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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

'Make development policy more effective' - Franziska Keller

Ensuring that the European Union doesn't take back (through trade rules or agricultural levies) what it donates in aid is the main aim behind a recent report by Franziska Keller. We spoke to the German Green MEP about her report which was endorsed by fellow MEPs on 18 May. It envisages greater coordination between Parliamentary Committees and a special spokesperson on development coherence. We want to make development policy more effective. Currently, for instance, we give money to support fish farms and small fishermen in developing countries so they can buy new boats or establish better fish processing facilities. At the same time we have a fisheries policy which allows large EU fishing boats off the West African coast to empty the fishing grounds. This means that there are no fish left for the local fishermen so there is little point in putting money into the development of local fisheries. Or, for example, we give money to develop local agriculture, so the farmers in developing countries can cultivate tomatoes. At the same time we subsidise our own agricultural products, which are then exported cheaply, destroying the local market because local farmers simply can not compete with our cheap prices. This is a problem and we wanted to underline it once more in the report. We have given examples of what is going wrong and what we can do about it. It's not about bad intentions, we lack mechanisms to check these things, and we have no prior impact assessment for the developing countries.

Source: European parliament