The opening ceremony of the 7th World Congress Against the Death Penalty will be held in the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 February.
The World Congress Against the Death Penalty, organised by ECPM (Together against the Death Penalty) from 26 February to 1 March, is the world’s leading abolitionist event, and brings together more than 1000 stakeholders from over 140 countries.
The official opening ceremony will take place in the European Parliament’s hemicycle on Wednesday 27 February at 10.00. It will gather MEPs, high-level guests including EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini and Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders, and various governmental and civil society representatives to reflect on positive efforts in the abolition movement and address what future work must be done to convince retentionist nations to abolish the death penalty.
The ceremony will also feature a panel of Ministers of Justice from non-abolitionist countries, as well as video messages from UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Robert Badinter, former Minister of Justice and a driving force behind the abolition of the death penalty in France in 1981, and Pope Francis.
An exhibition (The Great Witness of Abolition) and sculpture installation (Chaise LXB) will be displayed in the Menuhin Hall in the European Parliament’s Paul-Henri Spaak building from Monday 25 February to Friday 1 March.
Implementation of reforms continues to bring EU and Ukraine closer together
The new President, Parliament and Government of Ukraine have all stated their commitment to the continued implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. A report published today by the EU finds that, over the past year, Ukraine has adopted important legislation and strengthened institutions, as demanded by the Ukrainian citizens, but that further work is needed, particularly to improve the business and investment climate.
“The Association Agreement continues to bring the European Union and Ukraine closer together. Thanks to this agreement, the European Union has become Ukraine’s main trading partner, and since the EU introduced visa-free travel to the European Union for Ukrainian citizens two years ago, they have made over three million visits”, said the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell. “That Ukraine is undertaking such substantial and important reforms at the same time as its independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty are being challenged is all the more impressive. Ukraine can continue to count on the EU’s support.”
“The Ukrainian authorities have made progress with reforms over the past year, notably in areas that will help to create the foundations for future growth and prosperity for Ukrainian citizens. Many newly adopted laws now await implementation, and the European Union will continue to be there to accompany this process”, said the Commissioner for the Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi. “At the same time, it is important to implement the reforms in line with the shared common values of democracy, rule of law, respect for international law and human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.”
The Association Implementation Report on Ukraine looks at the implementation of the commitments under the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, in the context of the revised European Neighbourhood Policy. It covers the period since the publication of the last report in November 2018 until the publication of this report and feeds into the EU-Ukraine Association Council, which will take place in Brussels on 28 January 2020.
Real reform progress but gaps remain
Today’s report highlights a number of areas where Ukraine has made rapid progress in its reforms and others where reforms remain incomplete or in need of higher attention.
In the area of the fight against corruption, the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC) began operating on 5 September. Its work is particularly important as no high-level officials have so far been convicted for corruption. Illicit enrichment was re-criminalised, while laws on the relaunching of the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption and on the protection of whistle-blowers were adopted. The perpetrators of the PrivatBank fraud are yet to be prosecuted, while the recovery of funds allegedly embezzled remains incomplete
Concerning energy, the unbundling of Naftogaz is due to be completed by the end of 2019. However, the implementation of the electricity sector reform remains challenging in the current oligopolistic market structure. The Energy Efficiency Fund, created with the support of €104 million from the EU, started operations.
Ukraine’s trade with the EU continued to increase and the EU maintained its position as Ukraine’s first export market. The Ukrainian economy continued to grow and its finances and banking sector have stabilised. However, the report highlights a need to improve the business climate and encourage investment, in particular by enforcing the rule of law and supporting the fight against corruption, if living standards are to be raised.
Economic and sectoral reforms have delivered notable achievements such as the budget law, customs, market deregulation, public procurement and health, though the latter has advanced more slowly. Reforms remained limited in the sphere of intellectual property rights.
Since 2014, the EU, together with European financial institutions, has mobilised an unprecedented support package of over €15 billion in grants and loans to support reforms in Ukraine.
The European Neighbourhood Policy and its review in 2015 provides the EU and its neighbours with a clear political framework for the coming years. The principles of the revised policy are: enhanced differentiation between partners; a greater focus on mutually-agreed objectives; increased flexibility to improve the EU’s capacity to respond to crises; and a greater ownership by Member States and partner countries.
The Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, entered into force 1 September 2017. It promotes deeper political ties, stronger economic links and respect for common values, and is the basis for EU-Ukraine cooperation and EU support for reforms in Ukraine.
EU steps up economic partnership with Kenya to boost job creation
Today, the European Commission announced two new programmes totalling €31 million to boost investment and create jobs in Kenya.
In Nairobi, European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said: “We have a close and valued partnership with Kenya, driven by common objectives and aligned with the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs and Kenya’s Big Four Agenda. I’m delighted to announce these new programmes today, which will deepen our economic partnership, boost Kenya’s economic potential, improve the investment climate, and create jobs. They are further evidence of our mutually beneficial cooperation to promote sustainable development to eradicate poverty.”
