Joint Declaration of the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit, Singapore, 22 November 2007

WE, the Heads of State/Government of the Member Countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU), gathered in Singapore on 22 November 2007 for the occasion of the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit;

BUILDING on the momentum of the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-EU relations, the 40th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Rome Treaties to promote sustainable peace, security and prosperity through regional integration;

RECALLING the establishment of official relations between the EU's Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) and ASEAN in Brussels in February 1977, the Cooperation Agreement between Member Countries of ASEAN and European Community signed on 7 March 1980, the ASEAN-EU Joint Declaration on Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism endorsed on 27 January 2003 and the Nuremberg Declaration on an EU-ASEAN Enhanced Partnership endorsed on 15 March 2007;

NOTING with deep satisfaction that, over thirty years, ASEAN-EU relations have grown and expanded to cover a wide range of areas including political and security, economic and trade, social and cultural and development cooperation;

DETERMINED to deepen and broaden our cooperation, based on mutual trust and respect, with the ASEAN-EU Enhanced Partnership as a strong foundation for our relations and cooperation to ensure peace, stability, progress and prosperity in the region;

COMMENDING the adoption of the ASEAN Charter which marks a new level in ASEAN regional integration and sets a firm basis for its further community building;

EXPRESSING support for the realisation of the ASEAN Community by 2015;

WELCOMING the adoption of the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism at the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu, the Philippines;

ACKNOWLEDGING ASEAN's centrality and the leading role played by ASEAN in all ASEAN-related regional architecture, in particular the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) as the main forum for regional dialogue and political and security cooperation in the Asia Pacific;

FURTHER acknowledging the importance of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) as a milestone in the regional code of conduct for inter-state relations and promoting regional peace and stability;

RECOGNISING the need to strengthen the promotion and the protection of human rights through practical steps and closer cooperation, including in international fora;

RENEWING our commitment to actively cooperate in addressing major global and transboundary problems such as climate change and its impact on socio-economic development and the environment, particularly in developing countries, as presented by the Fourth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change;

RECOGNISING the need for all countries to participate in developing an effective, comprehensive, and equitable post-2012 international climate change arrangement, and in this regard, welcome Indonesia’s efforts to host the 13th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 3rd Session of the Conference of the Parties Serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol;

ACKNOWLEDGING that all countries have common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in addressing the common challenge of climate change, and that developed countries should continue to play a leadership role in substantially reducing global emission of greenhouse gases and that developing countries should also play their part, supported by developed countries through positive incentives, including through a strengthened global carbon market;

NOTING the role of forests in mitigating and adapting to climate change, preserving biodiversity and sustaining the livelihoods of forest communities; and

AFFIRMING the need to take an effective approach to address interrelated challenges of climate change, energy security and other environmental issues, in the context of sustainable development.


1. Commit to further enhance ASEAN-EU dialogue and cooperation and welcome the "ASEAN-EU Plan of Action to Implement the Nuremberg Declaration on an EU-ASEAN Enhanced Partnership" annexed herewith;

2. Continue ASEAN-EU dialogue and close coordination on regional and international issues so as to contribute to the maintenance of peace, security and prosperity;

3. Strengthen political dialogue between ASEAN and the EU as well as regional and political dialogue through the ARF for advancing the common interest of ASEAN and the EU in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region, with ASEAN as the driving force;

4. Welcome the intention of the EU/EC to accede to the TAC;

5. Support the implementation of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, an early conclusion of a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism, and the implementation of the ASEAN-EU Joint Declaration on Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism;

6. Explore cooperation to promote disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, as these represent serious threats to peace and security, according to the existing disarmament and non-proliferation conventions, treaties and instruments;

7. Enhance cooperation to support ASEAN’s efforts in its community building through effective implementation of the Vientiane Action Programme;

8. Support the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and other sub-regional endeavours to narrow the development gaps in ASEAN, as contributing to regional integration, through the EU’s ongoing bilateral programmes with ASEAN countries;

9. In light of the recent events in Myanmar, the ASEAN and the EU actively support the good offices mission of the UN Secretary General and the efforts of the Secretary General's Special Advisor Ibrahim Gambari to bring about an inclusive and comprehensive process of genuine national reconciliation and peaceful transition to democracy;

10. Call for the release of political detainees in Myanmar, including those recently detained, and the early lifting of restrictions placed on political parties;

11. Welcome the decision of the Government of Myanmar to step up its engagement with the UN and to enter into a dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, recalling that such a dialogue should be conducted with all concerned parties and ethnic groups;

12. Reaffirm the willingness of ASEAN and the EU to help address the humanitarian needs of the people of Myanmar and to respond constructively to political transformation and reform, including Myanmar’s long-term development needs;

13. Enhance economic relations by expeditiously negotiating the ASEAN-EU Free Trade Agreement based on a region-to-region approach, mindful of the different levels of development and capacity of individual ASEAN countries, providing for comprehensive trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation;

14. Agree to work closely to ensure an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda, as priority for both ASEAN and the EU;

15. Intensify the implementation of the activities agreed under the Trans-Regional EU-ASEAN Trade Initiative (TREATI) and the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI) in order to promote and broaden cooperation and relations between ASEAN and the EU in both trade and non-trade areas;

16. Enhance cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights in the fields of legislation, enforcement, and capacity building to build and strengthen awareness on intellectual property;

17. Commit to act with resolve to meet the interrelated multiple goals of addressing climate change, reducing air pollution and improving the global environment while contributing to sustainable development and improving energy security;

18. Commit to the common long-term goal of mitigating global emissions of greenhouse gases, so as to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations in the long run, at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system;

19. Strengthen cooperation to address the critical issue of climate change in accordance with the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, with particular emphasis on promoting energy efficiency and the use of cleaner and sustainable renewable energy, as well as promoting afforestation and reforestation and reducing deforestation, forest degradation and forest fires, and combating illegal logging and its associated trade; and in this regard, acknowledge sub-regional conservation initiatives such as the Heart of Borneo conservation plan and the Greater Mekong Programme and look forward to continuing the EC-ASEAN READI Dialogue on Climate Change;

20. Promote cooperation on the sustainable management and use of our biodiversity including forest, coastal and marine ecosystems and environments and other natural resources, taking into account the Convention on Biological Diversity to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010; and support the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, as a regional centre for biodiversity conservation and management, noting the importance of various regional and international initiatives such as the Forestry Eleven Forum and Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security;

21. Promote energy security, sustainable energy and multilateral measures for stable, effective and transparent global energy markets, through an ASEAN-EU policy dialogue on energy as well as through other regional fora such as the ARF, where appropriate;

22. Strengthen cooperation at the national, regional and international level to mobilise financial resources and to attract public and private finance for the deployment of technologies for clean and environmentally friendly energy investment;

23. Enhance cooperation in promoting the use of renewable and alternative energy sources such as solar, hydro, wind, tide, biomass, sustainable biofuels and geothermal energy, as well as, for interested parties, civilian nuclear energy; while giving careful and due regard to ensuring safety and security standards and exploring cooperation in this area;

24. Intensify cooperation in promoting, sharing and implementing environmentally sustainable practices, including the transfer of environmentally-sound technologies, the enhancement of human and institutional capacities and the promotion of sustainable production and consumption patterns; and in this regard, consider regional cooperation under the international Marrakesh Process on sustainable consumption and production (SCP);

25. Step up dialogue and cooperation at regional and global levels on disaster management including in the areas of preparedness, mitigation and emergency response as well as rehabilitation and reconstruction, and consider support for the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response;

26. Enhance cooperation in public health to address the threats of emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza;

27. Strengthen our socio-cultural cooperation by encouraging greater interaction among our peoples, in particular youth, academics, media personnel and civil society, and by cooperating with the ASEAN Foundation in promoting public awareness on ASEAN-EU Dialogue Relations; and

28. Identify possible ways and mechanisms to cooperate to ensure the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of migrant workers.

