European Commission Archive

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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, http://www.euractiv.com/climate-environment/green-groups-barroso-team-timid-news-513702

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Future European cooperation instruments

In the EuropeanUnion, donors are working towards modernising development policy and practice,with the aim of ensuring that it becomes more relevant, efficient, andresults-oriented. Political and policy levels currently adapt to the new globalcontext for aid and international cooperation. In November 2011 developmentpartners endorsed a new global framework during the fourth high-level forum onaid effectiveness – the Busan Partnership for Effective DevelopmentCooperation.[1]The Accra Agenda for Action expanded the notion of ownership from ‘government’to ‘country’ ownership.[2]Busan goes one step further with its commitment to “democratic ownership”: itstresses the governance dimensions of development by recognising the criticalrole that parliaments, civil society and local authorities play in promotingdomestic accountability and the need to improve interactions between governmentadministrations, checks and balance institutions and citizens. Busan has underlinedthe importance of ownership and further insisted on the use ofsystems-approaches, with any deviance explained to beneficiary countries.

Beyond institutionalchanges affecting development cooperation, the Lisbon Treaty gives increasedprominence to poverty eradication. It is now integrated in the EU Treaties asthe primary objective of EU development cooperation; it has become one of theobjectives of EU external action and, finally, it is reflected in the overallvalues that are to be upheld and promoted by the EU. The provision on PolicyCoherence for Development (PCD) that requires the EU to take account ofdevelopment objectives in policies affecting developing countries haseffectively been strengthened. All in all, the treaty changes are geared toallow the EU to become a stronger international player and step up itscontributions to international development.[3]

The overall challengefor development cooperation posed by the translation into practice of theLisbon Treaty is whether the Treaty will be effectively used to increase policycoherence for development in EU external action. The debate is not just an EUinstitutional one, but reflects a wider trend towards seeing development asbest achieved through an integrated international cooperation effort thatincludes policy inputs from different sectors, including developmentcooperation, working together in a coherent manner to promote development.

The policy challengefor the EU is to find the correct balance in addressing poverty reductionobjectives and activities whilst promoting strategic objectives in ways thatdeliver optimal outcomes, and in the mutual interests of the EU and partnercountries.[4]A new generation of financial instruments and country and regional strategieswill be drawn up and implemented from 2014-2020, the timeframe of the next EUbudget.

InOctober 2011 the EC issued a Communication on “Increasing the Impact of EUDevelopment Policy: An Agenda for Change”.[5]The document proposes two major innovations: (1) Improving impact, by targetingaid to countries where highest impact can be achieved (through a differentiatedapproach to aid allocation) and by focusing on two priority areas: “governance,democracy and human rights” and “sustainable and inclusive growth”. (2)Ensuring best value for money, by promoting coordinated EU action and improvingpolicy coherence for development.

Fourgeographic instruments are complemented with six thematic instruments,which prioritise the list of EU global objectives. Programming under thegeographic instruments is a joint exercise with partner countries, conducted atcountry level and aligned to national priorities and national developmentstrategies. This approach emphasises country ownership of developmentstrategies. Unlike the geographic instruments, which are, in principle,supposed to be based on shared analyses of local needs and conditions and jointresponse strategies, the thematic instruments are based on the EU’s ownstrategy objectives and global priorities. They mix ODA with non-ODA funds.

TheDevelopment Cooperation Instrument (DCI) contains a set of cross-cuttingthematic programmes that apply to all developing countries (including the ACPcountries that are funded by the EDF, and the ENPI countries). Although thethematic programmes are not based on joint analyses of the priorities ofdeveloping countries, they must be consistent with the overall objectives,principles and policy prescriptions of the DCI. Whereas geographic instrumentsfocus mostly on intra-government development cooperation, non-state actors arethe principal beneficiaries of thematic programmes.

TheEuropean Commission adopted budget proposals to implement the MultiannualFinancial Framework for its external instruments from 2014-2020 on 29 June2011. The total amount proposed for these nine instruments is €96,249.4 millionover the period 2014-2020 (current prices). The Development CooperationInstrument (DCI) is earmarked with €23,295 million. The package will betransmitted to the European Parliament and the Council and is expected to beadopted in 2012.

Figure: Proposed budget for the Multiannual FinancialFramework 2014-2020[6]

European Development Fund (EDF, outside EU Budget)

€34,276 million

Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI)

€23,295 million

European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI)

€18,182 million

Pre-accession instrument (IPA)

€14,110 million

Instrument for Stability (IfS)

€2,829 million

Partnership Instrument (PI)

€1,131 million

European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR):

€1,578 million

Asignificant share of EU aid is delivered in the form of budget support:financial transfers to government budgets in developing countries, coupled withpolicy dialogue, performance assessment and capacity building. The Commissionproposes to make it more effective and efficient in delivering developmentresults by strengthening the contractual partnerships with developingcountries.

