News and Publications : In Brief

4 November 2011

The European Commission proposes a new partnership between Europe and the farmers

The European Commission proposed on 12 October 2011 its plans to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2013. The purposes of the draft proposal are to strengthen the competitiveness and the sustainability of agriculture and maintain its presence in all regions, in order to guarantee European citizens healthy and quality food production, to preserve the environment and to help develop rural areas. The proposal outlines ten key points, including income support, developing crisis management tools, greening agricultural production, stimulating rural employment and channeling additional funding towards research and innovation. For example to better develop the agricultural potential of the EU, the Commission is proposing to support farmers' income in a fairer, better targeted and simpler way. Basic income support will cover only active farmers. It will be digressive from € 150 000 per holding and capped beyond € 300 000, taking into account the number of jobs created. It will also be distributed more equitably between farmers, between regions and between Member States. althy and quality food production, to preserve the environment and to help develop

See the EC press release here and article "EU Farm Policy: Commission Reform Proposals Spark Mixed Response", Bridges Weekly Vol 15-34. See also: ACP press release, 18 October 2011: ACP and LDC sugar suppliers deplore EC's CAP proposals

Release of the State of Food Security report and the Global Hunger Index 2011

The annual State of Food Insecurity (SOFI) report, which was published on Monday 10 October, did not release its anticipated figures on undernourishment in 2010 due to an ongoing methodological review. The report, produced collaboratively for the first time by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, analysed the effect of more costly and erratic food prices in recent years. The report particularly focused on farmers with smaller plots who are among the worst affected.

Another assessment, the Global Hunger Index, produced by the International Food Policy Research Institute's (IFPRI), was also released the same day. This report warned that the worst incidence of hunger is concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, describing 26 countries as having alarming or extremely alarming figures.

See more information here and here.

EU to modify transparency directive

The European Commission (EC) proposed on 25 October to modify notification requirements for acquirers when they reach a certain stake in a listed company, reduce burdensome reporting obligations for all listed companies, and simplify accounting rules for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to produce further cost savings for businesses.

The existing Directive foresees a number of notification thresholds for acquirers when they reach a certain stake in a listed company. However, the Directive's rules for disclosure does not include provisions on holdings of certain types of financial instruments that can be used to acquire economic interest in listed companies without acquiring shares. This can eventually lead to secret stake-building in listed companies with a view to acquire significant influence which in turn can give rise to possible market abuse situations. In order to tackle this issue the Proposal aims at introducing a requirement of disclosure of major holdings of all financial instruments that could be used to acquire economic interest in listed companies.

The proposals to revise the Accounting Directives and the Transparency Directive will now be passed to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for adoption.

See related article here and EU-Frequently Asked Questions on this topic here.

‘Green economy' generates trade concerns in run-up to Rio+20

Participants in recent regional meetings paving the way for the Rio+20 Conference next June have struggled to find agreement on the concept of a ‘green economy.' While some see a redefinition of the economy in green terms as a path towards sustainable development, others fear the concept is synonymous with green trade protectionism and conditionalities - to the point where participants at one regional meeting chose not to mention the green economy in their meeting conclusions. The past six weeks have seen four of the Regional Preparatory meetings for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), or Rio+20, which is taking place next year in Rio de Janeiro on 4-6 June 2012. The lack of an internationally-agreed definition of the term ‘green economy' came as a challenge to advance the discussions on the green economy among participants. During a side event in Addis Ababa dedicated to this topic, participants examined challenges and opportunities related to the green economy in the African context, hearing both from economists and exporters that have developed green products. The participants highlighted significant opportunities for African countries in a green economy, such as exports of organic agricultural products, forestry, and other certified products. However, they also said measures such as environmental standards need to be examined further and harmonised.

Read full article from Bridges weekly, 26 october 2011, here.

EU-China summit postponed

Due to the upcoming meetings of the European Council and the Heads of State and Government of the Eurozone countries, the EU-China Summit has been rescheduled to a later date. Click here for official document.

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