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Monday, 16 July 2018

The European Parliament Committee on International Trade has published its draft report containing the European Parliament’s recommendations to the Commission on the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US. The report states, “an agreement between the two biggest economic blocs in the world has the potential to create standards, norms and rules which will be adopted at a global level, which would serve to the advantage of third countries as well.” It also underlines, “given the growing interconnectedness of global markets

To expand a longstanding partnership between the French government and the Latin American and Caribbean region, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President, Luis Alberto Moreno, and French Development Agency (AFD) Chief Executive Officer, Anne Paugam, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The new agreement builds on the previous MoU between IDB and AFD signed in October 2012, as well as past collaborations supporting Haiti’s coffee value and sustainable cities, among others.

Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, , co-signed new regional funding for cooperation with Southern, Eastern Africa up until 2020. The so-called Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) amounts to a total of more than €1.3 billion. Co-signatories represented 29 African countries. Commissioner Mimica commented: “The regional organisations are very important partners for the EU in our cooperation with Africa – the fact that our funding to South and East Africa and the Indian Ocean has more than doubled since the last financing period is clear proof of that. We will now be able to launch programmes in key sectors of regional cooperation such as peace and security, economic integration and the management of natural resources.”

Cuts to the French development aid budget - the fifhtt in a row – are jeopardising its COP 21 commitments. For Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, "It is unacceptable that certain member states are reducing their aid to developing countries." Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament also reminded EU members of their commitment to assign 0.7% of their gross national product (GNI) to official development assistance. Despite recently enshrining this target in law, France is as far as ever from achieving it: French ODA fell from 0.47% of GNI in 2005 to 0.36%. Recently however, French President François Hollande first called on OECD members to increase their ODA contributions at an address in Martinique on 9 May: "I have warned the rich countries.

The new Finnish government has announced a cut of €300 million, or more than 40%, to the annual development aid budget. The new government’s programme includes a cut in spending on development projects, bringing the annual budget down from €800 million to €500 million.  A new report for parliament’s foreign affairs committee has shed light on the successes—and failures—of Finnish development aid spending. The author of the report, development economist Ritva Reinikka explained that the economic growth has drastically changed the situation in many developing countries: in 2001 some 65 countries were judged to be on the lowest income level, compared to 34 today. While growth rates have been around five percent for two decades, Reinikka adds that other metrics are better to measure the impact of development spending.