“The clock is ticking” for Qatar’s 2022 football world cup, warned a FIFA representative who was attending a European Parliament hearing on Thursday (13 February) that looked into reports of forced labour and deaths on stadium construction sites. Trade unions are now calling on the world football governing body to "rerun the vote".
EXCLUSIVE / A call has gone out for the international community to shun the 2022 World Cup in Qatar unless it reforms its indentured labour practices on the Unesco International Day for Remembrance of the Slave Trade (23 August).
Poland took a decisive step yesterday (20 November) towards building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on its Baltic coast, a project that could significantly reduce Central and Eastern Europe's reliance on Russian imports.
Leaders of French-speaking nations in the Francophonie organisation OIF officially welcomed the Gulf state of Qatar as a new associate member this month, raising eyebrows in some quarters over the club's membership criteria. But OIF officials defended the decision, saying Doha had demonstrated its commitment to the French language.
Qatar's recent admission to the club of French-speaking nations, the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), was met with scepticism in some quarters. But OIF administrator Clément Duhaime says the Gulf state has demonstrated its commitment to the French language.
Qatar is the world's largest single producer of liquefied gas. It would be advantageous for Europe to secure itself a chunk of its supplies, but so far the EU has only lost ground to more flexible Asian buyers, writes Matthew Hulbert, senior fellow at the Centre for Security Studies at ETH Zurich.
Trade ministers from 142 countries reached a final agreement on launching a new round of global trade talks after their six-day meeting in Doha, Qatar. The outcome of the Doha meeting is a significant success for the EU and EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy. The new "Doha Round" will begin in 2002 and is supposed to be completed by 2005.
Negotiators at the Doha Summit in Qatar reached a compromise agreement on the issue of poorer countries' access to medicines. This breakthrough seems to be smoothing the way for further constructive talks. Progress was made on other dossiers (agriculture, environment) so that optimism grew over the possibility of reaching, before the end of the Summit on Tuesday 13 November, an overall agreement to start a new global trade round.
An ICC opinion poll released on the eve of the Doha WTO meeting reveals that business leaders strongly support the launch of a new round of multilateral trade negotiations. Those who were polled cited improved market access and economic growth in general as the two main advantages that would stem from further trade liberalisation.
Solving the differences between developing countries and the US over Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and pharmaceuticals could be the key to launching a new round of trade negotiations in Doha. The commitment of developing countries to reaching a satisfactory agreement on this issue offers hope for flexibility on their part in other areas.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler called for a strong development theme to be incorporated into the trade negotiations that are due to take place in Doha this week. Mr Fischler's remark was made at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) ministerial conference in Rome on 5 November in a speech which emphasised the importance of the EU as a market for the agricultural products of developing countries. He made an explicit link between this development theme and the liberalisation of developing countries' agriculture markets.
EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy has said that if the WTO meeting in Qatar was cancelled due to security concerns it would not reduce the chances of launching a new round of trade negotiations. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Lamy stated that it would more damaging if the meeting went ahead but failed to launch a new round of trade negotiations.
The EU has welcomed the successful completion of a meeting in Geneva that has prepared the way for China's entry into the WTO. Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said at the end of the meeting: "China's accession will make the WTO a truly global organisation."