Adopted in Singapore on the Twenty-Second Day of November in the Year Two Thousand and Seven.

Source : http://www.aseansec.org/21120.htm

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EU and ASEAN seek to cement closer ties through FTA

(Taken from Jakarta Post). Although some of the European Union (EU) member states have strong historical ties with most ASEAN members through colonization, political and economic links between the two regions have become weak.

This is due primarily due to the fact that a number of ASEAN member nations that were colonized by major European powers have detached themselves, to one degree or another, from their former masters.

"The planned FTA is part of the efforts by the EU to increase not only its economic influence, but also its political influence," said Winand L.E. Quaedvlieg, deputy director of international economic affairs for the Netherlands Industry and Employers Confederation (VNO-NCW).

While ASEAN was busy exploring relations with other countries and regions, the EU has been preoccupied with its internal development, and tended to prioritize trade relations with other regions.

However, the EU has now realized that it is falling behind its main trading competitors, such as the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia, in developing business and trading relations with ASEAN.

Although a number of cooperation agreements have been entered into by the two blocs, relations are not as close as they could be.

A cooperation agreement between the EU and ASEAN was signed in 1980 with the aim of providing a forum for political and economic dialog, but little progress was made until 1996 when the first Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) was held.

The EU's trade relations with ASEAN were upgraded in 2003, following the entry into effect of TREATI -- the Trans-Regional EU-ASEAN Trade Initiative -- which seeks to expand trade and investment flows and provide a framework for dialog and regulatory cooperation.

TREATI was intended to pave the way for a free-trade agreement as the EU realizes that several major studies on long-term developments in international trade have predicted that by 2020 the center of gravity of the world economy will have shifted to the Asia Pacific region, with ASEAN emerging as the world's largest exporter.

In spite of the uncertainty surrounding such long-term predictions, there is no doubt that Southeast Asia will increasingly be one of the most dynamic growth engines of the global economy.

At the sixth consultation meeting between ASEAN and EU trade ministers in Vietnam in April 2005, both regions decided to establish the Vision Group on ASEAN-EU Economic Partnership.
The Group is tasked with assessing the feasibility of a possible EU-ASEAN FTA.

During the eighth consultation meeting between the EU and ASEAN trade ministers in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, in May 2007, the two regions confirmed their shared desire to enhance economic relations by establishing an FTA, providing for comprehensive trade and investment liberalization.

Both regions are now in the process of preparing a number of points that will be brought to the negotiating table next year.

-- JP/Rendi Akhmad Witular

General points of the planned FTA

1. The proposed FTA will include a full elimination of tariffs for 90 percent of trade and tariff lines within seven years of the entry into force of the agreement. Other products would be subject to either partial liberalization or full elimination within a longer time frame.

2. Exceptions to full liberalization should be kept to a minimum and mutually agreed. As regards trade in services and investment, the agreement should have substantial sectoral coverage, and provide for the absence or elimination of substantially all discrimination.

3. Recognizing the different levels of development between ASEAN and the EU, special and differential treatment for the less developed ASEAN countries should be accorded, and differentiated time frames for implementation of the agreement should be adopted.

4. The agreement should constitute a single undertaking, implemented by the parties as an indivisible whole. The organization of the negotiations should take into account the resource constraints faced by some partners.

5. The progressive and reciprocal liberalization of trade in goods and services, aiming at achieving substantial liberalization which goes beyond the level of existing commitments in the WTO within an agreed time frame, consistent with the relevant WTO provisions.

6. The liberalization and facilitation of investment and creation of an open and non-discriminatory climate for establishment, including allowing the transfer of funds for foreign investment.

7. The elimination of barriers to trade and the creation of clear, stable and transparent rules for exporters, importers and investors, including provisions which aim at the facilitation of trade and reduction of transaction costs in particular in the customs and related areas, as well as provisions on standards, technical regulations, conformity assessment procedures, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

8. Setting up a pragmatic approach for addressing government procurement by enhancing transparency, as well as possible improvements in market access opportunities on a plurilateral basis, in view of varying levels of development amongst all parties concerned

9. The adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

10. Technical assistance and capacity building measures should be established to facilitate negotiations and implementation of the agreement and to ensure that all partners can fully benefit from the agreement.

Source: Report of the ASEAN-EU Vision Group: Transregional Partnership For Shared and Sustainable Prosperity

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Top 10 European rural tourist destinations

Vice President Günter Verheugen awarded the "European Destinations of Excellence" (EDEN) to the ten best emerging rural destinations at the European Annual Tourism Forum in Portugal on 26th of October. The aim of EDEN is twofold: to draw attention to the value, diversity and shared characteristics of European tourist destinations and to promote destinations where commercial success goes hand in hand with social, cultural and environmental sustainability. It also creates awareness of Europe’s tourist diversity and quality, besides promoting Europe as the foremost tourism destination in the world.

Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: “The EDEN Project supports European tourism and enhances the visibility of several non traditional destinations. It is a platform for the exchange of good practices at European level while rewarding sustainable forms of tourism and successful business models. It will contribute to creating new and upgrading existing jobs.”

Ten countries participated in the EDEN Awards, for which national juries made the selections. Next year seven additional Member States of the EU (Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, France, Lithuania, Spain and Romania) and Turkey will participate in the EDEN Awards. The ten winning destinations of excellence in 2007 are:

Austria: Pielachtal, Dirndl is the valley’s trademark

The Pielachtal is a valley in the Alpine foothills of the province of Lower Austria. Its culture, nature, way of life, handicrafts and specialty foods are combined to form a network of innovative offers. The Dirndl, or Cornel, popularly known as a cherry, is cultivated as the valley’s “trademark”.

Belgium: Durbuy, the smallest city of the world

The community Durbuy is situated in Wallonia in the Ardennes, and consists of 40 small villages. Durbuy is registered as "city" since the Middle Ages for its efficient justice and trade organization. Thus the old town of Durbuy became "the smallest city of the world".

Croatia: Sveti Martin na Muri, preserved natural heritage

The district of Sveti Martin na Muri is located in the North, close to the tri-border with Slovenia and Hungary, where the River Mura enters the territory of Croatia. The destination has been profiled as a rural as well as a spa destination. It has a thermal spring of medicinal water and is the largest and one of the most beautiful spas in Croatia.

Cyprus: Troodos, A relaxing break away from cosmopolitan coastal resorts

Troodos has five distinct regions, grouped around Mount Olympus. The area offers an abundance of things to do and see: walking or cycling through forest nature trails, attending local village festivals, experiencing the local traditional cuisine and discovering the cultural treasures of UNESCO World Heritage sites are among the main pursuits.

Greece: Florina, Conciliating tourism and rural environment

The region of Florina is located in Northern Greece in West Macedonia. Geographically, it consists of mountainous and semi mountainous areas and lowlands. The mountains of Varnoutas, Vernon and Voras contain the ski centre and European Alpine routes whose peaks reach out to the fertile valleys and the six lakes of Prespes.

