EU Archive


EU-LAC – GIGA Seminar, Hamburg, 17-18 September 2012

The EU-LAC Foundation and the GIGA (German Institute of Global and Area Studies) are organising an international seminar “New Grounds for the Relations between the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean – towards a Relevant Partnership” which is taking place in Hamburg on 17th and 18th September 2012.

The countries of the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean launched the strategic partnership process more than a decade ago. Since then, the global context has changed significantly and the current worldwide economic crisis presents new challenges to the bi-regional partnership. Therefore, the seminar calls for a reflection on the grounds of the partnership between Latin America, Caribbean and the European Union, focussing on the opportunities that the new context provides for both regions and their populations.

Over 80 participants from both regions and various sectors (including academics, high-level officials, opinion makers and entrepreneurs) will discuss topics such as the emergence of new geopolitical poles, the economic and political boom of Latin America, as well as climate change. The seminar will be inaugurated with an opening act by invitation of the First Mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz. Opening speakers include, amongst others, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, President of the EU-LAC Foundation, Detlef Nolte, Acting President of GIGA, and Leonel Fernández, former President of the Dominican Republic and current President of the EU-LAC Foundation’s Strategic Partner FUNGLODE.

Although participation in this seminar is by invitation only, the EU-LAC Foundation will provide public information on the Seminar as it unfolds, including through Twitter. The Foundation’s Twitter Account will be working with full speed by the beginning of September. Please do follow by subscribing here:


European Development Days Brussels, 16-17 October 2012

The 2012 edition of the European Development Days will take place in Brussels, Belgium on 16-17 October 2012. The draft programme overview has been online for two weeks now and the more detailed version of the programme is also available. There will be about 50 events during the seventh edition of the European Development Days, including 22 High Level Panels.

The aim of the meeting is a presentation of High Level Panels by theorganisers according to the following thematic clusters of the seventhedition of the European Development Days:

– Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security and Resilience
– Engaging the Private Sector for Development
– Empowering People for Inclusive Growth

To register for the EDD 2012, please click here.


EC fails with earth-friendly policy

According to a group of environmentalists, the European Commission has been too slow in advancing earth-friendly policies on agriculture and energy. Ten environmental organisations argue in a scorecard of the EU executive’s performance that the Commission has been too reserved across an array of conservation issues, chemicals regulation and pollution, and in some cases has retreated in the face pressure from lobbyists and EU national governments.

“Overall, we’re extremely concerned that the Commission is very behind in the race to create a better environment in Europe,” said Jorgo Riss of Greenpeace, one of the 10 groups involving in grading the Commission.

Speaking of agriculture as “the most important delivery mechanism for biodiversity and resource efficiency,” Tony Long of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), saidthat the Commission’s proposals for the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have failed to make the link between farming, land management and biodiversity protection.
The report also says the Commission failed to strengthen the rural development pillar in its proposal that is now being reviewed by the Parliament and Council, “thus jeopardising one of the most useful parts of the CAP.”

Source: EurActiv,


Social protection: a new area of action for EU development cooperation

The Directorate for Human and Society Development in DG DEVCO of the European Commission is presently preparing a communication on Social protection in EU development policy with the purpose of explaining “the role of SP in underpinning inclusive and sustainable development and the role of EU Development Cooperation in supporting the strengthening of social protection policies and systems.”
This communication will be part of the EC tools for the implementation of the Agenda for Change and its ‘inclusive growth’ central objective.

The obligation for governments to implement social protection programmes stems from the right to social security enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Social security standards are set out in the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention of 1952 (No. 102). Social protection is also one of the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda, which the EU has committed to supporting in its development cooperation. It is in the context of that Decent work Agenda that the new EC communication is prepared.

As explained by an EC official taking part in the process, in the context of the communication, social protection refers to policies and measures that provide people with security against the risks and vulnerabilities that can both cause and deepen poverty. It also supports access to health and other essential services and income security throughout the lifecycle. It includes active labour market policies to help people to participate in economic activity and strengthens social cohesion through its role in supporting participation and reducing social polarisation through the redistribution of wealth.

Various aspects of social protection are usually referred to with specific terminology. Social security is usually used to refer to measures providing benefits, whether in cash or in kind, to secure protection from a variety of risks such as ill-health or unemployment. Contributory schemes are usually referred to as social insurance, while non-contributory schemes are usually referred to as social assistance.

It is the intention of the EC to produce a value based communication that addresses the question of Social protection as a human right in the context of growth with equity. Hence, the communication will refer to SP at the heart of EU social model based on the European values, universality and equity. That part of the communication should also tackle the problems faced by the EU today and the way to address them in the EU 2020 strategy.

