Members' Research Service By / April 20, 2017

The New European Consensus on Development

Written by Marta Latek and Anne Vernet, On 12 May 2016, the Foreign Affairs Council decided to formally launch the…

© Franz Pfluegl / fotolia

Written by Marta Latek and Anne Vernet,

The New European Consensus on Development
© Franz Pfluegl / fotolia

On 12 May 2016, the Foreign Affairs Council decided to formally launch the review of EU development policy mainly to adapt and update the EU’s development policy to reflect the universally applicable and broad in scope, new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but also to reinforce aspects such as addressing deep causes of migration and security and development nexus.

On 14 February 2017 the European Parliament has adopted its position for the negotiation  that are expected to result in the new consensus to be agreed by the EU institutions and members states in summer 2017. This political declaration will serve as a common foundation for the development policies of EU and its member states till  at least 2030.

This Keysource gathers key documents, analyses and stakeholders’ views to throw a light on the issues at stake. It is the bibliographic companion to the EPRS Briefing: A New European Consensus on Development: Will it be fit for purpose? (Marta Latek, April 2017).

See also:


European Consensus on Development , Europeaid, European Commission.
The 2005 European Consensus on Development is a policy statement made jointly by the European Commission, Parliament and Council that commits the EU to eradicating poverty and building a fairer and more stable world. See also this Summary of EU legislation , Eur-Lex (2007).


European Parliament

Legislative procedures

2017/2586(RSP) – The new European Consensus on Development – our world, our dignity, our future.

2016/2094(INI) – Revision of the European consensus on development , rapporteurs: Bogdan Brunon Wenta (EPP), Norbert Reuser (S&D).
Video of the vote and declarations by co-rapporteurs
– press release: MEPs set priorities for a new impetus in development 25.01.2017

European Commission

Commission Communication: Proposal for a new European Consensus on Development: Our World, our Dignity, our Future  22.11.2016
The new “European Consensus on Development” is a proposal for a shared vision and framework for action. The Communication proposes aligning the Union’s development policy with the 2030 Agenda, as it is part of the international community’s agreed response to new global trends and challenges of globalisation. It suggests an ambitious, new, collective European development policy, addressing in an integrated manner the main orientations in the 2030 Agenda: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. A staff working document was also published: Assessing the 2005 European Consensus on Development .
See related Press release : Sustainable Development: EU sets out its new priorities and Factsheet : A proposal for a new European Consensus on development, 22.11.216

Review of strategic evaluations managed by DEVCO to assess the European Consensus on Development Final Report , DG DEVCO, October 2016.
The review analyses and syntheses 148 existing thematic and geographic evaluations to assess how the European Consensus on Development has guided EU development cooperation.

Closing remarks of Mimica Tour in Member States 31.10.2016
Commissioner Mimica held five think tank discussions in Member States in preparation for the proposals for a revised European Consensus on Development. Main conclusions were stressed in his closing speech in The Hague.

A Renewed EU Development Policy in Response to the UN 2030 Agenda , Neven Mimica, 18.10.2016
In his address to the IIEA, Commissioner Mimica discussed the need to revise the European Consensus on Development to account for this changed environment. In particular, Commissioner Mimica addressed the dual commitments of placing women and children at the heart of development and leaving no-one behind.

An Informal EU Development Ministers’ meeting was held in Brussels on 16 March 2017, where ministers discussed the revision of the EU development policy. These discussions have provided direction for the new European Consensus on Development, which frames the development policy activities of the EUand its Member States.

 Foreign Affairs (Development) Council , 12/05/2016

The Council had an orientation debate on the revision of the European consensus on Development in light of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, See Outcomes on p. 4.

Council of the Regions

A new European Consensus on Development Rapporteur: Jesús Gamallo Aller (ES/EPP), 8.02.2017.
The EU should increase its cooperation with local and regional authorities in the developing world if the United Nations is to achieve its goal of making cities more “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” by 2030. Related press release: A more urban developing world requires more urban response .

EESC – European Economic and Social Committee

Opinion on Proposal for a new European Consensus on Development – Our World, our Dignity, our Future Rapporteur: Ionut Sibian, co-rapporteur: Mihai Manoliu.
The draft opinion was adopted by the External Relations Section on 4 April and is expected to be adopted at the next plenary session on 26 April 2017.


What is the new European Consensus on Development for?   James Mackie, ECDPM Talking Points blog, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), 17 February 2017.
The current proposal for the new Consensus is […] less about aid and more about sustainable development.

The proposed new European Consensus on Development: has the European Commission got it right?  Raphaelle Faure, Simon Maxwell, ODI Briefing paper, January 2017, 8 p.
In November 2016, the European Commission proposed a new European Consensus on Development (COM, 2016a), governing all the international development work of the European Union (EU) and the Member States. This policy brief provides a summary and an analysis of the EU’s proposal and sets out a series of options for EU Member States and Members of the European Parliament as they begin negotiations on the text.

Africa Should Benefit Most from New EU Development Vision , ISS Africa, November 2016.
The new development themes to which the New consensus will give greater prominence suggest that Africa will get more attention than other aid recipients. These themes include a greater focus on tackling extreme poverty and inequality, especially in the Least Developed States (about 70% of which are in Africa). It also puts more emphasis on tackling the root causes of migration – much of which is from Africa – and on youth.