Hungary: Örség, Characteristic landscape in harmony with nature

The Õrség region is located in the most western corner of Hungary. The unique landscape is characterized by a variety of natural beauties: hills and valleys, deciduous and coniferous woodlands, green hayfields, moors, springs and streams. Besides these beauties, the unchanged folk traditions and customs, traditional crafts and the products of self-sufficient farming and lifestyle also attract visitors.

Ireland: Clonakilty District, amenities of natural beauty

The Clonakilty District is situated on the coast in South West Ireland. There are many amenities of natural beauty which are easily accessed. In addition to an abundance of activities on land and sea, music sessions and fresh local produce there are also a full range of heritage sites, galleries, pubs, walking routes and fishing points.

Italy: Specchia, Tradition meets innovation

Specchia is located in Southern Italy (Province of Lecce, Puglia Region). It is a site of great natural and cultural value and an important centre for the rural economy in the region. Specchia is a shining example of a place where tradition meets innovation. For example, there is the Protonobilissimo castle, which dates back to the XV century, as well as a public access Centre for advanced digital services.

Latvia: Kuldiga, The Latvian Venice

Kuldiga town in the Kurzeme region with its historical part and Valley of the River Venta is known as “The Latvian Venice”. Its tourism recourses are based on its historical and cultural heritage and the Venta River which is one of the largest and most picturesque rivers of Latvia. “Ventas Rumba” is the widest waterfall in Europe (240m).

Malta: Nadur, Scenic beauty which are unique and rather rare

Nadur is situated on the easternmost hill of the island of Gozo, Malta's sister-island. Fresh fruit such as apples, peaches, pears, plums, oranges, lemons and melons from the fields of Nadur are distributed around Malta and Gozo. Nadur also has a plenty of cultural heritage and offers a number of areas of scenic beauty which are unique and rather rare.

Source: Commission Press Release

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Anti-dumping duty extention on energy-saving light bulbs from China, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam

The Council of the European Union on 15 October 2007 adopted a regulation extending for one year anti-dumping duties currently in force on imports of integrated electronic compact fluorescent lamps (CFL-i) originating in China, as well as on imports of the same product from Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam (13040/07). The regulation extends anti-dumping measures imposed in 2001 ranging from 0 to 66,1 % on imports of CFL-i originating in China.

The measures are aimed at addressing unfair competitive advantages resulting from the dumping of imports onto the Community market, by seeking an overall balance between the interests of consumers, producers and traders of energy-saving lamps, whilst taking into consideration environmental and energy consumption factors.
The decision follows an investigation carried out by the Commission pursuant to EU antidumping rules, which concluded that it is in the interest of the Community to continue the measures for a further adjustment period of one year.

The anti-dumping duties only cover alternating current voltage lamps, including electronic compact fluorescent discharge lamps functioning on both alternating and direct current. The regulation also renews anti-dumping measures in force covering imports of CFL-I from Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam with a view to preventing the circumvention of the measures through those countries.

Source: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/misc/96507.pdf

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Council Conclusions on Burma/Myanmar

Luxembourg, 15-16 October 2007

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

"1. The EU strongly condemns the brutal crack-down on demonstrators in Burma/Myanmar. It recalls its earlier declarations in which it urged the Burmese authorities to exercise restraint in the face of peaceful protests. The EU regrets that these calls have gone unheeded and regrets that arrests have continued over the recent days.

2. The EU demands that the authorities immediately cease all violent repression and intimidation and that they release all those arrested since mid-August, as well as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners.

3. The EU welcomes the UN Security Council Presidential statement of 11 October on Burma/Myanmar. The EU strongly supports the actions by the UN, in particular the good offices mission of UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari. The EU backs further active UN engagement, including by the Security Council. The EU looks forward to a new visit by the Special Envoy in the coming weeks.

4. The EU welcomes the special session of the UN Human Rights Council and the adoption by consensus of a Resolution strongly deploring the continued violent repression and urging the authorities of Burma/Myanmar to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

5. The EU also calls upon the government to disclose information about the whereabouts of those arrested since mid-August and to allow international agencies access to them. The EU also calls for a thorough and impartial investigation of the deaths of demonstrators as well as other serious and continuous violations of human rights, and for those liable to be held to account. In this regard, the EU urges the authorities to co-operate fully with UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Sergio Pinheiro, including through the urgent facilitation of a visit by him to Burma/Myanmar.

6. In line with the Presidency statement of 25 September and in view of the seriousness of the current situation and in solidarity with the people of Burma/Myanmar, the EU deems it necessary to increase direct pressure on the regime through stronger measures as well as the following additional restrictive measures: an export ban on equipment to the sectors of logs and timber and mining of metals, minerals, precious and semi precious stones; an import ban of products of the sectors mentioned before; and an investment ban in these sectors. It will therefore adopt a package of measures that do not harm the general population but that target those responsible for the violent crack-down and the overall political stalemate in the country. The EU stands ready to review, amend or reinforce these measures, in the light of developments on the ground and the results of the Good Offices Mission of the United Nations Special Envoy to Burma/Myanmar Mr. Ibrahim Gambari. The Council requests relevant bodies to elaborate further restrictive measures, including a ban on new investments.

7. The EU confirms the continuation of its substantial humanitarian aid programmes aimed at the most vulnerable populations of Burma/Myanmar and Burmese refugees in neighbouring countries. The EU stands ready to increase this assistance, subject to further assessments of the humanitarian situation. In this context, the EU urges the government to keep channels for the delivery of assistance open and calls on the authorities to co-operate with international actors in this regard.

8. The EU welcomes the unanimous condemnation of developments and the efforts by ASEAN and neighbours of Burma/Myanmar to positively influence the Burmese authorities. As the situation requires the sustained engagement of the UN and the support of the international community and all regional actors, the EU encourages all of Burma's neighbours to maintain pressure for a credible and fully participatory reform process.

9. The EU urges the Burmese authorities to recognize that a return to the situation before the recent demonstrations is both unacceptable and unsustainable. Only a genuine process of internal reform and reconciliation with the involvement of the opposition will deliver stability, democracy and prosperity to the country. The EU supports steps towards such an inclusive process leading to democracy, full respect for human rights and the rule of law.

10. The EU again expresses its readiness to assist Burma/Myanmar in its process of transition. The EU regrets that the Burmese government has made this impossible so far. Should this situation improve, the EU stands ready to review the restrictive measures, to engage with Burma in its development and to find new areas of cooperation.

11. The EU is determined to assist the people of Burma/Myanmar further on their path to democracy, security and prosperity."

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Football chief wants to challenge EU over labour rules

05.10.2007 - 17:44 CET By Helena Spongenberg

The president of the World Football Association - FIFA - has indicated he is ready to challenge EU law on the freedom of movement of workers by suggesting a cap on the number of foreigners allowed in any one football team.

Football clubs should have no more than five non-nationals on the pitch at any time even if it goes against EU labour rules, said FIFA chief Sepp Blatter in an interview with the BBC on Friday (5 October).

Such a move would encourage the development of homegrown talent, he argued, saying that too many foreigners on a team is bad for the development of football.

"This is a matter of principle and we need to protect the national identity of the football clubs," Mr Blatter said, adding it would increase opportunities for homegrown players.

Football clubs in the EU currently have a restriction of three players from outside the 27 member bloc, but have had no restrictions on players from within the Union since 1995.

