European union's development policy
The European Union (EU) is the world’s most significant partner for developing countries in terms of the volume of development aid, trade and direct investments. Development cooperation falls under the areas of shared competences: the European Union and its Member States exercise their own development cooperation but their policies are essentially complementary. In 2012, Finland contributed EUR 140 million to the development cooperation carried out by the EU.
- The EU development policy is under reform
- EU is a superpower in the area of development cooperation
- Cotonou Agreement guides the cooperation with former colonies
- EU’s development funds come from many sources
- How does Finland influence the EU development policy?
- Commission is responsible for the practical implementation
Poverty reduction is the key goal of the development policy of the European Union as well as of Finland.
The European Consensus on Development of 2005 is grounded on the objective to attain the development goals of the UN Millennium Declaration.
A decision was made in the spring of 2012 to revise the EU development policy. Finland has taken an active part in the work, too. New procedures are formulated to produce better and more sustainable development outcomes. In accordance with theEU’s Agenda for Change, priority should be given to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the human rights based approach, and support for sustainable growth.
- Press release: 3166th Council meeting
- Agenda for Change (EU)
- A brief animated film version of the Agenda for Change (EU)
The developed countries’ domestic and foreign policies have a considerable impact on the developing countries’ opportunities to attain their development goals. The EU is committed to strengthening the principle of Policy Coherence for Development. It seeks to promote positive synergies and to prevent such harmful contradictions in decision-making that can influence development issues.
The judicial foundation of policy coherence was strengthened by the Lisbon Treaty, according to which “The Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries” (Article 208).
The majority of the EU’s development cooperation is given in the form of grants to partner countries in more than 160 countries, regions and organisations in different parts of the world. As a Member State of the EU, Finland takes part in this cooperation. On an annual basis, more than 10 per cent of Finland’s development cooperation funds are channeled through the EU. In 2012, the figure was EUR 140 million, corresponding to 12 per cent of Finland’s total development cooperation funding.
Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world. The EU supports rural employment in Narashind. Photo: European External Action Service EEAS.
In order to strengthen the effectiveness of the EU’s development cooperation, support is directed to only a limited number of areas of cooperation.
The Agenda for Change proposes that EU activities in each partner country be concentrated on a maximum of three sectors. Practical changes will take place gradually, because on-going development programmes spanning many years cannot be discontinued abruptly.
A report of the implementation of the EU’s development policy and foreign aid is published by the Commission annually. The report deals with the Union’s development and external assistance policies and their implementation by country and sector.
The EU’s relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) are based on long-term agreements of cooperation.
The Cotonou Agreement was signed in 2000 for a period of 20 years. It is more comprehensive than any previous trade and development agreement with these countries.
The Agreement is based on partnerships and cooperation in several different sectors. The goal is to reduce poverty and to promote sustainable development in the ACP countries and to contribute to their full participation in the world economy. The promotion of economic, cultural and social development in the ACP countries is meant to increase peace, security and stable democracy development.
Based on Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, the EU conducts regular political dialogue with several ACP countries.
In the Cotonou Agreement, a decision was made to conclude Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which define the reciprocal free trade between the EU and the ACP Group of States (ACP) in accordance with WTO rules.
The EU Commission has been engaged in EPA negotiations with seven regional ACP country groupings since 2002. The negotiations have proved to be more difficult than was expected and they have not progressed on schedule. The first full-fledged EPA agreement was concluded in 2007 with the Caribbean group of ACP countries in 2007 (CARIFORUM).
The EU Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) is one of the portfolios within the EU budget, used for country-specific and region-specific cooperation in Asia, Latin America, South Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.
The DCI also offers thematic instruments to support cooperation focusing on certain development themes across the world, such as women’s position.
Development cooperation with the ACP countries is funded from the European Development Fund (EDF). All Member States take part in the contributions; however, the new Member States contribute a little less and the old Member States more than their respective shares of the EU budget.
In addition to the cooperation based on the Cotonou Agreement, the EDF is used to fund cooperation in overseas countries and territories that belong to the EU but are located outside Europe.
Development cooperation is an integral part of the European Union’s external action. Development cooperation policies are decided by the Member States’ Ministers for Development in the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC). Development policy issues are prepared in the Working Party on Development Cooperation (CODEV) and the ACP Working Group, which meet once a week.
- Foreign Affairs Council (englanniksi)
The EU’s External Action Service and the Commission are jointly responsible for the planning of the EU’s development cooperation.
The Commission’s EuropeAid Directorate–General (DG) is responsible for delivering EU development aid through programmes and projects across the world. The Member States adopt the above-mentioned EU institutions’ plans and follow implementation at the country level mainly via their diplomatic missions. In 2012, the value of development cooperation implemented by the EU Commission totalled EUR 9.2 billion.
In Finland, the Unit for General Development Policy and Planning is responsible for the overall preparation of matters relating to development cooperation. The Unit provides guidance for working party discussions and ministerial meetings and follows EU issues from the development policy perspective.
Finland and the other Member States also fund and implement their own development cooperation out of their national budgets.