Tagged: PolicyAgriculture

Frequently Asked Questions: End of milk quotas

Why and when were quotas established?

Milk quotas were introduced to address the structural oversupply on the EU market of the late 1970s and early 1980s that had led to the infamous milk lakes and “butter mountains”. EU dairy farmers were guaranteed a price for their milk (considerably higher than on world markets) regardless of market demand. Despite different efforts in the 1970s to slow down EU production, it continued to rise much faster than domestic demand. The system was also having a negative impact on world market prices, as the EU frequently subsidised exports on to the world market.

In July 1983, the European Commission proposed to introduce milk quotas, and this was agreed by the Council on March 31, 1984. The regime required a quota being fixed for each individual producer or purchaser, with a levy (“superlevy”) payable for those who exceed their quota. Subsequent changes have meant producers only have to pay the levy when the Member State also exceeds its national quota.

Do quotas cover all milk, such as sheep and goat’s milk?

No, only cow’s milk. Other milks represent only a tiny share of the EU milk market.

Have quotas achieved their purpose?

The system of quotas – and the threat of levy – helped to cap the expansion of EU production. The butter and skimmed milk powder “mountains”, which had exceeded 1 million tonnes, fell steadily. However, there have been other important changes to the Common Agricultural Policy which have led to a much more market-oriented sector. Successive reforms of the CAP have seen a reduction in guaranteed prices, with a range of policy tools aimed at stabilising farm revenues, notably the system of direct payments, primarily decoupled from production.

Why remove them now?

Milk quotas were originally introduced for 5 years, but the expiry date has been put back several times. The final date was decided in the 2003 CAP reform, and reconfirmed in 2008 with concrete steps to provide a “soft landing” by the end of March 2015. The primary reasons for deciding to end milk quotas was that there has been a considerable increase in consumption of dairy products in recent years, especially on the world market – projected to continue in future – while the quota regime is preventing EU producers from responding to this growing demand. For example, EU exports of dairy products to Korea have more than doubled between 2010 and 2014 from €99mn to €235mn. This corresponds to an increase in the EU’s share of Korean dairy imports from 28% to 37% over the same period. With close to €55bn, the dairy sector represents 15% of the total EU agricultural output. Milk is produced in every single EU Member State without exception in around 650 000 dairy farms. On top of that, there are about 5 400 dairy processing companies in the EU employing 300 000 people. They should be given the possibility to fully benefit from the growing global consumer demand, particularly in Asian markets.

Because the end of milk quotas represent opportunities but also concerns, successive reforms have found other, more targeted ways of helping to support more vulnerable areas, where there are strong social and economic reasons for trying to maintain dairy farming.

I am a milk producer, what does it mean for my daily work?

The end of quotas means that there is an administrative simplification in terms of monitoring daily production. However, there is also an additional requirement and responsibility to monitor market signals more closely (producer organisations and cooperatives may play a decisive role in this respect). In this sense, the Commission has set up the Milk Market Observatory in order to increase market transparency and make the sector aware of the market situation. The slowdown in EU production since the end of last year in the face of less positive market signals is a clear example of where the sector is already responding to the market.    

Does this leave dairy farmers without any protection or support?

Extreme price volatility is limited by the “safety net” instruments still available under the Common Market Organisation (public buying in of butter and skimmed milk powder and private storage aid schemes). The Commission has also the possibility to intervene in exceptional circumstances, as it was the case last year with the Russian import ban in the Baltics countries and in Finland.

As well as the system of “decoupled” CAP Direct Payments, Member States have a range of options open to them which they decide at national on regional level. Options include an additional payment for areas with natural constraints and the possibility for voluntary coupled support for certain regions or certain sectors in fragile situation. In implementing the 2013 CAP reform, 18 Member States have introduced a coupled payment for the dairy sector – worth just over €800 million in 2015.

Also, under Rural Development Programmes, Member States or regions have the flexibility to target support at specific challenges such as dairy farms in fragile areas. Possible measures available here include support for investments in physical assets, payments to areas facing natural constraints, income stabilisation tools, advisory services, incentives for innovation, but there are more. Another option includes support for establishing Producer Organisations.

As well as this financial support, the CAP provides practical and organisational support under the 2012 Milk Package*, such as clearer rules on written contracts but more importantly increased bargaining power for producer organisations.

There is also a role for Interbranch Organisations in the dairy sector. These may carry out a series of activities, including improving knowledge and transparency on production and the market; helping coordinate better the way products are placed on the market, in particular by means of research and market studies; promoting consumption; carrying out the necessary research to adjust production in favour of products more suited to market requirements, in particular with regard to product quality; and promoting innovation, etc.

Before the expiry of the Milk Package provisions in 2020, the Commission is committed to present a Report to the European Parliament and the Council before the end of 2018 on the development of the dairy market situation.

 

Aren’t we running the risk of over-producing again?

No, there is not a risk of the same sort of structural surpluses as in the past. The guaranteed price for butter and skimmed milk powder now merely serves as a safety net – such as during the 2009 dairy crisis, where it put a floor in the market. This means that producers are looking at the market when they decide how much to produce. Increased focus on added-value products (such as cheese and yoghurts) as well as on ingredients for nutritional, sports and dietary products have a strong potential in terms of growth and jobs for the EU.

What are the forecasts in terms of production at Member States and EU level?

While some Member States perceive the end of milk quotas as a source of concern, others welcome the opportunities provided by it.

The Commission’s medium-term market outlook last December forecast continued growth in exports, especially for cheese, skimmed milk powder and whey. See page 35 for more detailed prospects per Member State.

 

How has the sector evolved over the years in terms of producers and production?

As in most agricultural sectors – and most sectors of the economy – there has been a gradual decline in the number of dairy farmers around the EU in the past 30 years (-6% a year on average). Average herd sizes have tended to increase, and improvements in genetics and feed efficiency have helped increase the average yield per cow. However, the situation widely varies from Member State to Member State: milk specialised farms in the EU-15* have a milk yield of some 7 300 kg/cow for an average herd of 54 cows, while in the EU-10** the average yield is 5 700 kg/cow for an average herd of 19 cows and in the EU-2*** the average yield is 3 400 kg/cow for an average herd of 5 cows. (This compares with average herd sizes of 115 cows in the USA, 258 cows in Australia and 413 cows in New Zealand.) In addition to this consolidation, we have seen dairy farmers working more closely together through cooperatives. The overall level of production has remained relatively stable, limited by the quota regime. However, the greater market orientation has seen a greater shift towards more added-value products, especially for exports. For example, EU cheese production from 2003 to 2013 increased by 26%, while the volume of exports rose by 69%. The share of ingredients is also significantly increasing notably targeting new nutritional needs linked to modern living habits and evolving demography.

One of the other crucial elements has been the additional investments provided by EU Rural Development funding, in particular for individual farm modernisation projects, but also on other investments. Figures for the 2007-2013, show that EU funding for farm modernisation amounted to 1.8 billion EUR, which was matched by 1.4bn EUR of national/regional public funds, and nearly 7.4 bn EUR of private investment – such that a total of more than 10.6bn EUR was spent on dairy modernisation over the period.

* Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

** Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia,Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia

*** Bulgaria, Romania

Will it create greater price volatility for milk?

Volatility is a normal characteristic of agricultural markets. The European dairy sector is now following a market-orientated policy, which means that, following the ending of milk quotas, production should be based on market needs and opportunities. Where possible, supply and demand should be adjusted to meet those needs and opportunities.

The EU is the most important milk producer in the world and a major player which, with or without quotas, is connected with the dynamics world market. So while experience show quotas cannot prevent crisis, they certainly do impede our farmers to follow market signals and take advantage of market opportunities.

The role for the public authorities is limited to safety net measures. Public intervention remains available if prices drop below a reference level.

Underlying demand growth has not been affected by the latest market downturn – population growth, rising incomes and changing dietary preferences are all positive demand drivers. So, there is good reason to be optimistic about the future

Will this mean that consumer prices get cheaper?

Past experience shows that there is not always a correlation between what the farmer gets paid and what the consumer pays. For example, the significant increase in the farm gate price during the first half of 2014 (+13% for the EU) was generally transmitted to consumer prices for both milk and cheese, but with significant differences between Member States – Germany +8.4%, France +0.8%. By contrast, the generalised decrease in producer prices in the second half of 2014 did not prevent a further increase in consumer prices in most Member States, although to a small extent.

Changes in producer & consumer prices, 2014 relative to the same period of 2013 (in %)

Producer Prices

 

Consumer Prices

Jan-Jun 2014

Jul-Dec 2014

Jan-Jun 2014

Jul-Dec 2014

EU

+12.6%

-7.7%

+3.2%

+1.5%

Germany

+15.3%

-11.7%

+8.4%

+4.0%

France

+12.1%

-0.6%

+0.8%

+0.6%

Poland

+14.9%

-9.6%

+3.4%

+1.1%

UK

+13.2%

-2.4%

+1.6%

-0.5%

Source: DG AGRI Short-term market outlook

End of milk quotas: cities and regions are concerned about the implications and are calling for steps to safeguard the incomes of all producers

Meeting yesterday in Brussels, the members of the Commission for Natural Resources (NAT) of the European Committee of the Regions raised concerns about the impact of the abolition of milk quotas in the EU, particularly in disadvantaged and sensitive regions. In a draft opinion drawn up by René Souchon (FR/PES), President of the Auvergne region, they call on the European authorities to take urgent measures to safeguard the incomes of all milk producers.

In the positions it has previously taken on abolishing milk quotas, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) expressed its concerns about the plan to end quotas on 31 March 2015, and was highly critical of a measure likely to have an adverse impact on the EU’s environmental and territorial cohesion objectives. The CoR is concerned that this will accelerate the concentration of production in the most intensively farmed areas, harming sensitive or disadvantaged regions, including mountain regions but also so-called “intermediate” crop-growing and cattle-breeding regions. These fears are largely confirmed by the Commission’s latest report (published in June 2014) on the development of the market situation in the milk sector. “In light of the milk surplus and low prices recorded since summer 2014, the outlook is extremely worrying because in many Member States and regions, milk production is an essential pillar of the regional economy and of agricultural added value”, emphasised the rapporteur René Souchon, before adding, “It is essential to ensure a steady income for milk producers throughout the EU in order to maintain agriculture and preserve rural communities in all regions, in the interests of meeting the EU’s territorial cohesion objective”.  

In the draft own-initiative opinion adopted yesterday, NAT members call on the European authorities to take steps to safeguard the income of all milk producers, as is the case in most other major milk-producing countries, such as India, China, Japan, South Korea, Canada and the United States, which have maintained or even strengthened their support and protection for the dairy sector.

The draft opinion calls for the following in the short term:

  • to quantify how many jobs, how much added value and how many public goods would be lost in “intermediate” and disadvantaged zones if milk production was abandoned;
  • to make contracting more effective by expanding the mechanism to the whole industry, including in particular large-scale retailers – contracting seeks to formalise a long-term commercial relationship between a producer and their client with the aim of ensuring adequate production in an outlet;
  • to improve the operation of the European Milk Market Observatory, and put in place the necessary resources for it to become a genuine steering mechanism, and not just a tool for post hoc observation;
  • to immediately enhance the safety net for a limited period in order to cope with the looming crisis, pending the introduction of another mechanism;
  • to take urgent steps to safeguard the income of all milk producers, and to examine in particular the European Milk Board proposal.

In the medium term:

  • to harmonise the compensation payments for natural handicaps , financed 100% by the EU budget, to restore milk collection aid, to support the promotion and development of the “Mountain produce” label for dairy products, subject to an adequate level of food self-sufficiency;
  • to encourage the preservation of dairy production , particularly using more mixed and hardy breeds which make use of the grasslands, rather than production from very specialised herds which consume ever increasing amounts of cereals and soya;
  • to draw up a major rural development plan for all countries which have small herds and where dairy farms are in the majority. It seems like their future may be at risk following the abolition of quotas, even though these farms remain the foundation of rural communities.

The NAT commission

The Commission for Natural Resources (NAT) coordinates the work of the Committee of the Regions in the areas of rural development and the common agricultural policy, fisheries and maritime policy, food production, public health, consumer protection, civil protection and tourism. It brings together 112 regional and local elected representatives from the 28 EU Member States. The commission’s chair is José Luís Carneiro (PT/PES), mayor of Bilbao.

Federal and Provincial Governments Support Mount Pearl Export Company

November 13, 2014 – Mount Pearl, NL – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 

AbbyShot Clothiers Limited is pursuing new product contracts to capitalize on global sales opportunities, thanks in part to investments from the federal and provincial governments.  Funding of more than $300,000 was announced today by Senator Fabian Manning, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Moore, Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), and the Honourable Darin King, provincial Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development.  

AbbyShot has established itself as a global leader in the niche market of media inspired replica apparel and accessories, offering garments styled after popular movies, television shows and video game characters.  Financing through this project supports initiatives such as license acquisitions and new product development, which will enable the company to expand and offer new licensed products in international markets. 

AbbyShot operates as an e-commerce company, exporting products to 53 countries across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.  The Mount Pearl company has developed into a design house, servicing retail and wholesale clients for licensed products. Major entertainment license companies such as Universal Studios, BBC Worldwide and Twentieth Century Fox recognize the value AbbyShot brings in as a licensing partner.    

Quick Facts:

  • The Government of Canada is contributing a repayable investment of $206,448 towards the project through ACOA’s Business Development Program.
  • The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s investment of $100,000 is being provided through the Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development.
  • AbbyShot Clothiers Limited is providing $158,532 to support the project.
  • AbbyShot customers can view and purchase the company’s designs from its web site, as well as interact with other visitors and staff through its various social media platforms.  

Quotes: 

“Our Government is pleased to support forward-thinking companies like AbbyShot that continually seek out new trade markets throughout the world.  Our Government has negotiated historic trade deals with the European Union and Korea that are helping Canadian companies like AbbyShot to export their products, create new jobs and economic opportunities and grow local economies.”

–   Senator Fabian Manning, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Moore, Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

“There are so many incredible stories emerging from all over the province that demonstrate innovation, tenacity, and that special spark we have as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and AbbyShot is no exception.  Their accomplishments and successes reinforce the sentiment that regardless of where you are from or how big or small your company is, there are no boundaries to your potential.  AbbyShot may be a small business, but they’re playing in the big leagues with groups such as the BBC and Twentieth Century Fox.  Our continued investment in this outstanding company will help them grow their business to even greater international acclaim.” 

–   The Honourable Darin King, provincial Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development 

“The success of AbbyShot is due in large part to the partnerships both the Federal and Provincial Governments have played in offering key programs which allow companies to be successful.  AbbyShot is currently experiencing a large growth period with the success of its licensing program, and these funds will help us to secure more licenses and enable us to fill key personnel positions sooner than we would otherwise have been able to do.” 

–   Bonnie Cook, President, AbbyShot Clothiers Limited 

Related Products: 

Associated Links: 

Kelsie Corey
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Rob Moore
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
613-941-7241
Kelsie.Corey@acoa-apeca.gc.ca

Tansy Mundon
Director of Communications
Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development
709-729-4570
TansyMundon@gov.nl.ca

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY LT. GEN. SERETSE KHAMA IAN KHAMA,

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY LT. GEN. SERET…

13/11/14

1. Madam Speaker, before we begin may I request that we observe a moment of silence for those of our citizens who have departed from us during the past year. Thank you. 2. Honourable Members, it is my pleasure to once more present an updated assessment of how Government intends to move Botswana forward by seizing opportunities to secure our future. 3. As this is the first session of the 11th Parliament, let me preface my remarks by welcoming the newly elected members of this Assembly. Let me further congratulate you Madam Speaker on your own election.