Twelve years ago, the controversial Bosman ruling by the European Court of Justice - named after the Belgian football player Jean-Marc Bosman who won the case - concluded that such restrictions discriminated against nationals of EU states.

The free movement of workers within the EU is one of the bloc's core principles.

"The EU say that this is not possible based on free circulation of workers but in football principles are different...You cannot consider a footballer like any normal worker because you need 11 to play a match - and they are more artists than workers," Mr Blatter argued.

"When you have 11 foreigners in a team, this is not good for the development of football. Football has never had the courage to go against this practice but it must now," he warned.

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The European Union and the world: a hard look at soft power

Benita Ferrero-Waldner,
European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy

Speech at Columbia University New York, 24 September 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The European Union’s role in international affairs, not least in this, our 50th anniversary year, has been the subject of countless academic papers and endless speculation by policy wonks. Much of that commentary consists of myths and misconceptions. Are we the purely soft, Kantian power of Robert Kagan fame? Or is there more to it than that?

In thinking of the nature of power one is reminded of Stalin’s famous, or should I say infamous, question: “how many divisions does the Pope have?” But are the old beliefs about soft and hard power still valid?

Today I want to take what I call a hard look at soft power; and with that, the role the EU plays in the world. First, let’s remind ourselves of the nature of the current international system and the role played by soft and hard power. I will then give you a flavour of the way the EU is modifying itself in response and our three priorities for the future.

The current international system

The end of the cold war meant the end of a terrible era of cataclysmic threats and pointless confrontation. But it was also the end of the era of certainty and predictability. Today the threats we face are different. Think of climate change, migration, or international terrorism. They are different not only because of their non-military nature, but also for their disrespect for national borders. No state can contain them, just as no state can keep them out.

The nature of power in today’s world is also different. Slowly but surely, helped by the ever-increasing pace of globalization, power has been shifting away from its traditional guardians – states –, towards non-state actors: multinational companies, non-governmental organisations, international media networks, or radical terrorist organisations. Governments’ room for manoeuvre has been curtailed just as citizens around the world have become more demanding.

The geographic balance of power within the international system is also shifting. Today, the EU and US together have unrivalled influence in terms of relative wealth and power. But for how long will that be the case? As a recent Goldman-Sachs report put it “in less than 40 years, the BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India and China] economies together could be larger than the G6 [Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US] in US dollar terms”. We can no longer rely on our ability to set the world agenda, and the need to build alliances and consensus with the newly emerging powers will only continue to grow.

Hard or Soft power?

What sort of power is best placed to respond to this changing configuration of threats and alliances? We have seen the limitations of hard power all too clearly in Iraq and elsewhere. Military force is too blunt an instrument to deal with the subtleties of terrorist attacks and it is certainly not capable of holding back the rising seas or the waves of migrants hitting our shores.

But does soft power fare any better? Scholars from Joseph Nye to Jeremy Rifkin have pointed out that the United States is suffering from the fading of its soft power. The EU, on the other hand, has reaped tremendous rewards from its soft power, the result of which is an enlarged union of 27 and unprecedented peace and prosperity on the European continent. And soft power is the key to strengthening alliances with China, India and new emerging markets, so vital for shaping the international system of the future.

Yet soft power alone is insufficient to deal with the threats we face. Europe’s central historical experience may be that military victories produce only temporary peace. But as Spain and the United Kingdom so sadly testify, international terrorists do not respect the EU’s self-declared space of freedom, liberty and security. Rich though we may be in so-called “attractive power”, there are those who do not succumb to our charm.

The answer is clearly that we need some combination of the two. Or perhaps a new form of power altogether, what some scholars have called “smart power”.

Smart Power – the EU’s response

Those who believe the EU is still principally a soft power are behind the times. For over a decade the EU’s foreign policy has been adding more tools to its repertoire, including, crucially, a military dimension and crisis management functions.

We have some 60,000 peacekeepers serving around the world, from Kosovo, to Afghanistan and Indonesia. We send election observation missions across the globe: indeed in just the last 6 years we have observed nearly 60 elections, from Haiti to the Congo to the Palestinian Authority. We are also the world’s largest donor of development aid, providing 56% of total global flows. We have a dense network of global relationships, and the European Commission alone is present on the ground in over 130 countries and territories around the world.

As the EU continues to develop its role in the world, the challenge is two-fold: to ensure coherence between the civilian and military sides; and to use our soft, attractive power more strategically. I would single out three priorities for the years ahead: Europe’s neighbourhood; climate change and energy security; and developing our role in crisis management.

European Neighbourhood Policy

Naturally the EU must pay particular attention to its immediate neighbourhood. In is in our mutual interest that the countries on the EU’s periphery should be well-governed and prosperous. That’s why we now have a policy, the European Neighbourhood Policy, directed specifically towards our southern and eastern neighbours. That means Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and the South Caucasus to our East, and to our South the entire Mediterranean rim from Morocco to Lebanon.

Throughout that region we are leveraging the EU’s attractive power to deepen our relations and encourage our neighbours in their path towards economic and political reform. We do that by offering deeper political and economic relations with us to those who make the most progress in reforms.

The ENP has already expanded our co-operation and produced tangible successes. We draw on a broad array of tools, especially tailor-made Action Plans for reforms.

And at a highly successful international conference in Brussels earlier this month we discussed new ways to make the ENP even more effective, attractive and focused:

Economic integration: we will help our neighbours access the EU’s 500 million-strong market, an area where goods, services and capital flow freely; opening up new possibilities and greater opportunities for us all.

Mobility: We know that the freedom for people to travel to and around the EU is enormously important. So we want less complex visa rules and Mobility Partnerships, agreements between the EU and neighbours encouraging legal migration and combating illegal migration – a big step for us.

Energy: Integrated energy markets work in everyone’s favour – whether as a producer, transit or consumer country. So we are exploring the idea of a regional-level energy agreement and working with our neighbours to develop renewable energies like solar and wind power and biomass.

Increased aid: We are offering increased aid for good governance in the best-performing countries and setting up a new Neighbourhood Investment Facility to leverage additional funding from international financial institutions. We know reform is expensive and we need to make significant incentives available.

Climate Change and energy security

Today, safeguarding global security and prosperity also means working for reliable energy relations and tackling the existential threat of climate change. The EU has placed these issues at the top of our political agenda.

There is no longer any debate about the severity of the threat posed by global warming or the need for urgent action to tackle it. The UK government’s report by Sir Nicholas Stern estimates its costs at 20% of global GDP when extrapolating wider risks. Yet, by comparison, the cost of action to avoid the worst impacts will be only 1% of global GDP per year.

The EU is leading by example – we have agreed to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 20% and to raise the share of renewable energy sources to 20%, both by the year 2020. Our system of emissions trading has blazed a trail in using market forces to protect the environment. Which is why various players, including California, are considering joining this system.

The current focus is the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in December which will be an essential for agreeing on a comprehensive and global post-Kyoto regime. The EU is engaging in intensive “green diplomacy” in the run-up to the conference, building on the positive momentum generated by the G8 Summit and ensuring all our partners, including the US and the emerging economies, are on board. I am hopeful that positive signs, like the first no-car day held in China on Saturday, will push us in the right direction.

Increasing energy security is an important part of the equation – through technological developments, energy efficiency and our efforts to achieve more transparent and stable global energy markets. Inside the EU we just proposed last week a new and widely-welcomed package of measures to open our internal energy market to competition and further develop our energy network infrastructure.

