanding of the Union's policies, Institutions and achievements through their visit. New Zealand and Australia have participated in the EUVP programme since 1983 sending over 138 visitors to Europe during that time.
The length of the EUVP visit is normally 5 working days in Brussels. The programme consists of meetings with officials at the EU institutions in Brussels and where relevant, in Strasbourg and/or Luxembourg. All programmes are coordinated and arranged by the EUVP Secretariat and not by the individual participants or by the EU Delegation in New Zealand. Travel and per diem costs are covered by the EUVP.
For information about the application process, click here.
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