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June, 2015

 

Angela Merkel Still Open For Talks On the Greek Crisis

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: DEgov}

Germany – Greek Crisis

Angela Merkel still open for talks

The economic assistance programme for Greece ended on Tuesday night. Should the Greek government request further negotiations following Sunday’s referendum, the door will be open, said Angela Merkel in Berlin.

Once the second economic assistance programme for Greece ends, there is no longer any programme basis, said Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. The Greek side was not prepared to compromise, she said.
The Chancellor had earlier invited the heads of the CDU/CSU, the SPD, the Greens (Die Grünen) and the Left Party (Die Linke) as well as the heads of their parliamentary groups in the German Bundestag to the Federal Chancellery to inform them about the latest developments in the Greek situation.

Eurogroup’s offer generous, says Chancellor

According to Angela Merkel, however, the door remains open. Greece has called a referendum on Sunday on the last offer of the country’s creditors. Should the Greek government request negotiations after the referendum, “we will obviously not reject negotiations of this sort”.

The Eurogroup made Greece a generous offer, declared the Chancellor. It is the legitimate entitlement of the Greeks to hold a referendum, and the result will be accepted, she said. But it is equally the legitimate right of the other 18 euro-zone states to take their own stance.

Responsibility and solidarity

The Chancellor repeated that the euro “is in a more robust state of health today than it was five years ago, which puts us in a much better position to master the crisis”. Again she stressed that “responsibility on the part of the individual members and solidarity on the part of the others are two sides of the same coin”. This is one of the fundamental principles of the economic and monetary union.

The Chancellor explained her statement that “If the euro fails, Europe fails,” as meaning that there must be the will to compromise on all sides if the euro is to hold together. If this proves impossible, the euro is seriously jeopardised.

Debate in the German Bundestag on Wednesday

Angela Merkel announced that the German Bundestag would debate the Greek situation on Wednesday. She will be speaking for the government along with Federal Economic Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

No special Eurogroup summit is planned, nor is any trip to Greece scheduled.

The Greeks want a different euro zone, says Sigmar Gabriel

Federal Economic Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel explained the “qualitatively new programme” offered to the Greeks. It took account of the social situation in Greece and paved the way for a third economic assistance programme. Greece, however, was not interested in submitting its own reform proposals, he reported. Sigmar Gabriel stressed that it is not only the Greek government that is accountable to its people. The governments of the other 18 euro-zone states are every bit as accountable to their own people.

As Sigmar Gabriel sees it, the Greek government either wants a different euro zone, or is simply not prepared to comply with the rules of the euro zone. This is a “politically and ideologically” motivated stance. The euro zone, however, needs “commitments” – more rather than less. Sigmar Gabriel thus sees the referendum on Sunday as the decision of the Greek people for or against the euro zone. Should there be a “Yes” vote in the referendum, new negotiations could follow. The euro is a stable and secure currency.

No danger for the German budget

Greece will remain a member of the euro zone and of the European Union. Greece has not yet defaulted. Even if the country is unable to repay interest on or instalments of European and international loans, this would not have any short-term consequences for the German budget. Because of the long-term nature of Greece’s repayment commitments, any impact would be very gradual and spread over a period of several years, said Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. The concomitant financial challenges will not jeopardise Germany’s guideline of producing balanced budgets for the foreseeable future.

The negotiations between the Eurogroup and Greece over an extension of the second economic assistance programme broke down on 27 June. The Greek government broke off the negotiations and called a referendum for 5 July. Greek voters will be asked to accept or reject the last offer made by the country’s creditors (International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission). The Greek government is advising the Greek people to vote “No”. The economic assistance programme will now end on 30 June. The Greek government has closed the country’s banks for a week until 5 July, and has introduced capital control measures. On 30 June Greece must repay a 1.6 billion euro loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It is unclear whether or not it will be able to do so.