Internationally we are working with our main producer and transit partners in the Middle East and Central Asia and our whole network of bilateral, multilateral and regional agreements to reinforce an open, competitive but also cooperative global energy framework that responds to the demands of producer, transit and consumer countries. The EU is also promoting the idea of an international agreement on energy efficiency.

Crisis management

Last, but certainly not least, the EU must continue to build up its capacity for crisis response, and joined-up civilian and military operations.

We have already come a long way and have a considerable range of tools at our disposal. In addition to the EU’s military capacity we have a civil protection mechanism for dealing with natural and environmental disasters. This proved its worth, for instance, in our response to the horrendous tsunami in December 2005 when we were quickly able to mobilize humanitarian relief and specialised rescue personnel to the affected areas. We are the world’s biggest donor of humanitarian assistance, mobilising the resources and expertise of the UN system, the Red Cross and international NGOs. And in the context of the European Security and Defence Policy we send civilian experts in policing, rule of law and civil administration to crisis situations around the world.

We also have a new tool for crisis response, our Stability Instrument, which enables us to respond flexibly and rapidly to shore up peace-building processes including monitoring and justice initiatives. It also helps get children back to school and re-open health and other local public services.

As an example, you may not be aware of the role the EU played in resolving the long-running conflict in Aceh, Indonesia. There we financed the peace negotiations; sent the Aceh Monitoring Mission to monitor compliance with the Peace Agreement; and put in place a package of long term measures like reintegrating former combatants and prisoners, and promoting the rule of law, human rights and democracy.

Nearer to home we are tackling the so-called frozen conflicts in our neighbourhood, like Transnistria. We have sent a Border Assistance Mission to the Moldova-Ukraine border which is proving highly successful in helping prevent customs fraud, smuggling of goods, as well as the trafficking of people, drugs and weapons. The Mission staff are offering advice and on-the-job training to border and customs officials on both sides of the border, so helping manage the border in a more modern and efficient way. Above all it is an important step towards facilitating the end of the Transnistria conflict.

Similarly, in the Middle East we have used our standing in the region to set up the Temporary International Mechanism, which has enabled the international community to provide humanitarian relief for the Palestinian people despite the absence for 18 months of a fully functioning legitimate government. Concretely it means that people are receiving social allowances from us to enable them to survive an extremely difficult economic situation. We have also been funding supplies to keep hospitals and schools open and operational.

In response to the changed situation we are now working directly with Prime Minister Fayyad’s government, re-launching our institution building activities and preparing a private sector arrears scheme which will support Palestinian businesses and maintain jobs. We are also fulfilling our pledge not to abandon the people of Gaza, where we continue to disburse our TIM funding.

Our assistance has been combined with a security operation to help manage crossing points and considerable diplomatic effort on the international stage, together with Russia, the US and the UN in the international Quartet. We met again at the weekend and confirmed our support for the new momentum in the peace process, and the international meeting to take place in November.

I could give you other examples of our work, in Afghanistan, Congo and Darfur, or our plans for an opening in Kosovo later this year. We have ambitious ideas for the future and I am convinced that the EU will become an ever more powerful force for the good in tackling the world’s trouble spots.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The EU is often misunderstood. Perhaps that is not surprising – it is in perpetual motion, and its role in foreign policy is developing all the time. Indeed those who follow EU affairs will know that by the end of the year we hope to have agreed further institutional changes to strengthen our role on the world’s stage.

But I hope this short overview has given you a better understanding of the sort of power we aspire to, neither exclusively soft, nor hard, but rather – smart power.

Thank you.

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Murder in Myanmar

Iyan Nurmansyah, Sussex, UK (published in The Jakarta Post 28/9/07)

It is very distressing to see that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) does not seem to be doing much in dealing with the crisis in Myanmar.

Just imagine if ASEAN was the European Union (EU), and Myanmar one of its members. I believe that the other member countries would have reacted hysterically.

For example, the EU put pressure on the Slovakian government over their attitude towards the Romany Gypsies minority group. When Slovakia decided to join this prestigious club, Bratislava had to agree with the values shared by all members of the institution. One of those values is to provide equal rights for minority groups.

Another recent example is the furor caused by the homophobic comments made by Polish senior officials, which has forced the European Parliament to send a fact-finding mission to Poland.

The point is, whether one agrees or disagrees with homosexuality, once Warsaw signed up to become part of this European "brotherhood" club, all Polish public officials had to respect the club's credo, and "behave" appropriately, especially when in the public eye.

Inciting hatred based on sexual orientation by public officials of a new member country is not what the EU bureaucrats in Brussels and Strasbourg want to hear.

Thus, it is extremely bizarre to see the policy makers in Jakarta, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Manila almost turning a blind eye to the situation in Myanmar, which has caused a global uproar elsewhere. To speak frankly, this makes us wonder what kind of values the ASEAN members share.

It has been 10 years since Myanmar joined ASEAN, and we have all witnessed the antics of the ruling generals reacting to the pro-democracy movements. This is not an era when appalling facts can be hidden from the outside world. The revolution in technology has enabled us to see what is going on even in the most remote part of this planet.

Of course there are arguments the decision made by senior ASEAN members not to take decisive action is due to the significance of Myanmar in terms of natural resources, such as gas and oil. Being too "noisy" on Myanmar's internal affairs would possibly alienate Myanmar from the ASEAN community, and even possibly draw Myanmar closer to emerging powers such as China.

Should that happen, the loser would probably be ASEAN, not Myanmar. Bluntly, we can say ASEAN needs Myanmar more than Myanmar needs ASEAN.

There is much evidence to show the relationship between China and Myanmar is getting stronger. For example, the Military Government of Myanmar recently decided to sell its natural gas to PetroChina (Source: Gideon Lundholm, Asia Times Online). Emerging world powers like China and India definitely need energy for economic development, and Myanmar has the resources these two countries need.

Moreover, the trade between China and Myanmar keeps increasing. Data according to the Chinese government statistics as presented by David Fullbrook for the Asia Times Online shows in 2004, the trade between China and Myanmar had increased to US$1.2 billion, from only $313.7 million in 1989.

It seems other ASEAN members use facts like these as a reason to deal with the issue of Myanmar in an extremely "careful" fashion. The way senior ASEAN members deal with the Myanmar government fits an old idiom: "let sleeping dogs lie". Just go easy with Myanmar, or we might cause a problem, which would be bad for us.

What we forget is that some ASEAN member countries have had a long and remarkable struggle on the path towards democracy. As Indonesians, even though we are still learning how to be a properly democratic country, we are proud that in 1998 the supporters of democracy successfully abolished the Soeharto regime.

The history of 1986 People Power in the Philippines is a further example of how another ASEAN member country has chosen to say no to injustice and oppression. Therefore, the value of democracy and freedom is not something, which is alien to us anymore.

In fact, it should be the backbone of our ASEAN community. By not taking a decisive action in dealing with Myanmar, we have denied the rights of the Myanmarese to freedom, more importantly we have also undermined the prestige of ASEAN and have lowered the standards of our regional institution.

We might face the risk of economic loss by upsetting the Myanmar government, however, human lives and freedom are certainly more precious than money.

The writer holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from the University of Sussex. He can be reached at RN28@sussex.ac.uk.