Themain principles of the 12-point Agenda for Change will be progressivelyreflected in the remainder of the current programming cycles and then in futureEU programming. In spring 2012, the Commission will ask EU DevelopmentMinisters to endorse the Agenda for Change as well as the new EU budget supportapproach which seeks to make budget support more effective and efficient indelivering development results and proposes more EU coordination.

InDecember 2011, the Commission proposed a regulation for the new externalassistance instrument, revealing details of the future external action.[7] Future EU assistance shallbe implemented through geographic, thematic and the Pan-African programmes andin accordance with the Common Implementing Regulation.

Inthe context of the renewed approach to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP),the new ENI Instrument will provide streamlined support to the same 16 partnercountries as the previous European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument(ENPI). The EU will continue its support to enlargement countries through arenewed Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), that will help thesecountries implement the comprehensive reform strategies needed to prepare forfuture membership, with emphasis on regional cooperation, implementation of EUlaws and standards, capacity to manage the Union’s internal policies upon accession,and delivery of tangible socio-economic benefits in the beneficiary countries.

Table: Common Areas of Cooperation under GeographicProgrammes

Area

Elements

I. Human rights, democracy and other key elements of good governance

(a) Democracy, human rights and the rule of law;

(b) Gender equality and the empowerment of women;

(c) Public sector management;

(d) Tax policy and administration;

(e) Corruption;

(f) Civil society and local authorities;

(g) Natural resources; and

(h) Development-security nexus.

II. Inclusive and sustainable growth for human development

(a) Social protection, health, education and jobs;

(b) Business environment, regional integration and world markets; and

(c) Sustainable agriculture and energy.

III. Other areas of significance for Policy Coherence for Development

(a) Climate change and environment;

(b) Migration and asylum; and

(c) Transition from humanitarian aid and crisis response to long-term development cooperation.

The”Global public goods and challenges” thematic programme aims atstrengthening cooperation, exchange of knowledge and experience and partnercountries’ capacities. Human development is among the strongly interconnectedareas of cooperation within this thematic programme.

Table: Human development within the “Global PublicGoods and Challenges” thematic programme

Area

Elements

(a) Growth, jobs and private sector engagement

More and better jobs, multilateral trading system, private sector development and business environment, industrial innovation and technology policies, trade policies and agreements, green economy, resource efficiency and sustainable consumption, use of electronic communications, ICT infrastructure and services

(b) Employment, skills, social protection and social inclusion

Productive and decent employment, vocational training for employability, decent work, fight against child labour, social dialogue, labour mobility, social cohesion, social protection systems, social inclusion, employment for all, rights of specific groups, notably youth, persons with disabilities, women and minority groups to let all population participate and benefit from wealth creation and cultural diversity.

(c) Gender equality and women empowerment

Women’s economic and social empowerment and political participation; aid effectiveness agenda.

(d) Health

Increasing access to, and equitable provision of, good quality essential public health services

(e) Education, knowledge and skills

Promoting knowledge, skills and values for sustainable and inclusive development; development of education systems; education, including for vulnerable groups, women and girls, and countries furthest from achieving global targets.

Thefollowing cross-cutting issues shall be mainstreamed in all programmes: thepromotion of human rights, gender equality, women empowerment,non-discrimination, democracy, good governance, the rights of the child andindigenous peoples’ rights, social inclusion and the rights of persons withdisabilities, environmental sustainability including addressing climate changeand combating HIV/AIDS.[8]Particular attention shall be given to strengthening the rule of law, improvingaccess to justice and supporting civil society, trade and sustainabledevelopment, access to ICTs, health and food security, as well as promotingdialogue, participation and reconciliation, and institution-building.[9]


[1]http://www.aideffectiveness.org/busanhlf4/en/topics/busan-partnership.html

[2] http://www.oecd.org/document/18/0,3746,en_2649_3236398_35401554_1_1_1_1,00.html

[3] van Seters, J. and H. Klavert. 2011. EUdevelopment cooperation after the Lisbon Treaty: People, institutions andglobal trends. (Discussion Paper 123). Maastricht: ECDPM. www.ecdpm.org/dp123

[4] Gavas, Mikaela et. al., The EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Frameworkpost-2013: Options for EU development cooperation. European Think Tanks Groupbriefing paper. London: ODI, June 2011,http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/docs/7164.pdf

[5] http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/news/agenda_for_change_en.htm

[7] COM(2011) 840 final. The EuropeanParliament and of the Council have to respond to this proposal in the comingweeks.

[8] COM(2011) 840 final, II.3.2 .

[9] COM(2011) 840 final, II.3.3.

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Development ministers discuss future development policy, Sahel strategy

CTA – Brussels Office Weblog – Development ministers discuss future development policy, Sahel strategy.

