No. 170 - 26 January 2018
2018: The European Year of Cultural Heritage
2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Across Europe, events on a local, regional and national scale will bring people closer to their cultural heritage. As Europeans, our cultural heritage is all around us, found in tangible objects such as art, food and architecture. It also encompasses the intangible; from our language to the traditions that we inherit from our ancestors. We believe our cultural heritage is informed by the past, but it continues to evolve when we engage with it in the present. #EuropeforCulture is a combined effort by the European Commission, European Parliament, Council of the European Union, Council of the Regions and European Social and Economic Committee - demonstrating the pride EU institutions have for their cultural heritage.
To learn more about the European Year of Cultural Heritage click here.
New EU strategy for Iraq
On 22nd January, following the territorial defeat of Da'esh, the EU Foreign Affairs Council agreed to a new strategy for Iraq as it supports local authorities in the reconstruction phase. The strategy underscores the need for basic public services and for full implementation of the Iraqi National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security.
HRVP Federica Mogherini said: "Iraq is at a crossroads in its history following the territorial defeat of Da'esh at great sacrifice. It is now crucial to act quickly and rebuild the country with the participation of all the components of Iraqi society, to promote and protect fundamental rights and the rule of law in each and every area: only inclusiveness can guarantee true reconciliation so that Iraqis can close once and for all with the past. This needs international support and we are ready to contribute, to keep supporting the Iraqi people and government in these challenges, for the sake of the people of the country and the region".
Read more about the EU Strategy for Iraq here.
European Strategy on Plastics
The first Europe-wide strategy on plastics has been launched. It aims to make all plastic packaging on the EU market recyclable by 2030 and at the same time reduce single-use plastics and restrict 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 increase awareness world-wide and inspire global change.
Political dialogue between EU & Timor-Leste
Earlier this week, HRVP Mogherini met Minister of State and Counsellor of National Security for Timor-Leste José Ramas-Horta to hold a political dialogue. Their talks reflected on the positive state of bilateral relations between the EU and Timor-Leste. Regional challenges and opportunities were also discussed in an open and constructive manner. The EU will continue to support Timor-Leste and to provide assistance to ensure good governance and rural development. The meeting also stressed the need to tackle remaining challenges such as diversifying the Timorese economy and investing in human capital. The HRVP reasserted the EU's commitment to maintaining a strong and cooperative relation with Timor-Leste.
Read more about aims of the EU and Timor-Leste meeting here.
North Korea: 17 DPRK nationals involved in evading EU sanctions
On 8th January, the European Council agreed that 17 more individuals will experience an asset freeze and travel restrictions. This is an addition to those drawn up by the United Nations. The sanctions have been adopted in order to maintain pressure on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to its continued and accelerated development of nuclear and ballistic programmes in spite of UN Security Council resolutions.
The 17 individuals have been identified because of their involvement in illegal trade activities and activities aiming to evade the sanctions imposed by the UN. The total number of individuals and entities placed under the EU's restrictive measures is 58 individuals and 10 entities. 79 individuals and 54 entities are also listed by the UN.
Read more about DPRK individuals evading EU and UN sanctions here.
EU Steps Up: Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh
On 15th January, the EU adopted a new €5 million programme to support the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The programme's aims include the identification and registration of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, protecting vulnerable individuals and ensuring that adequate humanitarian aid can be provided. Many of the refugees are vulnerable due to the high numbers of women-led households; a large percentage of them have already suffered great psychological harm and various forms of violence. The programme is all in preparation for the 'eventual voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh to their place of origin'.
HRVP Mogherini visited refugee camps in Cox's Bazar late last year and asserted that "the European Union will continue to lead the work of the donor community because we believe that human dignity and peoples' lives must always be protected."
2018: EU chairmanship of Kimberly Process
The Kimberly 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 Kimberly Process from Australia and it will now lead the international operation to prevent the trade of conflict diamonds. HRVP Federica Mogherini described the Kimberly 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. Sustainability, inclusiveness, responsibility and dialogue will guide the EU's efforts. Ensuring sustainable livelihoods for producing communities is a priority for the EU. A series of events will be organised in Antwerp in June and in Brussels in November.
Read more about the Kimberly Process here.
What is the EUVP?
The European Union Visitors Programme (EUVP) aims to provide young 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 and counterparts at the EU institutions in Brussels and where relevant, in Strasbourg and/or Luxembourg. Travel and per diem costs are covered by the EUVP.
For information about the application process click here. Applications for 2019 are now open.
EU Data Regulation Workshops
20th February 18
pro clima HUB,
21th February 18
NZTE Level 12,
22th February 18
The Manufacturers’ Network,
03.00 pm – 03.30 pm registration & networking
03.30 pm – 05.00 pm EU Data workshop
05.00 pm – 06.00 pm Networking with drinks & nibbles
Price: $75 Members + GST, $95 Non-members + GST
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