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY LT. GEN. SERETSE KHAMA IAN KHAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA, TO THE FIRST SESSION OF THE ELEVENTH PARLIAMENT – “MOVING BOTSWANA FORWARD”

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1. Madam Speaker, before we begin may I request that we observe a moment of silence for those of our citizens who have departed from us during the past year. Thank you.

 

2. Honourable Members, it is my pleasure to once more present an updated assessment of how Government intends to move Botswana forward by seizing opportunities to secure our future.

 

3. As this is the first session of the 11th Parliament, let me preface my remarks by welcoming the newly elected members of this Assembly.  Let me further congratulate you Madam Speaker on your own election.

 

4. Today’s gathering is an outcome of our 11th consecutive general election. As is our tradition, the ballot was conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner. For this we can once more thank Batswana in general, as well as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and other individuals and organisations that helped to ensure the poll’s success.

 

5. In any democracy elections are the means to the greater end of forming a Government capable of translating the popular will into public service delivery. We who have the honour of sitting in this House are accountable to the hundreds of thousands who entrusted us with their votes. Although divided in their choices, the voters were united by a shared desire for a better future. It is, therefore, our responsibility to ensure that together we deliver that future by at all times putting the national interest before our own.

 

6. Last month my party, the Botswana Democratic Party, was re‐elected on the basis of a detailed manifesto that promised to secure our common future by building on our past achievements. Today, before this House I reaffirm our commitment to honour that pledge.

 

7. In as much as we recognise that a government of and by the people is not an event but a process; this administration shall continue to engage Batswana across the country about their concerns through various fora and media, from the venerable realm of dikgotla to the digital world of interactive online communication. It was as a result of wide-ranging consultation that our manifesto was predicated on what we understood to be our citizens’ core aspirations. These include achieving:

 

• Job creation for sustainable livelihoods and income generation;

• Food security through continued agricultural renewal;

• Expanded access to land and housing ownership;

• Access to world-class quality education that caters to current and future needs;

• Citizen, including youth, economic empowerment;

• Dignity for all through the eradication of poverty;

• Zero tolerance for corruption in all of its manifestations;

• Elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and

• Government reform that leverages on the application of new technologies. 

 

8. Each of these commitments is based on realistic analysis of where our country is and needs to go in order to meet the reasonable expectations of its people, while improving our global standing in an ever more competitive world. Taken together they are consistent with our broader vision of achieving inclusive sustainable development that upholds the dignity of all.

 

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

 

9. Madam Speaker, owing to the prudent economic and financial management by my Government, the country was able to survive the 2008/09 global financial crisis and economic recession with minimum impact on the domestic economy. We were able to save jobs in both the public service and private sector, as well as continued to provide essential public services to our people.

 

10. Having successfully weathered the storm of the economic downturn, we can look forward to better days ahead, with economic growth buttressed by reduced inflation. These positive trends should allow us to revive some of our postponed projects, along with outstanding issues affecting the conditions of service among public employees. Our optimism is in part based on forecasts of continued, albeit still fragile, global economic recovery, with worldwide output projected to grow by 3.3% in 2014 and 3.8% in 2015.

 

11. Turning to the domestic economy, the gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices stood at P124 billion in 2013 and it is projected to expand to P136.5 billion in 2014. In real terms, the GDP grew by 5.8% in 2013, and is projected to grow by 5.2% in the current year, driven by both the mining and non-mining sectors.   Within the non-mining sector, retail and hospitality industries, as well as agriculture are experiencing growth.

 

12. Average national inflation continued to decline from 8.5% in 2011 to 7.5% in 2012 to 5.9% in 2013 and further to 4.5% in September 2014, which is well within the Bank of Botswana objective range of 3 to 6%. This positive trend gives us confidence in our ability to maintain a low inflation environment, which is necessary for domestic enterprises to compete in the global market.

 

13. In terms of our fiscal management, Government succeeded in restoring a balanced budget during 2012/13 financial year, after four years of budget deficits. For the 2013/14 financial year we were able to collect P 48.9 billion, up from the P 41.7 billion received in 2012/13, while total expenditures and net lending for 2013/14 amounted to P 41.73 billion. This resulted in a budget surplus of P7.2 billion, largely due to the good performance of the mineral sector. For 2014/15 a budget surplus of P1.3 billion is currently projected. These savings will allow us to reduce our debt burden and rebuild our financial reserves.

 

14. To sustain a positive balance sheet will, however, require expanded revenues. Here I can report that we were able to collect P48.9 billion in the 2013-14 financial year, up from the P41.7 billion received in 2012-13. The 2013/14 outturn for expenditure and net lending was P41.7 billion.

 

EMPLOYMENT

 

15.  Madam Speaker, to be meaningful to Batswana, economic growth has to be accompanied by expanded employment, which is why our manifesto listed job creation at the top of our aspirations. To reiterate what I said in my own message to the voters, of all our campaign promises tackling unemployment is the most important one. While there has been some progress in recent years, current estimates put unemployment among those 18 and above at just over 17%. Although this reflects a modest reduction since 2007, it has been insufficient to absorb all those seeking employment, especially among our talented youth. We can and shall do more.

 

16. Our Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) is a key instrument for job creation. Since its 2010 inception, EDD has been facilitating employment generating business opportunities by promoting the consumption of local products. While our immediate focus has been leveraging public procurement in support of domestic industries, as we move forward our emphasis will shift to developing greater internal capacity for export-led growth, while continuing to value local goods and services.

 

17.  So far a total of P13.3 billion worth of goods and services were recorded since the inception of the initiative. Out of this figure, the value of local manufacturers and service providers (EDD purchases) amounted to P590.5 million for 2010/2011, P1.8 billion for 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 and P2.3 billion for 2013/2014. Over one thousand enterprises have so far been registered under the EDD Programme, which has contributed to the employment of 28,000 Batswana.

 

18. We have already begun implementing our EDD Medium to Long Term Strategy, to develop sustainable sectors for economic growth and diversification. A leading example is the Leather Sub-sector Strategy, which is focused on the establishment of a Leather Park in Lobatse at a total cost of about P225 million. Government has agreed to finance the park’s primary infrastructure, a Common Effluent Treatment Plant, estimated to cost P102 million, while other components of the project will be financed through private sector investment.

 

19. Government had also budgeted over P20 million to provide temporary assistance for over 12 months to support 34 textile companies, employing 2,912 workers.

 

20. While the nurturing of SMMEs, support for existing industries and value addition remain critical in our achievement of job creation, we further anticipate that over the next few years local formal sector employment will be generated with the emergence of new economic opportunities through the synergies generated by the development growth nodes or clusters across the country.

 

21. In the Chobe region, for example, we anticipate an expansion of opportunities in tourism, construction, transport services and agriculture resulting from the construction of the road and rail bridge at Kazangula and phase one of the water pipeline to Pandamatenga, along with associated infrastructure. It is estimated that when completed these two mega-projects will create over 9000 permanent jobs.

 

22. Additional emerging labour intensive opportunities are already being generated in our urban areas, as reflected in Selebi-Phikwe’s development as a metallurgical hub, the continued growth of Gaborone as a global diamond as well as regional technical services centre, and Francistown’s growth as a nexus for trade and transport. We further anticipate additional jobs through synergies generated by new mining activities, the continued expansion of commercial agriculture and the development of Trans-Kgalagadi road and potential rail corridor.

 

COMPETITIVENESS    

 

23. A key to unlocking these job creation opportunities will be increasing our global competitiveness. To improve our competitiveness ranking in the area of goods market efficiency we have tightened our market monitoring for greater efficiency in the provision of goods and services, while the Competition Authority is reviewing mergers and potential cartel activity involving both local and foreign companies.

 

24. Madam Speaker, job creation is inevitably linked to investment. In this respect the latest FDI Intelligence report indicates that Global Greenfield FDI showed signs of recovery, increasing by an estimated 11% from 2012 to 2013. The increase in local investment has been even greater, with UNCTAD’s 2014 World Investment report showing Botswana having grown by 27% in 2013.

 

25.  The Botswana International Trade Centre (BITC) continues to promote our country as a competitive location for investment, making business contacts and generating leads. During the 2013-2014 financial year, BITC helped realise a total combined investment capital of just over 1 billion pula, of which P 642 million was from foreign direct investment (FDI) and P449 million came from new domestic investments. In 2012/13, BITC further recorded P1.9 billion worth of goods and services exported into the region and beyond, of which P738 million was attributable to financial and international business services by the financial services cluster.

 

26. Botswana was ranked number one in the 2014 Baseline Profitability Index, surpassing Hong Kong as a location for medium to long term returns on investment. In essence the Index suggests that investors can expect to do well here once they have established themselves in our market.

 

27. Government is, furthermore, working to limit the number of licenses and permits, while allowing mixed land use zoning, adopting risk based approach for Environmental Impact Assessments and Management Plans, and decentralising the management of electricity connections.

 

28.  Government has also embarked on a National Work Ethic programme to promote productivity. So far, 254 facilitators have been assessed to implement the programme, which commenced in May 2014.

 

29. The drafting of a Bill which will provide the legal framework for the establishment of Special Economic Zones and the Special Economic Zone Authority is being finalized.

 

30. The Rural Development Council (RDC) has been upgraded as the national consultative body to promote and coordinate the implementation of rural development policies and programmes. As a result community based projects such as the Zutshwa Salt Project and the Mogobane Irrigation Scheme, to mention some, have been resuscitated.

 

CITIZEN EMPOWERMENT

 

31. Madam Speaker, it is pleasing to note that to date, CEDA has funded 5,462 enterprises with a total value of nearly P8.55 billion, in the process creating over 48,935 thousand jobs.  During the 2013/14 financial year, CEDA assisted 151 new enterprises with a total monetary value of P152 million, collectively generating 1042 new jobs.

 

32. Since its inception, LEA has also facilitated the creation of 4995 new jobs, including 568 in the ongoing financial year. The Authority has further trained a total of 9,317 entrepreneurs. In an effort to inculcate an entrepreneurial culture, LEA embarked upon the Entrepreneurship Awareness Workshops among secondary school leavers, vocational trainees and prison inmates; over 26,000 of whom have been trained.

 

33. Madam Speaker, through the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), we have encouraged our small and medium enterprises to implement quality assurance activities within their businesses. Progress has been made in certification of goods especially in the building and construction industry. To further ensure that prescribed goods entering our borders comply with domestic standards, a BOBS office has been opened at the Tlokweng Border.

 

RULE OF LAW

 

34. Madam Speaker, adherence to the rule of law remains a cornerstone to our national development. It is thus encouraging that independent comparative surveys, as well as domestic polling, consistently place us among the best in the world as well as first in Africa in terms of our upholding the rule of law while ensuring the safety and security of all our citizens. These surveys include:

 

• 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, where we ranked first in the category of safety and security;

• World Justice Project’s 2014 Rule of Law Index, where we were ranked 25th in the world as well as first in Africa;

• 2014 Global Peace Index where we were at 36th place, ranking above half of European countries surveyed;

• 2014 Legatum Index for Governance and Rule of Law, where we were ranked 28th in the world; and

• 2013 Global Democracy Index, where besides ranking 35 out of 167 countries we achieved a near perfect score in the area of civil liberties.

 

35.  In light of such reputable findings it is unfortunate to say the least that some individuals, working through foreign as well as domestic media, including rumour mongering on social media, have attempted to instil the perception of Batswana living in fear. This is in an apparent effort to undermine this country’s longstanding and shared record of peace, order and good Government.

 

36. While the mass circulation of false and malicious reports intended to incite undue alarm may be aimed at promoting the political agenda of some, it is at the collective cost of tarnishing the image of the country as a whole. It is also a threat to the economy we all must depend upon for our livelihoods. Such disinformation should therefore be rejected with contempt by all peace-loving Batswana. All citizens, residents and potential visitors to Botswana can be confident that this Government will continue to both abide and uphold the rule of law without fear or favour.

 

37. Let me, nonetheless, also observe that we have not, and shall not, allow past achievements or international accolades to breed complacency as we recognise that, here as elsewhere, criminal activity is constantly evolving and increasingly sophisticated. We therefore remain determined to pursue a zero tolerance approach to all forms of criminal activity, including corruption.

 

38. To counter emerging domestic and trans-national challenges the Police Service has deployed integrated law enforcement strategies to combat all forms of criminality and anti-social behaviour. This has involved an ongoing redirection of resources to deal with violent and intrusive, cross border and cyber based criminal activities.

 

39. Whilst total recorded crime excluding road traffic violations rose by 4.7% during the year 2013, significant reductions were, however, registered in respect of violent and intrusive crimes.  Offences in this category, which included burglary, store breaking, robbery, house breaking, threats to kill, murder, rape, motor vehicle and stock theft, declined by 15.4%.

 

40. Road traffic management poses an additional policing challenge. Analysis of road accidents shows a youth bias, expressed in reckless driving, often aggravated by the influence of alcohol. As a result of the increase in the intensity of road policing initiatives, the number of detected road traffic offences rose by 32.4%, while there was a corresponding decrease in the number of fatal road accidents by 2.6%.

 

41. Madam Speaker, the Department of Prisons and Rehabilitation continues to improve security in the prisons and rehabilitation of offenders. While overcrowding has been a problem in some of the Prison institutions, there has been substantial reduction in congestion since 2008. In June 2014 there were 3824 offenders held in prisons, which was 13% below the authorised holding capacity.

 

42. Madam Speaker, the internal and external challenges of today’s constantly changing security landscape, call for a structurally aligned, strategically focused and adequately resourced, as well as highly trained and motivated, defence force. The BDF will thus continue to evolve its structures and strategies to defend the nation, while continuing to provide assistance to other law enforcement agencies in combating crime, including poaching.

 

ACCESS TO JUSTICE

 

43. Madam Speaker, as was most recently demonstrated in the Judgments of the High Court and the Court of Appeal upholding the constitutionality of the Standing Orders of this very House, our Judiciary continues to independently and effectively deliver on its constitutional mandate of settling disputes, both large and small, without fear or favour.  This Government will, as always, respect decisions of the Courts and expects all citizens to do the same.  Equally, we must all display tolerance and recognize everyone’s right to approach the Courts for the resolution of any legal issue no matter how strongly we may disagree.