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Bulgaria To Contribute €100 million To Investment Plan For Europe

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion  {source: EC}

Bulgaria

Investment Plan for Europe: Bulgaria to contribute €100 million

30 June 2015

Bulgaria has announced that it will contribute €100 million to projects benefiting from finance by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), at the heart of the €315 billion Investment Plan for Europe. The contribution will be made through co-financing of projects approved by the Bulgarian Development Bank. Bulgaria is the 8th Member State after Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Slovakia to announce a contribution, even before the EFSI becomes operational.

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “I am delighted to hear that Bulgaria has announced a contribution of €100 million to the Investment Plan. I had very good discussions with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov when I was in Sofia earlier this year about how Bulgaria could benefit from the Investment Plan and soon we will see the concrete effects of its implementation.” 

European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, responsible for Budget and Human Resources, said: “Bulgaria is ahead of the curve as part of the first group of EU Member States to contribute to the Investment Plan for Europe. I expect that Bulgaria will achieve a significant multiplication effect on its €100 million investment and that through the participation in the Investment Plan we will see much needed private finance flowing into the economy to stimulate higher growth, create more and better paid jobs and lift up the standard of living in the country.”

Background

On 28 May, just four and a half months after the Commission adopted the legislative proposal on 13 January, EU legislators reached a political agreement on the Regulation for European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). Member States unanimously endorsed it on 10 March and the European Parliament voted in committee on 20 April. Finance Ministers welcomed the agreement on the Regulation at the ECOFIN Council on 19 June, and the European Parliament voted through the Regulation at their plenary session on 24 June, allowing the EFSI to be operational by September as planned.

In line with the European Council conclusions of December 2014, which invited the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group to “start activities by using its own funds as of January 2015”, the EIB has already announced several projects to be pre-financed in the context of the Investment Plan for Europe, in which it is the Commission’s strategic partner.

National Promotional Banks have a crucial role to play in getting Europe investing again. They have the expertise to carry out the Investment Plan, and they often ensure the most efficient use of public resources. In February, Germany announced that it would contribute €8 billion to the Investment Plan through KfW. Also in February, Spain announced a €1.5 billion contribution through Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO). In March, France announced a €8 billion pledge through Caisse des Dépôts (CDC) and Bpifrance (BPI) and Italy announced it will contribute €8 billion via Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP). In April Luxembourg announced that it will contribute €80 million via Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement (SNCI), and Poland announced that it will contribute €8bn via Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK). In June, Slovakia announced a contribution of €400 million through its National Promotional Banks Slovenský Investičný Holding and Slovenská Záručná a Rozvojová Banka.

The economic crisis brought about a sharp reduction of investment across Europe. That is why collective and coordinated efforts at European level are needed to reverse this downward trend and put Europe on the path of economic recovery. Adequate levels of resources are available and need to be mobilised across the EU in support of investment. There is no single, simple answer, no growth button that can be pushed, and no one-size-fits-all solution. The Commission is setting out an approach based on three pillars: structural reforms to put Europe on a new growth path; fiscal responsibility to restore the soundness of public finances and cement financial stability; and investment to kick-start growth and sustain it over time. The Investment Plan for Europe is at the heart of this strategy.

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EIB And ING Belgium Partner To Facilitate Midcaps’ Innovative Investments

World Trade

Open Eyes Opinion {source: EIB}

Belgium

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU’s financing institution, and ING Belgium have signed an agreement under the InnovFin Midcap Guarantee programme to facilitate and increase lending to innovative companies in Belgium.

With the EIB bringing a guarantee of up to EUR 150 million, ING Belgium will be able to provide finance to innovative companies for a total of EUR 300 million. It will rely upon this programme to increase its lending capacity and to offer new loans to midcap customers undertaking research, development and innovative projects.

This financial instrument is based on risk sharing and aims to foster growth and competitiveness in Europe. It enables the EIB to provide a 50 percent credit risk guarantee to the intermediary financial institution – ING Belgium in this case.