At the informal meeting member states discussed the European Commission’s green paper outlining the future trends of European development policy. The main idea is to coordinate the European Union’s support policies with the goals of sustainable growth by putting economic growth in the service of acceptance and reducing poverty. […] Development ministers also discussed an EU strategy for the Sahel region. Sahel is one of the poorest regions in the world where abject poverty is compounded by a fast population growth, food shortage is an everyday issue and governments are transient. Society is riddled with internal conflicts, Islam radicalism poses a high risk, and security threats related to bootlegging and terrorism are extremely high. The European Union is now finalizing a comprehensive strategy to address the region’s security and development challenges. In this quest, creating stable governance, resolving internal conflicts, encouraging closer cooperation between the regions and fighting against radicalism are of equal importance. The strategy also aims to enhance the region’s security capabilities, protect the rule of law and to support economic development.

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EC opens gateway to China for European small and medium size enterprises

Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission has launched the Centre for
European Union Small and Medium Enterprises (EU SME Centre) in Beijing on 5 November.
Funded by the European Commission, this new venture will provide information, advice, training and matchmaking opportunities for European SMEs wishing to export to or invest in the Chinese market. http://tinyurl.com/32pdvo5

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EC launches public consultation to improve budget support to developing countries

Over the past decade, the European Commission has increasingly used general and sector budget support to ACP countries as preferred aid modalities. This choice was motivated by the commitment of donors to make aid more effective. But despite the potential of the new generation of budget support and the so-called ”sector wide approach”, budget support has come under pressure within donors and partner countries for a variety of reasons. Therefore, the European Commission has launched a public consultation (http://ec.europa.eu/development/how/consultation/?action=viewcons&id=5221) to solicit the views of stakeholders. It seeks to find out and socialise what has and hasn’t worked with a view to improving the EC’s approach to budget support. The basis of the consultation is an EC green paper (http://ec.europa.eu/development/how/consultation/?action=viewcons&id=5221) which focuses on: i) political governance and the role of political dialogue; ii) the role of policy dialogue and conditionality and links to performance and results; iii) domestic and mutual accountability; iv) programming of budget support and its coherence with other instruments; v) strengthening risk assessment and dealing with fraud and corruption; vi) budget support in situations of fragility; and vii) growth, fiscal policy and mobilisation of domestic revenues. ECDPM is working primarily on the dimension of domestic accountability in relation to budget support and sector wide approaches. Source: ECDPM. http://tinyurl.com/39va6ka

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Official launch of the ACP Migration Facility

http://www.acp.int/en/sg/migration09/acpmigration09_workshop.html
The ACP Migration Facility aiming to support the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to better understand and manage the flow of migration within their borders, was officially launched on the 27th and 28th October in Brussels. This took place during a workshop organised by the ACP Secretariat in collaboration with the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office (AIDCO). Source: ACP Secretariat.

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Migration in the EU: An opportunity and a challenge

The European Union has historically attracted millions of immigrants. Most of them come legally, but there are some who do not. Immigration is both an opportunity and a challenge for Europe. Legal immigrants are needed to fill gaps in the EU labour force, as the EU’s own population grows older and its birth rate declines. However, the EU needs to curb illegal immigration and cooperate with other countries to arrange the return of irregular immigrants on a voluntary basis. The EU also has a duty to protect genuine asylum-seekers fleeing persecution or serious harm. The aim of European leaders is to devise a common strategy, to help each country cope with the challenges and benefit from the opportunities. This is why they have agreed on a European Pact on Migration and Asylum. Source: CTA, European Commission, http://ec.europa.eu/publications/booklets/move/81/en.doc
CTA Briefing on migration: http://brusselsbriefings.net/past-briefings/december-11-2008/
CTA Reader on migration: http://brusselsbriefings.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/reader_migration_eng-v-2.pdf

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European Commission adopts communication on Fair Trade

The European Commission has adopted a communication on the role of Fair Trade and non-governmental trade-related sustainability assurance schemes. The communication recognises the significant development of the Fair Trade movement and the significance of a European market now worth EUR 1.5 billion per year. The communication also lays out new policy areas where Fair Trade and other schemes can contribute to European sustainable development objectives. It also sets out main principles and definitions and the fundamentals for public procurement of sustainable goods and services. Source: European Commission, http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2009/may/tradoc_143089.pdf

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European Commission prepares Small Business Act

The European Commission launched a public consultation on the content of a European ”Small Business Act”. Its objective is to put small and medium sized enterprises at the forefront of decision-making in the EU and to introduce concrete measures to unlock the SMEs’ growth potential. It will include new initiatives to reduce regulatory burden on SMEs, facilitate access to Single Market/public procurement, help provide necessary financial/human resources for SME development and help SMEs face the challenge of globalization and climate change. The preparation of a ”Small Business Act” for Europe is one of the key measures announced in the Commission’s package for the next cycle of the Growth and Jobs Strategy adopted last December. http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newsroom/cf/itemlongdetail.cfm?item_id=1274