 

44. To improve everyday access to justice several special court projects like the stock theft, maintenance, traffic, small claims and most recently corruption court have been put in place so as to speed up and improve the case disposal rates, while promoting greater access to justice by simplifying court rules and processes to make them more user friendly.  In addition a Court Annexed Mediation will be in place by the end of the current financial year.  This f

CALENDRIER du 13 au 19 octobre 2014

Commission européenne

Bruxelles, le 10 octobre 2014

CALENDRIER du 13 au 19 octobre 2014

(Susceptible de modifications en cours de semaine)

Déplacements et visites

Lundi 13 octobre

Eurogroup, Luxembourg

AGRIFISH Meeting of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers, Luxembourg

Mr José Manuel Durão BARROSO and Mr Karel DE GUCHT receive Mr Nguyễn Tấn DŨNG, Prime Minister of Vietnam

Mr Siim KALLAS receives Mr Raymond BENJAMIN, Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Mr Janez POTOČNIK in the Republic of Korea (13-17/10): participates in the 12th High-Level Meeting of the Conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Alpensia Convention Center, Pyeongchang)

Mr Andris PIEBALGS participates in the signing ceremony of the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2020 for Vietnam with Mr Nguyễn Tấn DŨNG, Prime Minister of Vietnam

Ms Androulla VASSILIOU attends the opening and delivers a keynote speech at EU Youth conference organized under the Italian EU Presidency (Rome)

Mr Karel DE GUCHT receives the Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, Mr Vu Huy HOANG

Ms Connie HEDEGAARD receives representatives of “Young Ideas for Europe”

Mr Štefan FÜLE visits Jordan

Mr László ANDOR in Budapest: attends and gives speech at conference “Nothing about us without us? – Roma participation in policy making and knowledge production” at Corvinus University of Budapest; speaks at conference of Hungarian trade unions on “Decent wages”; gives presentation on “Europe after the crisis” at Európa Klub

Mardi 14 octobre

AGRIFISH (Agriculture and Fisheries Council), Luxembourg

ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Council), Luxembourg

Mr José Manuel Durão BARROSO receives Mr Edmund STOIBER, chairman of the High-Level Group on Administrative Burdens

Mr José Manuel Durão BARROSO and Ms Androulla VASSILIOU receive Mr Michel PLATINI, President of the Union of the European Football Associations

Ms Catherine ASHTON leads meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State in framework of Iran Nuclear Talks, Vienna

Mr Joaquín ALMUNIA delivers a keynote speech at the 31st AmCham EU Competition Policy Conference, Brussels

Mr Andris PIEBALGS is in Rome: participates in a Conference on energy

Mr Karel DE GUCHT in Rome: delivers a speech at a dialogue on the TTIP; event organised by the Italian presidency with participation of the Italian Prime Minister Mr Matteo RENZI, the Italian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Mr Carlo CALENDA and U.S. Trade Representative Mr Michael FROMAN

Mr Johannes HAHN receives Mr Max HIEGELSBERGER, Regional Minister of Upper Austria; receives Mr Erwin PRÖLL, Governor of Lower Austria and attends with him the opening of the Exhibition Lower Austria; receives Mr Vidar HELGESEN, Minister at the Office of the Prime Minister

Ms Connie HEDEGAARD delivers a keynote speech at the Arctic Futures Symposium, organized by the International Polar Foundation (Residence Palace, Brussels)

Mr Štefan FÜLE visits Lebanon

Mr László ANDOR in Budapest: gives speech at a conference on Health & Safety organised by Napi.hu

Mr László ANDOR in Rome: gives opening speech at European Social Fund conference on Youth Guarantee, organised by the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU; meets Mr Giuliano POLETTI, Minister of Labor and Social Policies of Italy; attends presentation of European Social Fund project “Torna subito”

Mercredi 15 octobre

FAC informal meeting of the 28 European Foreign Trade Ministers, Rome

Mr José Manuel Durão BARROSO in Milan (15-16/10)

Ms Catherine ASHTON leads meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State in framework of Iran Nuclear Talks, Vienna

Mr Joaquín ALMUNIA delivers a keynote speech and participates in the Award Ceremony of 2014 EARTO (European Association of Research and Technology Organisations) Innovation Prize, Brussels

Mr Ferdinando Nelli FEROCI, Mr Michel BARNIER and Mr Tonio BORG participate at the High Level Forum on the Food Chain, Brussels

M. Michel BARNIER participe à la conférence “L’homme face aux risques de l’argent”, organisée par l’Institut Catholique de Paris, Paris

Mr Andris PIEBALGS receives new President of CONCORD Mr Johannes TRIMMEL

Mr Andris PIEBALGS participates in the signing ceremony of the National Indicative Programme (NIP) with Cameroon

Jeudi 16 octobre

EPSCO (Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council), Luxembourg

Mr Siim KALLAS meets a delegation from the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Brussels

Ms Androulla VASSILIOU delivers speech at the Conference: “A highly-qualified and well-trained work force: a key factor for European competitiveness” (Representation of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate, Brussels)

Ms Maria DAMANAKI meets with Mr Charalambos SIMANTONIS, President of the Hellenic Shortsea Shipowners Association (Athens)

Ms Kristalina GEORGIEVA receives the Disaster Risk Reduction Champion Prize from Ms Margareta WAHLSTROM, UN SRSG for Disaster Risk Reduction

Mr Johannes HAHN in Vienna: gives a speech at the Board meeting of the Fraunhofer Society; in Brussels: gives a closing statement at the “Mayors Adapt Signing Ceremony”

Ms Connie HEDEGAARD participates in the signatory ceremony of “Mayors Adapt”, the Covenant of Mayors Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change (Berlaymont building, Brussels)

Ms Connie HEDEGAARD in Deauville (France) to participate in the Women’s Forum Global meeting for a dialogue “A Champion for Climate Action” (Centre International de Deauville, Les Planches)

Mr Štefan FÜLE receives the Turkish Minister for European Union Affairs Mr Volkan BOZKIR

Mr Dacian CIOLOŞ in Rome: participates in a panel discussion at the World Food Day – CFS (FAO Committee on World Food Security) Special Event: Innovation in Family Farming: Towards Ensuring Food Security and Nutrition; holds a series of meetings focussing on agriculture and food security issues.

Mr Neven MIMICA in Zagreb: visits a local school and meets with students who are using the ConsumerClassroom.eu educational platform

Vendredi 17 octobre

Mr José Manuel Durão BARROSO in Geneva

Mr Andris PIEBALGS participates in the signing ceremony of NIP with Tadjikistan

Mr Johannes HAHN in Piran: gives an opening speech to the “Rethinking Europe – Creative regions for a strong Europe” Seminar

Mr László ANDOR in Torino: attends conference on the European Social Charter organised by the Council of Europe and the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU

Mr Tonio BORG visits food retailers concerning food waste

Mr Neven MIMICA in Zagreb: meets the Minister of Economy, Mr Ivan VRDOLJAK, launches a consumer rights information campaign, meets representatives of consumer organisations

Samedi 18 octobre

Mr José Manuel Durão BARROSO in London (18-20/10)

Mr Andris PIEBALGS is in Nepal

10:00 Mr Andris PIEBALGS participates in a visit to the Bagmati river

11:30 Mr Andris PIEBALGS participates in a project visit

Ms Máire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN is invited to the Royal College of Physicians where she receives an Honorary Fellowship, Dublin

Dimanche 19 octobre

Mr Andris PIEBALGS is in Nepal: meets President Dr Ram Baran YADAV; meets Prime Minister Mr Sushil KOIRALA; meets Foreign Minister Mr Mahendra Bahadur PANDE; meets the Secretary-General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Mr Arjun THAPA; meets Minister of Finance Dr Ram Sharan MAHAT

12:30 Mr Johannes HAHN in Piran: gives a closing speech on “Challenges of the Adriatic Ionian region” at the “Rethinking Europe” Seminar

Prévisions du mois d’octobre:

20/10 FAC (Foreign Affairs Council), Luxembourg

20-21/10 EYCS informal meeting of the 28 European Sports Ministers, Rome

20-23 European Parliament plenary session, Strasbourg

21/10 GAC (General Affairs Council), Luxembourg,

23-24/10 European Council, Brussels

28/10 ENVI (Environment Council), Luxembourg

30/10 Informal meeting of the EU Ministers of Tourism, Naples

Prévisions du mois de novembre:

06/11 Eurogroup, Brussels

07/11 ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Council), Brussels

08/11 Eurogroup

10-11/11 AGRIFISH (Agriculture and Fisheries Council), Brussels

12-13/11 European Parliament plenary session, Brussels

14/11 ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Council), Brussels

17-18/11 FAC (Foreign Affairs Council), Brussels

18-19/11 GAC (General Affairs Council)

21/11 FAC (Foreign Affairs Council), Brussels

24-27/11 European Parliament plenary session, Strasbourg

25/11 EYCS (Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council)

27/11 TTE (Transport, Telecommunications and Energy)

Prévisions du mois de décembre:

01/12 EPSCO (Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council)

03/12 TTE (Transport, telecommunications and energy)

04-05/12 COMPET (Competitiveness Council)

04-05/12 JHA (Justice and Home Affairs Council)

09/12 ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Council)

09/12 TTE (Transport, telecommunications and energy)

11/12 EPSCO (Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council)

12/12 FAC (Foreign Affairs Council)

12/12 EYCS (Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council)

15/12 FAC (Foreign Affairs Council), Brussels

15-16/12 AGRIFISH (Agriculture and Fisheries Council)

15-18/12 European Parliament plenary session, Strasbourg

16/12 GAC (General Affairs Council)

17/12 ENVI (Environment Council), Brussels

18-19/12 European Council (Brussels)

Permanence DG COMM le WE du 11 au 12 octobre:

Joe HENNON, +32 (0) 498 953 593

Permanence RAPID- GSM: +32 (0) 498 982 748

Service Audiovisuel, planning studio – tél. : +32 (0)2/295 21 23

Para uma União da Inovação mais forte, coesa e aberta – Working for a Strong, Cohesive and Open Innovation Union

Comissão europeia

[Só faz fé o texto proferido]

José Manuel Durão Barroso

Presidente da Comissão Europeia

Para uma União da Inovação mais forte, coesa e aberta – Working for a Strong, Cohesive and Open Innovation Union

O futuro da Europa é a ciência

Lisboa, 6 outubro 2014

Sua Excelência o Senhor Presidente da República,

Senhora Secretária de Estado,

Senhora Presidente do Conselho de Administração da Fundação Champalimaud, cara Dra. Leonor Beleza,

Senhora Comissária, Dear Máire Geoghegan-Quinn,

Senhor Comissário indigitado, meu caro Eng. Carlos Moedas,

Minhas Senhoras e meus Senhores,

Ilustres convidados,

Caros amigos,

Tenho muito prazer em estar aqui hoje convosco para vos falar do papel da ciência no futuro da Europa. Gostaria de começar por agradecer à Senhora Presidente da Fundação Champalimaud, Dra. Leonor Beleza, por nos acolher nesta impressionante sede de uma instituição que em relativamente pouco tempo já ganhou reconhecimento nacional e internacional pelo seu trabalho ao serviço da ciência. Quero de modo muito especial agradecer ao Senhor Presidente da República pela honra que nos dá ao ter dito sim quando o convidei para presidir à abertura desta conferência.

De fato, não poderíamos ter escolhido um sítio melhor do que Lisboa para realizar a conferência. A sensibilidade para a descoberta e para a abertura a novos horizontes faz parte do ADN de Portugal!

E as novas gerações têm honrado esse legado, como foi brilhantemente demonstrado pelos jovens João Pedro Estácio Gaspar Gonçalves de Araújo, Mariana de Pinho Garcia e Matilde Gonçalves Moreira da Silva, que há menos de duas semanas foram reconhecidos entre os melhores jovens cientistas da Europa por ocasião do 26.º Concurso da União Europeia para Jovens Cientistas realizado em Varsóvia.

E também não teria sido possível escolher melhor sítio que a Fundação Champalimaud, que não só é um centro de excelência em investigação sobre a saúde, como também uma instituição muito empenhada em divulgar a educação científica junto do público em Portugal. A atitude dos cidadãos em relação à ciência é, sem dúvida, um aspeto crucial que importa ter em consideração. O progresso científico deve ser devidamente explicado para poder ser bem recebido, em vez de ser encarado, com muitas vezes acontece, com injustiçadas dúvidas ou até perniciosas resistências.

Esta conferência não poderia ocorrer em melhor altura, pois é precisamente nesta semana que se procede a entrega dos Prémios Nobel, que se iniciou esta manhã com o Prémio Nobel da Medicina de 2014 – cujos vencedores, como já foi dito, foram John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser e Edvard Moser, que felicito muito sinceramente. E é com grande orgulho que o faço, pois estes últimos dois neurocientistas, apesar de trabalharem na Noruega, foram ambos bolseiros do Conselho Europeu de Investigação (ERC).

Quero também agradecer muito a presença entre nós do Prémio Nobel da Física, Serge Haroche, que participará logo a seguir numa das mesas redondas, e a todos os outros eminentes cientistas, empresários e membros da sociedade civil que quiseram juntar-se a nós nestes dois dias de importantes reflexões.

A Comissão Europeia tem vindo a colocar a ciência, a investigação e a inovação no centro da agenda europeia. Para construir uma Europa forte, unida e aberta neste domínio, a Comissão tem desempenhado um importante papel procurando soluções para os problemas, estabelecendo pontes e promovendo os nossos princípios fundamentais.

A ciência, a investigação e a inovação são áreas a que tenho dedicado especial atenção desde o início do meu mandato de dez anos como Presidente da Comissão Europeia. Os alicerces foram criados ao longo dos anos: desde a criação do Instituto Europeu de Inovação e Tecnologia (EIT) e do altamente reputado Conselho Europeu de Investigação – European Research Council -, à participação da Europa em grandes projetos científicos como por exemplo – um dos maiores em curso no mundo – o Reator Termonuclear Experimental Internacional (ITER), cujos progressos constatei pessoalmente durante a visita que efetuei em julho a Cadarache, em França, na sede do projeto.

A razão pela qual dedico uma atenção especial a este setor está relacionada com a grande esperança na ciência, na grande confiança que tenho nas capacidades da mente humana e numa sociedade criativa para solucionar os seus problemas. O mundo está a mudar drasticamente, a uma velocidade nunca vista. Acredito que muitas das soluções, na Europa e fora dela, virão de novos estudos científicos e das novas tecnologias. Gostaria de ver a Europa a liderar esse esforço a nível global, o que será determinante para o futuro bem-estar e a prosperidade das nossas sociedades e para a influência europeia a nível global.

A verdade é que foi possível, mesmo em momentos de grandes dificuldades financeiras, colocar a investigação no centro da estratégia para o crescimento e para o emprego – a Estratégia Europa 2020: com o objetivo de criar condições favoráveis à inovação; promover o dinamismo da União da Inovação; lutar por um maior investimento na inovação, na tecnologia e no papel da ciência.

Gostaria de aproveitar esta oportunidade para enaltecer o trabalho incansável e muito competente da Comissária para a Investigação, a Inovação e a Ciência, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, em prol da obtenção de resultados concretos num setor com tão grandes ambições. Muito a ela se deve, nomeadamente na luta de persuasão de alguns Governos no sentido de nos apoiarem em relação a um orçamento mais ambicioso para a investigação.

Acredito igualmente – e tive experiência direta disso durante estes anos – na importância da competência científica independente e consistente. De facto, a Comissão Europeia é muitas vezes chamada a tomar decisões que são extremamente complexas do ponto de vista técnico e que têm profundas repercussões do ponto de vista social, e até, muitas vezes, implicações de um ponto de vista ético. E penso que essas decisões devem ser sustentadas numa abordagem científica.

Foi por essa razão que decidi criar o cargo de conselheiro científico principal do Presidente da Comissão Europeia, exercido pela Professora Anne Glover, e também criamos o Conselho Consultivo para a Ciência e Tecnologia (STAC), que nos aconselha e apoia nos domínios da ciência e da tecnologia.

Dado que o progresso da ciência levanta por vezes questões éticas, a Comissão Europeia é também aconselhada pelo Grupo Europeu de Ética para as Ciências e as Novas Tecnologias, um organismo independente, pluralista e pluridisciplinar, cujo papel se encontra já bem consolidado.

