INTERNATIONAL FORUM FOR AGRICULTURE, BRUSSELS

Forum calls on farmers, industry and NGOs to rebuild trust and recognize their common objectives for sustainable agriculture

Today, the 8th annual Forum for the Future of Agriculture called on all sides to recognise the need for change and a long-lasting partnership for the global development of sustainable agriculture. We must take into account global challenges, including achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture, but also reversing climate change and using our limited resources wisely. In a time of economic crisis and following the recent CAP negotiations, there is an urgent need to find new ways to improve both farm productivity and the protection of the ecosystem and biodiversity. Speakers and delegates at the Forum recognised that the trust between proponents of farm productivity and environmental protection has been weakened, but that the innovative solutions, practices and knowledge necessary for sustainable agriculture could only be delivered by working together. According to FFA imageChairman Janez Potočnik, this is vital for realisation of the vision of the circular economy and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals both in Europe and globally. The Forum therefore called on farmers and the agri-business industry to step up their efforts to provide healthy and abundant food while reducing pressures on natural resources and our climate. Farm practices should be further adapted to benefit the environment and to improve resilience, particularly for soil conservation, water quality and biodiversity. Farmers should be recognized and rewarded for their efforts but such changes are essential to maintain and build public support for Europe’s farming systems. Input providers, including pesticide producers, were specifically asked by the Forum to be more transparent with their data, if they are to convince others of the safety of the products for both people and the environment. But the Forum also made clear that all stakeholders, including environmental NGO’s, must recognize that both, the economic viability of farmers and well-functioning ecosystems, are essential parts of sustainable land management. Amongst the 1.500 speakers and delegates attending this year’s Forum, there was an agreement that by taking these steps bridges can be built between farming and the environment. Such common ground would enable practical solutions, both on the field and in policies, to emerge that support the common goal of sustainable agriculture in Europe.

New President, FFA

New President, FFA

Appearing for the first time as the new FFA Chairman, Janez Potočnik, former European Commissioner for the Environment and Chairman of the RISE Foundation, said: “In Europe we produce about 90 million tons of food waste per year, and a significant part could be easily avoided. We must work towards resource-efficient production techniques, sustainable food choices and reduced food waste in a combined effort with farmers, the food industry, retailers and consumers.” Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, commented: “Innovation is the key to sustainable food security. Through innovation, we can improve resource-efficiency, adapt to climate change, improve food safety, diversity and quality while maintaining the competitiveness of the agri-food sector and creating more and better jobs in rural areas.” Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “Realistic goals and smart legislation regarding the circular economy can help mitigate our resource deficit, strengthen our competitiveness, and at the same time improve our development sustainability.” Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, United Nations, added: “In the new Sustainable Development Goals, sustainable agriculture and food systems are critical for the overarching goal of ending extreme poverty in its different dimensions, everywhere, through sustainable rural development and rural prosperity.” Thierry de l’Escaille, Secretary-General of the European Landowners’ Organization, commented: “Innovation is crucial. As farmers and land managers, we need better access and understanding of innovative tools, new practices and new thinking if we are to achieve resilience in Europe’s agriculture. The best way to achieve this will be if all actors of food value chain, including NGO’s, food processors and industry, usher in a new period of open and trustful relationships.” Jon Parr, Chief Operating Officer at Syngenta, said: “Making agriculture more sustainable demands different thinking and new ways of working from all of us. This is what Syngenta’s Good Growth Plan is about and why we’ve embedded it in our strategy. But we also need other stakeholders to change their mindset and approach so we can work together to equip growers with the modern farm practices and innovative technologies they need to be economically, as well as environmentally, sustainable.”

imageNotes to editors The Forum’s 8th edition was chaired by former European Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Franz Fischler and former European Environment Commissioner and Chairman of the RISE Foundation Janez Potočnik. It featured a range of high-level speakers, including Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission, Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission, Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, United Nations, Arun Gandhi, Agent of Change & Author, Total Nonviolence, Anne Krueger, Senior Research Professor, Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, Jon Parr, Chief Operating Officer, Syngenta, Frederic Seppey, Chief Agriculture Negotiator and Director General, Agriculture and Agri-Food, Canada, Pavan Sukhdev, Founder-CEO, GIST Advisory, Jeremy Rifkin, Founder and President, The Foundation on Economic Trends, Ren Wang, Assistant Director General of Agriculture & Consumer Protection Department, FAO and Martin Stuchtey, Director, McKinsey Center for Business and Environment. Over 1,500 participants were present at the Forum, which remains open to all stakeholders and free to attend, making it a unique feature and highlight of Europe’s agriculture and environment conference calendar. About the Forum for the Future of Agriculture The annual Forum is an initiative of the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO) and Syngenta. It brings together a diverse range of stakeholders to catalyze thinking on the way European agriculture needs to respond to the major challenges that it faces in delivering food and environmental security. The Forum was created in 2008 in response to a belief that many EU policies impacting agriculture are focused on solving yesterday’s problems, such as overproduction, and do not deal with new challenges and market opportunities. Challenges include feeding a growing world population, demand for a higher quality diet, increased demand for renewable sources of energy and changing weather patterns. With limited arable land available, there is a need to sustainably maximize production from that already under cultivation. www.forumforagriculture.com About the European Landowners’ Organization The European Landowners’ Organization, created in 1972, is a unique federation of national associations from the 28 EU Member States and beyond which represents the interests of landowners, land managers and rural entrepreneurs at the European level. Independent and non-profit, the ELO is the only organization able to stand for all rural entrepreneurs. The ELO promotes a prosperous countryside through the dynamism of private ownership and its vision of a sustainable and prosperous countryside. Its Secretariat is based in Brussels. www.elo.org About Syngenta Syngenta is one of the world’s leading companies with more than 28,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to our purpose: Bringing plant potential to life. Through world-class science, global reach and commitment to our customers we help to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and improve health and quality of life. www.syngenta.com

About the RISE Foundation The Rural Investment Support for Europe (RISE) Foundation is an independent pan- European foundation devoted to the conservation and development of the European rural world. Chaired by Janez Potočnik, it deals with policy analysis and project financing. www.risefoundation.eu

World Farmers Organisation: Blueberries most dynamic commodity

With a global growth of 9%, blueberries doubled the increase recorded in 2012 and tripled that of the fruit industry in general.
In 2013 the top five markets that led the growth of this commodity were Australia, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Venezuela. The United States, the largest market in the world for blueberries, remained stable due to saturation and only Italy reduced its market quota, though marginally.

