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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Piebalgs suggests reflection time about future ACP-EU partnership

At a meeting with the development committee of the European Parliament, Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs took a skeptical note when speaking about the ACP-EU partnership after 2020. “We need a detailed political debate with our partners,” he said, adding that ACP countries should actively reflect on the ACP-EU partnership as well. We don’t want the lowest common denominator of the ACP group to determine our relations,” Piebalgs stressed, pointing to human rights and governance issues in particular. He showed his disappointment that the Commission had been unable to advance further on these issues in negotiations with ACP countries. The European Commission is set to publish its new development policy outlook this autumn and focus more strongly on human rights and good governance.

MEPs welcomed proposals for the new development budget in the Multi-annual financial framework 2014-2020. Chair Nirj Deva said that the Commission’s propositions represented a “significant increase” of development funds at a time of financial constraints for both the European Development Fund (EDF) and the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). Commissioner Piebalgs commented that the Commission was trying to be humble, yet ambitious. “I try to make a proposal that is still acceptable to member countries,” he said.

In the future, MEPs hope to see an arrangement between the Council and the European Commission that would allow the Commission a greater autonomy in decision-making, albeit under parliamentary scrutiny. This could allow the Commission to react swiftly to changing developments in partner countries. However, member states representatives recently advised the Council not to agree to this proposal.

Source: CTA