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The European Union and the United States express their solidarity with the people of Burma/Myanmar. We are deeply troubled by reports that security forces have fired on and attacked peaceful demonstrators and arrested many Buddhist monks and others. We condemn all violence against peaceful demonstrators and remind the country's leaders of their personal responsibility for their actions.

We call on the authorities to stop violence and to open a process of dialogue with pro democracy leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of ethnic minorities. We urge China, India, ASEAN and others in the region to use their influence in support of the people of Burma/Myamar.

We urge the country's authorities to receive an early visit by the UN Secretary General's envoy Ibrahim Gambari. We call on the Security Council to discuss this situation urgently and consider further steps including sanctions.

This statement approved at the meeting between EU Foreign Ministers and the US Secretary of State in New York on 26 September 2007.

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EU Forum on Sustainable Nuclear Energy

In Brussels on Friday 21 September 2007, the European Commission offcially launched a techonological platform for sustainable nuclear energy. The main task of this structure, which will bring together the worlds of research and business, will be define and implement a strategic agenda for research and a deployment strategy in the field of nuclear power.

"For those countries that choose it, nuclear power will be a very important part of their solution to security of supply and reduction of greenhouse gases", said Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik. "It is clear that we need to address two important concerns - ensuring that nuclear power is economically competitive and, more importanly, our duty to make it as neutral as possible in environmental terms", he added. World energy compsumption is set to double between 2000 and 2050, and nuclear energy will remain a key element in future low-carbon energy systems, the Commission belives. Europe has the two world's leading nuclear sector, with a third of its electric current being produced by nuclear power stations. This forum will provide recommendations and specialist advice to the European Commission and the national governments to help them to define and to concentrate efforts and budgets on the priorities identified by the EU27.

Source: Bulletin Quotidien Europe No. 9508, Tuesday 25 September 2007

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A new tool for Eurostat data

On 21 August 2007 Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, has launched a new “Tables, Graphs and Maps” (TGM) interface on its website. Based on 1,300 predefined and continuously updated tables, users are able to create customisable graphics and maps for use in publications and presentations.

The current test version presents economic, social and sustainable development indicators which can be adapted depending on the countries, date and data classes covered. For the regions, tables and maps can be created in the “long-term indicators” section on data such as population density, gross domestic product and unemployment rates. All tables, graphs and maps are available in English, French and German. First time users can take a demo tour and are requested to give feedback on the new service.

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EU to join ASEAN's cooperation treaty

By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief
Published in Gulfnews, August 02, 2007, 00:33

Manila: The European Union promised to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (Asean-TAC) that aims to settle military disputes and prevent external invasions within Asia's major regional block.

"Last year, the EU decided to join Asean's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in order to express our appreciation of the EU-Asean relationship. We welcome very much Asean's readiness to make necessary steps to accommodate our accession shortly," the EU said in a statement.

Earlier, the European bloc's foreign policy chief Javier Solana criticised Myanmar's rejection of Asean's plan to create a regional human rights body as a provision of the Asean Charter.

The episode, however, did not dampen the EU's desire to join the TAC. The EU boasts 27 member countries but France is a signatory of the TAC.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka signed up as the newest members of the TAC, bringing its total membership to 24.

The entry of China as a member of the TAC was very important to Asean because of its connotations for peace in the contested South China Sea.

China, Taiwan, and Vietnam's claims to the whole of the oil-rich Spratly Archipelago and the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei's claims to some parts of the land mass have led to a potential flashpoint in the region.

China's accession to TAC seems to augur well by way of a code of conduct for the claimants.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to keep a distance from TAC.

US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, however, stressed the US' commitment to Asean.

"Our engagement in this part of the world is strong and we are committed to deepening our ties even further in the time ahead. The United States considers relations with Asean as a critical component in its dealings with East Asia as a whole," he said.

Negroponte, however, lauded Asean's plan to create a Charter, adding it is part of the region's democratic ideals.

- With inputs from Estrella Torres, Correspondent

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Making a partnership work with EU

Opinion and Editorial - August 08, 2007

Veeramalla Anjaiah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

This year is a year of anniversaries for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) - the world's most successful regional organizations.

Today, 10-member ASEAN is celebrating its 40th anniversary, with the 27-member EU having celebrated the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome on March 25 this year.

The EU and ASEAN will also host a commemorative summit in Singapore in November to celebrate 30 years of friendly ties.

The relationship between the two regions, which generally has been characterized by talks but lacking in substance, has modestly evolved during the past three decades. At the same time, ASEAN and the EU have grown in size and strength. However, their current relationship does not reflect the real potential of both groupings.

Though together the groupings are made up of 37 countries sporting a collective population of over a billion people and more than a quarter of the world's gross domestic product (approximately US$14 trillion), the EU and ASEAN today do not have a solid partnership that meets present day challenges.

"We realize that despite almost thirty years of official contacts, Europe-ASEAN relations have so far failed to meet their true potential. We need new momentum," a senior EU diplomat told the YaleGlobe recently.

Heavy outflows of European investments during the height of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the EU's tough sanctions against military-ruled Myanmar, an infamous member of ASEAN, have further heightened the problem.

Very few EU foreign ministers regularly attend ASEAN-EU ministerial meetings.

ASEAN's critical geopolitical situation, vast natural resources, important sea links, dedication to peace and stability and economic weight certainly make it an essential strategic partner for the EU in Asia.

But why has the EU been reluctant to enhance its relations with ASEAN until recently?

For many years, the EU was too preoccupied with its internal integration process, enlargement policies and creating peace and prosperity in Europe.

Now the EU, with its $13 trillion in GDP, 500 million people, combined strength of two million troops and two permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council, is in a good position to project its soft power.

But it lags behind the U.S. and Japan in Asia, the new strategic hub in international trade and politics, in the areas of trade and investment.

It seems the EU failed to realize Southeast Asia is at the confluence of two Asian lions - China and India - with whom the EU has strategic partnerships. It is this situation that makes ASEAN a key player in the Asia-Pacific region.

Both ASEAN and the EU are now moving on the right track.

Thanks to Indonesia, which proposed revolutionary changes to the structure and working mechanisms of ASEAN during the 2003 Bali Summit, ASEAN leaders agreed to create an ASEAN Community by the year 2020 which would rest on the three pillars of ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN Security Community and ASEAN Socio-cultural Community.

After having realized its policy deficiencies toward ASEAN, the EU adopted the Partnership between the EU and Southeast Asia Communication in 2003 to boost bilateral relations.

It also adopted the READI (Regional EU-ASEAN Dialog Instrument) in 2005 and this year both the EU and ASEAN agreed to enhance their existing partnership to meet the needs of the 21st century.

In order to forge stronger trade links and wider economic cooperation, both the groupings agreed in May to start negotiations on a possible comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA). The EU is also preparing to sign several partnership and cooperation agreements (PCAs) with ASEAN member countries.

In 2005, bilateral trade between the groupings was valued at $140 billion and the EU was ASEAN's second largest export market and third largest trading partner (after the U.S. and Japan). ASEAN mainly exports machinery, agricultural products, chemicals, textiles, furniture, shoes and garments to the EU.

The EU also donated approximately $2 billion for Indian Ocean tsunami recovery efforts.

In 2006, in appreciation of the expanding relationship between the groupings, the EU signed the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, expressing its willingness to help ASEAN.

"The EU is ... very much interested in supporting ASEAN's increasing internal cooperation and integration. We .. stand ready, if asked, to share with you (ASEAN) our experiences from the European integration," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said recently.