 

European Court Experts, Advisory Board

European Court Experts, Advisory Board

The price has been the biggest obstacle to the growth of the demand for blueberries. However, due to the constant increase in supply in recent years, it is expected that prices will slowly decrease.

Euromonitor estimates that the volume of blueberries are expected to increase by 40 % by 2018, reaching over one million tons. The markets where there should be substantial increases in the levels of consumption in the coming years are Singapore, Philippines, Norway, Sweden and Malaysia.

In Europe, sales volumes remain low, although countries like Spain, France and Italy are among the largest producers in the world. In Latin America, Brazil is an underdeveloped market for bluberries due to the large number of other fruits that are produced and marketed in the country.

World Economic Forum: Realising the potential of Latin America

European Court Experts presents News from the European Economic Forum

European Court Experts presents News from the World Economic Forum

In the run-up to the World Economic Forum on Latin America 2014, President Ricardo Martinelli outlines Panama’s progress and invites you to participate in the discussions that will help to shape its future

It has been a privileged experience to lead this country and help chart its path of economic and social transformation over the course of the past five years. Based on a clear vision of the imperative of development and through an aggressive $20 billion investment plan focused on the areas where the country has its greatest potential, Panama has become the country with the highest economic growth in the region and presently rivals that of any other country in the world. Despite a troubled international economic environment, the rate of growth of its GDP has reached double digits for 2011 and 2012.

We can also now proudly say that Panama’s economy has become the second most competitive in Latin America, after that of Chile. We have, from the beginning, clearly appreciated that this progress must be based upon a joint effort between the local public and private sectors – securely grounded in free-market principles combined with a strong sense of social responsibility.

imageIn addition, Panama has come to stand out as one of the best places to establish business operations for multinational companies. Foreign direct investment has tripled – to $4.6 billion since 2009 – and the investment grade rating of its bonds has been maintained. As a result, Panama has achieved truly global commercial projection and is now one of the most outstanding centres of banking and other financial services in the world. And the number of tourists visiting our beautiful country is now more than 2.2 million annually.

What gives this impressive growth real meaning, however, is that it has come hand in hand with social progress. The past five years of strong economic performance has reduced the unemployment rate from 6.6% to 4.1%, inflation has been controlled, and the number of people afflicted by poverty has steadily fallen. Robust infrastructure investments in healthcare, public transportation and education have resulted in billions of dollars for new hospitals, a vastly improved and expanded transportation system, schools and other social services. Central America’s first subway system will be inaugurated in Panama City next month. Also, we are expecting that once its expansion is completed, Panama and Tocumen International Airport, which we call the “Hub of the Americas”, will become Latin America´s foremost point of connectivity.

For me, it is an honour to host the 2014 World Economic Forum on Latin America in Panama City. The Forum is a particularly prestigious organization that brings together the most important figures from government, the business community, academia and other key elements of civil society.

European Court Experts, International Relations

European Court Experts, International Relations

Panama has a wonderful story of accomplishment to tell. But even more importantly, the country now possesses the energy, dynamism and confidence to continue its trajectory in the coming years and decades – thereby contributing significantly to a hopeful regional future. The forthcoming event presents a unique opportunity for Latin America to double its efforts to achieve the bright future its peoples deserve. And we are confident that its deliberations will greatly contribute to that common objective.

Under the theme of Opening Pathways for Shared Progress, we invite you to accompany us in offering perspectives on, and thoroughly discussing, the opportunities and challenges outlined in the agenda: Driving Economic Dynamism, Innovation for Social Inclusion, and the Modernizing of Infrastructure. We Panamanians will make certain that our greatest infrastructure project – the Panama Canal and its ongoing expansion – figures prominently within that agenda, especially since this year we celebrate its 100th anniversary.

I deeply believe in the unique beauty, opportunities and potential of Panama – and Latin America as a whole. And I am most pleased to invite you all to become active participants in deliberations that will, hopefully, serve to guide the next stage of our region’s development.

Wall Street News

Market Flash: Market Up
From The Trading Floor: Stocks are trading well into the green this morning, poised for a weekly gain ahead of some select index rebalancing and a quad witch expiration that is expected to be large

Wall Street Impressions presented by European Court Experts

Wall Street Impressions presented by European Court Experts

Fitch has raised the U.S.’s outlook to „stable“ while affirming the country’s AAA rating, citing the suspension of the debt limit last month and strong fiscal consolidation as reasons for the move.
29 of 30 Banks passed the most recent stress tests with Zions Bancorp falling a bit short
Nike’s FQ3 earnings beat consensus as the company enjoyed rising sales in China and Western Europe, while it also said orders have soared ahead of this summer’s soccer World Cup. Guidance has them trading down this morning.
The cost of implementing the Volcker Rule could vary from $413M to $4.3B for banks supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an OCC study calculates, as the regulations force banks to sell restricted investments at a loss.
Today is a quad witch expiration day which is the simultaneous expiration of futures on stock indexes and individual stocks, and stock and stock index options. It is also a quarterly rebalance on some S&P and Nasdaq indexes
Russia’s Micex stock index was down this morning after the U.S. threatened sanctions against vital parts of the country’s economy, including the financial-services, energy and mining sectors. The U.S. also imposed asset freezes and visa bans on senior Russian officials and businessmen close to Vladimir Putin.
Italian industrial orders jumped 4.8% on month in January after sinking 4.8% in December, while industrial sales rose 1.2% vs -0.3%. The figures add to better-than-expected output in January and suggest that Italy’s fragile recovery may be taking hold.
Resistance today looks to be 1880 / 1883 with support at 1867 / 1870
Market Flash:Market Mixed / Positive
From The Trading Floor: Equities are trading mixed to positive this morning as the effects of Janet Yellen’s suggestion of a sooner-than-expected rate hike the prior session is measured against economic reports on employment and housing.

