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EDITO
Monday, 16 July 2018
At a meeting of development ministers in Brussels, this week the EU's 15 wealthiest countries agreed a target of spending 0.51% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on world development aid by 2010, making 2005 a key year for fighting world poverty. The declaration also stated that aid should reach the UN target of a minimum 0.7% of GDP by 2015.
By signing this deal, the member states are thus stepping up public development aid to the tune of 20 billion euros over the next five years, reinforcing Europe's role as a leading development donor and bringing EU aid from 46 billion euros in 2006 to 66 billion euros in 2010. Half of the increase in aid will go to Africa.
Such a landmark in international efforts comes after five years of a march towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, the largest gathering of world leaders ever. The new aid goals will contribute directly to the key MDG of halving the numbers of those living in poverty by 2015.
Nearly half of the EU’s contribution will go to the African continent. In an ambitious strategy aimed at coping with the global challenges of the next decades, the EU proposes to back up the growth of Sub-Saharan Africa, which remains at the rear of the race for development. However, the African continent has shown its motivation and will to take charge of its own sociological, economical, political growth. Many countries have already started their transition towards democracy. Many parts of the continent have come to peace agreements accelerating the improvement of their own finances, mainly through renewed trade bonds with neighbouring countries. The emerging African Union and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (the NEPAD, a strategic framework for Africa’s renewal tackling issues such as the escalating poverty levels, underdevelopment and the continued marginalisation of Africa) have triggered a process of liberation and democratisation of Sub-Saharan political life, and the EU’s role will be to act as a motor for such initiatives in order to improve the continent’s governance and promote peace and security.

The Agriculture Council of the EU reached political agreement on a regulation that will drastically change the way in which the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be financed from 2007 onwards. Bringing the different existing rules together under one single regulation will considerably simplify CAP financing. The new system will reinforce and modernise management and control of CAP finances, and will strengthen budgetary discipline. It will also improve possibilities for recovering irregularly spent EU money. The new regulation creates two funds that will apply the same rules wherever possible: the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF), and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
The 2660th EU Council meeting on General Affairs and External Relations held on Brussels, 23 and 24 May 2005 made the following positions and specific commitments in the field of development:
1. The EU is strongly committed to the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). The EU underlines the link between achieving the MDGs and implementing the outcomes of the UN international conferences and summits in the economic, social, environmental and other related fields.
2. The EU recalls the primary responsibility of developing countries for their development and the crucial importance of national ownership for development and supports comprehensive and coherent national poverty reduction strategies bold enough to meet the MDGs target by 2015.
3. The EU wants to see a number of issues of high importance and relevance for the attainment of the MDGs to be properly reflected in the outcome of the September Summit, such as endorsing employment, equitable and sustainable economic growth as well as sustainable consumption and production patterns as key routes out of poverty, the promotion of gender equality, human rights, democracy, the rule of law and broad-based participation in decision making, the importance of an intensified multisectoral response to HIV/AIDS as laid down in the European Programme for Action to confront HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis through external action, and the need to address links between environmental sustainability, security and poverty eradication.
The EU further recognizes that the MDGs cannot be attained without progress in achieving the Cairo goal of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The 2659th Council Meeting on General Affairs and External Relations held in Brussels on 23 May 2005 adopted the following conclusions, interesting our ACP partners:

It is recalled that when the amount of resources for the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) was set at EUR 13,8 billion in December 1999, the Council envisaged the release of EUR 1 billion ("conditional billion") in the light of an EDF performance review to be carried out by the Council in 2004. The Council specified that the review was to take particular account of the level of commitments and disbursements and the needs to be met before entry into force of the second financial protocol to the Cotonou Agreement. It is furthermore recalled that the Council in March 2004 concluded that the performance review would provide information on impact and evaluation, as well as portfolio performance.
Having studied the communication, the Council is pleased to note that over the past five years the performance of the EDF has significantly improved in terms of commitment and expenditure. The Council notes with satisfaction that the reforms undertaken by the Commission since 2000 are starting to show results in terms of quality and effectiveness of Community external assistance.
The Council welcomes this progress, which should continue in the future. However, the Council notes that the performance review itself does not fully meet the criteria as laid down by the Council. In particular, the Council would welcome more analysis on the impact of the EDF in terms of key strategic indicators, bearing in mind that in many ACP countries the EDF is the largest external assistance programme. Guidelines for the 2005 operational review. should be refined in view of the 2006 end-of-term review and of the programming period following the 9th EDF, in order that the quality and impact of Community assistance can be better evaluated. The EDF Committee will discuss the guidelines for the 2006 end-of-term review. The Council takes note of the Commission's forecasts, that the 9th EDF, including the balances transferred from the previous EDFs, will be entirely committed by the end of 2007.
Tuesday, 31 May 2005
Giles CHICHESTER (EPP-ED, UK), who chairs Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, has written to the President of Parliament, Josep BORRELL, expressing his committee's "alarm and disappointment" at the cuts to the EU research budget now being proposed by the Luxembourg Presidency for the financial perspective for 2007-2013.
In his letter Mr Chichester says: "The European Council has repeatedly emphasised since its meeting in Lisbon in 2000 the crucial role of research and technological development policy in the context of the Lisbon Strategy and the importance of the successful realisation of the European Research Area. Nevertheless, the proposal of the Luxembourg Presidency would imply a substantial reduction (of the order of 30% or more) in the budgetary resources for the EU 7th RTD Framework Programme (FP7) compared to those proposed by the European Commission in April.
An FP7 budget at the level proposed by the Commission is an essential prerequisite for the attainment of the 3% target for European R&D investment set by the Heads of State and government themselves in Barcelona. By contrast, such a reduction as proposed by the Luxembourg Presidency would have detrimental consequences for the consolidation and development of the European scientific and technological base and the boost to the competitiveness of European industry essential for a credible relaunch of the Lisbon Strategy.
The European Parliament has often made clear its conviction that the Lisbon objectives cannot be attained without substantially boosting the research effort both at EU and Member State level. In its resolution of 10 March 2005* on future EU policy to support research, the Parliament took a clear position on the ambitious financial resources that should be allocated for FP7. This position, which the Parliament regards as "a minimum not to be questioned during the negotiations on the financial perspectives", is consistent with the FP7 budgetary envelope proposed by the Commission."
In conclusion Mr Chichester asks Mr Borrell to urge the Luxembourg Presidency to ensure that research policy receives funding "commensurate to the ambition of the Lisbon Strategy".
The European Parliament will decide its position on the forthcoming financial perspective on 8 June at its plenary session in Strasbourg when it votes on a draft report drafted by Reimer Böge. Following the vote in Strasbourg, President Borrell will present Parliament's position to EU heads of state and government, who are aiming to reach agreement on the financial perspective at their summit of 16-17 June.
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