Weekly News Review

17th October, 2002

WWF report in Angola highlights controversial EU fishing agreements with developing countries

A briefing paper released last week by WWF underscore the controversy behind the European Union's policy to buy fishing rights from developing countries such as Angola.  According to the conservation organization, this allows the EU's heavily subsidised fleets to operate in, and profit from, other countries' waters, as they have already fished out Europe's own stocks. Angola is starving but the EU - while providing emergency aid - has recently signed an agreement to take fish from Angolan waters to feed European markets.

The EU currently has fishing agreements with 14 other countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean. WWF's study on the Angolan situation underlines the many problems linked to these agreements.

These problems include the depletion of fish stocks, on which many African coastal communities are dependent as an important source of food; the lack of limits on the amount of fish that can be caught; the weak enforcement of catch limits and other rules; doubts on the fairness of the price paid by the EU for the fish it takes; and the inconsistency between the EU Fisheries Policy and EU Development Policy.

"With a fishing industry in ruins, Angola is a particularly serious case study," said Joanna Benn, Producer at WWF International's TV Centre, which produced a television documentary highlighting the report and the problems it revealed. "The country certainly needs the currency provided by the EU for fishing rights, but it is unknown whether Angolan waters can sustain the fishing agreement signed with the EU. If people in Europe had a better understanding of the source of the fish they buy, they might be more selective when choosing their seafood."

The EU has earmarked up to 35 per cent of the 15.5 million Euros being paid to Angola for fishing rights for developing small-scale fisheries and other fisheries projects. However, according to WWF, it is not clear where that money will go.

The conservation organization also stresses that there are no catch limits in the EU fishing agreement with Angola, except for shrimp.

"The European Union’s primary concern should be the sustainability of fish stocks and to help African nations use their fish resources in a way that secures their supply of food and livelihood, so that both Angola and the EU benefit from the agreement," said Julie Cator, WWF’s European Fisheries Coordinator. "Imagine being able to pay to enter a supermarket and then loading up your trolley with almost anything you wanted. That’s what the EU has negotiated with famine-hit Angola."

Later this year, the European Commission will produce detailed proposals for improving fisheries arrangements with other countries than Angola.

Fortress of Excellence

Within the next six month the UK will make available to other EU states a "Mobile Detection Unit" using "cutting-edge technology" to combat "clandestine immigration" which has "security implications regarding potential terrorist threats". The Unit, a so-called "centre of excellence

in the field of search and detection technology", will be based at Dover and is being designed to move quickly to the "vulnerable points" where there is a "threat to the integrity of the external EU frontier". See here

Secrecy and openness in the EU

The virtual network freedominfo.org, run by staff of the George Washington University's National Security Archive, has recently put online an in-depth study on secrecy and openness in the EU. Written by Statewatch editor Tony Bunyan, the eight Chapter online "book" has many links to original documents. It covers the struggle for access to documents and openness from 1993 onwards including the battle over the new Regulation. A Summary of the case study, with links to the full report, is available here

Something you'd you like to say to Giscard d'Estaing?

In connection with the work of the European Convention, its president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, invites you to take part in an Internet chat on Monday 28 October 2002 from 18.30 to 20.00 CET (one hour in front of UK and Ireland). Go to here

Anti-war actions in Scotland

Peace activists have set up a peace camp in George Square, Glasgow, in preparation for what is expected to be the biggest peace demonstration held in Scotland in recent years on this coming Saturday, 19th October.

Since last Saturday lunchtime activists have been occupying a caravan in George Square decorated with anti-war slogans and publicising the demonstration. They are staffing the caravan 24 hours a day for the week in the run-up to the ‘Don’t Attack Iraq’ demonstration organised by the Scottish Coalition for Justice Not War. The 24/7 peace vigil has the full backing of Glasgow City Council.

The event will start with feeder marches coming from the four corners of Glasgow to George Square meeting at 11.30 for a march around the city centre followed by a rally in George Square from 1pm to 4.00pm.

The Press Conference will start at the Peace Vigil at 10am. Speakers will include: Lloyd Quinan MSP, Elaine Smith MSP; Tommy Sheridan MSP; Kathy Galloway (Iona Community); Brian Quail (CND); Aamer Anwar; Osama Saaed (Muslim Association of Britain); Wael Shawish (Palestinian Rights Campaign/ Palestian Solidarity Campaign); Sue Brush (recently returned from taking medical supplies to Iraq)

More details SCND (0044) 141 423 1222


Iraq In Focus

US information service Foreign Policy In Focus is working with a coalition of organizations to try to stop a war against Iraq. Check out their special web page for articles, fact sheets, speakers, films, and events around the country. here

Environmental Impacts of War

"As politicians debate the consequences and merits of going to war against Iraq, researchers and defense experts contemplate the environmental repercussions of military action. The weapons used by either side in the proposed war on Iraq would undoubtedly cause damage to local environments. Arms experts point to the ignition of oil wells and deployment of weapons containing depleted uranium as two prominent environmental dangers. Chemical and biological weapons also pose environmental threats." Read all about it here

EU no longer to confer free-trade benefits to settlement products

The EU has finally recognised that the products of the illegal settlements are not products 'made in Israel' - and acted accordingly. To read more, and catch up on Israeli peace group Gush Shalom's boycott of settlement go here