imageThe number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits last week increased by 5000 to 320,000
The Fed is due to release the results of its annual stress test on 30 banks today, with most expected to pass
Americans were most pessimistic on the outlook for the economy in March than at any time in the past 4 months
February home sales in the U.S. fell to a 4.60 million rate
The Index of Leading Indicators rose 0.5% in February, a sign the world’s largest economy will strengthen after the weather induced slowdown
Q2 Holdings priced 7.7 million shares at $13.00. The opening print was $16.25 on 1,584,231 shares.
Ukraine plans to pull its troops out of Crimea in what is effectively a de facto acceptance of Russia’s annexation of the province.
The State Council intends to accelerate construction projects and enact other measures to expand domestic demand and stabilize growth. The plan comes amid data which suggests that the economy is softening.
From a technical standpoint, resistance looks to be 1866 / 1869 with support at 1856 / 1859
Market Flash: Market Mixed
From The Trading Floor: Markets are trading in mixed territory this morning as traders are unwilling to make bets ahead of the FOMC rate decision and Janet Yellen’s first press conference at 2:00 today.

Mortgage Applications for the week ending March 14th fell -1.2%
Current account gap fell to $81.1 billion from 96.4 billion
The FOMC rate decision is at 2:00 today. With the Fed expected to taper some more and abandon its 6.5% unemployment threshold for considering rate hikes, punters are focusing on what would push the Fed to finally raise rates.
Japan’s trade deficit narrowed to ¥800.3B ($7.9B) in February from a record ¥2.79T in January but exceeded consensus of ¥590B. Import growth slowed to 9% from 25% while exports rose 9.9%. Japan has now experienced a record 20 consecutive trade deficits, and while the figure may have peaked, few economists expect the country to turn a surplus any time soon.
From a technical perspective, resistance is at the 1877 / 1880 level with support at 1863 / 1866

European Commission: Satellite applications for emergency handling, traffic alerts, road safety and incident prevention

With supporting infrastructure and applications in place, SafeTRIP technology could allow automatic payment of road-user charges (such as road tolls or congestion charges) across Europe or give passengers the ability to look for hotels or restaurants and book them while on the move.

Getting from A to B on European roads could become an easier, safer and more entertaining experience thanks to a new mobile technology platform for vehicles demonstrated by the SafeTRIP project.
Satellite navigation is now a commonplace technology in road vehicles. But the main advantages of satellites – their ability to provide a uniform, reliable and quickly updated service across large geographical areas – provide opportunities for many other services.
imageThe SafeTRIP project demonstrated the possibilities for commercial services based around the S-band communication channel available via the Eutelsat 10A satellite. This channel is optimised for broadcast multimedia content delivery and two-way data communication via small mobile units that are ideal for vehicle applications.
“However, to realise these opportunities requires the demonstration of the concept and the development of a standardised platform, and that is essentially what SafeTRIP has achieved,” says Guy Frémont, coordinator of the project and Director of New Technologies for French autoroute operator Sanef. “We have defined the architecture of the system and also worked through the standardisation issues required to implement the technology.”
This business model – to develop an open standardised architecture for low-cost terminals – is the same as that used for other successful mobile devices, such as satellite navigation and GSM technologies. And the model allows third-party software developers to produce applications for download, initiating a new and valuable market for ‘apps’.
Opportunities for ‘apps’
The technology would also be of interest to insurance companies – for pay-as-you-drive cover or stolen-vehicle tracking – vehicle fleet managers and car manufacturers, allowing for software updates and remote-vehicle diagnostics to be implemented.
Safety applications are an important feature via an automatic emergency alert system that connects with roadside assistance services or a local garage in the event of an accident or breakdown. The technology is interoperable with the new European Commission eCall service but would offer enhanced features.

European Court Experts, European Commission, Mobile Broadband

European Court Experts, European Commission, Mobile Broadband

One unique feature is the ability to include video within an emergency call. “This would allow a roadside assistance company to be able to respond to an emergency call immediately and assess the urgency of the situation,” explains Frémont. The system could be used to provide breakdown assistance or advice remotely.
The same concept is useful for road traffic-management authorities. The ‘patrol with eyes’ concept enables data to be collected and transmitted from a variety of sensors on a patrol vehicle to a central control room to help traffic management or other tasks.
“The data might include the road condition, the state of its surface, or information on congestion,” says Frémont. “Or the patrol could help manage incidents, giving the control centre a real time view of the situation.”
Traffic management can also benefit from collected data flows, such as traffic volume, weather conditions or pollution indexes. Information on road conditions could be instantly broadcast to vehicles via a short message service or satellite navigation maps updated ‘on the fly’ to reflect road conditions or temporary road closures.
Mobile broadcasting
Other opportunities lie in the ‘broadcast’ capabilities of the satellite technology. “Passenger entertainment or ‘infotainment’ applications are of major interest. Future services could include live TV and digital radio or video on demand,” says Frémont.
imageThe DVB-SH standard available via the S-band on Eutelsat is optimised for mobile conditions – even at high vehicle speed – and would allow passengers to access programmes via their portable smartphone or tablet computer, for example. Or the output of the SafeTRIP box could be integrated into the vehicle’s audio-visual entertainment system. Such a system was demonstrated in both private cars and a Eurolines coach during the project.
In fact, during the project all aspects were successfully demonstrated on a variety of vehicles and across Europe. Feedback was very positive and the next step is commercial exploitation.
The project involved testing the concept using a PC platform. The next stage is to reduce the size of the on-board unit and look at cost reduction. There will also be a need to involve vehicle manufacturers and other players in the value chain. Five industrial partners involved with the SafeTRIP project are working on industrialisation and commercialisation plans.
“This will need significant further investment to become a commercial product,” concludes Frémont. “But in a few years it is possible that SafeTRIP units will be on the market.”
Safe TRIP was one of the EU projects winning the contest „Les Étoiles de l’Europe“ organised by the French Ministry of Innovation and Research on December 16, 2013.
The prize, at its first edition, awarded the 12 best French researchers and coordinators that excelled in the leading of innovative European projects in all domains.