The European Commission is backing the operation under “Horizon 2020”, the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Companies active in the research and development field and with fewer than 3,000 employees can be provided with reliable long-term financing on the best terms. The EIB guarantee will cover up to 50 percent of a loan provided by ING, with a cap of EUR 25 million per project. This will enable midcaps to gain easier access to finance for their innovative projects.

At the signing event, EIB Vice-President Pim Van Ballekom emphasised the strengths of the InnovFin Midcap Guarantee: “Belgium – and Europe as a whole – needs more risk-taking when it comes to investing in innovation.This new instrument gives EIB partners such as ING Belgium the opportunity to strengthen their support to companies more quickly and with more flexibility and to finance overall a broader spectrum of much-needed projects.In creating new ways to finance innovative midcaps and in making it easier for midcaps to access funding, we will foster growth and competitiveness across Europe.

Erik Van Den Eynden, Head of Midcorporates & Institutionals at ING Bank Belgium, welcomed the agreement with the EIB: “This agreement is totally in line with the Think Forward strategy of ING Belgium. We are glad that the European Investment Bank has given us again the opportunity in supporting us to empower our clients to stay a stepahead by giving them the possibility to invest in innovative research and development projects, even in a challenging economic context. Our track record with EIB over the past 5 years proves that our clients highly appreciate the growth and development opportunities these type of agreements offer.”

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Horizon 2020 allocates nearly €80 billion euro to research and innovation — mainly through grants — but also through the InnovFin range of financial instruments. The comprehensive spectrum of InnovFin products, including the MidCap Guarantee, helps European companies of all sizes, and other organisations engaged in research and innovation, gain easier access to debt and equity finance. 

The ING Belgium facility is supported by the InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators Midcap Guarantee instrument, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020. InnovFin is a new range of EIB Group products designed to facilitate access to finance for innovative businesses .

Background Notes:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

Under Horizon 2020, the new EU research programme for 2014-20, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) have launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Over the next seven years, “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators”will offer a range of tailored products which will make available more than EUR 24bn of financing support for research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructures. This finance is expected to support up to EUR 48bn of final R&I investments.

Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin financial products support R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries will be eligible as final beneficiaries. These debt instruments will be complemented in the near future by a suite of equity instruments managed by the EIF.

InnovFin MidCap Guarantee provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of up to EUR 50m, in order to improve access to finance for innovative midcaps (up to 3,000 employees) which are not eligible under the InnovFin SME Guarantee. This will be rolled out through financial intermediaries such as banks and other financial institutions. Under InnovFin MidCap Guarantee, financial intermediaries will be guaranteed against a portion of their potential losses by the EIB.

ING Belgium SA/NV services all banking customers with a wide range of financial products and via the distribution channel of their choice. ING Belgium SA/NV employs 8,623 FTE and is a full subsidiary of ING Bank N.V. which services 33 million private, business and institutional clients in more than 40 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and Australia.

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Croatia And Lithuania Focus On Strengthening Relationships

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: LTgov}

Lithuania

 Zagreb – President Dalia Grybauskaitė, who is in Croatia for an official visit, met with the newly elected Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, in Zagreb.

The presidents of Lithuania and Croatia discussed energy independence, military security, economic cooperation, as well as women’s rights and leadership.

“Croatia, who joined the European Union several years ago, is an example of success and an important partner of Lithuania in the Adriatic Sea region. Cooperation between our two countries has just started to gain momentum. Lithuania’s experience in energy security is of great relevance to Croatia, while Croatia’s market is of interest to our businesses. We are united by common objectives and similar views on issues of strategic importance to Europe and matters of significance to our people’s security and well-being,” the President said.

Both Lithuania and Croatia place a very special focus on energy security. The President shared Lithuania’s experience in building an LNG terminal in Klaipėda. Croatia intends to construct a similar terminal on the island of KRK. One third of the crew on the Lithuanian LNG carrier Independence are Croatians. The Lithuania and Croatian LNG terminals are included in the EU list of strategically important energy objects.