The communication will then address social protection in the context of development and the different challenges relating to it in different categories of countries. At the centre of the EU approach will be the principle of strong national ownership including financing. Coordinated approach and support between the EC and the member states will also be covered by the communication as well as the question of policy coherence for development. The communication should also bring some more light on the specific type of measures and cooperation modalities in different categories of countries (LICs and MICs). In our view the communication should be accompanied with a set of guidelines so that EU delegations are in a position to discuss the question with partner governments during the upcoming EC aid programming process especially in the case social protection is identified as a priority sector for EC aid. Source: APRODEV.
Online consultation:


European Commission has launched the new aid programming cycle

With no surprise, at their Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting on 14 May, the EU Member States (MS) welcomed the two communications produced by the EC aiming at reviewing and ‘modernising’ EU development cooperation policy and practice; the Agenda for Change and the Future approach on EU Budget Support.
The FAC conclusions on the Agenda for Change are very much aligned with the EC communication especially with regard to the focus on inclusive growth, private sector and blending of loans and grants. In other areas, however, they contain a few additional or slightly differing interesting elements. In particular, the council conclusions go much further than the EC communication in the area of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD). Indeed, in spite of its significance for an agenda based on growth, trade, investments and the role of the private sector, this issue was given very little attention in the EC communication. Thanks to the leadership the Danish Presidency supported by a few other Member States, the HR Ashton who chairs the FAC and all Council members finally decided to adopt separate conclusions on PCD. The essence of these conclusions is to recognise that PCD is an important element in the Council Conclusions on an Agenda for Change, which complements the EU development policy framework and to agree on the need for a more evidence-based approach and for improving coordination mechanisms and implementation within the EU institutions and the MS.
Particularly welcome is also the following statement: ‘the EU and its Member States remain firmly committed to the goal of eradicating poverty, as set out in the Lisbon Treaty and the European Consensus on Development, and, convinced of the catalytic role of ODA, reaffirm their commitment to achieve all their development aid targets, including the collective 0.7% ODA target to be reached by 2015. See also the separate council conclusions on ODA targets adopted at the same FAC meeting.
CONCORD members also appreciate the absence of any reference to ‘value for money’ in the council conclusions on the Agenda for Change while the principles of mutual accountability and ownership are emphasised. Certain elements of the following text in the paragraph on governance come directly from CONCORD’s recommendations to MS: ‘the EU and its Member States will support and promote an enabling environment for an independent, pluralistic and active civil society in partner countries, building on the Structured Dialogue. Awareness raising and development education are part of this. Successful development cooperation also requires significant progress on gender equality, empowerment and opportunities for women, including through political and policy dialogue, gender mainstreaming in policies and programmes, and specific actions’.
The Council position with regards to the nexus between security and development is more ambiguous with no clear intention to adopt an EU action plan on situations of fragility and conflict as suggested in the EC communication but a mention of ‘the development of a comprehensive strategy, taking into account previous Council Conclusions’. The conclusions also state that the EU and its Member States shall pursue actions to implement the New Deal for engagement in fragile states, as set out in the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation. The FAC conclusions also mention the still open and undefined concept of resilience: Fostering developing countries’ resilience to national and global shocks and crises is key to their sustainable development. It requires integrating resilience and disaster risk reduction in development programmes and linking humanitarian relief and development cooperation. Likewise, strong coordination between the EU’s climate and development policies is vital. This commitment is reinforced in the separate Council conclusions on Strengthening Resilience to Food Crises in the Horn of Africa where the Council invites the Commission to follow up with further proposals on building resilience in drought prone areas including a Communication before the end of 2012 (see separate article in Humanitarian aid section). Resilience and food security is also on top of the agenda of the Cyprus presidency between July and December 2012.
In the chapter of the conclusions dealing with implementation of the Agenda for Change, the MS strongly support EC proposal to focus EU aid both in terms of sectors (inclusive growth and governance) and countries. The differentiation between countries based on the criteria suggested in the EC proposal and the priority for cooperation with Africa and neighbouring countries are welcome but the Council states that the EU will also continue to cooperate with other countries and regions, such as in Latin America and Asia, that are key partners in responding to global challenges and where poverty and inequalities remain widespread. MS are also committed to improving aid coordination at EU level and to organise a joint programming of aid in a few pilot countries under the leadership of EU delegations.
At a debriefing session with Civil Society, Commissioner Piebalgs expressed its satisfaction with regard to the support and backing of Member States in favour of the EC new approach on Budget support. The EC is comforted in its objective of maintaining Budget Support, and more particularly sectoral budget support, as a way to improve aid effectiveness as well as the effectiveness and governance of public policies and services in developing countries. In that area as well, MS are ready to improve coordination and joint assessment with the view to provide coordinated and consistent EU responses.
The Council conclusions on the Agenda for Change close with these words: the principles contained in these Conclusions will guide the design and implementation of external action instruments under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. However, even before the new legal bases for future cooperation instruments are adopted (expected to take place somewhere in 2013), the Agenda for Change already forms the backbone of the instructions to EU delegations for the programming of bilateral cooperation with developing countries that is starting right now and concerns all developing countries covered by the DCI (Asia, Latin America, Middle East) and the EDF (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific).
Main novelties of the programming process are:
– Country differentiation implies that no programming process will take place is the 19 upgraded countries of Asia and Latin America and that the launch of the programming is postponed in around 20 Middle Income countries of the ACP group until a final decision on how differentiation will apply to this group of countries is taken.
– The country or region multiannual indicative programmes (MIP) will become the central element of the process and no country strategy paper will be necessary in case the national development strategy of the country is judged sufficient or a joint EU strategy/cooperation framework exists for the country or the region or the national envelope is lower than 50 million euros. The MIP will concentrate on 3 sectors maximum per country (at the exception of fragile states that may need a more flexible approach).
– In countries eligible for bilateral aid, the first phase of the process, supposed to end by 30th September 2012, comprises the analysis of the national development plan and the outline of the EU response with a proposal for maximum 3 priority sectors. This first phase is key and is supposed to take place in consultation with the partner government, national parliament, CSOs and private sector, EU MS and other donors. Priority sectors should preferably be in line with the broad objectives of the agenda for change. Examples of sectors listed under objective one – Human rights, democracy and good governance: democracy, human rights and the rule of law; gender equality and the empowerment of women; public sector management; tax policy and administration; fight against corruption; civil society and local authorities; sustainable and transparent management of natural resources and Development-security nexus. Example of sectors listed under objective two – Inclusive growth: business environment, productive capacities and investments; regional integration and international trade; education; health; employment and social protection; sustainable agriculture, fisheries and food security and sustainable energy. Note that priority sectors of cooperation for each region will be included in the annexes of the legal basis of the DCI that have to be approved by the Council and the Parliament.
– After 2 months of internal consultation by EC and EEAS headquarters, the delegations will receive instructions for the second phase and the preparation of the MIP. At that stage (end 2012 – beginning of 2013), regional programming seminars with the presence of Commissioner Piebalgs could be organised. In addition delegations should maintain dialogue and consultation as in the first phase.
– For ACP-countries, in line with the Cotonou Agreement, a specific allocation may be set aside for supporting CSOs and Local Authorities (LA), in addition to the 3 priority sectors.
– After consultation of MS at field level, the EU delegation may judge that a joint programming is feasible. It seems that it is the case for 5 countries only: Guatemala, Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda and Nepal.
– The preparation of the regional multiannual indicative programmes will start later.