Trade Defence Instruments

EUROPEAN COMMISSION WELCOMES EUROEPAN UNION INDUSTRY’S AGREEMENT WITH CHINA IN THE POLYSILICON ANTI-DUMPING AND ANTI-SUBSIDY CASES

Karel de Gucht, Commissioner for Trade. European Commission

Karel de Gucht, Commissioner for Trade. European Commission

After China initiated anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on European imports of polysilicon to China in November 2012, the German polysilicon producer Wacker Chemie AG and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) have today announced that an agreement has been found to settle the proceedings through a price undertaking.

European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht stated: ‘I am very satisfied that China will not impose trade defence measures on European polysilicon exports. With this agreement, our industry will be able to pursue its operations in China where there is a substantial demand for high quality polysilicon. The European Commission and the German Government have worked hand in hand over the last couple of months to strongly support Wacker Chemie AG in its negotiation for an economically viable minimum import price. I am confident the removal of this trade irritant will strengthen the EU – China bilateral relationship.’

Background

The agreement reached between Wacker Chemie AG and MOFCOM consists of a price undertaking, a solution foreseen by applicable WTO rules. The agreement involves that European exports of polysilicon are not sold below a specific minimum price in China, whereas China agreed to refrain from imposing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on the imports.

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European Union, China. Trade Defense Instruments

China initiated the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy proceedings on imports of polysilicon from the European Union in November 2012. Polysilicon is a major input for the production of solar panels. The German producer Wacker Chemie AG accounts for practically all polysilicon exports from the EU to China which had a value of around € 700 million in 2011.

In January, China released its preliminary findings in this case claiming that EU polysilicon exports were exported at a lower price than sold in Europe, a practice called dumping, and subsidized, and that these exports caused injury to the Chinese polysilicon producers. The European Commission has consistently defended the view that the case made by the Chinese authorities was unfounded and that the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy margins provisionally determined by Chinese investigators were inflated.

The European Commission and Chinese solar panel producers reached a similar agreement in August 2013 in the context of EU’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy proceedings on Chinese solar panels. The European Commission and the German Government fully coordinated their approach vis-à-vis China with the objective to find a similar solution for polysilicon. They advised Wacker Chemie AG inter alia on technical issues and were in constant contact with the Chinese authorities in order to ensure that Wacker’s arguments were duly taken into account.

Business and Lifestyle: Arab Emirates

imageThe capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a modern miracle on the shore of the Arabian Sea. Considered Dubai’s less-brash sister city, Abu Dhabi now has its own skyline of starchitect-designed bridges and buildings, as well as a growing cluster of international museums and high-rise apartment blocks rising from the desert, making it an increasingly attractive place to live for both expats and Emiratis.
Related article: Living in Dubai
What is it known for?
Located just 130km south from splashy Dubai, coastal Abu Dhabi has traditionally been known as the staid seat of the federal government, home to the ruling Abu Dhabi Emiri Family. The emirate owns 95% of the UAE’s oil production and 90% of the population is made up of expats.

European Court Experts, Real Estate, International Relationship

European Court Experts, Real Estate, International Relations

image

European Court Experts. International Relations, Diplomacy

“Abu Dhabi provides a wealth of opportunity and allows people to live tax free,” said Lizzie Johnstone, a Brit who has lived with her family in Abu Dhabi for five years. “The expat and local community are

 

welcoming, the  schools are good and at the weekend you can go to the beach.”

Abu Dhabi is the largest of the UAE’s seven constituent emirates, and the city centre is on Abu Dhabi island, connected to the mainland by three bridges and surrounded by a number of smaller islands, many of which are being developed by luxury resorts, shopping malls and real estate companies. Over the last decade the city has concentrated on developing its tourism, education, financial and cultural sectors to diversify its economy, which until recently relied almost exclusively on oil production. On Saadiyat Island (less than a kilometre off the shore of Abu Dhabi’s city centre), alongside luxury developments and golf courses, architect Jean Nouvel’s floating Louvre Abu Dhabi will open in December 2015, part of a cultural district that will also include the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (designed by Frank Gehry, due to open 2016) and the Zayed National Museum (designed by Foster + Partners, possibly opening 2017). A second campus for New York University Abu Dhabi is being planned for the island’s Marina district. Suburbs like the futuristic Masdar City are also part of the emirate’s master plan.
While the snazzy luxury resorts bring a bit of Dubai-like glitz, the city is also making efforts to preserve its natural resources, such as mangroves and turtle nesting spots along the turquoise waters. “If you are prepared to work hard, embrace the desert and respect the culture, you will have a very nice life,” Johnstone said.
Where do you want to live?
The Corniche on Abu Dhabi island stretches along the waterfront and is home to many mixed-use developments, hotels and malls, making it a very desirable place to live. Also sought-after are the modern luxury developments found on other islands such as Al Reem, or on the mainland in suburbs such as Khalifa City along the Abu Dhabi-Dubai Road. “People are spread out all over, but it will never take you more than half an hour ­– traffic permitting – to get anywhere,” Johnstone said.

