Good EU development plans must now translate vision into reality

The European Commission has today presented its proposal for a new framework for the EU’s development policy. The EU institutions and national governments must now make sure they translate these fine words into action, says Oxfam.

Oxfam International Deputy Director for Advocacy and Campaigns, Natalia Alonso, said:

“The European Commission has presented a sound framework for future EU development policy. It is great to see the proposal putting eradicating extreme poverty and inequality at the center of all action for the EU institutions and member states. It is a first step to implement the EU’s international commitment to the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

“It is now up to the EU as a whole to translate this ambitious vision into reality and prove that European policies can make a difference, serving people in need. Member states must not water down this ambitious proposal, as it reflects the opinion of a majority of EU citizens: nearly three quarters say tackling poverty in developing countries should be one of the EU’s main priorities.

“The new framework must go beyond development and steer the EU policies in a new direction. For example, the EU must review some of its recent policies that go against the positive vision established today, specifically its response to migration: the Partnership Framework, the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and the External Investment Plan are primarily serving the EU’s own agenda instead of helping people lift themselves out of poverty. Also other policies, like those on energy and climate change, need to be cross-checked against the new framework for development.

“The litmus test for this new development framework will be how this policy and proposed instruments are supporting people to change their lives, from a woman farmer in Burkina Faso becoming more resilient to climate change, to a land rights activist in Peru safely defending her community.”

Notes to editors: 
  • The European Commission has presented today three proposals for the EU’s future development policy: a proposal for a review of the European Consensus on Development, a proposal for the future of the EU’s relations with ACP countries, and a proposal for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The Commission proposal for a new Consensus on Development highlights in particular that the prime focus of development cooperation remains poverty eradication and there will be no diversion of effort from that goal. It also reaffirms the commitments to the key principles of development effectiveness. It puts an emphasis on the coherence of all EU policies with the goal of development. The proposal further states that the Consensus shall apply to the EU and its member states, and it highlights the need for partnerships with the civil society. There is a positive reference to the need for strong standards and criteria for the role of the private sector in development.
  • Risks that Oxfam has identified in the proposal for the new Consensus relate to the use of private finance and the blending of public and private funds, to the External Investment Plan as well as to the relation of development aid and the security sector.
  • According to the Eurobarometer survey released in February 2016, 69% of EU citizens say that tackling poverty in developing countries should be one of the main priorities of the EU.
  • In reaction to the Commission’s public consultation on the Consensus review, Oxfam had defined clear red lines for a new Consensus. The Commission proposal respects all these red lines.
  • The EU-Africa Trust Fund, the Partnership Framework and the External Investment Plan are all aiming at stopping migration to Europe. They are shifting European development and foreign policy from the goal of poverty eradication towards serving the self-interest of the EU.
  • Oxfam’s briefing paper “Causing suffering and problems - Europe’s approach to migration” analyses why the EU’s response to migration is not solving problems, but creating new ones.
Contact information: 

Florian Oel | Brussels | florian.oel@oxfaminternational.org | office +32 2 234 11 15 | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

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