EU ministers set out cooperation priorities with eastern partners over justice and security
Particular attention should be paid to those Eastern Partnership countries that are willing to move closer to the EU in the Justice, Freedom and Security area, “which should also be reflected in the distribution of financial support”, EU ministers meeting in the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels have concluded.
The Council Conclusions underlined the importance of continuing and intensifying wide-ranging structured cooperation over migration, stressing in particular that the Visa Code and Visa Facilitation Agreements with the Eastern Partnership countries allowed the EU and its Member States “to enhance mobility and people-to-people contacts.”
The Council stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation within the Eastern Partnership aimed at strengthening security, adding that in this area special attention should be given to the fight against organized crime, trafficking of narcotic drugs, cybercrime and trafficking in human beings.
The Council emphasised that in the area of justice, principles of the rule of law, including respect for fundamental rights and an independent, impartial and effective judiciary, were» instrumental for the success of the Eastern Partnership countries’ democratic reforms and their progress towards closer association with the European Union.”(ENPI Info Centre)
We expect increase in EU’ s financial assistance to Armenia, EU Delegation representative states
13 December 2011
Representative of the EU Delegation to Armenia Jean-Christophe Gayrand stated that “we expect not decrease but increase in the EU’s financial assistance”.
He stated this answering Mediamax’s question during the event devoted to the review of “Business Advisory Services Program” of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The main goal of BAS program implemented in Armenia since 2003 is to render large-scale consulting assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises.
National BAS Program Director in Armenia Tigran Aghabekyan noted that one of EU demands was to give priority to the country’s regions. In June 2011, 70 different projects were launched within the program-27% of them were implemented in villages, 53%- in the towns of marzes and only 20% of them were implemented in Yerevan. According to Tigran Aghabekyan, it will help disrupt the current balance between the capital and Armenian regions.
Besides, he recalled that within the implementation of the program, special attention is attached to the female entrepreneurs and young businessmen.
“At the level of enterprises, we strive to do our best to enhance their competitiveness”, stated Tigran Aghabekyan adding that 89% of companies which get their consulting services have a personnel of less than 50 employees.
Answering Mediamax’s question, Tigran Aghabekyan stated that 130 consultants are involved in the works and 32 of them are foreign specialists.
As of now, already 842 BAS projects are realized in Armenia within which the volume of investments attracted by donors makes about EUR 5.3mln.
More wood supply and less demand to preserve Armenian forests, says latest ENPI FLEG study
Demand for wood exceeds by far official supply, according to a new study conducted in Armenia, titled “Understanding the Forestry Sector of Armenia: Current Conditions and Choices”, published with the support of the EU-funded forestry programme ENPI FLEG. In order to confront the existing challenges and ensuing threats, the study suggests various ways to increase wood supply.
The study, conducted by international consultants and commissioned by the World Bank Yerevan Office, combines the technical aspects with socio-economic analysis by drawing on market, socio-economic, policy and political economy assessments.
Socio-economic indicators strongly suggest that consumption of wood extracted from accessible forest areas is higher than the forest growth rate in those areas. This leads to widespread degradation and accompanying environmental problems which will get worse over time, and ultimately lead to the gradual loss of Armenia’s forest stock.
In 2010, the officially recorded supply of fuel wood was approximately 75,000 m3, while the forest adjacent community household consumption was estimated at 457,000 m3, with over 120,000 m3 of fuel wood used by the restaurant industry. In addition, there was an unknown demand for timber for industrial purposes. The significant supply and demand gap implies that illegal or informal production, sale, and consumption of forest products continues.
To confront these twin threats, the study suggests increasing supply and reducing demand. To achieve this goal, three ways are outlined, including improved forest management, reforestation and afforestation, and increased imports. The promotion of affordable alternative fuels and home energy efficiency is listed as one of the means to curb demand.
The results of the study will be presented to stakeholders by the end of this year.
The €6 million ENPI Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) programme supports governments, civil society and the private sector in the development of sound and sustainable forest management practices, including the prevention of illegal forestry activities. (ENPI Info Centre)