European Court Experts, Agriculture, Blueberries, Horses, Tourism

European Court Experts presents: Arabian horses

Saadiyat Island is currently being developed with villas and high-end apartment blocks, and will be home to about 160,000 residents. Another popular island located close to the city centre, Al Reem, has experienced a few setbacks. “The master planning on Al Reem didn’t quite take off, so some of the projects have stalled,” said William Neill, director and head of Cluttons Abu Dhabi real estate and property consultant agency. Al Raha Beach, an area of Khalifa City, has a range of medium to high-end apartments, plus access to private beaches. North of the Abu Dhabi International Airport, along the E11 motorway to Dubai, the Al Reef development has villas that are popular with families.
Side trips
Dubai is about a 90-minute drive north, depending on traffic, and people go back and forth frequently; a passenger rail link between the two cities is in the planning stages, with the first expected service in 2018. Oman’s Musandam Peninsula is a popular weekend destination for diving and dolphin watching, and the northern emirate Fujairah is popular for trekking through the wadis (valleys) and hills. Muscat, the capital of Oman, is around 435km to the east, a four-hour drive or a short flight away.
Abu Dhabi International Airport has flights to many European and Asian destinations. Mumbai is about a three-hour flight, while the Maldives are just more than four hours away. Paris and London are each about a six or seven hour flight.

Ukraine ‚preparing withdrawal of troops from Crimea‘

Ukraine is drawing up plans to withdraw its soldiers and their families from Crimea, Kiev’s security chief says.

Andriy Parubiy said they wanted to move them „quickly and efficiently“ to mainland Ukraine.

Earlier, pro-Russian forces seized two naval bases – including Ukraine navy’s HQ – in Crimea. Kiev says its navy chief has been detained.

It comes a day after Crimean leaders signed a treaty with Moscow absorbing the peninsula into Russia.

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US President Barack Obama

A referendum in Crimea on Sunday, approving its split from Ukraine, came nearly a month after Kiev’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was replaced by Western-leaning interim authorities.

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called the crisis in Crimea „the gravest threat to European security and stability since the end of the Cold War“ There were charged exchanges in a session of the UN Security Council, during which US envoy Samantha Power said her Russian counterpart Vitaly Churkin „showed more imagination than Tolstoy or Chekhov“. There There were charged exchanges in a session of the UN Security Council, during which US envoy Samantha Power said her Russian counterpart Vitaly Churkin „showed more imagination than Tolstoy or Chekhov“.

„Russia it seems has re-written its borders but it cannot rewrite the facts,“ said Ms Power, who was then accused by Mr Churkin of dropping „to the level of the tabloid press“.

‚Demilitarised zone‘
Mr Parubiy, in a news conference, set out more details on Kiev’s position in light of the events in Crimea.

The White House, Washington

The White House, Washington

He said arrangements were now being set up to introduce visas for Russian nationals travelling to Ukraine.

And he said Kiev was seeking UN support to „proclaim Crimea a demilitarised zone“, which would involve the withdrawal of Russian troops and the „relocation of Ukrainian troops to continental Ukraine as well as facilitate evacuation of all the civilian population who are unwilling to remain on the occupied territory“.

Ukraine is also leaving the Moscow-led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) alliance, and is preparing for military exercises with the US and the UK, Mr Parubiy added.

With reference to plans to withdraw troops and their families, Ukraine’s interim Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya told the BBC that they would not be forced to leave if they did not want to.

President Vladimir Putin, Russia

President Vladimir Putin, Russia

But he said: „The situation is unpredictable and uncontrolled sometimes, so that’s why there is a danger also for the civilians“.

Meanwhile, a deadline of 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT) set by Ukraine’s interim President Olexander Turchynov for the release of navy chief Serhiy Hayduk has passed.

Shortly afterwards, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu called on the Crimean authorities to release him.

A defence ministry statement said Commander Hayduk had been obliged to carry out orders in accordance with Ukrainian military regulations.

Mr Turchynov earlier said that unless Serhiy Hayduk and „all the other hostages – both military and civilian ones – were released, the authorities would carry out an adequate response… of a technical and technological nature“.

It is not clear exactly what he means, but it could involve the electricity or water that Ukraine supplies to Crimea, the BBC’s David Stern in Kiev suggests.

Börsen News: Rohstoffe

Ölpreise gefallen

SINGAPUR (dpa-AFX) – Belastet durch einen festeren Dollar sind die Ölpreise am Freitag im asiatischen Handel erneut gefallen. Ein Barrel (159 Liter) der Nordseesorte Brent zur Lieferung im Mai kostete zuletzt 106,09 US-Dollar. Das waren 36 Cent weniger als am Vortag. Der Preis für ein Fass der amerikanischen Ölsorte WTI sank um 59 Cent auf 98,31 Dollar.

Bohrinsel in Abenddämmerung

Bohrinsel in Abenddämmerung

Der zuletzt gegenüber allen großen Währungen gestiegene US-Dollar belastet laut Händlern die Ölpreise. Das in Dollar gehandelte Rohöl wird so für Anleger aus anderen Währungsräumen teurer. Zudem wird am Markt kurzfristig nicht mit einer Verschärfung der Krim-Krise gerechnet. So hat die EU ihre Sanktionen gegen Russland nur leicht verschärft./jsl/fbr

Aral und Rewe schmieden Allianz

BOCHUM/KÖLN (dpa-AFX) – Deutschlands größte Tankstellenkette Aral und die Nummer zwei unter den Lebensmittelhändlern Rewe planen eine Allianz. In einem Testlauf soll der Lebensmittelriese künftig an zehn Aral-Tankstellen im Raum Bochum, Düsseldorf und Köln Lebensmittelsortimente anbieten.

REWE Group kooperiert mit ARAL

REWE Group kooperiert mit ARAL

Das Konzept richte sich an Kunden mit knappem Zeitbudget, die den Tankstellenbesuch auch zum schnellen Einkauf nutzen wollten, betonten die Unternehmen. Unter dem Logo ‚Rewe ToGo‘ werden die Tankstellenshops bis zu 1200 Artikel anbieten, darunter Convenience-Produkte wie Sandwiches, Salate oder geschnittenes Obst, aber auch Nudeln, Reis, Gewürze, Öl oder Zucker. Der Feldversuch soll am 3. April beginnen und ein Jahr dauern.

