European Commission, (2013), “EU 2013 Report on Policy Coherence for Development”, Commission Staff Working Document, SWD(2013) 456, October.
Τhe European Commission published its report on policy coherence for development which lays out the progress made by the EU and its Member States in ensuring that their action in areas such as trade, agriculture, security or migration is in line with the goal of overcoming poverty in developing countries.
The report highlights, among other things, that the EU has increased the transparency of payments made by European companies in the exploitation of natural resources, thereby supporting the fight against tax evasion and corruption in developing countries. According to the report, Europe also helps to make more safe and nutritious food available in developing countries and facilitates improved access to EU markets for their producers, which creates jobs and growth.
EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said: “Today’s report confirms EU position as a global leader in ensuring an effective coherence of its policies with development purposes. While progress has been made over the last two years, I am determined to foster EU’s efforts and performance in this crucial area. It has been a priority for me since the beginning of my mandate to ensure that all EU activities that have an impact on development should be well coordinated to improve results and help overcome poverty worldwide. Policy coherence for development needs to remain at the heart of our future agenda for achieving sustainable development and inclusive growth.”
The report focuses on five development challenges on which the EU specifically targets its efforts: trade and finance, climate change, food security, migration and security. Some examples of progress:
- The EU continues to increase access (e.g. through bilateral free trade agreements) to the large European single market, allowing for export-driven growth in developing countries. The EU and its Member States are also collectively the largest provider of Aid for Trade (AfT) at €9.5 billion in 2011. Aid for Trade helps build productive capacities and strengthens a country’s ability to trade on domestic, regional and international markets.
- The EU’s raw materials policy attaches great importance to improving governance and transparency in developing countries. A flagship of EU action in this regard is the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, on the fight against illegal logging, which uses trade incentives and the EU market as a leverage to ensure that only legally-harvested timber is imported.
- Recent changes to the Accounting and Transparency Directives promote the disclosure of payments made to governments by the European extractive and forestry industries. All payments to governments over €100,000 by large companies in the extractive industry will need to be publicly disclosed. This will provide civil society in resource-rich countries with the information they need to hold governments to account for any income made through the exploitation of natural resources.
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- Oxfam, (2013), “A Cautionary Tale: The true cost of austerity and inequality in Europe”, Oxfam Briefing Paper, 12 September.
- IFRC, (2013), Think differently: Humanitarian impacts of the economic crisis in Europe, Geneva: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.