Dado que há muito a fazer quando se aceita a ideia de que a mudança é uma oportunidade de melhorar; e que as novas formas de pensar e os novos dados podem obrigar-nos a abandonar visões por vezes antiquadas do mundo e a aceitar algo de novo, dei também o meu pleno apoio a várias iniciativas prospetivas no âmbito da Comissão Europeia, desde o projeto ESPAS (European Strategy and Policy Analysis System) à criação de uma rede interna em matéria de prospetiva, que cobre também o domínio científico.

Penso que estes exercícios prospetivos são realmente necessários pois, embora a incerteza faça sempre parte da decisão política, a falta de antecipação política adequada pode e deve ser evitada. Os decisores políticos precisam de dispor de alternativas de políticas públicas bem informadas que lhes permitam tomar decisões claras e estratégicas a médio e longo prazo.

Por isso solicitei, portanto, ao meu Conselho Consultivo para a Ciência e Tecnologia (STAC) que se debruçasse sobre estas questões e que elaborasse um relatório sob o lema «O futuro da Europa é a ciência». É precisamente disso que se trata: identificar os desafios e as oportunidades que a ciência, a tecnologia e a inovação colocam à Europa e formular uma série de recomendações em três domínios diferentes, todos eles de importância primordial para os cidadãos europeus: o futuro da sua saúde, o futuro do trabalho e o futuro do ambiente.

Queria aproveitar esta oportunidade para agradecer publicamente aos membros do STAC. Sempre trabalhámos juntos, de uma forma aberta e construtiva. Sempre valorizei o seu aconselhamento e congratulo-me com o relatório que é hoje mesmo publicado na ocasião da realização da conferência.

Gostaria agora de vos explicar sucintamente o que significa uma Europa forte, unida e aberta do ponto de vista da Comissão Europeia no que se refere à ciência e à investigação.

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Contradicting what I call an intellectual glamour of pessimism about Europe, which unfortunately happens to be rather fashionable in some circles, we have to recognize that, when it comes to research and innovation, Europe is strong. Much stronger than what sometimes is publicly acknowledged. Europe is one of the leaders in science in the world!

We are not short of world-class researchers and innovators with the skills and ideas to drive Europe forward. And today’s audience is a perfect illustration of this. We have twice the number of science and technology graduates than in the United States; with 7% of the world’s population, we still produce roughly a third not only of the world’s GDP, but also of patents and high impact scientific publications; and despite the crisis almost all our Member States have improved their innovation performance; and we have been able to halve the innovation gap that we still have with the United States and Japan. While in science we are, in many areas, the number one in the world, in innovation we are not always in the first places.

But we cannot afford to rest on these laurels. We live in a world where scientific and technological progress is accelerating at an unprecedented pace, and where South Korea is moving further ahead, with China quickly catching us up. So we need to capitalize on our strengths and to address also some of our weaknesses.

From a European Commission’s perspective, this basically means to act as a problem-solver in an environment of scarce resources and under very challenging circumstances. This is what we have been doing over these last years.

The best illustration of this is certainly the new research programme Horizon 2020. This is a large framework programme with wide-ranging objectives from supporting excellence in science – with the European Research Council now chaired by Professor Bourguignon – to developing industrial leadership and addressing key societal challenges, allowing us to focus on the big priorities relevant to our citizens.

That said, as we are all aware, money is the crux of the matter. But despite very difficult financial conditions, we have managed to get our Member States closer to our objectives for research, with an increase of 30% through the new Horizon 2020 programme – around € 80 billion for the next seven years – which makes it today one of the most important scientific funding programmes in the world.

I have to say, to be honest with our Member States, that while in some areas they were very negative when we discussed the Multiannual Financial Programme for the next seven years regarding some expenditure, when it came to science there was, generally speaking, very good opening from our Member States considering the ambitious proposals of the Commission. And this is certainly a very important progress, compared to the situation in the past.

And because entrepreneurs, researchers, innovators cannot afford to have their energy and time drained with red tape, with Horizon 2020 red tape was sensibly reduced. All phases of the innovation cycle are now funded under a single platform.

More private investment has also been secured to address major societal challenges. Public-private partnerships are one of the key elements of Horizon 2020. The private sector has committed to invest nearly € 10 billion in Joint Technology Initiatives stimulating innovation in areas such as medicines, transport and bio-based industries. Together with EU and Member States funding, this amounts to a € 22 billion boost for growth and jobs in Europe over the next 7 years.

Another example of the European Commission acting as a problem-solver is the Risk Sharing Finance Facility that we have set up jointly with the European Investment Bank.

As you know, one of the major obstacles to getting innovation to the market is the insufficient availability of finance for new and innovative projects, particularly for SMEs. The principle of this Risk Sharing Finance Facility is that for every billion euro of European budget money, the European Investment Bank has mobilised € 12 billion in loans and over € 30 billion in final research and innovation investment. Concretely, this has led to additional resources of up to € 40 billion since 2007 for research and innovation activities, which would otherwise be left unfunded. Besides, a very substantial share of Horizon 2020 will be devoted to funding innovative SMEs which, no need to recall, form the backbone of the European economy.

And I am happy and even proud to add that after 30 years of negotiation, – because the Member States were not able to agree on a common position on that matter – we finally agreed a European-wide patent, even if there are two Member States that are outside the final agreement. This is a major step forward in our effort to deliver a more innovative-friendly business environment in Europe. We estimate that once fully implemented, this will reduce the cost by up to 80% for small and medium size business and individual researchers to register their creative ideas.

But clearly the European Commission’s actions are not enough. They are necessary but not sufficient. Our countries must also act as problem-solvers and our governments make an equal effort in research. Budgetary consolidation is certainly an essential prerequisite for sound growth and competitiveness. But investment in growth and jobs of the future are also vital. And if you want to invest in the future, you should think science, research and innovation!

Ladies and gentlemen,

A stronger Europe is also a more united Europe. And for Europe to be more united in the field of science, research and innovation, we have to address existing fragmentations, notably between academic and business worlds, between public and private sectors.

From a European Commission’s perspective this means to act as a bridge-builder and make the knowledge triangle work better in favour of new socio-economic benefits. This is what we have been doing over these last years, notably through the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) which I took the initiative to create during my first mandate and which was launched in 2008.

The EIT, and I recently visited the headquarters of the EIT in Budapest, precisely brings together the three strands of the knowledge triangle – higher education, research and innovation – and businesses, in new types of partnership, the so-called Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) operating so far in three areas, but we are going to enlarge them: sustainable energy, climate change and ICT; and with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship. Until 2020, the EIT will be expanded to new areas and five new KICs will be created, as well as its outreach capacity that will be strengthened.

By 2020, the EIT is expected to train 10.000 Master students, 10.000 PhDs and create 600 new companies, and achieve systematic impact in the way universities, research centres and companies cooperate for innovation.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions are also another good example of how to bridge gaps between sectors. Horizon 2020 will allow for the funding of 65.000 researchers under the new Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions which will combine research excellence with training on entrepreneurial skills; and encourage researchers to engage with industries and other employers during their fellowship.

A more united Europe depends also on an increased mobility of researchers and on the development of pan-European infrastructures. This is, as you know, the objective of the European Research Area: to have a real single market for knowledge, research and innovation. Good progress has been made. Most of the conditions for achieving a European Research Area are in place at the European level. The completion of this objective therefore now largely depends on national reforms and on national implementation. Member States are expected to present “European Research Area (ERA) roadmaps” by mid-2015, outlining their next steps towards the implementation of a true European single market for research.

And as it is just impossible to speak of a more cohesive Europe without referring to cohesion policy, I would like to mention that, to maximise territorial and social cohesion, Smart Specialisation Strategies are being developed with the support of the European Regional development Fund as well as other relevant funds, in order to make the most of the innovation potential of each region and each country across Europe. This is what we call the “Staircase to Excellence”, allowing all Member States to attain the best level in science with the support of European funding.

Finally, a stronger Europe is also an open Europe. When I had the great honour to deliver, together with my colleague, the President of the European Council, the acceptance speech of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the European Union in Oslo, I made a point about science and culture being at the core of our European project, precisely as a way of going beyond borders. I think it is very interesting that the idea of the European Union was, to some extent, to overcome borders and divisions and in science we know something about that. As Louis Pasteur said: “La science n’a pas de patrie.”

From a European Commission’s perspective this means to hold true to our Union founding values and principles by reaching out not only to our countries, but to all countries in the world. For example 15.000 out of the 65.000 researchers to be funded under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions will be non-EU researchers.

We are also promoting a dynamic science diplomacy. Horizon 2020, for example, is fully open to participation from international partner countries as shown by the agreement we recently signed with Israel. And I am happy that we have now found a solution to associate Switzerland to the Horizon 2020 programme that is one of the most important science and research funding programmes in the world.

We are also developing major dialogues on science and innovation with other world regions, notably with Africa. For instance, a year ago, we have agreed to start working towards a long-term jointly funded and co-owned research and innovation partnership with Africa, with a first focus on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture.

Another example is the decision taken with the United States and Canada, in May 2013, to join forces on Atlantic Ocean research, to better understand this Ocean and to promote the sustainable management of its resources.

That said, openness is not a one-way street. It has to be reciprocated. Our ongoing negotiations of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) contribute to the establishment of a level playing field with our international partners, with the aim of ensuring, in particular, equivalent protection of intellectual property rights. We are clearly aiming at promoting win-win situations, so as to foster international research and innovation opportunities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have been through the worst financial, economic and social crisis since the start of European integration. This has clearly put our European model to the test. This was the biggest stress test ever in terms of European integration. Under these challenging circumstances, it was not easy to struggle to keep Europe united and open to the world, and to prepare Europe to emerge stronger and better prepared for the demands of globalisation, prepared to deal with demographic, technological and environmental challenges. A Europe ready to face the future.

In this process, the European Commission has always considered science and innovation as key strategic priorities for promoting a competitive European economy, but also a vibrant European society. We have been fully committed to create a more science and innovation-friendly environment. Because indeed “the future of Europe is science.”

And the discussions you will have later today and tomorrow on foresight will be an opportunity to highlight how much science and innovation are key to deliver on the issues which matter most for every European: health, jobs and therefore the society they live in and the economy. And there is no alternative: we have to deliver on these issues – crucially on jobs – to regain the trust of our citizens.

The reforms driven by the European Commission, and of course with our Member States, over the past five years are a solid foundation for that. Still a lot remains to be done. Science and innovation have to remain more than ever strategic priorities. But one thing I can tell you very sincerely after these ten years in the European Commission is that the European Union has demonstrated its great resilience. All those that were betting on the implosion of the euro or on the implosion of the European Union, were wrong. And one of the things that tie us together is, and should continue to be, science and the commitment to an open society where these ideas and this creativity can be kept and can be developed.

Let me conclude in Portuguese,

A título mais pessoal, quero manifestar hoje a minha satisfação por saber que a enorme responsabilidade de conduzir a ciência no futuro incumbirá ao meu compatriota e amigo, o Comissário português indigitado, Carlos Moedas. Gostaria de agradecer a sua presença hoje e estou confiante de que desenvolverá profundos esforços a favor da ciência, da investigação e da inovação. Desejo-lhe o melhor para as suas futuras funções. Para o futuro de Portugal e para o futuro da ciência na Europa!

E a todos vós desejo muito êxito nas discussões acerca do futuro da Europa e da ciência.

Muito obrigado pela vossa atenção.

CALENDRIER du 16 au 22 juin 2014

Commission européenne

Bruxelles, le 13 juin 2014

CALENDRIER du 16 au 22 juin 2014

(Susceptible de modifications en cours de semaine)

Déplacements et visites

Lundi 16 juin

M. José Manuel Durão BARROSO est en visite à Santander, Espagne

Ms Viviane REDING in Albufeira, Portugal: Attends working lunch with Ms Paula TEIXEIRA DA CRUZ, Minister for Justice of Portugal

Mr Siim KALLAS delivers keynote speech at the 10th ITS European Congress in Helsinki, Finland

Ms Neelie KROES visits South Korea and Australia (16-20/06)

Mr Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ opens the new Slovak Research Office in Brussels

Mr Janez POTOČNIK in London, United-Kingdom: gives a lecture on New Environmentalism and Circular Economy at University College London Institute for Sustainable Resources with Mr Dan ROGERSON, UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for water, forestry, rural affairs and resource management

Ms Maria DAMANAKI in Washington, USA: meets with Dr Kathryn Sullivan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator; speaks at the International Oceans Conference

Mr Günther H. OETTINGER in Bratislava, Slovakia: meets Mr Tomáš MALATINSKÝ, Minister of Economy of the Slovak Republic; participates in the European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF)

Mr Johannes HAHN in Thüringen, Germany: gives a keynote speech at the “Innovation 2020” Forum

Ms Connie HEDEGAARD on mission to Sofia, Bulgaria

Mr Štefan FÜLE visits Turkey

Mr László ANDOR delivers keynote speech at the conference “From active inclusion to social investment” organised by the European Economic and Social Committee and Eurofound

Mr László ANDOR delivers a speech on the social dimension of EMU in Athens, Greece

Ms Cecilia MALMSTRÖM attends a seminar on visa policy in Brussels; participates in the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network Annual Meeting

Mardi 17 juin

M. José Manuel Durão BARROSO est en déplacement au Portugal

Mr Janez POTOČNIK visits a Natura 2000 site, EU LIFE-funded Greater Thames Futurescapes project in Cliffe Pools, United-Kingdom

M. Michel BARNIER participe à un débat organisé par le Mouvement des entreprises de France (MEDEF) sur le thème “Quelle réforme structurelle de la dépense publique ?” à Paris, France

Ms Androulla VASSILIOU delivers opening speech at the Conference on a European Area of Skills and Qualifications; receives Mr Savvas VERGAS, Mayor of Paphos (Cyprus); meets Mr Olivier FISCH, Director general of Eurosport; attends a meeting of the Board of Trustees at the House of European History, followed by a visit of the Eastman building at the European Parliament

Mr Günther H. OETTINGER receives Mr Tom VILSACK, US Secretary of Agriculture

Mr Štefan FÜLE visits Turkey

Mr László ANDOR in Athens, Greece: delivers a keynote speech entitled “Rethinking the European Employment Strategy” at the Plenary Conference of the Committees on European Affairs; meets with Mr Makis VORIDIS, Minister of Health of Greece; delivers speech at the closing session of the European Conference on “Occupational safety and health (OSH) – OSH policy in the future”; meets with representatives of the organisations dealing with social psychiatry and mental health

Ms Cecilia MALMSTRÖM participates in a High Level Meeting on Radicalisation

Mr Dacian CIOLOŞ receives Mr Tom VILSACK, US Secretary of Agriculture

Mr Neven MIMICA delivers a keynote speech at the opening plenary session of International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organisation (ICPHSO) International symposium

Mercredi 18 juin

Mr Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ meets Mr Harlem DÉSIR, French Secretary of State for European Affairs in Paris, France

Mr Janez POTOČNIK receives Hon. Roderick GALDES MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights of Malta

M. Michel BARNIER reçoit Adrian HASLER, Premier Ministre du Liechtenstein; reçoit Michel MADELAIN, Président et CEO de Moody’s Investors Service Limited; reçoit Ed DAVEY, Secrétaire d’Etat en charge de l’énergie et du changement climatique pour le Royaume-Uni

Mrs Máire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN meets with a group of Irish Secondary School Teachers

Mr Günther H. OETTINGER participates in the Customers Conference “Retail Energy Markets: from advocacy to action” of the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) in Brussels

Mr Johannes HAHN receives the Austrian MPs

Ms Connie HEDEGAARD on mission to Paris, France (18-19/6)