EU renewable energy targets may boost land grabbing in developing countries

The EU’s renewable energy target of 20% of its energy supply from renewable energies by 2020 will cause widespread ‘land-grabbing’ in developing countries, according to a new Action Aid report. The EU adopted the target in the ‘Renewable Energy Roadmap’ in January 2007, and has come under increasing scrutiny from civil society.


AidWatch: Aid allocation increasingly driven by EU ‘self-interest’ – Eurostep

AidWatch: Aid allocation increasingly driven by EU ‘self-interest’ – Eurostep.

The EU’s aid commitments are becoming increasingly determined by domestic political agendas as well as security, immigration and commercial interests, says a new report, launched on 19 May. According to this year’s AidWatch report, entitled “Challenging self-interests: Getting EU aid fit for the fight against poverty”, EU member states inflated official aid spending by more than €5 billion and only nine countries met their committed EU aid targets.


European Report on Development: Social protection is key to poverty eradication

The second European Report on Development (ERD) was launched at the European Development Days in Brussels with the message that social protection needs to be
placed at the heart of EU development policy. ‘‘A number of African countries already
have social protection programmes in place. It is increasingly on the policy agenda of
African leaders and several EU donors already support social protection based on the belief that it is both a human right and a catalyst for promoting inclusive
development and pro-poor growth,” said Giorgia Giovannetti of the European University
Institute, the lead author of the report. ‘‘This year’s edition of the ERD concludes that these piecemeal efforts are not enough. Social protection needs to become a
central and coordinated component of the development policies of African countries, the EU and its Member States, and other donors. Our analysis shows that it is
feasible, affordable, and that the time is ripe”. The ERD is an initiative sponsored by the European Commission and seven EU Member States (Finland, France, Germany,
Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden and the UK). The research is conducted primarily at the
European University Institute in Florence. The first report, published in October 2009, focused on state fragility in sub-Saharan Africa.


Public consultation on external relations funding

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on how the EU should fund
its external relations activities, in particular the European External Action Service
(EEAS). Contributions will be used by the Commission next year when preparing its
proposals for the EU budget after 2013. The EU budget has been the subject of much
wrangling in recent weeks between the EU institutions, following pressure from some
member states to impose tough restrictions on future EU budgets and fierce resistance from Parliament. The Commission website states: ‘‘Challenges for the future are plentiful. The EU’s external action must tackle global problems such as climate
change, energy security, and economic and financial stability. The 2015 deadline for
the Millennium Development Goals is also rapidly approaching, with more effort still
required as regards poverty, hunger, maternal and child mortality, sanitation and environmental sustainability.” See


Public consultation on future funding to boost EU competitiveness and innovation

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the successor to the
Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme 2007-2013 (CIP). The CIP is the
main EU budgetary instrument targeting competitiveness outside the research and skills areas. Its main priorities are SMEs, access to finance, innovation (including
eco-innovation), take-up and use of information and communication technologies (ICT),
energy efficiency and renewables.