Lithuania and Croatia hold the same position on the changed geopolitical situation and Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The ongoing military exercises at Lithuania’s and Croatia’s borders have made both countries focus on defense and security. Lithuania and Croatia seek to have the agreements reached at the Wales summit fully implemented and to be properly prepared to counter hybrid threats.

The President of Croatia, who had earlier worked as NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Public Diplomacy, well understands the real impact of the information warfare and hostile propaganda on the security of states.

Lithuania and Croatia also cooperate on topical EU issues. Both countries support EU enlargement. Both share the same standpoint with respect to refugees and the world’s largest trade deal – the free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States.

Speaking about bilateral relations, the Lithuanian president underlined that she saw a huge unused potential for investment and exports in the field of economic cooperation. Even though trade between the two countries grew by more than 46 percent over the past several years, economic indicators could be better. According to the President, cooperation ties should be strengthened in business and innovation. The successful export of the Lithuanian hard cheese Džiugas to Croatia is best proof that Croatia could be a good market for Lithuanian-made food products.

Among the other issues discussed at the meeting were women’s rights and leadership. Lithuania and Croatia are the only countries in Europe who are led by women presidents elected by direct popular vote. President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has already joined the Council of Women World Leaders chaired by the Lithuanian president. The Council serves as a platform of cooperation for highest-level women leaders in strengthening women’s leadership in politics and business, improving their situation around the world, and dealing with violence against women.

During her official visit, President Dalia Grybauskaitė will also meet with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, open a high-level energy conference and pay tribute to the victims of war.

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Whatever Happens In The Ukraine Conflict Concerns Hungary And Poland

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: HUgov}

Hungary

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced after the summit of EU heads of government and state that the immigration aspect of the Ukrainian conflict is not currently on Hungary’s agenda, but may yet be, and whatever happens will be Hungary’s and Poland’s joint concern.

The Prime Minister made it clear that he is not counting on EU support in this respect, adding that Hungarian public administration must prepare for its tasks according to the various scenarios. Slavic countries are already experiencing a slow but steady increase in the number of Ukrainian immigrants, Mr. Orbán explained.

The Government of Hungary is seeking to help maintain a stable situation in Transcarpathia, via financial means as well; as during the summer months livelihoods and subsistence are not an issue, this process has not yet begun in the direction of Hungary.

The Prime Minister was of the opinion that if immigrants do begin arriving from Ukraine, that will be a completely different situation from when African immigrants arrive in Hungary after having passed through several safe countries.

Concerning the issue of sanctions, Mr. Orbán made it clear that Hungary had already explained its opinion and the EU standpoint is a that a joint stance must be put forward on the matter, in addition to which Hungary supports the penalty provisions.

Mr. Orbán explained that at a certain point in the crisis, during the course of negotiations in Minsk between Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine, the opportunity arose for Europe to take the management of the European crisis into its own hands. The conflict could be resolved with the help of the Minsk process and everything is not yet lost, he said.

According to the Prime Minister, the real question is whether Europe will be able to solve the problem itself, or a transatlantic solution will be necessary. This, in his view, is also significant because the interests of the United States and Europe in the matter, including the future of cooperation with Russia, are not in line with each other.

The Prime Minister pointed out that – with the exception of Hungary and Slovakia – the United States will install heavy weapons in all of Ukraine’s neighbouring NATO countries, but Budapest has not yet been contacted by Washington with a similar request. Mr. Orbán drew attention to the fact that the effects of this measure are not yet known, and that NATO weaponry will be closer to Russia than ever before as a result.

 

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European Commission Pumps €13.1 Billion Investment Into Transport Infrastructure

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: EC}

Commission puts forward record €13.1 billion investment in transport infrastructure to boost jobs and growth

Brussels, 29 June 2015

Today the Commission is further delivering on its top priority of creating jobs and boosting growth in Europe, by unveiling a record €13.1 billion investment plan in 276 transport projects, selected under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). This investment will unlock additional public and private co-financing for a combined amount of €28.8 billion. Along with the future European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the CEF will play a major role in bridging the investment gap in Europe, which is one of the Commission’s top priorities. Beyond transport, it will benefit the European economy as a whole by creating more favourable conditions for growth and jobs.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said, “Today, I am very pleased to propose the largest investment plan ever made by the EU in the transport area. The projects we selected will serve citizens and businesses alike, by upgrading infrastructure and removing existing bottlenecks. They will also promote sustainable and innovative mobility solutions. This unprecedented investment represents a major contribution to the Commission’s agenda of growth and job creations. Implementing the trans-European transport network could create up to 10 million jobs and increase Europe’s GDP by 1.8% by 2030”.