The two programmes will support strategic dialogue and strengthen the EU-Kenya economic partnership:
- €26 million will be directed at reforms of Kenya’s public finances to promote economic stability, improve service delivery and tackle poverty.
- €5 million will target economic cooperation and national policy reforms. It will also provide technical support for implementing Kenya’s Vision 2030 and ‘Big 4′ agenda.
During her visit to Kenya, Commissioner Urpilainen held talks with, amongst others, President Uhuru Kenyatta and acting Treasury Minister Ukur Yatani to discuss future bilateral cooperation between Kenya and the EU. She also gave a keynote speech at the 9th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and met young leaders to exchange with them on political, economic and social issues and learn about their priorities for Kenya’s development. On Sunday, she visited the Kalobeyei refugee settlement, where the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa works with UN partners to ensure that refugees and the host community live together peacefully, have access to social services and develop economic ties to build sustainable livelihoods.
The EU’s cooperation with Kenya amounts to €435 million for the period 2014-2020. The country also benefits from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa – with over €58.3 million for 2015-2019.
In 2018, the European Union and its Member States present in Kenya signed the second phase of their Joint Programming strategy, supporting the priorities of the Kenyan government’s ‘Big 4′ Agenda, which seeks to boost manufacturing, food and nutrition, security, affordable housing and universal health coverage.
The first European Joint Cooperation Strategy (2014 – 2017) was aligned with Kenya’s National Development Plan (Vision 2030).
Agreement on linking the emissions trading systems of the EU and Switzerland
As ministers gather at the COP25 in Madrid to discuss the rules for international carbon markets, the EU and Switzerland finalised the process that allows for the link of their emissions trading systems to enter into force. As of 2020 allowances from both systems can be used for compliance to compensate for emissions occurring in either system. The Linking Agreement between the EU and Switzerland is the first of its kind, and demonstrates that emissions trading systems can pave the way to broader international carbon markets.
Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “The Linking Agreement between the EU and Switzerland, which also covers the aviation sector, sends a strong signal that we can create broader and more comprehensive carbon markets with benefits to our climate and environment.”
There are significant benefits to linking carbon markets. By expanding the market and increasing the availability of emission reduction opportunities, the cost-effectiveness of the linked systems can be increased and their liquidity enhanced, thus resulting in better burden sharing, more efficient emissions reductions, and decreased overall compliance costs. The European Green Deal will strongly support these principles, underlining that with linked carbon markets we can bring carbon prices in different countries closer together, which in turn may reduce carbon leakage risks. Linking also strengthens cooperation between parties with binding targets and encourages others to take action, as well as to support global cooperation on climate change and the development of a global carbon market.
The EU ETS Directive allows for linking, provided both systems are compatible, mandatory and have an absolute emission caps. These conditions for linking have been laid down in the Annexes to the Linking Agreement and will ensure that both parties meet these requirements.
Negotiations on the Linking Agreement between the EU and Switzerland started in 2011. The linking agreement was signed at the end of 2017 and will enter into force on 1 January 2020.
A small deal but a big step in the right direction
Authors: Yang Yizhong & Paul Wang After more than one year of tortuous negotiations and the quarrels between the United...
IDA: Partnering with the Eastern Caribbean Small States
With its natural beauty, blue seas, and white sands, the Caribbean has long been a prized destination for visitors. The...
India and IEA hold workshop on EV charging infrastructure
The IEA, together with the India Bureau of Energy Efficiency and the Electric Vehicles Initiative, held a high-level workshop on...
Behind the Arab Spring: New Predications in 2020
To a certain extent, the Arab-Middle East experts, and politicians are truly aware of popular Arab uprisings and circumstances in...
Andaz Brand Debuts in Dubai With the Opening of Andaz Dubai The Palm
Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced today the official opening of Andaz Dubai The Palm. Joining Andaz hotels in top destinations around the...
Implementation of reforms continues to bring EU and Ukraine closer together
The new President, Parliament and Government of Ukraine have all stated their commitment to the continued implementation of the EU-Ukraine...
Indian Diplomacy: Aligning with the nation’s interests
India has been aiming higher and bolder since the arrival of the Narendra Modi government in 2014. One area where...
Intelligence2 days ago
The hi-tech war between China and the United States
Middle East3 days ago
The Formation of the Political Elite in Modern Iraq: The U.S. and Iranian Factors
Economy3 days ago
Corporate Tax Havens
Middle East2 days ago
Rojavan crisis: A big threat to women’s rights future
Europe2 days ago
Tourism3 days ago
The growing power of tourism
Energy1 day ago
“Balkan Stream”: Romania instead of Bulgaria?
East Asia2 days ago
Hong Kong: No more China’s disheartened capitalism, please