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Friday, 19 May 2017

EU Council: The Council adopts a new European consensus on development

The Council adopts a new European consensus on development

On 19 May, the Council adopted a new European consensus on development. This joint statement by the three institutions (Parliament, Council and Commission) sets out a new framework for development cooperation for the EU and its member states.

"The new European consensus for development makes the EU even stronger to tackle today's challenges and promote sustainable development and eradication of poverty all over the world. Investing in  sustainable development is investing in our common security and prosperity", said Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy.

"Today's agreement confirms the commitment of all member states to work together on a shared agenda and priorities for the EU's cooperation with all developing countries over the years to come. We are proud that the Maltese Presidency has succeeded in securing a consensus", added George Vella, Maltese Minister for foreign affairs.

The consensus is important given the crucial role of the EU in the area of development cooperation. The EU remains the world's largest development aid donor, providing more than half of assistance worldwide. The overarching goal is the eradication of poverty, by promoting good governance, human and economic development and tackling universal issues such as fighting hunger and preserving the world's natural resources.

The European consensus for development is the EU's response to the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development. It sets out the main principles which will guide the approach of the EU and the member states to cooperation with developing countries over the next 15 years, as well as a strategy for reaching the sustainable development goals (SDGs). In line with the global strategy on the EU's foreign and security policy, the consensus will also help achieve the priorities of the EU's external policy.

The consensus is intended to respond to current global challenges which have a demographic, economic, social and environmental impact. Strengthening the resilience of states, societies and individuals is central to this approach. It seeks to bring about sustainable development and to accelerate transformation by placing an emphasis on cross-cutting elements of development policy such as gender equality, youth, investment and trade, sustainable energy and climate action, good governance, democracy, rule of law and human rights, and migration and mobility.

The consensus recommends increased coordination and coherence between the EU and its member states. In order to  achieve more effective results and make a greater impact, it proposes a tailored and differentiated approach when working with partners to promote joint programming and implementation, with the full involvement of civil society and other actors. It highlights the importance of development effectiveness, transparency, mutual accountability and ownership by all partners involved, as well as ensuring that all means are used to deliver on the SDGs.

Next steps

The European Parliament is expected to endorse the consensus on 31 May.

The joint statement will be officially signed by the President of the European Parliament, the Prime Minister of Malta, on behalf of the Council and member states, the President of the European Commission, and the High Representative, at the European Development Days on 7 June. It will then replace the current European consensus on development which was adopted in 2006.

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Council conclusions on operationalising the humanitarian-development nexus

Poverty, conflict, fragility and forced displacement are deeply interlinked and must be addressed in a coherent and comprehensive way. In this context, the Council adopted conclusions recognising the connections between sustainable development, humanitarian action and peace and security. In particular, the conclusions stress the need to coordinate humanitarian and development actions so as to address the root causes of vulnerability, fragility and conflict while simultaneously meeting humanitarian needs and strengthening resilience.

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Council conclusions on annual report 2017 on EU development aid targets

The Council adopted conclusions regarding information on the EU's official development assistance (ODA), analysing trends with regard to its commitments and delivery in 2016. The ODA is a major source of finance for least developed countries and fragile states which particularly lack the domestic capacity to raise finance from other sources. Last year, ODA reached €75 billion. This constitutes an 11% increase compared to 2015.

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Council conslusions on sustainable garment value chains

The Council supports the promotion of responsible supply chains in the textile and clothing sector. It adopted conclusions recognising the potential of this sector as a driver of development and emancipation, but also acknowledging the economic, social and environmental challenges posed by the garment value chains. Deadly accidents such as the collapse of the factory in Rana Plaza in Bangladesh in 2013 underline the importance of preventing human rights violations and of promoting corporate social responsibility in the garment sector.

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President of the European Council Donald Tusk and High Representative Federica Mogherini met with the Special Envoy of President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission held meetings today, in Brussels, with Professor Yoon Je Cho, the Special Envoy of President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea. 

The decision of President Moon to send a special envoy to the European Union is an indication of the strength of the Strategic Partnership between the European Union and the Republic of Korea. President Tusk had earlier today spoken with President Moon, with both sides agreeing to work together to consolidate the Strategic Partnership and to meet at the G20 Summit in Hamburg in July.  

The exchanges with the Special Envoy focused on the Korean Peninsula and other regional and global matters of common interest. President Tusk and the High Representative/Vice-President conveyed that the EU will remain a strong partner in promoting peace, security and an open, rules-based trading system.  

President Tusk and High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini stressed that the European Union is ready to increase its work, in full coordination with the Republic of Korea and the international community, to de-escalate tensions and peacefully denuclearise the Korean Peninsula. The EU will also continue its work to promote respect for human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and to ensure that the current sanctions regimes regarding North Korea are effectively implemented by the international community.  The European Union is implementing all the restrictive measures imposed by the UN Security Council and its additional autonomous restrictive measures on the DPRK are the most stringent the European Union has on any third country. The European Union calls upon North Korea to engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community and is ready to support such dialogue. The High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini also discussed with Professor Yoon Je Cho the experience the EU has on the nuclear-non-proliferation agenda, that is at the full disposal of the international community.

President Tusk and the High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini both expressed their readiness to work closely with President Moon and the new Korean government.

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