Media Statement made by CONCORD, welcoming EU support to civil society organisations, after the EU Foreign Affairs Council, 15 October 2012.

(Brussels 15/10/2012) European governments announced they would renew their support to civil society organisations (CSOs) working in developing countries, in a new agreement by national government ministers forged at todays Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. Current EU support for civil society organisations amounts to some €1 billion per year.

Commenting on the agreement, Joanna Maycock, President of CONCORD, the European confederation of relief and development NGOs, said:

This comes at a time following the Arab Spring, that showed the importance of peoples movements forging their own path to freedom and human rights.

“The EU has shown it recognises the crucial role of civil society organisations in supporting development efforts and upholding human rights. This comes at a time following the Arab Spring, that showed the importance of peoples movements forging their own path to freedom and human rights. The EU now has to translate these political agreements into concrete terms in its next cooperation programmes. We need to see real political space and dialogue with civil society organisations in Europe and in partner countries.”

CONCORD welcomes the recognition that CSOs are viewed as independent actors, helping to foster good governance, democratic processes and better relationships between EU partner countries.

Ministers adopt conclusions on financing for development

Despite the EU giving serious support to a financial transaction tax in its latest Accountability Report on Financing for Development in July 2012, todays Council conclusions did not mention that a financial transaction tax should be used for development or the fight against climate change. For CONCORD, this is a missed opportunity.

CONCORD welcomes that ministers discussed the Millennium Development Goals and the preparations for the post-2015 development agenda. However with just over two years to go until the deadline for reaching the aid target of 0.7, EU governments should not just recommit to ODA targets, but propose clear timetables.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. The agreement follows an earlier ‘Communication’ from the European Commission

2. CONCORD’s full reaction to the EC Communication on Civil Society Organisations in Development Cooperation

3. The Council’s conclusions can be found here