However, perhaps the time has come for the EU and ASEAN to move beyond forging such agreements. Rather, they should work toward establishing a strategic partnership, much like the EU's partnership with Latin America, to add more substance to their relationship.

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EU ban Indonesian airlines

The bad news came from Brussels on 28 June 2007 when the European Commission (EC) experts meeting on air safety deemed Indonesian airlines to be unsafe. The experts’ decision comes after recent crashes in the Asian archipelago and the failure of Indonesia authorities to provide adequate safety assurances. The message is clear that no Indonesian airlines including national carrier Garuda will be allowed for flying within the European Union skies. Furthermore the EC will issue the next Commission regulation on the European aviation safety.

Since at the moment no Indonesian airlines fly to EU, the decision to ban Indonesian airlines does not have a big impact. The ban could have a big impact on European passenger traveling with Indonesian airlines outside the EU. So the EU decision to ban Indonesian airlines could be considered as travel warning for European for not using Indonesian airlines. For me, it is normal that the European Commission is reminding their citizen to choose flight professionally and have safety assurances. Other ways, we should render our lives to uncertainty.

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Schengen Visa and EU

Once, a senior official from Jakarta intend to have a meeting with his counterpart in European Commission in Brussels. Since there was no direct flight from Jakarta to Brussels, he should transit in Frankfurt Airport, Germany, then continued to Brussels. In Frankfurt, immigration officer asked this Indonesian official why he did not have Schengen visa to enter Belgium. Since he did not have the visa as requested, then the immigration officer did not allow this Indonesian official to continue his flight to Brussel.

To respond, this senior official explained that as a government official he did not need a visa to enter Belgium. According to him, there is an agreement between the government of Indonesia and the government of Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg (Benelux) to grant a free visa for Indonesian officials.

That’s true that since November 2006, Benelux has granted a free visa for Indonesian officials reciprocally. But this agreement is valid for officials who flight directly to Benelux countries. If the officials transit in the third country, he should have a proper visa. In this case, if the official transit in Frankfurt, of course they should have Schengen visa or at least Germany visa. If they have not proper visa, please be prepared that the immigration officers will not allow you to enter Belgium from Frankfurt and he should reschedule his flight to third country, of course by bought new tickets.

This is not the first time that Indonesian officials have been rejected by immigration officers since they have not a Schengen visa. Some do not know that they need Schengen Visa, even for transit. So what is Schengen visa?

The name "Schengen" originates from a small town in Luxembourg. In June 1985, seven European Union countries signed a treaty to end internal border checkpoints and controls. More countries have joined the treaty over the past years. At present, there are 15 Schengen countries, all in Europe. The 15 Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. All these countries except Norway and Iceland are European Union members.

By having Schengen visa, the visa holder can travel to any (or all) member countries using one single visa, thus avoiding the hassle and expense of obtaining individual visas for each country. This is particularly beneficial for persons who wish to visit several European countries on the same trip. The Schengen visa is a “visitor visa”. It is issued to citizens of countries who are required to obtain a visa before entering Europe.

The purpose of the visit must be leisure, tourism, or business. Upon the issuance of the visa, the visa holder is allowed to enter all member countries and travel freely throughout the Schengen area. It is strongly recommended to plan your journey within the timeframe of the Schengen visa as extensions can be very difficult to obtain, thus forcing you to leave to stay in compliance with the Schengen rules and regulations. A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a 6 month period.

Since all Schengen countries are in Europe, people sometime a bit confuse with the European Union (EU). They are thinking that Schengen is identical with access to all EU countries. In fact, Schengen and EU are different. They were established by different agreement. As mentioned above, Schengen visa based on agreement signed in Schengen, ratified and implemented by 15 countries. While the establishment of the EU based on Treaty of Rome signed in 1957 by six founder countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

It’s mean that if you will visit EU countries, please consider carefully whether you need Schengen visa of not. If you will visit one of the 15 countries as mentioned above, you need Schengen visa. But if you have planned to visit other countries in Europe, such as United Kingdom, Ireland or Hungary, of course you need to apply their national visa. Otherwise, the immigration officer will not allow you to enter their country.

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Jazz concerts in the heart of Europe

by Aris Heru Utomo

On 25-27 May 2007, more than 400 musicians took part in the 12th edition of the Brussels Jazz marathon. They showed in open air stages on the Grand Place, Petit Sablon, Place St. Catherine, Place Fernand Cocq and Place d’Espagne as well as in numerous clubs and venues. For 3 days they showed a colorful and broad program, from jazz in its purest form, to latino, funk, rock and blues. All concerts were totally free.

This is the third time for me to attend and enjoy the annual jazz activities in the city of Europe. Not like the two previous editions, this time I could enjoy the performances, not only in clubs or venues, but of course in open air stages. I remembered that in the last two years, the weather was not so conducive. The rain kept on coming in spurts the whole day. This time, even the sun and clouds seemingly fighting over who should gain control over the skies above Brussels, in general it is very friendly.

Knowing that there are so many concerts, I decided to see the concert in Grand Place only. Grand Place is a historic square, lined with exuberantly ornate guild houses and focuses on the Gothic heights of the Hotel de Ville, is widely held to be one of Europe’s finest.

In this area, I have a chance to look at Daniel Romeo Band and Marc Lelangue on Saturday, 26 May 2007. While on Sunday evening there were trio Rassinfosse and quartet Manuel Hermia in the stages.

Daniel Romeo Band, a fusion band with jazz and funk element. (left to right) Oliver Bodson, Laurent Doumont, Bert Gielen, Nicolas Fiszman, Daniel Romeo, Rosario Guiliani, Michel Bisceglia.

Marc Lelangue and his band, Marc Lelangue "Tribute to Ray Charles". He is faithful to blues singing and has created a parallel repertoire, of songs that he wrote in French.

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by Aris Heru Utomo

Do you have intention to export your products to the European Unions (EU) but you don’t know the information related to import requirements, trade data, a market place as well as practical trade operations and trade promotion? Don’t worry. Just simply click EXPORT HELPDESK, an online service provided by the European Commission (EC), you can find all information you need to access market in the EU’s member countries. In this site the EC provides relevant information required by exporters from developing country which interested in supplying the EU market.

There are seven menus in this site, namely:
1. Requirements and taxes. Under this menu you can find information concerning EU and Member States’ import requirements and internal taxes.
2. Import tariffs, provides information to take full advantages of the EU’s preferential trade regimes.
3. Custom documents which related to documents to be produced in order to qualify for preferential duty treatment.
4. Rules of origin: This section provides information concerning preferential origin rules. It lays down the specific conditions that need to be met if goods are to qualify for advantageous tariff treatment; otherwise the full duties are applicable.
5. Trade statistic; contain trade data (exports and imports) for the EU and its individual Member States.
6. Market Place is a platform where exporters in developing countries can establish contacts with importers from the EU.
7. Links: this section provides information concerning EU and Member State authorities and international organisations involved in trade operations and trade promotion.

By providing all these menus as well as user guide, which can be downloaded in this site, the EC hopes that exporters from developing countries could develop their knowledge and have some background information on the procedures of exports to the EU’s market. But off course, it is not an easy matter for the beginners to fill all the complete form in this site. For example, the user should know firsts the codes of each product before fill up the form.

In order to enhance the capability of developing countries exporters, it is better if the EC could also conduct training for them and put this programmes under National Indicative Programme in the individual EU’s partner countries.