Selected projects are primarily located in the core trans-European transport network. Among the beneficiaries are flagship initiatives such as Rail Baltica, the Brenner Base Tunnel, the Seine-Escaut waterway, the Caland Bridge and the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link. Smaller-scale initiatives include cross-border projects between Groningen and Bremen, the Iron Rhine rail line, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) deployment plans or projects enhancing the navigability of the Danube River.

Launched in September 2014, the CEF calls for proposals generated an unprecedented interest. The Commission received 700 applications totalling €36 billion of requested funding, three times more than the available envelope. This allowed the Commission to select the projects with the highest European added value, while guaranteeing a balanced distribution geographically and between the transport modes. In particular, nearly €4.8 billion have been earmarked for Member States eligible for Cohesion Funds. Contribution to other Commission priority actions, such as the Energy Union or the Digital Single Market, was also evaluated during the selection process.

The EU’s financial contribution is made in the form of grants, the co-financing rate of which is between 20% and 85% of a given project, depending on its type.

 

Next steps 

The proposed funding decision must now be formally adopted by the Connecting Europe Facility Committee, which will meet on 10 July 2015. The individual grant agreements will then be prepared by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) and signed with the project beneficiaries in the second half of 2015.

 

Background

Under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), €24.05 billion will be made available from the EU’s 2014-2020 budget to co-fund TEN-T projects in the EU Member States. Of this amount, €11.305 billion will be available only for projects in Member States eligible for the Cohesion Fund. Annual and multi-annual work programmes specify the set of priorities and the total amount of financial support to be committed for each of these priorities in a given year. 2014 has been the first programming year under the CEF.

 

For More information

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International Peace Convoys Created By The Muslim Council Of Elders

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: WAM}

International Peace Convoys spread culture of peace and co-existence in different countries worldwide

ABU DHABI, 29th June, 2015 — International Peace Convoys, organised by the Muslim Council of Elders and chaired by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Council, Dr. Ahmed El Tayeb, started its five-day long second phase on Thursday to spread the culture of peace in areas devastated by the sectarian conflicts worldwide.

The campaign aims to vent religious tension and promote societal peace in Africa, Asia, Europe and America.

The first convoy headed to Paris and met a number of members of the French Senate at the invitation of the Senate to attend the round table discussion on interfaith dialogue.

While in Paris, the first convoy members discussed the important role that could be played by the Muslim Council of Elders through communication with different cultures so as to spread the culture of peace and coexistence, as well as correct misconceptions about Islam and Muslims.

The second convoy members headed to the Central African Republic, where they met religious figures who briefed them on the ethno-religious conflicts that have devastated the central African country.

The third convoy headed to Rome, while the fourth headed to Indonesia to spread the culture of tolerance and co-existence.

 

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As Terror Spreads, It’s Time To Expand Coalition

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source:WAM}

ABU DHABI, – People who love liberty and yearn for a peaceful life do not stand a chance when they stand in the way of killers who have lost their minds to violence which has drifted across continents, a United Arab Emirates newspaper has said.

In its today’s editorial, the English language ‘Khaleej Times’ said Friday’s attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait show Daesh is fast capturing the imagination of homegrown terrorists.

Sleeper terrorist cells or lone wolves now feel inspired, emboldened and motivated to rise for a religious or sectarian cause to butcher innocents in cold blood.

“People who love liberty and yearn for a peaceful life do not stand a chance when they stand in the way of killers who have lost their minds to violence which has drifted across continents.