Mr Štefan FÜLE visits Ukraine

Mr László ANDOR takes part in the 3rd Social Europe High Level Group

Mr Dacian CIOLOŞ receives Mr receives Zhang MAO, Minister of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, People’s Republic of China

Mr Tonio BORG gives a speech at the Conference “Putting Animal Welfare at the Heart of the EU: A plan to deliver a better future for all Animals in the EU”

Mr Neven MIMICA delivers a speech at the Annual Customer Conference of the Council of European Energy Regulators; receives Lucia PUTTRICH, Minister in charge of European Affairs in the German state of Hesse; receives Zhang MAO, Minister of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, People’s Republic of China

Jeudi 19 juin

Mr Siim KALLAS on official mission to Moldova (19-20/6)

Mr Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ delivers a keynote speech at the European Voice Public Affairs Director Conference in Paris, France

Mr Janez POTOČNIK participates in “Land as a resource” Conference

Mr Andris PIEBALGS participates in the ACP-EU Joint Ministerial Council in Nairobi, Kenya

Mr Michel BARNIER delivers a speech at the High Level Round Table Consultation “How to stimulate innovation, growth and jobs”, organized by Norway House

Ms Androulla VASSILIOU delivers opening speech at the Stakeholders meeting on the economic impact of sport and sport-related industries; delivers speech at the opening event of the exhibition “Empowering Young People in Europe” hosted by Norwegian Minister of EEA & EU Affairs, Mr Vidar HELGESEN, in the presence of Iceland’s Minister of Education, Science and Culture, Mr Illugi GUNNARSSON and of H.E. the Ambassador of Liechtenstein to the EU, Mr Kurt JÄGER; participates in the signing ceremony of the Creative Europe participation agreement with Serbia in the presence of the Serbian Minister for Culture, Mr Ivan TASOVAC

Ms Kristalina GEORGIEVA receives Christoph STRASSER, German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid

Mr Günther H. OETTINGER participates in the opening of the Erasmus Energy Forum at the Rotterdam School of Management in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Mr Günther H. OETTINGER participates in the panel discussion “Energiedialog 2014, Wo stehen wir drei Jahre nach der Energiewende” in Berlin, Germany

Mr Johannes HAHN in Athens, Greece: meets with Mr Nikos DENDIAS, Greek Minister of Development

Ms Cecilia MALMSTRÖM in Barcelona, Spain: Meets Mr Daniel DE ALFONSO LASO, Director of Catalan Agency against fraud

Mr Štefan FÜLE visits Ukraine

Mr Tonio BORG meets representatives of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (AQSIQ)

Mr Neven MIMICA meets US and Chinese delegations led by Elliot F. KAYE, Executive Director and Chairman-Designate of the Consumer Product Safety Commission; and Sun DAWEI, Vice-Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ)

Vendredi 20 juin

M. José Manuel Durão BARROSO reçoit M. Mehdi JOMÂA, Premier Ministre de Tunisie

Ms Viviane REDING delivers a keynote speech on the future of Justice at the Centre for European Policy Studies

Mr Janez POTOČNIK participates in a round table discussion on effective water management at Bled Film Festival in Slovenia

Mr Andris PIEBALGS participates in the ACP-EU Joint Ministerial Council in Nairobi, Kenya

Ms Androulla VASSILIOU presents the book ‘Fury of the Gods’ in London, UK

Ms Maria DAMANAKI speaks at the Raw Materials High Level Conference in Athens, Greece

Mr Günther H. OETTINGER participates in the annual conference of Eurogas in Venice, Italy

Ms Connie HEDEGAARD meets with members of C40 Network (Carbon Neutral Cities Network and Urban Sustainability Directors Network on Adaptation) in Copenhagen, Denmark

Mr Tonio BORG participates at the Signing Ceremony of the Joint Procurement Agreement on Medical Counter Measures in Luxembourg

Mr László ANDOR participates in the conference “Economic shock absorbers for the Eurozone”, organised by the Bertelsmann Stiftung

Ms Cecilia MALMSTRÖM in Barcelona, Spain: Participates in the Mayoral Forum on Mobility, Migration and Development: “Fostering Economic prosperity and the virtual cycle of development”

Samedi 21 juin

M. José Manuel Durão BARROSO est en visite en Estonie

Ms Kristalina GEORGIEVA in Budapest, Bulgaria: participates in the Open Society Award Ceremony; receives the 2014 Central European University – Open Society Prize

Dimanche 22 juin

M. José Manuel Durão BARROSO est en visite au Danemark

Prévisions du mois de juin:

16-17/6 Conseil “Agriculture et pêche” (AGRIPÊCHE)

19/6 Eurogroupe

19-20/6 Conseil “Emploi, politique sociale, santé et consommateurs” (EPSCO)

20/6 Conseil “Affaires économiques et financières” (ECOFIN)

23/6 Conseil des affaires étrangères

24/6 Conseil des affaires générales

26-27/6 Conseil européen

Permanence DG COMM le WE du 14 au 15 juin:

Simon O’CONNOR, +32(0) 460 767 359

Permanence RAPID- GSM: +32 (0) 498 982 748

Service Audiovisuel, planning studio – tél. : +32 (0)2/295 21 23

Oceans Roundtable

MS. HARF: Hi everybody. Thank you to everyone for coming today. For those of you who I haven’t met, I’m Marie Harf. I’m the deputy spokesperson here. We’ll be moderating today’s discussion. We have several very distinguished speakers with us: Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Cathy Novelli will kick us of today. We also have the OES Deputy Assistant Secretary David Balton with us. This is all on the record, no embargo in any way for any of this.

As you know, the Secretary will be dropping by at some point during this conversation to make a few remarks and just take a couple of questions because his schedule is pretty tight, but he wanted to come have a discussion with you as well.

So with that, I’m going to turn it over the Under Secretary, I think will have some remarks, and then we’ll open it up to your questions and we will just go around the room when we do so.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Okay, great. Well, thank you all for being here. And I thought I could start by just giving you a little bit of a picture of what we’re expecting to have happen on Monday and Tuesday, which is that – the days that the Secretary is hosting the Our
Ocean conference. And when we started to look at this question, this was really the very first thing the Secretary talked to me about working on when he and I talked about me coming to the State Department. And I was absolutely delighted to be able to lead on this, because these are critical issues and they’re becoming more critical as time goes on.

And so when we looked at this conference and what we could do, we decided to focus it so that we could also focus results. And so we focused it on three areas, which are overfishing and illegal fishing, pollution of the ocean, and ocean acidification. And those three areas were areas that we arrived at in consultation with a number of eminent oceans experts, including our own oceans experts internally here at the State Department, but also in the NGO and the scientific community.

And the idea behind this conference is a slightly different one than all of the other very excellent conferences that have gone on, and that is that we wanted to look at the fact that we can’t solve these problems simply by government-to-government action; that all layers of society need to play a role here, and that includes individuals, it includes scientists, governments, the NGO community, and the private sector. And so we’ve designed a conference that actually gets all of those layers of society in one place to work on concrete solutions to these problems.

And the other thing that has struck me about working on this conference is that it is – obviously the ocean is vast and these problems are large and they are things that actually threaten our wellbeing, our livelihood, our environment, but there are people solving these issues around the world. And so one of the other things that we did is went out through our embassies to every space in the world to try to find the most credible people who are solving some of these problems in their own communities, in their own ways, to bring them to this conference so that we can have a conference that is looking at what is the path to solutions on this. And then sort of build from that at the end of the conference a list of policy direction that we can all take and that we can all agree is what we need to be doing at these various layers, so that we’re not just having a conference where everybody comes and talks; we’re having a conference where concrete things are occurring, where we’re setting up a path for more concrete things to occur through other conferences, other fora, and through a set of principles that governments, the private sector, NGOs, and regular people are going to be able to focus on.

And so the first thing that we’ve done in preparation for this is to do a social media campaign. You may have seen the Secretary’s call to action that he’s put out, and we’re getting a great response on that. And the idea behind that was to figure out, okay, what are the things, simple things, that individuals can do that are going to make a difference. So we asked them to do three things: only eat sustainably-caught seafood, not pollute the waterways and the oceans, and volunteer one day a year to clean up the waterways or the beaches.

And we’re getting – we’re putting that out there. We’re expecting a response. That’s obviously the layer, the individuals. There’s deeply scientific layers that look at things like ocean acidification, what does that mean, and how do we mitigate it. There are technical layers about how do we track fish so that we know whether they’ve been caught legally or illegally so that people can know whether their seafood has actually been caught sustainably or not. And all of these different things are what we’re going to be discussing at the conference.

So that is the idea that we’re going to have concrete results, that we’re building towards more concrete results in the future, with a pathway of how to get from point A to point B. And I don’t mean to suggest this is simple; it’s not. It’s very complicated. But it is also solvable, and that’s what we want to put the emphasis on, that we actually really can change the environment and change the way that these things are being addressed so that we do have sustainable fish for a huge percentage of the population that relies on it as its main source of protein, so that we have something that is economically sound and is creating and sustaining jobs, and so that we are also sustaining our environment.

So I’ll stop there and just – I’m happy to take questions.

MS. HARF: Great. Any opening thoughts, or do you just want to go right into questions? We’ll go right into questions. (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: Couldn’t have said it better myself.

MS. HARF: Great. Well, let’s just open it up. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Michele Kelemen, NPR —

MS. HARF: Yes, and please do identify yourself.

QUESTION: Can you just talk about any – what sort of – is there money involved here, are there specific projects you’re funding, announcements that you’re expecting to make. Thank you.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Yeah. We’re going to make very specific announcements. Those are going to be made at the conference, so I’m not going to go into those now. But there is money involved, there are specific actions involved, and there is going to also be sort of a path for the future. So we’re doing things today that are very tangible, and we’re also looking at technology and what can that do on some of these questions. So there’s some pretty cool technological things that we’re going to have developed and we’re going to be able to roll out at the conference. And there will be a concrete list of things that people are bringing to the table for this conference, and then a path for future things.

MR. BALTON: Not just the United States Government —

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Right.

MR. BALTON: — there will be announcements by other governments, other organizations we fully expect.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Right. And – right. And not just by governments, so —

QUESTION: And how many countries involved? How many —

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Over 80 countries will be here, and we’re going to have foreign ministers, we’re going to have environment ministers from those countries. And as I said we’re going to have NGOs from all over the world as well as business community. So – and then this will be livestreamed, so we’re hoping that all the people who have made these pledges to action, or a number of them, will be able to follow this live. And we’ve got this in an interactive way, so they’ll be able to actually feed questions in as the discussion goes on. We have put a premium on people showing rather than telling what the problems are, visually. So we expect this to be a very visually engaging conference as well, so that – I think it’s sometimes easier if you can just see the dead zone in the sea instead of just trying to imagine, for example, what that looks like.

QUESTION: Under Secretary, Juliet Eilperin with The Washington Post, can you both say first of all how many world leaders – have you now a final count of how many are coming? I know it’s a handful. And then the second question is: Clearly, the international community has tried to deal with climate change and had a number of problems in reaching it. And when you look at the oceans, more than half of it is on the high seas which isn’t in anyone’s exclusive economic zone. How do you think this can be different in terms of producing concrete results or a meaningful difference in a way we might not have seen through UN efforts on climate?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Well, I think – for example, for fish, I think there is already the capability, technologically, for example, to trace where boats are. And so whether they’re in the high seas or not, you can know where they are, and that allows you then to figure out how they – are they fishing in a place where they’re supposed to fish or not? So I think there are some —

QUESTION: But that’s not in place, that technology.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: The technology is not in place everywhere.

QUESTION: Right.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: It exists. And some folks are using it and some aren’t, and that’s one of the things we want to try to push forward here, and we want to try to push forward how other countries can make sure that these things are used. There is a new treaty that – out there called the Port-State Measures Agreement that sort of exhorts countries and gives them tools to actually implement this type of thing. So we’re looking at trying to get more signatories to that through this conference and also to get the technology pushed out and have a discussion about how that works – also on the U.S. side.

So I think – I guess what I would say is – maybe slightly different – is that there are actual solutions that people are putting in place in this realm today that can serve as catalysts to do it on a wider basis. And so we have the tools, and I think that that makes this in some ways very granular, and that means that you can attack it more easily. And I don’t know if “attack” is the right word, but solve these issues more easily.

So – and I will say, I mean, there has been a groundswell of support from the NGO community about this, and they also have a number of very tangible initiatives that they have been working on with foreign governments, which we hope to bring to fruition and we expect we will at this conference. So it’s a real partnership at many levels. And I haven’t honestly heard, as I’ve traveled around talking to governments about this, anybody who says this is an insoluble problem. There’s no one throwing up their hands saying this is just impossible and the politics of this are such that we can’t do it. I’ve heard people saying, okay, we can march forward here and we can figure out this path, and that we want to be on that frame. And that’s why we’re doing it this way.

In terms of world leaders, we expect to have many heads of state here, many are from the smaller island countries where this is vital to their health. But as I said, we’re also going to have quite a cadre of environment ministers and foreign ministers here, too.

QUESTION: But when you say “many,” can you give a range?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: I think in terms of – a hand of heads of state. I think it’s less than a dozen. I don’t have the final count.

MS. HARF: We can get some of those final numbers for you as well.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Yeah.

QUESTION: Okay.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Yeah, yeah.

MR. BALTON: Can I add one point to that? Would it be okay?

MS. HARF: Go for it.

MR. BALTON: So as someone who’s worked in this field for a long time, it is true, the solutions are out there. Often the missing ingredient has been political will, and what I see this conference as is a perfect opportunity to catalyze that will. That’s why we invited the types of people we did to this conference. We’re hoping to build political will towards these solutions.

QUESTION: I’m Suzanne Goldenberg from The Guardian. I know a few months ago there was talk with people from the Global Oceans Summit, David Miliband and (inaudible) – it was some of the ideas they were putting forward and there was consensus behind included a special police force of – a blue police force, sort of a water-borne version of blue helmets that would actually police the high seas – not necessarily boarding boats themselves, but using these kind of technologies that you mentioned. Is that something that the State Department would get behind?

And also would the State Department get behind a separate international organization for ocean how?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: I think – I guess what I would say is we think there is an awful lot already that’s out there in terms of organizations that are regulating fishing in particular. So I’m very aware of the great work that’s been done by David Miliband and that group of folks, and we expect several of the people who were the authors of that study to be at the conference. I – this – I have not, to be honest, heard of a police force of the high seas. That’s the first time I’m hearing of that. I think we’re – there are many mechanisms that are already in place, and I think the question is how do we get those to be optimal? And that’s what we’re looking at.

There can be also new things that if there’s a consensus around and we – that’s what we want to develop is a consensus. So I think that’s the best answer I can give you on that.

MS. HARF: Jo.

QUESTION: Jo Biddle from Agence France Presse. Hi, nice to meet you.

MR. BALTON: Nice to meet you too.

QUESTION: I wanted to ask about the possibility of expanding marine parks, particularly in U.S. borders. I believe some of the NGOs are saying this could be a major way that the United States could show leadership in this area. At the moment, about only – they estimate that – conservationists estimate that at least 30 percent of the oceans need to be covered by marine-protected areas. They’ve actually identified three specific areas of the United States – I’m sure, obviously, the Pacific atolls, the Marianas Trench, and the northwest Hawaiian Islands.