Vorbild für die Tankstellenshops sind die ‚Rewe ToGo‘-Läden, die der Lebensmittelhändler in den vergangenen Monaten bereits an mehreren Bahnhöfen und Einkaufsstraßen getestet hat./rea/DP/stb

Nachwachsende Gewinne, Nachwachsende Rohstoffe

Agrarrohstoffe werden teuerer. €uro zeigt, mit welchen Produkten Anleger davon profitieren
Ein Liter Milch 2,99, eine Tafel Schokolade 5,99 und das Schnitzel 8,99 Euro. Gott sei Dank ist das noch nicht die typische Supermarkt-Rechnung. Doch die steigenden Preise für landwirtschaftliche Produkte spüren die Deutschen schon jetzt in der Geldbörse.
An den aktuellen Preiserhöhungen bei Lebensmitteln sind – anders als bisher – nicht Missernten schuld, sondern grundsätzliche Verschiebungen auf dem Markt für Nahrungsmittel. „In sechs der letzten sieben Jahre ist die weltweite Getreideproduktion hinter der Nachfrage zurückgeblieben“, weiß Lester Brown, Leiter des renommierten Earth Policy Institute, das weltweite Entwicklungen in der Agrarwirtschaft erforscht.

European Court Experts entwickeln am Fröhlerhof nachhaltige Konzepte zur Energiegewinnung. Im Bild Erweiterung der Rangierflächen

European Court Experts entwickeln am Fröhlerhof nachhaltige Konzepte zur Energiegewinnung. Im Bild Erweiterung der Rangierflächen

So unangenehm höhere Preise an der Käsetheke auch sind, mit fundamentalen Marktveränderungen lässt sich auch Geld verdienen. So wie Anleger in den vergangenen drei Jahren den steigenden Benzinkosten mit einer Investition in Energie-Aktienfonds ein Schnippchen schlagen und Renditen von bis zu 115 Prozent erreichen konnten, gibt es nun auch die Möglichkeit, an den höheren Preisen für Nahrungsmittel mitzuverdienen.

Die richtigen Produkte sind aber schwer zu identifizieren. Einerseits investieren eine Vielzahl von Zertifikaten direkt in die steigenden Notierungen von Weizen, Mais oder Kaffee. Auf der anderen Seite steht der indirekte Weg über Aktien offen, die von diesen Aufschlägen profitieren sollten.
„Wachstumstreiber sind die Innovationen und Produktivitätssteigerungen, die nötig werden, um die Nachfrage zu bedienen“, glaubt Kemal Bagci, Produktspezialist des Zertifikateanbieters DWS Go. Zu den Profiteuren zählen Hersteller von Pflanzenschutzmitteln ebenso wie Agrarkonzerne oder Landmaschinenhersteller. „Die Nachfrage nach wachsenden Rohstoffen wird zunehmen“, meint auch Eckart Keil vom Spezialisten ERA. Der Fondsberater des Stabilitas Soft Commodities sucht die Ursache dafür in Asien: „Das Bevölkerungswachstum sowie die veränderten Essgewohnheiten vieler asiatischer Konsumenten sorgen dafür.“

Reichlich Appetit. Damit hat Rohstoffspezialist Keil eine entscheidende Triebfeder der gestiegenen Nachfrage identifiziert: Reichere Menschen essen mehr Fleisch. So wie die Deutschen in Zeiten des Wirtschaftswunders Wohlstandsbäuche bekamen, verändert der Wirtschaftsboom jetzt die Küche in China. Die Asiaten verbrauchen mehr Rind-, Schweine- und Hühnchenfleisch; und damit auch mehr Futtermittel.
Die Produktion von einem Kilo Rindfleisch aber verschlingt sieben bis acht Kilo Getreide. Das Earth Policy Institute erwartet für Asien einen Anstieg der Nachfrage nach Fleisch bis 2020 um 50 Prozent vom Niveau des Jahres 1997. Ein ähnlicher Trend zeichnet sich bei Milchprodukten ab. Jahrzehntelang haben Joghurt und Butter überhaupt keine Rolle auf dem asiatischen Speiseplan gespielt. Jetzt steigen die Importe nach Fernost drastisch.

European Court Experts, Energy

European Court Experts, Energy

Noch größer als Asiens Fleischhunger ist nur noch sein Energiedurst. Die Nachfrage der rasant wachsenden Volkswirtschaften Indiens und Chinas halten den Preis für Öl seit mehr als zwei Jahren über der Marke von 50 Dollar pro Barrel, derzeit notiert der Rohstoff bei 75 Dollar. Und auch dieser Trend freut die Bauern.

Denn bei diesem Preisniveau werden nachwachsende Energieträger als Ersatztreibstoff interessant. Die Regierung der USA erhofft sich vom Biosprit mehr Unabhängigkeit von den Öllieferungen aus politisch instabilen Ländern wie Saudi-Arabien, Venezuela und Nigeria und fördert vor allem den Anbau von Mais für die Ethanolproduktion. Wenn die 79 im Bau befindlichen und 200 geplanten Ethanoldestillerien fertiggestellt sind, steigt der Getreidebedarf auf 139 Millionen Tonnen jährlich. Das entspricht rund 60 Prozent der derzeitigen Jahresproduktion der USA. Wenn aber immer mehr Flächen für den Anbau nachwachsender Energie-Rohstoffe genutzt werden, verringert sich das Areal, das für die Produktion von Nahrungsmitteln zur Verfügung steht. Überdies werden in wichtigen Agrarländern wie Australien, USA und China die landwirtschaftlich genutzten Gebiete kleiner. „Die Anbauflächen in China schrumpfen, weil gerade die jungen Bauern in die Stadt gehen“, erklärt Eckart Keil. „Hinzu kommen die immensen Umweltprobleme und die fortschreitende Verwüstung großer Flächen.“