Liberal thought has been trampled upon and reasoning has been drowned for an insane cause that harks back to the dark ages of civilisation.

What were the killers thinking when they sprayed 28 tourists with bullets in the Tunisian coastal town of Sousse; when they beheaded a French businessman, and when they set off a bomb in a mosque in Kuwait City which killed 25 people?

Were the targets chosen because they belonged to a different race, religion or sect, or was it because of the role their countries played in the campaign against terrorists in Iraq and Syria?

One thing is certain. These attacks have shown Daesh’s beastly ideology is gaining traction among people with radical leanings; with thugs, drug peddlers and those who have nothing better to do in life the so-called dregs of society.

It is also believed that some rich individuals may be discreetly funding the activities of terror organisations and providing them with supplies and logistical support,” the paper said.

The suspects in the French attack have links to extremist groups, according to police. Tunisia, whose democratic institutions have been strengthened by the Arab Spring, has been the victim of two such attacks since March.

No group has claimed responsibility for the Sousse shooting in which one terrorist was killed, but as we all know, Daesh is no flag-bearer of democracy. It will stop at nothing in its efforts to destabilise the region.

“Closer home, the Kuwait bombing should concern us more because it comes after a similar incident in Saudi Arabia mosque last month. A Daesh-linked group was quick to claim responsibility for the savage deed because it intends to stoke a wider sectarian conflict in the GCC,” the paper added.

Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan called it an ‘‘escalation’’ by terror groups to sow sectarian disharmony in the region and across the world, echoing our views on the situation. Extremist groups are wearing the mantle of religion to justify their barbaric acts, Shaikh Abdullah said.

“The US and its Arab partners can win the battle on the ground in Iraq and Syria by sending in ground troops, special forces, tanks and artillery backed by air power.

But they must expand and rope in new partners like China and Russia to gather intelligence on terror networks and their sources of funds, if they are to win the ideological battle against the extremists, which will prove a bigger challenge,” it concluded.

 

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South Africans Train In Specialized Conflict Resolution, Negotiation And Mediation

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: SAgov}

South Africa

Pretoria – Thirty-eight South Africans have completed training in specialised conflict resolution, negotiation and mediation from world experts as part of the Capacity Building and Training Programme in Mediation for South African Youth.

“Accordingly, the main motive for this capacity building programme is to capacitate our youth with conflict resolution, mediation and negotiation skills so that they can contribute to the African Union call of silencing the guns by 2020,” Deputy Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Youth Development and Administration, Buti Manamela, said on Friday.

“Accordingly, the main motive for this capacity building programme is to capacitate our youth with conflict resolution, mediation and negotiation skills so that they can contribute to the African Union call of silencing the guns by 2020,” Deputy Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Youth Development and Administration, Buti Manamela, said on Friday.

As part of the Youth Month celebrations, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in partnership with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the South African Youth Council (SAYC) hosted a training programme from 15 to 26 June 2015.

The programme, which formed part of government’s national Youth Month calendar, is designed to promote national peace, stability and nation-building.

The programme also aims to create a caliber of youth who are trained and ready to be deployed on all missions of national and international conflict resolution.

“This is part of the effort to ensure that Africa emerges as a peaceful and secure continent by 2063.

“Our continent does not need young people who can operate an AK-47,” Deputy Minister Manamela said.

He said the continent needs young people who can mediate, negotiate and find peaceful resolutions to the intractable conflicts.

“Imagine the possibilities of a peaceful, united, prosperous Africa. Now imagine your role in bringing this to reality,” Deputy Minister Manamela said.

The young people who participated in the training were selected from civil society and the Security Cluster.

The training programme covered amongst others the context, history and analysis of the changing nature of conflict as well as leadership and the role of youth in changing societies.

Other subjects covered in the training included mediation structures at national, regional and international levels as well as international negotiations and mediation strategy, planning and process design.