Do you anticipate that you will be making some announcements on this? Is this something that you would consider would be a good thing, and – or what are the problems of doing something like that? Does it impact with fishing, locals who are fishing, potentially, or something like that?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: So we absolutely believe that marine-protected areas are an important tool in conservation. And it’s – conservation’s important because you want to make sure that you have not just preservation of the environment, which is vital, but also you want to preserve fish so that the next generation of people who need to eat can do that. So marine-protected areas are important for many things; those are just two of them. We fully support marine-protected areas. We expect some announcements to come out of this conference, but we’re going to hold that until the conference. So —

QUESTION: And are you – kind of just to follow up, then, are you also pushing your partners around the world to do similar things on expanding marine parks?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Yes.

MR. BALTON: Yes.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: We absolutely are.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Hi, I’m Matt Viser with The Boston Globe. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about the Law of the Seas Treaty. And Secretary Kerry in the Senate was pushing for that in 2012 and it did not pass. How does any of this relate to what’s in that treaty? Should the U.S. still be pushing to sign that? Can you just —

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Well, you know that the President at his West Point speech talked about the Law of the Sea Treaty and the need to move that forward. We have been leading on – particularly in the fisheries – conservation area despite the fact that we have not ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty. And we’re looking at these other areas – ocean acidification – where there’s a lot of technology, et cetera.

So we are continuing to lead whether that treaty is ratified or isn’t ratified. That said, it is a very important treaty and the President has already said we need to look at getting to a place where we can ratify this. And so we will be taking that up.

QUESTION: Do you know when? I mean, is there a time element to that and when that treaty could be taken up, or when efforts to push the Senate to take it up again might —

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: People are talking about that internally and how we – it’s very important for economics, not just for conservation. It’s important for both things. And I think we need to make sure that that message is properly communicated to those who have to take the decision on whether they’re going to give their advice and consent. In terms of timing, I don’t have an answer for you on specific timing, but it is going to be something we’re going to work on.

QUESTION: Ian Urbina with The New York Times. Two questions: One, the UN agreement on biodiversity – will we hear much discussion of that and where the U.S. stands on it? And two, I know there are calls to expand the category of ships that are required to have AIS, especially fishing vessels more. Will that be an issue that gets discussed?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: So on the biodiversity, there is actually going to be a meeting going on in the UN at the same time as the conference, which the U.S. will be participating in. And I think this conference is really focusing on these kind of practical solutions, so I don’t expect we’re going to have a huge discussion of that, and that’s going to be going on in the UN, which is the proper forum for it to be going on. And your second question I’m going to defer to David, so —

MR. BALTON: So you’re right. There are requirements for many large vessels to have a variety of things, including AIS, and there is a – there are proposals out there in the – at the International Maritime Organization to expand the category of vessels that will be covered by these requirements, including more fishing vessels. And we do support that, yes. Whether it will happen anytime soon, I don’t know, but I expect it will come up at the conference as a step that we need to take.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Yes.

QUESTION: Neela Bannerjee with The Los Angeles Times. I wanted to return to something that Mr. Balton said about this being an opportunity to catalyze political will. Where are the areas specifically that you feel like political will is most lacking and that needs an extra push? That’s the first thing. And then the second question is: We’ve talked a lot about fishing and pollution, but what are some of the ideas that would be put forward to deal with the ocean acidification?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Mm-hmm. So I think political will is needed in all three of these areas. That’s why we picked them. So each area – overfishing, pollution of the ocean, which – a lot of the pollution of the ocean comes from runoff of fertilizer overuse as well as from plastics that don’t biodegrade, and so that is absolutely going to be discussed. And the third thing, ocean acidification, is obviously related to climate change. And in terms of that, one of the things that is true is that we don’t know everything about where – oh, the Secretary’s coming, so I will finish that after.

SECRETARY KERRY: Hi, folks. How are you all?

MR. BALTON: Morning.

SECRETARY KERRY: Hey, Marie, how are you?

MS. HARF: Good.

SECRETARY KERRY: Hi, Cathy.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Hi.

SECRETARY KERRY: Hi, everybody.

QUESTION: Hi.

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning to you.

QUESTION: Good morning.

SECRETARY KERRY: I’ll run around and say hi to everybody.

(Introductions are made.)

MS. HARF: So everyone, as I said, this is all on the record. The Secretary will make some remarks, and then I think he probably has time for just a few questions. So no embargo.

SECRETARY KERRY: Absolutely. Great.

MS. HARF: I’ll turn it over to you, sir.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, Marie. Thank you very much. Thanks, Cathy.

Well, let me begin by saying I am really excited by this conference which has been long in the making, since the moment I arrived here. In fact, I had wanted to do this when I was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and we began to plan some original efforts and then we ran out of time because they appointed me to something else. (Laughter.) So we just brought it over here and a few people like Marie and others to work on it.

The oceans are a passion of mine and always have been, from the time I was three years old or whatever and dipped my toes into Buzzard’s Bay and watched a lot of people from Woods Hole Oceanographic mucking around in the seaweed in the shallows getting specimens and doing research, and I began to wonder, sort of what is this all about? And for years and years, needless to say, have appreciated our oceans and have traveled many of them in the United States Navy across the Pacific on a ship, and went through Leyte Gulf and into the Philippines, and down to the Coral Sea and down to New Zealand and back through Samoa, and saw a lot of detritus and impacts of civilization, as we call it, on the ocean.

And then as chairman of the fisheries subcommittee in the United States Senate on the commerce committee, became deeply involved in protecting migratory species, dealing with tuna, with salmon, the Columbia River; with various laws that are supposed to regulate growth and development along the ocean border, like the Marine Mammal Protection Act or the Coastal Zone Management Act, the flood insurance, et cetera, which I rewrote as a senator. And I think I rewrote the Magnuson fisheries acts on several different occasions – not think, I know I did. (Laughter.) And then we rewrote them and changed them, working with Ted Stevens, who was a great collaborator with me on this when we were either chair or ranking member, et cetera. And we constantly were fighting to get additional science done, research money, and monitoring and other things, but I’m jumping ahead. Ted and I took the driftnet fishing to the United Nations. We managed to get driftnet fishing banned, ultimately, at the UN in the international process, though there are still some pirates out there who illegally fish and strip-mine the oceans, which is what they were doing.

So I learned during all of this process that a huge percentage of what fishermen fish is called bycatch and it’s just thrown overboard. Sometimes 50 percent or two thirds of a particular catch could actually be bycatch and thrown overboard. And through this process over the years, I became aware of this body of water we call the world’s oceans – ocean, which is actually 75 percent of Earth. The vast majority of Earth is not earth at all, it’s ocean. And some people have pointed out occasionally you could’ve called the planet Ocean rather than Earth. But we actually – according to some, and evolution – once spent a fair amount of time in the ocean. The – and much of the Earth’s surface was covered by the ocean that isn’t covered even today, as we all know from geology.

But what’s important to us today is that the ocean is the essential ingredient of life itself on the planet. In terms of oxygen, carbon dioxide, ecosystem, ocean currents, temperatures, life itself on Earth – if we did not have a 57 degree average temperature, which is what we had up until recent years, you wouldn’t have life the way we have it on the planet. And it is interacting deeply with the oceans and flow of the oceans. We depend on the oceans not just for oxygen and nutrients and protein, fish; there are – maybe 13 percent of the world’s population is completely dependent on the ocean for its input. But it also is essential to regulating climate around the planet, as well as major ecosystems. For instance, the Gulf Stream is an example of that.

Increasingly the ocean is threatened. The reason for this conference is very simple: The world’s oceans, as vast as they are, as much as they elicit a sense of awe for size and kind of power – they are under siege from a combination of acidification that takes place through the CO2 that falls into the ocean, which is changing ocean species and environment; it is under threat from pollution, a vast amount of pollution that spews off of land, flows down from places like the heartland of America, where farming practices wind up putting a certain amount of nutrients into the Missouri River, which flows into the Mississippi River – or any other river out of there, Ohio or otherwise – down into the Mississippi, out into the dead zone, which is now famous. Well, there are a bunch of dead zones around the world as a result of these things.

And ultimately, the third great danger is overfishing. Most of the world’s major fisheries are being overfished. Not all, but most. And some have a better process of regulation than others, but the problem with it is there’s a great debate over the science. There’s a great battle for who’s right and how do you base a regulatory rule on something if you don’t really know. And so there’s been always – I learned this firsthand in Massachusetts in our relationship with fishermen, that there’s this violent sense of injustice done when the regulators regulate, because the captains don’t believe the science on which the regulation is based. And so you have this disrespect, to some degree, and even flaunting in other instances, of the regulations. And most profoundly, you have a lack of monitoring and a lack of enforcement. So it’s all well and good to have some rule or regulation, but if it doesn’t get – if it’s not enforced, it’s like not having it at all.

So these are the problems we face, and we’re going to talk about this at a very well-attended, broadly represented conference that will have the prime minister* of Norway, the – Prince Albert of Monaco, the foreign minister of Chile, a number of government officials, a number of private sector entities, heads of major fishery corporations and Roger Berkowitz of Legal Sea Foods, an example – I mean, people who are stakeholders. We will have environmental and oceans experts, ocean scientists, a lot of visual presentation, a lot of presentation that people can really grab onto and understand. National Geographic, Cousteau Society, all these players are going to be involved in this conference that’s going to take place. It will be highly interactive and really give people an opportunity to be able to understand this.

I mean, part of it is an educational awareness-creating initiative, but it’s also – and this is very important – we didn’t want to just have a conference for the sake of it and have everybody talk and go away and not feel as if something can happen. And so building on other conferences – and there have been a lot of good conferences. I’ll give you an example. Jim Kim of the World Bank will be here and the World Bank’s been involved in this a little bit, and they’re making new policies in terms of how they can also help to protect the oceans and so forth. And we want to come out of it with an action agenda, and that’s our goal – is to set up a set of principles, declarations if you will, coming out of Washington, out of the Washington conference that can guide and impact choices on a global basis and build as we go into other conferences, which inevitably we’ll take in other meetings where we try to coalesce global action around this effort to protect the oceans.

That’s why I did that event when I was down in Bali with the fishermen down there. A huge percentage of fishermen – of Indonesians are fishermen. A huge percentage of the population there relies on the fish, and many of those fish come straight to Boston restaurants and New York restaurants and California. They’re huge suppliers to us, so it’s a global network. We’re all involved in it, and that’s the bottom line.

MS. HARF: Great, thank you. I think we have just time for two quick questions if folks are interested in typing.

SECRETARY KERRY: Anybody have a question?

MS. HARF: He answered everything.

SECRETARY KERRY: I answered everything. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: So quite a —

SECRETARY KERRY: Cathy will do in my absence. She’ll fill you all in, Marie, everybody.

MS. HARF: Let’s just do – did anyone – yeah, Juliet. Did you have one?

QUESTION: Well, I’m just wondering if you could say – just broadly, the U.S. traditionally has been a leader on this issue. There’s been plenty of people who would say in the last few years, whether you’re looking at whaling or climate or a number of things that other countries, including even small ones, have done things much more aggressively on the ocean than the United States. What do you think it would take beyond holding this conference to make the U.S. a leader in this? And given that much of this is going to be done through the President’s executive authority, what do you see are the possibilities and the limits to that given congressional resistance to some of it?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I would contest the notion that the U.S. hasn’t been a leader in this. I think we have been in our Magnuson Fisheries Act, in other efforts we’ve taken – I mean, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the flood insurance – we’ve done a lot of things to curb building, which other countries haven’t done. We’ve done a lot of things in terms of certain fisheries – manage them that other countries haven’t done. We do boast both Woods Hole Oceanographic and Scripps, two of the world’s premier research entities. So I think I’m not going to back off on our role, but we can do more. We can do better science, we can do better monitoring, we can do – we certainly could do better on climate change and emissions and so forth which have a profound impact on fishing.

But look, we’ve done a lot. We’ve done a lot with HFCs; we did a lot with acid rain. And there are other countries in Asia particularly that haven’t done enough on something like acid rain, and that has a profound impact on fisheries and so forth. So it’s a mixed bag and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about here – who needs to do what, how, and what we can all do.

MS. HARF: Great.

SECRETARY KERRY: Okay.

QUESTION: Can you just talk – can you just give a couple —

MS. HARF: One more from Michele.

QUESTION: — maybe just a couple examples of what you hope to come out of this? I mean, I understand the action agenda, but how much money do you expect —

SECRETARY KERRY: We have a very solid action agenda. I think you’ve gotten some sense when I talk about monitoring or I talk about science. We obviously need to do more of both. There are other things we need to do, and we need to agree on fishing practice. I mean, there are a lot of things we need to do, and let’s let the conference sort of develop that, and it’ll unfold in the course of it, and that’ll make you have to come and pay attention to all of it. (Laughter.)

MS. HARF: Great. Thank you all so much and we’ll stay and answer some more questions.

SECRETARY KERRY: Great, all right. Thanks, everybody.

QUESTION: Thank you. Great.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: So you want me to finish?

QUESTION: Yeah.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: I was just on a separate vacation. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: No, I don’t even —

QUESTION: You kind of – you sort of talked about this too and I guess – I think what all of us are sort of getting at are the specifics within these three main priorities, right?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Right.

QUESTION: Like he mentioned, for example, runoff issues, right?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Right.

QUESTION: So – and you mentioned that too as well. So what are – if political will is lacking, then what are – like, what would you really like – like, say under each of these categories, right – the three categories – can you name two things that you would like to see action on, right? Is it runoff, is it pollution? What is it exactly?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Well, so on ocean acidification, one of the things that is really important there is, while we know the ocean is acidifying more, we don’t know – it’s not, like, uniformly doing that and it’s not doing that in a constant way. So we would like to see, for example, much more monitoring in a more thorough way so that, for example, shellfish farmers can have some early warning, if a big wave of acidification’s coming their way, that they could actually take some measures to mitigate that with their farms.

So that’s – those are some concrete things, and we actually have a shellfish farmer who is partnered with the state of Washington in this very – it’s a high-tech and low-tech way to be able to do just that. So part of that is figuring out mitigation, part of that is figuring out – as the Secretary said – what is the science and trying to set a baseline. So those are some concrete things in that space. Clearly there’s a whole climate change piece that’s going on in a separate place, and we’re not going to tackle that here because it’s already going on someplace else, but we’re sort of tackling what we can tackle at this moment.

On the fisheries side, I think that several of the issues – we’ve already highlighted what they are. How do you credibly trace where things are coming? What are the right regimes to have in place so that if your population says, “Is my seafood sustainably caught,” they can get a reliable answer – yes, that is? So we’re looking at that.

On the pollution side, I think there’s two aspects to it. One is: What are the scientific/technical things that need to be done to address this question of runoff? Are there things that can be done about how fertilizer is used, how it’s formulated, so that it is creating less of a problem when there’s some runoff into the waterways. Are there things that can be done on the science of plastic to make it more biodegradable? What can be done on recycling so that you’re actually having less things go into the ocean? So those are some specific things, and we’re trying to look at it that way.

QUESTION: So but, I mean, for example, with runoff, you’re having to deal with other federal agencies, right?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I mean, don’t you have to deal with EPA, USDA?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Yes.

QUESTION: And I mean, as somebody who covers the environment, we have people who are really reluctant to go after Big Ag on anything. So how do you resolve that?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Right. Well, there’s all of the U.S. Government agencies that are involved in that are going to be here. We are also having folks involved in the industry here. And I don’t think we’re going to solve that as a huge problem and we’re not going to completely solve it at this conference. I think the idea though is that we can point the way to what we need to be doing very concretely so that things can progress and can be followed up on and can be measured. And that’s what we’re looking at trying to do.

QUESTION: Okay. I had one thing.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Yeah.

