New EU Commissioner targets “post-Cotonou” development framework for ACP countries
Brussels, 3 October 2014/ ACP: The European Commissioner-designate for International Cooperation and Development Mr Neven Mimica announced his plans to hold a “dialogue process” on the future framework for EU relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in 2015.
During his confirmation hearing as commissioner designate in the European Parliament on September 29, Mr Mimica outlined three priorities for his portfolio, with the aim to help reduce and eradicate poverty around the world, while also promoting sustainable development.
Mr Mimica said his main concern is forging an “ambitious post-2015 development framework” and boosting Europe’s leadership role in “defining a truly transformative agenda”. Key issues include development financing and means for implementation of development programmes. He called for innovative financial tools, the inclusion of businesses and civil society in the strategy, and reenergised commitment from EU members to meet the target of 0.7% of GNI dedicated to development assistance.
The EU continues to be a global leader in international develoment, contributing more than half of the world’s development aid. This includes EUR 31.5 billion for ACP countries and overseas territories for the period 2014-2020.
“My second priority would be to launch and negotiate a post -Cotonou framework and to strengthen the Union’s strategic partnership with Africa,” he continued, referring to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou in 2000, which defines modes of cooperation between Europe and 78 countries of the ACP Group from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
“The current Cotonou Agreement is the most comprehensive North-South agreement in the world. It has been a success on which we need to build. The question is not whether the ACP countries are still important to us – they are, more than ever. The question is how to best design our cooperation in the future.”
With the current agreement coming to a close in 2020, he added that the new framework will have to adapt to “the new realities” and reflect the outcome of the post-2015 process.
“The ACP Group is already reflecting on the way forward. Europe has to do the same. We need an enhanced approach that builds on strong partnerships with the ACP countries, incorporates overarching principles, such as respect of all fundamental values, and takes account of specific realities in countries and regions.
“We need to discuss together how to take forward our partnership. As a first step, I will launch a broad consultation and dialogue process in the coming year,” Mr Mimica told the hearing.
The third priority is striving for greater policy coherence between external and internal European policies. Development policy must work “seamlessly” together with security, trade, migration, humanitarian aid and foreign policies.
Mr Mimica said the post-2015 strategy and post-Cotonou framework will shape development policy for the next decade.
Twenty-seven commissioners nominated by the European Commission’s president-elect Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, underwent parliamentary hearings before being confirmed to their posts in coming weeks.
[Video published at www.elections2014.eu. Statements regarding Mr Mimica's priorities starts at 17:45 of the video]
– ACP Press