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News: Veto and Voting on EU Constitution Discussion

By Honor Mahony and Mark Beunderman

The voting system and where member states should have a right to a veto are shaping up to be the two biggest issues at the treaty summit next month in Brussels with diplomats already gearing themselves up for a long meeting.The German EU presidency has finished the technical consultations with member state officials - a last gathering of all of these technocrats will occur next week on Wednesday - and is now expected to enter the political phase.

According to diplomats close to the talks, member states are heading towards a "consensus" to abandon the idea of substituting all the previous treaties by one constitutional treaty.

Instead the draft constitution, rejected by Dutch and French voters in 2005, will take the form of an amendment to current treaties.

Discussions are ongoing about attaching part one of the constitutional treaty containing the institutional innovations to the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht and attaching part three containing the policies of the EU to the original 1957 Treaty of Rome.

Getting as much cleared as possible at the June summit
According to one diplomat, Germany, using its political weight as a large country as well as holding the current presidency of the EU, will try to get as much of the political issues cleared up at the 21-22 June summit so that the following intergovernmental conference on the treaty "is as technical as possible."

This stance has led diplomats in Brussels to assume that the summit is going to be long and contentious, with some looking back to the Nice Treaty summit, a bad-tempered political bout that lasted several days.

"There is talk of a lengthy council ... I have noticed it creeping into the language of other diplomats," one EU diplomat remarked.

This talk reflects the list of controversial points that need to be agreed - including two fundamental issues on voting weights among member states and the extension of qualified majority voting.

For Germany, the voting system contained in the draft constitution is something not to be touched. "Whoever touches this [issue] has to know that he will not reach a compromise," state secretary Georg Boomgaarden said on Thursday in the Netherlands.

But Berlin still has to reckon with an increasingly tough-talking Poland.

Sticking points
Speaking to French daily Le Monde, Polish prime minister Lech Kaczynski said "we will not accept the voting system proposed in the current project. For Poland this is a crucial question."

The current Nice Treaty is extremely favourable to Warsaw in terms of voting weights, a privilege it loses under the draft constitution where a re-jigged voting system takes into account population size, making it much more favourable to Germany.

Britain's wish to cut down the amount of areas that can be agreed by qualified majority voting is another brewing, and potentially even tougher, fight.

The draft constitution, already largely ratified by 18 member states, extends the rights of the parliament to co-legislate, thus reducing the right of veto, in 49 new areas - mainly in freedom, security and justice.

London is looking to claw some of this back to make the treaty an easier sell to a sceptical public and largely anti-Europe press.

But this is strongly opposed in several countries, including Spain and Italy, while Paris has also signalled it will not compromise on this topic.

Alain Lamassoure, an advisor to French president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy told the EUobserver that while the "UK might be tempted to revisit the list of issues that should be decided by qualified majority vote rather than unanimity (...) for the rest of member states this is not negotiable."

Other sticking points include the Charter of Fundamental Rights with member states bickering over how to incorporate it into the treaty. Currently it is in there as a whole, but some capitals are pushing for it to be referred to only in one article which says that it will only be applicable to EU law and giving member states the right to adapt it to their own traditions and legislation.

Enlargement is another controversial factor. While enlargement criteria are likely to make it into the treaty, sources are already predicting a quarrel over whether the EU's own capacity to take on new member states should be put into the treaty.

Meanwhile, the German presidency is already working on additional protocols on climate change, social Europe and energy solidarity.

Remarking on the difficulties facing chancellor Merkel to balance the wishes of those already having ratified and the nine countries that have not, one diplomat noted that she has a "big stick" to beat member states with - that they all signed up to the contents of the constitution in 2004.

"It's a very dangerous tactic" to sign up to something at heads of state and government level and then try and "wiggle" out of it, said an official adding "especially when there is a big presidency in town."

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News: EU launch digital encyclopaedic project on living species

From Bulletin Quotidien Europe No.9423, 10 May 2007

In the interest of biodiversity, for which there is an urgent need to stem the decline, the EU will be contributing to the global effort to create in the next ten years, a global scientific information system on species of fauna and flora that live on earth’s surface.

At the official launch in Washington on 9 may, the European Commission announced that this digital encyclopaedic project on living species aimed to include, in around 300 million pages, all known species, and to update available data on how they live, how they grow, their fertility, their tolerance to the environment, their interaction, their genetic characteristic etc.

“The Earth’s biodiversity is a fragile resource. The more we know about it, the better we can protect it. Linking up with researchers within Europe and across the world will increase our understanding of the species with which we share the Earth and, hopefully, improve our management of it,” said European Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik in a press release.

The EU will work on this global project with American, Australian, Brazilian, Indian and South African scientists. European funs will be used to bring together data and create a common information system, called SpeciesBase. Data, which are available to the public, will be supplemented with photos and maps. The German Leibnitz Institute IFM-GEOMAR will coordinate the project. The European contribution will be built on the successful experience of the Fishbase database: The Catalogue of Life (www.sp200.org), The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (www.gbif.org), Fauna Europea (www.faunaeur.org) and Euro+Med Plantbase (www.euromed.org.uk).

The project for a global digital encyclopaedia of living species follows on from the G8 Environemnt Ministers meeting in Potsdam in march, which focused its discussions on the proctetion of biodiversity by 2010. The Commission highlights the importance of this biodiversity conservation tool for researchers, political decision makers, land managers, farmers and conservationists and the public in general.

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Review: Europe Day

by Aris Heru Utomo

The 9 May is Europe Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome in 1957, when the original European Community was launched by its six founding countries namely Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Today, the 9th of May has become an European symbol (Europe Day) which, along with the flag, the anthem, the motto and the single currency (the euro), identifies the political entity of the EU.

Fifty years since the Treaties of Rome were signed on 27 March 1957, the EU has grown from six original member countries in 1957 to 27 today, expending its original role promoting economic cooperation into an integrated bloc which share currency, common borders and cooperation on areas ranging from the environment and immigration to defence and foreign policy. It shows the achievement of the evolution process of the European integration from the start to the various stages of the integration project: Coal and Steel Community, Economic Community, European Community, European Union.

Then why the EU adopted 9 March as Europe Day instead of the signatory date of the Treaty of Rome on 27 March? Historically, the adoption of 9 May as “Europe Day” was decided at the EU Summit in Milan in 1985. The day is celebrated in commemoration of the proposal by Robert Schuman on the creation of an organised Europe, indispensable to maintenance of peaceful relations on 9 May 1950. The Schuman’s proposal or known as Schuman’s declaration is considered by many to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the EU.

Considering the achievement of the European Union integration, we should take notice that those process of integration obviously involved Eastern Europe countries and Balkan which were belong to Communist bloc during the cold war. At that moment, it was difficult to construct cooperation with those countries under the same common position.

With regard to the EU’s achievement on the process of integration, we are also seeing that at this time the EU are challenged by internal issues such as streamlining the economic differentiation in each member countries; particularly refer to the 12 new member countries which joined to the EU since 1 May 2004 and 1 January 2007.

In the political and security cooperation, it’s seem that the EU is trying to enhance its profile in international fora. In this context we can see the EU involvement into conflicts in Middle East, Iran, Darfur as well as monitoring the general election in Aceh. With its modalities, the EU could maintain its role in maintaining political and security issues.

In this regard we should consider the revival of the EU power to influence the development of other regions which will cover issues among other are economic and trade as well as political and economic issues, principally for the developing countries.

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