MR. BALTON: So just following up from what Secretary Kerry said in further answer to your question on fishing, which is clearly what I think he’s – thinks about most when he thinks about the oceans. Anybody who is looking at world fisheries would say there’s two big problems we need to find solutions. We need to end overfishing – and there are a lot of steps to take to do that. We’re actually doing a pretty good job in the United States on that, by the way. And while we may not be able to end illegal fishing totally, there are a lot of things we can do to stop illegally harvested fish from entering the stream of commerce. Those are two big things we really hope to drive forward in this agenda for fisheries at our conference.

QUESTION: What about whaling, since you mentioned that the prime minister of Norway is coming?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Well, we – there are lots of issues about whaling. We aren’t planning on having the conference focus on whaling per se, but we obviously oppose whaling that is not scientifically justified. And we urge countries to not engage in those practices.

QUESTION: Two questions. One I doubt you’ll answer. (Laughter.)

MS. HARF: I love when I get those in the briefing. (Laughter.)

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Boy, that’s nice of you to —

MS. HARF: I know.

QUESTION: My favorite color is blue. (Laughter.)

MS. HARF: Those are my favorite.

QUESTION: I hear a lot of griping within NOAA about enforcement cutbacks and budget cutbacks (inaudible). So that’s the one that – (laughter). The question, I guess, is will NOAA be there.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: NOAA will absolutely be there.

QUESTION: Is there any discussion of reversing the trend of funding cutbacks or enforcement cutbacks?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Well, NOAA will be there and they are fully supportive of this agenda. In fact, they’ve been very enthusiastic of working with us on this. So I guess that’s about as far as I can go.

QUESTION: Yeah. And then the other question, I guess, is magic pipe cases. And DOJ – over the last decade DOJ’s really been effective and aggressive in going after intentional polluting. So will there be a panel or something – some presentation that DOJ is going to put on about intentional dumping or magic pipe cases?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: I don’t – that wasn’t – no.

MR. BALTON: There’s nobody from DOJ presenting.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Yeah.

MR. BALTON: That topic is likely to be touched on. It’s not a problem only in the United States, right? So a lot of the speakers who are coming from other countries will describe their version of this issue.

QUESTION: Can I ask a Legal Seafoods question given that the Secretary brought that up?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Their CEO is legendary for backpedaling on this and saying that he does not serve consistently sustainable seafood. It’s widely known he’s boycotted basically anyone who upholds sustainable seafood does not go to Legal Seafoods. So I guess obviously he could be giving a policy announcement that would change that, but I was just wondering if you could explain why someone who’s actually made his mark by questioning the value of only serving sustainable seafood would come to a conference on the oceans.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Well, we have to have everybody come here. I mean, we have to get everybody on the bandwagon to go in the right direction. And he’s well aware of the purpose of the conference, and so I think the fact that he’s chosen to come is – I have no understanding that he’s coming here to preach everybody should eat unsustainable seafood. (Laughter.) So I think actually we have been pretty clear about wanting folks who are coming with solutions to be here and to be speaking. And —

QUESTION: Does he have a speaking role?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: No.

MR. BALTON: No. But there are a lot of people in the – who are promoting sustainable seafood —

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: — who are coming.

MR. BALTON: — who are coming. Monterrey Bay has their card. The Marine Stewardship Council has – their processor, actually a proliferation of these, and virtually all of them are represented in our conference.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: And the CEO of Bumble Bee Tuna is going to be speaking. So —

QUESTION: And will Roger Berkowitz be listening to those people who are coming? (Laughter.)

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Well, if he didn’t want to listen to them, then I assume he wouldn’t have showed – I can’t speak for him, right? So you’ll have to ask them.

QUESTION: So is he just an attendee? I mean, he’s attending?

MR. BALTON: So there are almost 400 people coming to the conference. There are speaking roles for maybe 20 or 30, right? Just the way these conferences work.

QUESTION: Are there people you wish were coming who are – who couldn’t, who are either major violators or potentially good partners or both on some of these issues who are not coming?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: I think we’ve tried —

QUESTION: I mean representatives of countries or —

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: We tried to invite a very broad swath of folks. And when you have over 80 countries represented, that’s – I think we think that’s a pretty good swath of people. I don’t think we had anybody turn us down who we asked to come.

QUESTION: Really? So there’s not – there’s somebody – there aren’t certain empty places at the —

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: From countries.

QUESTION: Yeah. At the table that you wish were – if there’s somebody you – some country that you wish or some entity that you wish were represented and is not?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: No. Actually, no. I mean, this is a pretty robust group of attendees. And we – like I said, nobody turned us down. I mean, some individual people had scheduling conflicts, but in terms of the countries we are extremely represented across the whole globe.

MR. BALTON: India had an election just a few weeks ago.

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Right.

MR. BALTON: And so their new foreign minister was not – couldn’t make it on the schedule, but there will be Indians at the conference, just to give you an example.

QUESTION: As well as Chinese —

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Yes.

MR. BALTON: Yes. In fact, the head of the State Oceanographic Administration, Administrator Liu, will have a speaking role at our conference.

QUESTION: And Southeast Asia – are there people from there?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Yes, absolutely.

MS. HARF: A few more. Anyone? A few more last questions?

QUESTION: This is a novice question that’s not really important. But my understanding is that the European Union is on the cusp of deciding whether to impose some sort of ban on South Korean fish and that next year sometime the U.S. will be engaging in a similar analysis. That – so will that topic be part of next week’s discussion?

UNDER SECRETARY NOVELLI: Do you want to take that?

MR. BALTON: Yeah. So Maria Damanaki, who is the commissioner for the EU who does Maritime Affairs and Fisheries is coming. She actually also has a speaking role at our conference. And she’ll be talking about the – I assume – the EU’s approach to trying to prevent illegally harvested fish from entering their market.

We have our own approach to doing that that’s not entirely similar to the EU’s but maybe growing more similar over time. Yes, the EU is looking at Korea among other countries and maybe headed to a decision. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask her when she’s here. And we have our own process of going through fishing practices by other countries under the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act, and countries who are having vessels engage in these practices are put on notice by us and it can ultimately lead to trade sanctions against them.

MS. HARF: I think that’s all the time we have today. We will be doing a transcript of this, so I know you all took very good notes, but we will get you that as soon as it’s done. Any follow-ups, of course you know how to find me or anyone else in the Press Office. And we’re looking forward to next week. Thanks for coming today.

*foreign minister

Remarks by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice Keynote Address at the Center for a New American Security Annual Conference

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

June 11, 2014

Remarks by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice
“The Strength of American Leadership, the Power of Collective Action”

Keynote Address at the Center for a New American Security Annual Conference
Washington, DC

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you so much Richard for that kind welcome.  And, to my good friends and former colleagues— Michele Flournoy and Kurt Campbell— I can’t help but note how well-rested you both look.  I’m only a little bitter.  Still, I want to thank you for your stellar service to our country both from inside government and now, again, as leading thinkers on national security.

CNAS, which you founded, does a remarkable job of preparing our next generation of national security leaders.  That work is critical, because our nation needs bright, dedicated young women and men who care deeply about our world.  We need a diverse pipeline of talent ready and eager to carry forward the mantle of American leadership.  So, thank you all. 

As President Obama told West Point’s graduating class two weeks ago, the question is not whether America will lead the world in the 21st century, but how America will lead.  No other nation can match the enduring foundations of our strength.  Our military has no peer.  Our formidable economy is growing.  We are more energy independent each year.  Our vibrant and diverse population is demographically strong and productive.  We attract hopeful immigrants from all over the world.  Our unrivaled global network of alliances and partnerships makes us the one nation to which the world turns when challenges arise.  So, American leadership is and will remain central to shaping a world that is freer, more secure, more just and more prosperous.

At West Point, President Obama outlined how America will lead in a world that is more complex and more interdependent than ever before.  As we move out of a period dominated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will lead by drawing on every element of our national power.  That power starts with our unparalleled military might, used wisely and when necessary to defend America’s core interests – the security of our citizens, our economy, and our allies.  We will lead by strengthening effective partnerships to counter an evolving terrorist threat.  We will lead by rallying coalitions and marshaling the resources of our partners to address regional and global challenges.  And, we will lead by standing firm in defense of human dignity and equality, while steering the course of history toward greater justice and opportunity for all. 

Today, I’d like to focus on one pillar of that strategy—mobilizing coalitions.  Indeed, galvanizing the international community to address problems that no one nation can solve alone is the bread and butter of our global engagement.  And, in many ways, it’s both the hardest and the most important element of how America leads on the world stage.          

This concept is not new.  Collective action has long been the hallmark of effective American leadership.  The United Nations, NATO and our Asian alliances were all built on the foundation of American strength and American values.  American leadership established the Bretton Woods system and supported open markets, spurring a rapid rise in global living standards.  Nor is this approach the province of one political party.  It was President Reagan who negotiated the Montreal Protocol, hailed today as our most successful international environmental treaty.  President George H.W. Bush insisted on UN backing and assembled a broad coalition before sending American troops into the Gulf.  And, President Clinton led the campaign to enlarge NATO, opening Europe’s door to the very nations who, as Secretary Albright put it, “knocked the teeth out of totalitarianism in Europe.”  Our history is rich with successes won not as a lone nation, but as the leader of many. 

Now, our approach must meet the new demands of a complex and rapidly changing world.  The architecture that we built in the 20th century must be re-energized to deal with the challenges of the 21st.  With emerging powers, we must be able to collaborate where our interests converge but define our differences and defend our interests where they diverge. Our coalitions may be more fluid than in the past, but the basics haven’t changed.  When we spur collective action, we deliver outcomes that are more legitimate, more sustainable, and less costly.   

As global challenges arise, we turn first, always, to our traditional allies.  When Russia trampled long-established principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and international law with its illegal annexation of Crimea, the United States rallied the international community to isolate Russia and impose costs. With American leadership, the world condemned the seizure of Crimea through an overwhelming vote in the UN General Assembly.  We expelled Russia from the G8.  Last week, the G7 met for the first time in 17 years, and we continued to concert our approach to Ukraine and other pressing global challenges.  We’ve reinforced the unity of our NATO Alliance and bolstered our commitment to Article 5.  President Obama has pledged to invest an additional $1 billion to bolster the security of our Eastern European allies against threats or intimidation.  More U.S. Army and Air Force units are now deployed to Central and Eastern Europe, more American ships patrol the Black Sea, more American planes police the Baltic skies.  And, meanwhile, with the support of the international community, Ukrainians have the chance to write a new chapter in their history. 

By working in lockstep with the EU and other partners, we imposed sanctions that are biting the Russian economy.  The IMF, the World Bank and private sector estimates all suggest that $100-200 billion in capital will flow out of Russia this year, as investors move their money to more reliable markets.  Russia’s economy contracted in the first quarter, and the IMF has declared that the country is likely in recession.  Its credit now rates just above junk status.  Russia has lost standing, influence, and economic clout by the day.  With our closest partners—Europe, the G7 and other key allies —we continue to send a common message:  Russia must cease aggression against Ukraine, halt support for violent separatists in the East, seal the border, and recognize the newly elected Ukrainian government.  If Russia does not, it faces the very real prospect of greater pressure and significant additional sanctions.

The speed and unity of our response demonstrates the unique value of America’s leadership.  Unilateral sanctions would not have had the same bite as coordinated efforts with the EU.  American condemnations alone do not carry the same weight as the UN General Assembly.  Bilateral U.S. assistance to Ukraine could not match the roughly $15 billion IMF program.  And, for our Eastern allies, American security guarantees are most powerful when augmented by NATO’s security umbrella.  

The United States’ commitment to the security of our allies is sacrosanct and always backed by the full weight of our military might.  At the same time, we expect our partners to shoulder their share of the burden of our collective security.  Collective action doesn’t mean the United States puts skin in the game while others stand on the sidelines cheering.  Alliances are a two-way street, especially in hard times when alliances matter most. 

As we approach the NATO summit in Wales this September, we expect every ally to pull its full weight through increased investment in defense and upgrading our Alliance for the future.  Europe needs to take defense spending seriously and meet NATO’s benchmark—at least two percent of GDP—to keep our alliance strong and dynamic.  And, just as we reassure allies in the face of Russia’s actions, we must upgrade NATO’s ability to meet challenges to its south—including by reinforcing the President’s commitment to build the capacity of our counterterrorism partners. 

Likewise, our historic alliances in Asia continue to underwrite regional stability, as we move toward a more geographically distributed and operationally resilient defense posture.  In the face of North Korea’s increasing provocations, we’ve developed a tailored deterrence strategy and counter provocation plan with South Korea, and we are updating our defense cooperation guidelines with Japan for the first time in almost two decades.  We aim also to deepen trilateral security cooperation and interoperability, which President Obama made a central focus of his summit with the leaders of Japan and Korea in March and his trip to the region in April. 

Improved coordination is a necessity in the Middle East as well.  The 35,000 American service members stationed in the Gulf are a daily reminder of our commitment to the region and clear evidence that the United States remains ready to defend our core interests, whether it’s disrupting al-Qa’ida or preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.  At the same time, we look to our partners, both individually and through the Gulf Cooperation Council, to cooperate on missile defense and develop other critical deterrence capabilities, including in the spheres of counter-piracy, maritime security, counterterrorism and counter-proliferation. 

America will always maintain our iron-clad commitment to the security of Israel, ensuring that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge and can protect its territory and people.  Equally, we consistently defend Israel’s legitimacy and security in the UN and other international fora.  In turn, we expect Israel to stand and be counted with the US and other partners on core matters of international law and principle, such as Ukraine.

Drawing on the strength of our alliances and the reach of our partnerships, the United States’ brings together countries in every region of the world to advance our shared security, expand global prosperity, and uphold our fundamental values.    

Let me start with our shared security.  To responsibly end our war in Afghanistan, President Obama first rallied our NATO allies and ISAF partners to contribute more troops to the coalition, surging resources and helping Afghan forces take charge of their nation’s security.  As we bring America’s combat mission to an end, we’ve enlisted our allies and partners to make enduring commitments to Afghanistan’s future—so that Afghan Security Forces continue to have the resources they need, and the Afghan people have our lasting support.

Partnership is also the cornerstone of our counter-terrorism strategy designed to meet a threat that is now more diffuse and decentralized.  Core al-Qa’ida is diminished, but its affiliates and off-shoots increasingly threaten the U.S. and our partners, as we are witnessing this week in Mosul.  The United States has been fast to provide necessary support for the people and government of Iraq under our Strategic Framework Agreement, and we are working together to roll back aggression and counter the threat that the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant poses to the people of the region.  Yet, as President Obama said at West Point, we must do more to strengthen our partners’ capacity to defeat the terrorist threat on their home turf by providing them the necessary training, equipment and support.  That is why the President is asking Congress for a new Counterterrorism Partnership Fund of up to $5 billion to assist nations on the frontlines of terrorism to fight al-Qa’ida, its affiliates, and groups that embrace its violent extremist ideology.   

To shrink terrorist safe-havens and end civil conflicts, which can be breeding grounds for transnational threats, we continue to lead the international community to strengthen the foundations of peace and security.  The U.S. is the largest supporter of UN peace operations, which both reduce the need to deploy our own armed forces and mitigate the risks that fragile and failed states pose.  When violence in South Sudan broke out in December, and the world’s youngest country reached the brink of all-out war, the United States led the Security Council to augment the UN mission in South Sudan and re-focus it on protecting civilians, while we recruited, trained and equipped additional peacekeepers.  Since December, nearly 2,000 more troops have surged into South Sudan, with approximately another 1,700 expected this month. 