Terminprobleme. Steigende Nachfrage, Engpässe beim Angebot: Die aktuellen Preisschübe sind bei vielen Soft Commodities, also „weichen Rohstoffen“, wie Agrarprodukte an den Kapitalmärkten genannt werden, erst der Anfang. Doch bisher gibt es für Privatanleger nur wenige geeignete Produkte, um am Rohstoffboom zu partizipieren.
Direkte Investments haben den Vorteil, dass sie kaum mit anderen Assetklassen korrelieren und so einen Risikoausgleich im Depot schaffen. Aber die Masse der Rohstoffzertifikate hat bislang nur unzureichend von den steigenden Preisen profitiert. So legte der Preis für Weizen an der Chicagoer Rohstoffbörse CBOT seit Jahresbeginn zwar um rund 30 Prozent zu. Ein ABN-Zertifikat auf Weizen konnte im gleichen Zeitraum aber nur 14 Prozent gewinnen. Das Problem: Wie die meisten Rohstoffe werden auch Weizen und Co über Terminkontrakte, sogenannte Futures, gehandelt. Mit ihnen erwirbt man das Recht, eine bestimmte Warenmenge in drei, sechs, neun Monaten – die Staffelung der Laufzeiten geht bis zu mehreren Jahren – zu erhalten. Da Zertifikateanbieter die Ware natürlich nicht wirklich haben wollen, müssen sie, wenn sich der Liefertermin nähert, in einen neuen Kontrakt mit längerer Restlaufzeit wechseln.

Dieser „Rollvorgang“ kann sich für den Anleger positiv oder negativ auswirken. Wenn etwa der Preis für den neuen Future unter dem alten liegt, werden die gleiche Anzahl von Futures günstiger eingekauft, der Anleger verzeichnet Rollgewinne. Wenn umgekehrt die neuen Futures teurer sind, entstehen Rollverluste.
Diese Situation am Futuremarkt heißt Contango und tritt an den Märkten für Agrarrohstoffe weitaus häufiger auf als die sogenannte Backwardation, also der Rollgewinn: Die Rohstoffexperten von Goldman Sachs haben den Zeitraum von März 1983 bis heute untersucht. Das Ergebnis: Weizen-Futures befanden sich zu 72 Prozent in Contango; für Mais und Soja sind die Werte noch ungünstiger. Deshalb fahren viele Zertifikate bei Agrarrohstoffen regelmäßig Rollverluste ein.

Die richtigen Produkte. Das von Goldman Sachs im März aufgelegte Bonuszertifikat auf einen Rohstoffkorb aus Weizen, Zucker, Mais und Soja vermeidet dagegen jegliche Rollverluste. Denn das Papier hat eine feste Laufzeit von vier Jahren und die Gelder werden nur einmal in einen Vier-Jahres-Kontrakt investiert.
Auch die Zertifikate der UBS auf den CMCI Agriculture mildern die Gefahr von Rollverlusten, weil sie ständig in spätere Kontrakte investieren. So wird eine konstante durchschnittliche Restlaufzeit der Futures von sieben Monaten beziehungsweise einem Jahr gehalten.

Wer der Rollproblematik gänzlich entfliehen möchte, muss in Aktien anlegen. Hier bieten sich drei Produkte an. Das DWS Go Agrikultur Aktiv Zertifikat investiert in einen Aktienindex von Unternehmen, die hauptsächlich für Produktivitätssteigerungen im Agrarsektor sorgen. Beispiele sind der deutsche Düngespezialist K+S oder der amerikanische Saatgutkonzern Monsanto. Mit ständiger Überprüfung der Portfolios und einer Managementgebühr von 1,5 Prozent pro Jahr ist das Produkt fast schon ein kleiner Aktienfonds.
Die DWS, Fondsgesellschaft der Deutschen Bank, hat auch einen richtigen Aktienfonds mit dem Thema Agrikultur im Angebot. Der DWS Global Agribusiness setzt auf Produzenten von Agrarstoffen und Saatguthersteller, aber auch auf Aktien, die in angrenzenden Sektoren wie Logistik und Finanzierung beheimatet sind. Wichtig ist, dass ein relevanter Teil des Umsatzes von der Entwicklung im Agrarsektor abhängt. Der brasilianische Containerhafen Santos ist eine der größten Positionen, weil die wachsenden Rohstoffexporte Brasiliens zu Engpässen in der Logistikkette geführt haben.

Da ist der Stabilitas Soft Commodities etwas enger gefasst. Eckart Keil berät den Fonds und analysiert genau, welche Unternehmen der Wertschöpfungskette wirklich von steigenden Rohstoffpreisen profitieren. „Steigende Maispreise sind zwar gut für Unternehmen, die Mais anbauen, aber schlecht für Viehzüchter, deren Futterpreise steigen“, betont Keil.
Der Stabilitas-Fonds investiert hauptsächlich in Agrarproduzenten. Anders imageals die DWS, die eine Marktkapitalisierung von mindestens 200 Millionen Dollar für das Zertifikat und 500 Millionen Dollar für den Fonds bei ihren Zielunternehmen verlangt, hat der noch kleine Stabilitas-Fonds keine Investitionsrestriktionen. Unter den größten Positionen befinden sich exotische Titel wie das kanadische Waldunternehmen Sino-Forest und Australian Agriculture, die größte Rinderzucht Australiens.
Die geringe Auswahl an sinnvollen Produkten zeigt, dass der Trend noch jung ist. Gleichwohl haben vor allem institutionelle Investoren wie Pensionskassen und Stiftungen bereits in Weizen und Co investiert. Ein gutes Zeichen.

