Thursday

2nd Jul 2020

Magazine

Development to fuel change

Last year, the European Commission earmarked almost €90bn for a so-called Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (or NDICI for short).

EU jargon and acronyms aside, the NDICI has serious ramifications for a whole set of policies when it comes to development across the globe.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

For Swedish centre-right MEP Tomas Tobé, who chairs the European Parliament's development committee, the issue ranks among a number of top priorities that will need to be tackled over the five years.

"An overarching priority will be to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. In order to do that, we need a concrete action plan and we need well-targeted investments," he says.

The development committee describes itself as a champion of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the global goals agreed by all UN members in 2015.

Those goals aim to reduce poverty, inequality, environmental degradation while at the same time tackling climate change and ensuring prosperity, peace, and justice.

Divided up into 17 categories, they are designed to act as a blueprint for the future of the developing world.

But the UN's target date is only 10 years away - a tall order for a world whose political leadership has been dragging its feet on a rapidly-changing climate and biodiversity loss.

Other immediate challenges also remain. Next February, the EU's existing pact with Africa, known as the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, comes to an end.

Adopted in 2000, it covers EU relations between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. Some 48 states are from sub-Saharan Africa alone. The pact spans development, trade and politics.

Talks officially kicked off in September last year with migration becoming an increasingly big sticking point.

In a sign that shows how development is merging into other policy areas, foreign and defence ministers across the EU met over the summer in Brussels to discuss improving security in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.

Two days later, development ministers joined in, demonstrating the cross-cutting nature of policy in a region where conflict has affected millions.

Asked what he hopes will be the single most important achievement for his committee over the next five years, Tobé mentions visibility.

"Policy achievements aside, I want European development policy to be more visible and the results highlighted and communicated in a much better way than in the past," he says.

Specifically, it means recognising development policy as an instrument to fuel change in a variety of fields including economic growth, innovation, environmental protection, multilateralism, democracy.

Getting consensus within the committee on such issues won't be easy and risks becoming the most divisive point they will have to deal with.

"It's essential that we challenge our perspectives by means of political debate, and that we constantly put our policies to the test," he says.

Those policies will likely be tested by the committee's coordinators, which include György Hölvényi (EPP, Hungary), Udo Bullmann (S&D, Germany), Charles Goerens (Renew, Luxembourg), Michèle Rivasi (Greens/EFA, France), Beata Kempa (ECR, Poland), Miguel Urbán Crespo (GUE/NGL, Spain) and Bernhardt Zimniok (ID, Germany).

This article first appeared in EUobserver's latest magazine, Who's Who in European Parliament Committees, which you can now read in full online.
EU-Sahel talks next week amid 'unprecedented attacks'

Officials from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger are meeting EU foreign, defence, and development ministers next week in Brussels. The visit comes amid "unprecedented levels" of armed attacks, says the UN.

Opinion

Tough questions for new EU 'development' commissioner

While much ink has been spilled on the naming of the new migration "European Way of Life" commissioner, another shift has gone largely unnoticed - the new European Commission will no longer include a commissioner for "Development".

Haiti reconstruction at a 'standstill', EU ambassador says

A year after a devastating earthquake ripped through the Caribbean state of Haiti, international reconstruction efforts have ground to a halt, plunged into confusion by the country's ongoing political deadlock, the EU's top official on the ground has said.

Magazine

Six priorities for human rights

Belgian socialist MEP Marie Arena is chairing the European Parliament's sub-committee on human rights. Her biggest challenge? Finding ways to reach objectives that cover an enormous spectrum of issues - from climate to child protection.

Magazine

EU must manage climate and industry together

For Romanian centre-right MEP Adina-Ioana Valean, the previous chair of environment committee and current chair of industry, research and energy (ITRE), climate and industrial policy-making must go hand-in-hand to bring sustainability and prosperity to Europe.

Magazine

ENVI to deliver 'Green Deal' as main priority

The French liberal MEP Pascal Canfin, who is chairing the European Parliament's committee on environment, public health, and food safety, is adamant to deliver the Green Deal quickly - because "we cannot afford to waste time".

News in Brief

  1. China to block Hong Kong exiles fleeing to UK
  2. EU stuck with Putin until 2036
  3. Malaysia pushes to keep selling palm oil to EU
  4. Austria raises corona alert on Western Balkans
  5. Turkey poised to convert Istanbul museum into mosque
  6. France leaves Nato operation after clash with Turkish ships
  7. EU Commission sets up skills agenda for next five years
  8. Bundestag gives floor to 'disgrace' Schröder on pipeline

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Magazine

Which parties and countries chair the EP committees?

Although the European Parliament tries to keep a geopolitical balance within the committees, the breakdown of the actual chairs of the committees by political party and nationality is uneven - with a clear under-representation of central and eastern EU countries.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Latest News

  1. Eminent women appeal for EU action on Palestine
  2. EU silent on US buying up world's remdesivir supplies
  3. Merkel warns of gaps as Germany takes EU helm
  4. Regions urge EU to act on 'green hydrogen'
  5. On toppling statues
  6. EU Parliament hits back at Czech PM in fund misuse row
  7. EU: Accountability needed on Uighur 'forced sterilisations'
  8. France shuts oldest reactor amid Macron climate pledges

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us