In Syria, by contrast, we have seen the failure of the UN Security Council to act effectively, as Russia and China have four times used their vetoes to protect Assad.  With fighting escalating, terrorist groups associated with al-Qa’ida are gaining a greater foothold in Syria, the horrific humanitarian costs are mounting, and the stability of neighboring countries is threatened.  So, while Russia and Iran continue to prop up the regime, the United States is working with our partners through non-traditional channels to provide critical humanitarian assistance and, through the London-11 group, to ramp up our coordinated support for the moderate, vetted Syrian opposition— both political and military.      

Yet, even as we strongly oppose Russia on Syria and Ukraine, we continue to work together to eliminate Assad’s chemical weapons and to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  We built an unprecedented sanctions regime to pressure Iran while keeping the door open to diplomacy.  As a consequence, working with the P5+1, we’ve halted Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon and rolled it back in key respects.  Now, we are testing whether we can reach a comprehensive solution that resolves peacefully the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and bolsters our shared security.

In today’s world, the reality is: many transnational security challenges can only be addressed through collective action.  Take the threat of nuclear material in terrorist hands.  One unlocked door at any of the facilities worldwide that house weapons-usable material is a threat to everyone.  That’s why President Obama created the Nuclear Security Summit.  So far, 12 countries and 24 nuclear facilities have rid themselves of highly-enriched uranium and plutonium.  Dozens of nations have increased security at their nuclear storage sites, built counter-smuggling teams, or enhanced their nuclear security training.  Our nuclear security regime is stronger today, because we created a coalition to address the problem, and we’ll keep the momentum going when we host the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in 2016.

Consider, as well, infectious diseases like MERS, bird flu or Ebola, which present yet another type of threat to our security.  In 2012, 80 percent of countries failed to meet the World Health Organization’s deadline for preparedness against outbreaks.  The international community needed a shot in the arm.  So, the United States brought together partners from more than 30 countries and multiple international institutions to develop the Global Health Security Agenda, which we launched in February.  Our strategy, backed by concrete commitments, will move us towards a system that reports outbreaks in real time and ensures nations have the resources to contain localized problems before they become global pandemics.

As we confront the grave and growing threat of climate change, the United States is leading the world by example.  As National Security Advisor, part of my job is to focus on any threat that could breed conflict, migration, and natural disasters.  Climate change is just such a creeping national security crisis, and it is one of our top global priorities. 

Our new rule, announced last week, to reduce carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent compared to 2005 levels is the most ambitious climate action ever taken in the U.S.  It’s the centerpiece of our broader climate action plan.  And, as we work toward the meeting in Paris next year to define a new global framework for tackling climate change, we’re challenging other major economies to step up too.  We’re working intensively with China, the world’s biggest emitter, to bend down their emissions curve as fast as possible.  We’ve built international coalitions to address short-lived climate pollutants like black carbon, HFCs and methane.  And, we’ve led in encouraging private investment in green infrastructure projects overseas, while reducing incentives for high-carbon energy investment.    

Our security also relies on defining and upholding rules that govern our shared spaces—rules that reject aggression, impede the ability of large nations to bully smaller ones, and establish ways to resolve conflicts peacefully.  A key element of our Asia Rebalance is collaborating with our partners to strengthen regional institutions and international norms.  That’s why we are working with ASEAN to advance a code of conduct for the South China Sea that would enhance maritime security, reinforce international law, and strengthen the regional rules of the road. 

Similarly, we are building partnerships to set standards of behavior to protect the open, reliable, and interoperable Internet, and to hold accountable those who engage in malicious cyber activity.  That’s why we’re working with our partners to expand international law enforcement cooperation and ensure that emerging norms, including the protection of intellectual property and civilian infrastructure, are respected in cyberspace.   For example, last week, working with 10 countries and numerous private sector partners, we successfully disrupted a “botnet” that had been used to steal hundreds of millions of dollars and filed criminal charges against its Russia-based administrator.  Last month, the Department of Justice indicted five Chinese military officials for hacking our nation’s corporate computers, making it clear there’s no room for government-sponsored theft in cyberspace for commercial gain.  We are working with our allies through efforts like the Freedom On-Line Coalition and the Internet Governance Forum to preserve the open Internet as driver for human rights and economic prosperity.

This brings me to the second key reason we mobilize collective action—to expand our shared prosperity.  In 2009, facing the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, President Obama led to establish the G20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation.  We needed more voices at the table, writing the rules for the global economy and committing to dramatic measures to restore growth.  Our efforts included mobilizing more resources for the IMF and World Bank to support the most vulnerable countries.  And, thanks to a broad and concerted international effort, the global economy has turned the corner.

Last year, we played a key role in enabling the 157 members of the WTO to reach a landmark agreement that will modernize the entire international trading system.  In every region of the world, we’ve brought nations together to increase trade and develop high-standard agreements to further boost growth and job creation.  This is a key pillar of our rebalance to Asia, where we’re working with 12 economies, representing almost 40 percent of global GDP, to finalize an ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership.  With the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, we’re taking what is already the largest trading partnership in the world to a new level.  To increase trade both within Africa and between Africa and the United States, we will join with Congress to extend and update the African Growth and Opportunity Act before it expires next year. 

In regions brimming with economic potential, including Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, we’re supporting entrepreneurship and fostering private sector investment.  Our Power Africa initiative will double access to electricity across the continent through more than $15 billion in private sector commitments.  We’re assisting young people throughout Africa and South East Asia to develop their business and entrepreneurship skills, as well as their leadership. 

As we approach 2015, we’re pressing our partners to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals and to devise bold new goals that will guide the next phase of the fight against poverty.  Building on the extraordinary progress in many developing countries, our approach isn’t simply about pledging more money, it’s about bringing together resources and expertise from every sector to do more with what we have and to support models of economic growth that fuel new markets.  We’re building public-private partnerships, investing in academic breakthroughs, supporting non-profits that translate ideas into action, and creating stronger connections among them all.   

Take, for example, the progress we’ve made in agricultural development.  Back in 2009, at the G8 meeting in L’Aquila, President Obama made food security a global priority backed by billions of dollars in international commitments.  In 2012, the President launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which has now grown to ten African countries, more than 160 companies, and delivered more than $7 billion in responsible planned investments in African agriculture.  And through our Feed the Future partnerships, millions of smallholder farmers are planting better seeds, using better fertilizers, and seeing their incomes rise. 

Which leads me to the third key reason we mobilize collective action.  For, however much we might like to, we rarely can force nations to respect the rights of their citizens.  So we must catalyze the international community to uphold universal values, build broad coalitions to advance human rights, and impose costs on those who violate them.  

Human rights must be protected for everyone, especially traditionally marginalized communities such as ethnic or religious minorities, LGBT persons, migrant workers, and people with disabilities.  That’s why President Obama decided to join the UN Human Rights Council, so we could lead in reforming that flawed institution from within.  In fact, we have made it more effective.  Because of our efforts, the Council has spent far more time spotlighting abuses in Qadhafi’s Libya, Syria, Sudan, North Korea and Iran than demonizing Israel. 

At the same time, the Open Government Partnership initiated by President Obama in 2011, has grown from eight countries to 64, all working together to strengthen accountable and transparent governance.  Our Equal Futures Partnership unites two dozen countries in a commitment to take concrete steps to empower women in their societies both economically and politically.  And, as civil society comes under attack in more and more places, we’re bringing countries and peoples together to counter restrictions and strengthen protections for civil society.

Moreover, we’ve focused the global community on elevating that most basic aspect of human dignity—the health and well-being of the most vulnerable people.  We’re partnering with nations that invest in their health systems.  We’re working with NGOs to improve child and maternal health, end preventable diseases, and make progress towards a goal that was inconceivable just a decade ago—the world’s first AIDS-free generation. 

Across all these vital and far-reaching challenges, we continue to bring the resources of the United States and the reach of our partnerships to bear to forge a safer and more prosperous world.  Our goals are bold and won’t be realized overnight, but the essence of U.S. leadership, as always, remains our ambition, our determination, and our dauntless vision of the possible – the pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons; a world where extreme poverty is no more; where people are free to choose their own leaders; and where no child’s potential is cut short by a circumstance of her birth. 

We’ve earned our unparalleled position in the world through decades of responsible leadership.  We affirm our exceptionalism by working tirelessly to strengthen the international system we helped build.  We affirm it daily with our painstaking efforts to marshal international support and rally nations behind our leadership.  We affirm it by taking strong action when we see rules and norms broken by those who try to game the system for their own gain.  As President Obama told those graduating cadets at West Point, “What makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it’s our willingness to affirm them through our actions.” 

As we leave an era of American foreign policy dominated by war, we are in a much stronger position to shape a more just and secure peace.  In doing so, we will be vigilant against threats to our security, but we also recognize that we are stronger still when we mobilize the world on behalf of our common security and common humanity.  That is the proud tradition of American foreign policy, and that is what’s required to shape a new chapter of American leadership.

Thank you very much. 

Preparation Environment Council, 12 June 2014

European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 11 June 2014

Preparation Environment Council, 12 June 2014

The second formal Environment Council under the Greek Presidency will be held in Luxembourg on 12 June. Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard and Health Commissioner Tonio Borg will represent the European Commission. The Council will deal with climate and health-related points in the morning before moving on to environment issues after lunch. The main climate point will be a public debate on the policy framework on climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030. The main health point will be the Commission’s GMO cultivation proposal. Over lunch, ministers are expected to discuss the recently adopted Commission Communication on Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 agenda. The main environment points in the afternoon are an orientation debate on the Clean Air Package proposed by the Commission last December, and conclusions that are expected to be adopted in view of the up-coming multilateral biodiversity conferences to be held in South Korea in the autumn. Any other business points include information from the Commission on the state of play regarding EU ratification of the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period and the proposal to establish an EU system for monitoring and reporting CO2 emissions from large ships, information from the Presidency on the Commission proposal to cut plastic bag use, information from France on endocrine-disrupting substances and from Sweden on highly fluorinated substances. The Presidency and the Commission will also report on the outcome of recent international meetings and events. Finally, the incoming Italian Presidency will present its work programme. A press conference will take place at the end of the morning session on the items discussed. A second press conference with Commissioner Potočnik on environment issues is scheduled to take place at the end of the meeting.

2030 Framework for Climate and Energy Policies

The Council will hold a public debate on the climate and energy policy framework for 2020-2030 presented by the Commission in January (see IP/14/54). The framework aims to make the EU economy and energy system more competitive, secure and sustainable. The Commission proposes that, by 2030, the EU reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % below 1990 levels through domestic measures alone and increase the share of renewable energy to at least 27 %. Improving energy efficiency is also a key pillar of the 2030 framework: the Commission will review progress to date later this year and propose further action as necessary. The Commission also proposes a new governance framework for climate and energy policies and a set of key indicators to assess progress. The European Council is expected to take a final decision on the framework in October 2014.

The debate will be based on input from the informal Energy and Environment Councils held in mid-May and structured around two questions drawn up by the Council Presidency. The first is on whether other sectors could contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The second focuses on the investment challenge.

GMO Cultivation

The Council will discuss a compromise text prepared by the Greek Presidency on the Commission’s GMO cultivation proposal, with a view of reaching a political agreement. The compromise text preserves the EU authorisation process based on risk assessment and the free marketing of GMOs and gives Member States the possibility to decide on GMO cultivation on their territories.

It also introduces a possibility for Member States to request an applicant, via the Commission, to adjust the geographical scope of its application, so that parts of or all the territories of the requesting Member State are excluded from cultivation. Should the applicant refuse to adjust the geographical scope, Member States could then use the post authorisation opt-out originally proposed by the Commission in July 2010, Through this opt-out, a Member State can decide to ban the cultivation of an EU approved GMO(s) on part of or all its territory based on grounds not conflicting with the environmental risk assessment carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) pursuant to the GMO legislation. The text also provides the possibility for Member States to adjust their decision on cultivation restriction or ban along the 10 year term of the GMO authorisation, if new objective circumstances arise.

A political agreement would mark the end of the first reading on this proposal, and allow discussions with the European Parliament to start in second reading. The Commission is fully committed to working with the Council and the Parliament to reach an agreement on the GMO cultivation proposal as soon as possible.

Clean air package

Ministers will hold an orientation debate on the Clean Air package adopted by the Commission in December last year (see IP/13/1274). The package contains a new Clean Air Programme for Europe, with measures to ensure that existing targets are met in the short term, and new air quality objectives for the period up to 2030, with measures to help cut air pollution, improve air quality in cities and promote international cooperation. To deliver on these objectives, the package contains a revised National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive with stricter national emission ceilings for six pollutants, and a proposal for a new Directive to reduce pollution from medium-sized combustion plants (MCP), which are not covered by current legislation. The debate, which will allow ministers to share their views on strategic policy, will take the form of a tour de table with delegations covering four questions in one intervention. Two questions on the proposed MCP Directive will focus on the degree of flexibility desirable for the Directive, and the extent to which the proposal is appropriate to close the existing regulatory gap. Two further questions on the proposed revision to the NEC Directive will gauge Ministers’ support for the two-stage approach it contains (i.e. with measures for 2020 and 2030), and for the proposal to reduce air emissions from agriculture, a sector where there are substantial cost-effective reduction possibilities.

Conclusions on the Convention on Biological Diversity

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions to inform the overall EU negotiating position at several up-coming multilateral biodiversity conferences: the CBD COP 12, the Cartagena Protocol COP-MOP 7 and the Nagoya Protocol COP-MOP 1 in Pyeongchang, Korea, in October. The Conclusions are intended to enable the EU and its Member States to continue playing a leading role in biodiversity protection at international level and to contribute to successful outcomes in Pyeongchang. The issue of resource mobilisation is expected to be an important issue at COP 12, and this is reflected in the conclusions; the EU and its MS will continue to defend a multi-dimensional approach, looking at all sources of funding, including official development assistance but also innovative financing mechanisms, domestic resources, and from mainstreaming of biodiversity across other sectors. Other items addressed in the conclusions that are particularly important for the EU include the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity, biodiversity safeguards in relation to REDD+, the UN-led effort to halt deforestation and forest degradation, boosting the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

The Commission will also report on the outcome of the recent high-level conference on Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) held in Brussels (see MEX 22/0514).

Any other business

State of play of the ratification and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period

The Commission put forward the legislative proposals necessary for EU ratification of the second commitment period (2013-2020) of the Kyoto Protocol in November 2013 (see IP/13/1035). The Commission aims to finalise the main elements of the ratification package so that the EU and Iceland can jointly ratify the second commitment period.

State of play of the proposal for a Regulation on monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport

The Commission put forward a legislative proposal to establish an EU system for monitoring, reporting and verifying (MRV) emissions from large ships using EU ports (see IP/13/622), as a first step to implement an EU strategy to integrate maritime transport emissions in the EU’s greenhouse gas reduction policies. The Commission proposes that the MRV system apply to shipping activities carried out from 1 January 2018.

State of play of the proposal to cut the use of single-use plastic bags

The Presidency will also present an overview of progress with the Commission Proposal to help Member States cut their use of plastic bags (see IP/13/1017). Member States can choose the measures they find most appropriate, including charges, national reduction targets or a ban under certain conditions. Lightweight plastic bags are often used only once, but can persist in the environment for hundreds of years, often as harmful microscopic particles that are known to be dangerous to marine life in particular.