Qualified welcome for EU’s new once-in-a-decade development rethink , Euractiv 22.11.2016
Major NGOs gave a guarded welcome today (22 November) to a major once-in-a-decade, overhaul of the EU’s thinking on development

Publised before the proposal :

Seven critical questions for review of ‘European Consensus on Development’ ECDPM, Euractiv, 9.09.2016
Andrew Sherriff, Head of ECDPM’s Strengthening European External Action Programme, outlines seven critical questions for reflection: What’s the purpose of a new Consensus? What’s the added value of the European Union in development? What has been learned from past practice? What’s going to change? What’s the continuing acquis that should not be lost? Do we have a modern, interesting and engaging drafting process to get the best outcome – can we learn from other process, e.g. the EU Global Strategy? How do we make this work in practice?

EU Gathers Views on New Development Consensus IISD, 26.07.2016

The future of the “European Consensus on Development” DIE Briefing Paper 5/2016, February 2016.
This briefing paper looks into the past role and contributions of the Consensus in European development cooperation policy and operations and assesses the central challenges and opportunities for revising the Consensus and ensuring its continuing relevance. The improvement of coordination and cooperation between humanitarian, development and neighbourhood policy could indicate new paths and approaches in this regard. Four recommendations for reforming the consensus are derived from this analysis:

  1. Utilising the reform momentum for a rethink of the Consensus and the forthcoming negotiation on the future cooperation between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group.
  2. Adoption of a holistic and sustainable security concept acknowledging the central importance of sustainable development in both Consensus and Global Strategy.
  3. Synergies through the closer integration of policy areas within as well as between MS and EU in the coordi¬nation of humanitarian aid and development policy.
  4. Definition of priorities for future cooperation with middle-income countries (MICs) and emerging powers.

Conference report; Debate on the future of European development Policy Martin Ronceray and James Mackie, ECDPM, November 2016.
On 28 October, ECDPM organised a public debate on the future of European development policy with European Commissioner Neven Mimica and representatives of the Dutch development sector. The debate was the last of a series of five, organised in different cities in Europe; a result of a discussion between the four directors of the European Think Tanks Group and Commissioner Mimica last July.

Stakeholder views


Public Consultation on revising the European Consensus on Development  European Commission, 30.05 – 21.08.2016

Nearly 200 contributions were received:

Analysis of the results and reference documents:

Published after the consultation:

International organisations

Interview of Mario Pezzini , Director of OECD Development Centre at The future of EU development Policy, 24.10.2016
The conference was co-organized by the European Think Tanks Group (IDDRI, DIE, ECDPM and ODI) in the framework of the Initiative for Development and Global Governance (IDGM).

NGO views

CONCORD Red Lines: Proposal for a New European Consensus on Development , CONCORD, January 2017, 4 p.
“[T]he proposed new Consensus struggles to articulate a visionary development policy that will overcome the structural obstacles to sustainable development, and that is able to demonstrate how it will implement some of the core principles such as policy coherence for sustainable development, democratic ownership, and leaving no one behind.”

A new European Consensus on Development? The jury is still out…  Plan International, 28.11.2016
Tanya Cox shares her initial reflections on the proposal. While there is much to commend, the jury is still out on a number of key issues: “”Without a root-cause approach which tackles the business as usual models, we won’t see transformative change for children, especially girls, and women. Without a truly new approach, we won’t succeed in achieving human rights and sustainable development for all and in leaving no one behind.”

Good EU development plans must now translate vision into reality , Oxfam, 22.11.2016
“The litmus test for this new development framework will be how this policy and proposed instruments are supporting people to change their lives, from a woman farmer in Burkina Faso becoming more resilient to climate change, to a land rights activist in Peru safely defending her community.”

Solidar wants a development policy that brings real progress Solidar, 22.11.2016
“We have mixed feelings when reading the parts on the role of the civil society, the protection of social and labour standards, building resilient societies, funding modalities, and its approach to peace.”

The revision of the European Consensus on Development: What’s at stake? Solidar, 26.10.2016
“SOLIDAR – along with CONCORD and the SDG Watch Europe – reiterate(s) … the need for the EU to ensure that:

  • The respect and the promotion of human rights – including Economic Social and Cultural Rights – remains a central common value of EU development cooperation policy in line with the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy adopted in July 2015;
  • The Consensus keeps its focus on development cooperation policy goals (i.e. eradicate poverty and fight inequality). Therefore, development funding should not be used for migration management, to counterpart readmission agreements, for border control, for security purposes and/or to subsidise the private sector;
  • The European Parliament improves its scrutiny on development funding and ensures Policy Coherence for Development;
  • The revised Consensus reflects the spirit and the principles of the 2030 Agenda: leave no one behind, respect planetary boundaries, and gender equality.
  • Above all, the Revised Consensus should deliver a long term vision that should not be compromised by short terms political agendas but should become a development policy all Europeans can be proud of.”

The European Consensus on Development Care International, September 2016, 12 p.

Decent work and social dialogue to leave no one behind: Trade union position on the revision of the European Consensus on Development , Trade Union Development Cooperation Network – RSCD , September 2016, 8 p. [ FR version ]

Financial institutions

EIB: EU’s New Consensus on Development needs support , Werner Hoyer, Euractiv 16.03.2017

With national discourse becoming increasingly insular, few politicians are brave enough to make the case for multilateralism on the domestic stage. But the need for multilateral action and effective support of development and growth outside Europe has never been greater, argues Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank.

National views

Faisons une place au développement dans le nouveau projet européen , Rémy Rioux, directeur général de l’Agence française de développement AFD, 29.08.2016

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