EU Parliament votes for 2015 as European Year for Development Cooperation

(Brussels 25/10/2012) The European Parliament has voted in a large majority to call for 2015 to be designated the European Year for Development Cooperation. The vote comes as lawmakers met in Strasbourg this week, endorsing a report[1] by MEP Charles Goerens (ALDE, Luxembourg) on the future of EU development cooperation. EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, in a debate following the Parliament vote on 23 October also stated his support for the initiative.

  • The European Year for Development 2015 would be the first designated to a global theme. European years have been designated since 1983, the current being on ‘Active Ageing’.
  • 2015 is the year of expiry of the Millennium Development Goals, with many European Union states falling off track on anti-poverty aid targets.

Concord, the European confederation of Relief & Development NGOs, representing over 1,800 NGOs to the European institutions, strongly welcomes the European Parliament’s support for the European Year 2015.

For Marius Wanders, Concord Board member, “Having a European Year in 2015 for Development would be perfect timing. It’s the year when important global agreements to decide how to tackle global poverty will be negotiated, which need far more open public debate and European citizens need their say. It’s the year when important global agreements to decide how to tackle global poverty will be negotiated, which need far more open public debate and European citizens need their say. The year could generate great public awareness and put the spotlight on the EU’s global role in international development.” 

The idea of such a European Year first came from the Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation (LAPAS).

For Andris Gobins, member of LAPAS & President of the European Movement in Latvia, “I am proud that the idea was born in Latvia, a country which recently was a development recipient country, but has become a donor. I am overwhelmed by the wide support from the very first moment from civil society and EU institutions. This vote is a key milestone in the process. Let’s now start to work and hope for final support from the European Council soon. Then, perhaps we could look at having a world wide year of and for Development.”

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) also supports the proposal for the European Year.

For Staffan Nilsson, EESC President, “The initiative to nominate 2015 as a European Year for Development Cooperation is an excellent example of cooperation between the EESC, other European institutions and European civil society. The official decision on the initiative can be expected soon. Now we have to return to national, local and individual level to get suggestions for concrete aims and content. This European Year, set in the context of the Millennium Development Goals and the new, post-2015 goals, will be a success if it can obtain broad support from people inside and outside the EU.”

ENDS

Media contact ; CONCORD Communications Officer Daniel Puglisi, Daniel.puglisi@concordeurope.org Tel. 32 (0) 2 743 87 77

Notes to Editors

  1. European Parliament called for 2015 to be designated European Year of Development on 23 October in a report by MEP Charles Goerens: MEP Goerens said “In order to bring this debate more into the public domain and prepare a 2015 follow-up agenda, Commissioner Piebalgs backs Parliament’s proposal to designate 2015 as the European year of development.”
  2. The Committee of the Regions (CoR) gave also a positive opinion on the year during its last plenary session. Final agreement on the European Year will have to go through the European Council for approval on the basis of a EU Commission document, which can be expected to be drafted in the next months.
  3. A web portal has been launched by the EESC, where citizens can have their say on the initiative: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.ey2015
  4. What are the benefits of a European Year? A European Year plays a special role in communicating about the EU and its work to the citizens and allows for joint European and national level debate, cooperation and events,organised by EU institutions, national governments and civil society organisations. Often European Years have in the past directly or indirectly led to breakthrough new policies in the thematic area of the subject of the year.
  5. Concord publishes a report each year monitoring European progress on its development aid targets, more info: http://aidwatch.concordeurope.org