Dieselpreis fällt auf tiefsten Stand seit zweieinhalb Jahren

BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Die Autofahrer in Deutschland müssen für einen Liter Diesel nur noch so viel bezahlen wie im August 2011. Der Dieselpreis sei mit durchschnittlich 1,34 Euro je Liter auf den tiefsten Stand seit zweieinhalb Jahren gefallen, teilte der Mineralölwirtschaftsverband (MWV) am Freitag in Berlin mit. Das seien sechs Cent je Liter weniger als vor einem Jahr. Auch der Benzinpreis bewege sich mit ungefähr 1,47 Euro nahe an seinem Zwei-Jahres-Tief. Der deutsche Tankstellenmarkt reagiere damit auf niedrigere Ölnotierungen und gesunkene Beschaffungskosten für Benzin und Diesel. Europäern komme der starke Euro zugute, der Rohölimporte verbillige./egi/DP/stb

EU Law. Court of Justice of the European Union

European Court of Justice

European Court of Justice

The obligation imposed by Poland and Lithuania to reposition the steering-wheel of right-hand drive passenger vehicles to the left-hand side infringes EU law Such a measure goes beyond what is necessary in order to ensure road safety Member States may not prohibit, restrict or impede the registration, sale, entry into service or circulation on the road of vehicles, components or separate technical units, on grounds related to either aspects of their construction and functioning or to their steering-equipment, where those aspects satisfy the requirements of Framework Directive 2007/461 and Directive 70/3112. In Poland and Lithuania, countries which drive on the right-hand side of the road, for the purpose of registration of a motor vehicle, the steering system must be placed on the left-hand side of the vehicle or be repositioned to that side if it was previously located on the right-hand side.

Law news presented by European Court Experts

Law news presented by European Court Experts

Since it considered that that condition infringes Directives 2007/46 and 70/311 with regard to new vehicles and EU rules concerning the free movement of goods with regard to vehicles previously registered in another Member State, the Commission brought actions before the Court of Justice against those two Member States. In its judgments pronounced today, the Court of Justice holds first that, with regard to new vehicles, the aim of the harmonised framework established by those directives is the establishment and functioning of the internal market, while seeking to ensure a high level of road safety by means of the total harmonisation of technical requirements concerning, inter alia, the construction of vehicles. Although those directives do not determine the position of the driver’s seat of a vehicle, by providing, for example, that it must always be placed on the side opposite the direction of the traffic, it does not follow, according to the Court, that that element does not come within the scope of the directives. It must be considered, in that regard, that the EU legislature granted a freedom to motor vehicle manufacturers that may not be cancelled or impeded by national legislation. The Court notes next that the prohibition of the refusal to register provided for by Directive 70/311 is categorical and general, since the terms ‘steering equipment’ covers also the driver’s seat, that is to say, the position of the steering-wheel of vehicles, an integral part of the steering equipment. Since that prohibition was, in particular, inserted by the Act of Accession of Ireland and the United Kingdom to the European Communities – the only Member States at that time which drove on the left – it cannot reasonably be considered that the EU legislature was unaware of the fact that the accession of those Member States (one of which was a manufacturer of vehicles with their driver’s seat on the right-hand side) was liable, in an internal market involving the right to free movement, to have an effect on driving habits, even to involve a certain risk connected with road traffic.

European Court of Justice

European Court of Justice

1 Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 September 2007 establishing a framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles (Framework Directive) (OJ 2007 L 263, p. 1). 2 Council Directive 70/311/EEC of 8 June 1970 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the steering equipment for motor vehicles and their trailers (OJ 1970 L 133, p. 10). The Court considers that adaptations that may be required may not relate to the repositioning of the driver’s seat, but solely to procedures having a minimal impact. Such an extensive requirement would amount to a procedure having a significant impact on the design of the vehicle, contrary to the wording and purpose of Directive 70/311. Consequently, the Court holds that the position of the driver’s seat, an integral part of the steering equipment of a vehicle, comes within the harmonisation established by Directives 2007/46 and 70/311, so that, in the context of the registration of a new vehicle in their territory, the Member States may not require, for reasons of safety, that the driver’s seat of that vehicle be moved to the side opposite the direction of the traffic. Next, with regard to passenger vehicles previously registered in another Member State with the driver’s seat on the right-hand side, the Court considers that the contested legislation constitutes measures having equivalent effect to quantitative restrictions on imports, such measures being prohibited by the Treaty. Those measures have the effect of hindering access to the Polish and Lithuanian markets for vehicles with steering equipment on the right, which are lawfully constructed and registered in other Member States.

European Court Experts, Adviser

European Court Experts, Adviser

The Court examines the argument of Poland and Lithuania that the legislation of those States is justified by the need to ensure road safety, the latter constituting an imperative requirement relating to the public interest capable of justifying a hindrance to the free movement of goods. It notes in that regard that the legislation at issue provides for exceptions with regard to the use of vehicles equipped with a steering-wheel on the right by people who reside in other Member States, and travel to Poland and Lithuania for a limited period (for example, tourists). That fact shows, according to the Court, that the contested legislation tolerates the risk involved in such use. In addition, the statistical data relied on by the Polish and Lithuanian Governments do not prove to the requisite legal standard the relationship between the number of accidents and the involvement of vehicles with the driver’s seat situated on the right. The Court holds that there exist means and measures that, while less restrictive of the free movement of goods, are capable of significantly reducing the risk which could be created by the use of vehicles with the steering-wheel placed on the same side as the direction of the traffic. It points out that the Member States enjoy in that regard discretion allowing them to impose measures capable, according to the state of technology, of ensuring sufficient rear and forward visibility for the driver of the vehicle with the steering-wheel positioned on the same side as the direction of the traffic (examples: fixing additional external rear-view mirrors or the adaptation of lighting and windscreen-wiping devices). According to the Court, it does not appear

European Court Experts

European Court Experts

that the measures at issue may be considered to be necessary in order to attain the road safety objective pursued by Poland and Lithuania. The Court considers therefore that those measures are not compatible with the principle of proportionality. The Court concludes therefore that Poland and Lithuania have infringed EU law. NOTE: An action for failure to fulfil obligations directed against a Member State which has failed to comply with its obligations under European Union law may be brought by the Commission or by another Member State. If the Court of Justice finds that there has been a failure to fulfil obligations, the Member State concerned must comply with the Court’s judgment without delay. Where the Commission considers that the Member State has not complied with the judgment, it may bring a further action seeking financial penalties. However, if measures transposing a directive have not been notified to the Commission, the Court of Justice can, on a proposal from the Commission, impose penalties at the stage of the initial judgment.