Europe District Forward Engineer Support Team Deploys To Jordan

View From Europe: Peugeot in a Pinch

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Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Guida of the 249th Engineer Battalion at Fort Belvoir, Va., linked up with Europe District’s FEST-A in July as a power generation and electrical distribution specialist. He’ll perform electrical and communication infrastructure assessments and inspections throughout the deployment. The training-and-buildup cycle gave unit members the insight and knowledge on equipment use and adequately prepared them for this tasking, he said. “It was beneficial and important for the team,” added Guida, who served in Afghanistan three years ago and has deployed several times across the U.S. for disaster relief. “We came together from all corners of the world to join up. We’ve only known each other for a very short time, but we quickly became a cohesive unit. And we’re ready for the mission.” A volunteer from USACE headquarters said he had to scramble a bit to join the team but welcomed the opportunity to make his first deployment with the corps. Matthew Parks, a senior planner for the Strategy and Integration Office in Washington, heard about the job July 11 and quickly came to Germany for the FEST-A’s training session. When that ended, he returned to the U.S. for three weeks but made it back to Europe a few days before the unit left.

When the ACP-EU development co-operation system was crystallised in the Lome Agreement in 1975, it was widely greeted as symbol of hope in a divided world. At a time of upheaval and growing resource nationalism in OPEC and other developing nations, Lome was seen as a model of North-South co-operation based on dialogue rather than confrontation. The Cotonou Partnership Agreement is the successor to the Lome Conventions which were operational from 1975 until 2000. Cotonou was signed in 2000 for a period of 20 years and entered into force in April 2003, after the normal ratification process. The Agreement has undergone two major revisions, first, in 2005 and second in 2010, to take account of new developments impacting on the partnership. Cotonou has been acclaimed as a huge step forward in North-South relations, providing the framework for relations between the EU and the biggest development grouping in the world. It sets out an innovative agenda in terms of political dialogue, nonstate actors participation, trade and development. The Agreement provides a timetable for a radical reform of trade relations between the EU and the ACP States, marking a departure from the old non-reciprocal trade preferences that had existed in the past. Sadly, the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) have not made as much progress as everyone involved would have loved to see. The Cotonou Partnership Agreement is financially supported by resources from the European Development Fund (EDF), which are jointly determined by the two parties on a five- to six-year basis. EU financial assistance under the 9th EDF amounted 13.5 billion in grants (plus 1.7bn Euro in the form of loans by the European Investment Bank made from its own resources) covering the period 2000 2007. Total resources made available under the 10th EDF to cover the six-year period 2008 2013 amount to 22.682 billion, of which 80.9 percent is committed to national and regional co-operation, 12.3 percent for Intra-ACP cooperation, and 6.8 percent for the investment facility managed by the EIB. During the recent 38th session of the ACP-EU Joint Council, agreement was reached on a resource envelope of 29.089 billion, of which 24.

Europe and the ACP group of nations


One of the options is for Dongfeng to take a direct stake in Peugeot, another is a joint venture with the Chinese company to focus on emerging markets. The French company is playing a risky game: General Motors, its second-biggest shareholder after the founding family with a 7 percent stake, has an option to abandon its commitments to Peugeot if another partner takes a 10 percent stake in the company. Peugeot is in a fix. Its European sales are falling and the alliance with GM is expected to help recapture some of the lost market share at home. On the other hand, international expansion spearheaded by budget models has worked well as a strategy for arch-rival Renault, and a deal with Dongfeng would help PSA move in that direction. A separate joint venture with the Chinese carmaker might be the best option for the French company, giving it the cash necessary for an emerging markets push while not jeopardizing the tie-up with GM. Italian court fines Berlusconi company $660 million Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s family company, Fininvest, is to pay $660 million in damages to media company CIR for wrongfully gaining control of publishing house Mondadori in 1991. To wrest control of Mondadori from CIR founder Carlo De Benedetti, Fininvest bribed a judge. The ruling, ending a 22-year-long court battle, comes as Berlusconi awaits the outcome of a Senate committee vote that may oust him from the Italian Senate because of a recent tax fraud conviction. Italian courts seem determined to crush Il Cavaliere, weakening his political position as he threatens to break up the governing coalition and bring down Enrico Letta’s government. The continuing instability is driving up Italian bond yields and slowing down the country’s economic recovery. Meanwhile, it is getting difficult to see how Berlusconi can hope for a final victory in the face of so many defeats. Italy will probably be better off when he is finally driven from the political arena. Inditex beats expectations with earnings increase Inditex, the company that made Amancio Ortega the richest man in Europe, reported better-than-expected results for the first half of 2013, increasing net income by 1 percent to $1.3 billion. The company, which owns such brands as Zara, Bershka, Massimo Dutti and Pull&Bear, appeared to be immune to each and every kind of global economic malaise, opening 95 new stores in 40 countries and creating 10,111 new jobs.