“I hope that DIRCO, SAYC and the NYDA will make this an annual training programme so that many more young South Africans can benefit,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za

 

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Monday’s Quote – 29 June 2015

Monday’s Quote

Start the week thinking

 

Proverbs are always platitudes until you have personally experienced the truth of them.

– Aldous Huxley

 

 


EBRD President Calls For Strong Cooperation With AIIB

World Trade

Open Eyes Opinion {source: EBRD}

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti has called for strong cooperation between his and other existing multilateral development banks and the newly created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.Speaking in Beijing, Sir Suma suggested that the EBRD and AIIB could launch their new partnership by making ‘common cause in the area of climate change’ and ‘collaborating on investment in sustainable infrastructure’.
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Addressing CCIEE’s 4th Global Think Tank Summit, Sir Suma revealed that the EBRD was already in ‘intense and wide-ranging’ dialogue with the AIIB.“We like what we have heard so far,” he said.“We have many common shareholders – and many countries where both of us will be operationally active.“The potential for synergy – and for making a real, lasting difference on the ground – is huge. And we are doing everything we can to realise that potential even now.”The birth of the AIIB was one of several reasons 2015 was proving a crucial year for multilateral development banks, he said.The others were new emphasis on infrastructure as a driver of economic growth – and the adoption of new Sustainable Development Goals in the autumn and the COP21 meeting in Paris.“Our shared ambition should be for the EBRD and AIIB, joined by the other multilateral banks, to work together, co-financing where we can, to close the ‘infrastructure gap’,” he said.The annual gap between investment needs and investment flows is as high as US$ 1 trillion every year, he added.“We in the EBRD will be ready to present AIIB with several projects next year ripe for immediate co-financing. “

However, he said, it is not just the amount of investment in infrastructure or where that investment comes from that matters. What counts is the infrastructure’s quality as well.

“By quality of infrastructure, I mean the energy and emission intensity, the resource efficiency of the investments EBRD and AIIB countries will make over the next decade.”

“Together, they will determine the level of the world’s emissions for a period much longer than the next ten years.  And hence our ability to mitigate the climate challenge for generations to come. “

In that context, Sir Suma welcomed the AIIB’s commitment to being ‘lean, clean and green’.

During his trip to Beijing Sir Suma is also holding discussions with senior Chinese officials, including from the People’s Bank of China, the Chinese central bank.

China is not a member of the EBRD and the Bank does not invest in the country. However, the EBRD would consider working with Chinese partners on joint investments in those countries which are recipients of EBRD finance.

The EBRD was founded in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin Wall to foster the development of market economies in former communist, centrally planned countries. It now invests in 36 countries stretching from central Europe to central Asia and the southern and eastern Mediterranean.

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Timor-Leste Road Project Gets Additional $12 Million Funding Boost

World Trade

Open Eyes Opinion {source: ADB}

DILI, TIMOR-LESTE  – Officials from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Timor-Leste have signed an agreement confirming additional ADB financing of nearly $12 million for the Timor-Leste Road Network Upgrading Project.
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Signing the assistance package was the Minister of Finance and ADB Governor, Santina Viegas Cardoso, and ADB’s Country Director Shane Rosenthal.
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“Creating a shorter and safer route between Dili and Tibar Bay, the site of a planned international seaport, will make it easer and less costly to transport goods, and enhance the Tibar Bay area as a place to do business” said Mr. Rosenthal.
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The new funding will upgrade a 5-kilometer section of road along a key route linking Dili to Tibar Bay—site of the country’s planned new international port—to Gleno, center of an important coffee-growing region.
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The original project supports road upgrades from Tibar Bay to Gleno and Liquica. The latest section targeted for improvement is part of the key north coast road linking Dili with Indonesia, as well as the western towns of Maliana and Bobonaro.
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The Road Network Upgrading Project also includes upgrading from Tibar to Liquica and complements another road initiative funded by an ADB grant, which together will upgrade 57 km of roads from Tibar to Batugade, on the border with Indonesia.
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These are the first major road improvements to be undertaken by Timor-Leste since independence in 2002.ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.
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Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.

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