Members' Research Service By / January 1, 2018

European Development Days 2017 [Topical Digest]

The European Parliament is particularly concerned that poverty eradication stays at the centre of EU development policy, while addressing the root causes of irregular migration. EPRS, Parliament’s in-house think-tank, has dedicated a number of papers on the topic.

© Franz Pfluegl / fotolia
The New European Consensus on Development
© Franz Pfluegl / fotolia

The main global development partners meet in Brussels for the European Development Days (EDD, on 7 and 8 June. This year, the debates focus on the various ways of ‘Investing in Development’, around ‘the 5 Ps’: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. The revised EU Consensus on Development will be signed during the EDD, thus emphasising the importance of development aid in EU policies. The EU and its Member States together provide half of global official development aid (ODA). The EU has been experimenting with a variety of projects to foster inclusive development, increasingly using blending (i.e. using EU ODA to leverage private investment for sustainable development goals) and trust funds. The EU is also committed to better development effectiveness and multi-stakeholder partnerships. The European Parliament is particularly concerned that poverty eradication stays at the centre of EU development policy, while addressing the root causes of irregular migration. EPRS, Parliament’s in-house think-tank, has dedicated a number of papers on the topic: a selection of recent publications can be found below. 

The 751 Members of the European Parliament represent EU citizens’ interests on an extremely wide range of, often complex, policy issues. To help them in their work, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides independent, objective and authoritative analysis of and research on these issues. As Members’ time is very limited, and the amount of analysis available sometimes overwhelming, EPRS publishes short Topical Digests of published material whenever an issue arrives at the top of the policy agenda.
In 2017 this included providing digests to coincide with High-Level Conferences organised by Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), on topics such as EU relations with Africa, clean energy for Europe, and tourism. A digest of analytical material was also prepared for the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as for the Social Summit in Gothenburg. Other major issues which warranted a digest of coverage during the year include developments in EU security and counter-terrorism policies and tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of the Paradise and Panama papers scandals. Digests were also prepared on EU development policy, and the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans. EU policy on sport, and the EU disability strategy complete this year’s collection of handy guides to EPRS publications – designed with Members of the European Parliament in mind, but available to everybody.

New European consensus on development: Will it be fit for purpose?
Briefing by Marta Latek, April 2017
The European Consensus on Development, more than just a slogan, is a necessary precondition for the complementarity and coordination of European development policies. The redefinition of development policy in times of internal crisis and global transformation has high stakes – while integrating the new and ambitious vision presented in Agenda 2030 is recognised as a necessity. The European Parliament advocates that poverty eradication should remain the main goal of development policy. Parliament defends needs- and efficiency-based criteria for the allocation of development aid. It also proposes the reinforcement of legal tools and institutional mechanisms to implement EU-wide coordination and policy coherence for development (PCD). 

Understanding ‘development effectiveness’: An overview of concepts, actors and tools
Briefing by Eric Pichon, April 2017
In the context of the limited availability of development aid, there is increased demand for effective results. This means that both developed and developing countries must commit to spending and using aid more effectively. High-level forums and stakeholder networks have helped to fine-tune the main principles of development effectiveness, and fostered a shift from a donor-recipient relationship to a more cooperative framework. The EU has been closely involved in designing and implementing the effectiveness principles. The European Parliament regularly insists these principles must not be sacrificed for short-term interests. This briefing is designed to promote a better understanding of the main concepts at stake. 

Understanding capacity-building / capacity development: A core concept of development policy
Briefing by Ionel Zamfir, April 2017
The notion that strengthening the capacity of individuals and institutions in developing countries is crucial for the success of development policy emerged gradually. Development approaches based on the notion of capacity-building were introduced to make up for perceived shortcomings in development aid and technical assistance: lack of ownership by recipients, incapacity to effect sustainable change, lack of inter-sectoral coordination, and insufficiently tailor-made approaches. While ‘capacity-building’ suggests building something new from the ground up, ‘capacity development’ is believed to better express an approach that builds on existing skills and knowledge, driving a dynamic and flexible process of change, borne by local actors.

European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD)
EU Legislation in Progress Briefing by Marta Latek, Second edition, February 2017
(The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure)
The Commission has proposed the creation of a new innovative financial instrument – the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD). The EFSD is part of the partnership framework for cooperation with countries with high irregular emigration and is one of the pillars of the new external investment plan. The proposed fund aims to mobilise EU grants to catalyse investment from public and private sources to tackle the root causes of migration in the European Neighbourhood and Africa, while helping to achieve the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals. Some NGOs fear the use of development policy resources for migration management purposes and in pursuit of European private-sector interests.

Download this Topical Digest on ‘European Development Days 2017‘ in PDF.

Further reading:

Le système multilatéral de développement: indispensable mais complexe
Briefing by Eric Pichon, May 2017 [This briefing is part of a series on multilateralism]

How the EU budget is spent: Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace
Briefing by Alina Dobreva with Philipp Wegner, May 2017

Implementing Agenda 2030: Fresh impetus for reforming the UN Development System
Briefing by Marta Latek, February 2017

ACP-EU relations after 2020: The end of an era
Briefing by Eric Pichon, December 2016 [A podcast on this topic is also available]

Growing impact of EU migration policy on development cooperation
Briefing by Marta Latek, October 2016

Africa’s economic growth: Taking off or slowing down? [also in French and German]
In-Depth Analysis by Ionel Zamfir, January 2016

On the EPRS Graphics warehouse:

State of play of EPAs with ACP countries (as of October 2016)
State of play of EPAs with ACP countries (as of October 2016)

More on the European Parliament ‘Think tank’ page.

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