The EU must put its own house in order on policy coherence for development to lead post 2015 negotiations.

(Brussels, 27/11/2013) The European Union’s policies continue to have negative impacts in developing countries due to a lack of coherence with development objectives, which marks an infringement of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, notes CONCORD, the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs.
The call comes at the European Development Days event taking place this week in Brussels where the EU Commission will launch its latest report on EU ‘Policy Coherence for Development (PCD)’, which puts forward the EU’s commitment to promote PCD in post 2015 negotiations.
For Laust Leth Gregersen, Director of CONCORD Denmark: “While we applaud the EU for being the only region of the world to take a lead in policy coherence for development, EU institutions and member states are still all talk when it comes to making their policies, from agriculture to trade, in line with development objectives. At the European Development Days the EU is showcasing its development achievements, but policy coherence for development certainly remains a failure.”
CONCORD’s own report on EU Policy Coherence highlights in particular the EU’s lax approach to international tax dodging which contributes to developing countries losing up to $100bn in tax revenue each year.
For Olivier Consolo, CONCORD Director: “The EU Commission report rightly says that should champion the policy coherence concept in the post 2015 negotiations. But EU decisions makers must lead by example and put order in their own house. A clear example would be to close loopholes in the EU and international regulation that facilitates global tax evasion”.
1. What is Policy Coherence for Development?
Article 208 of the Lisbon Treaty says: “The Union shall take account of the objectives of development co-operation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries”. For CONCORD, Policy Coherence for Development is about ensuring that the aims and objectives of EU development cooperation are not undermined by other EU policies, such as those on climate, trade, energy, agriculture, migration, and finance matters.
2. What is is CONCORD?
CONCORD is the European NGO confederation for relief and development. CONCORDs 27 national associations and 18 international networks represent over 1,800 NGOs which are supported by millions of citizens across Europe. CONCORD leads reflection and political actions and regularly engages in dialogue with the European institutions and other civil society organisations.
Media contacts: Daniel Puglisi, Concord Communications Officer,
CONCORD remarks on the EU Commission report on Policy Coherence for Development.
• While the report demonstrates some progress in institutional mechanisms and set-ups in the EU institutions and Member States, it is poor in admitting pending cases of incoherencies. There thematic chapters generally restates the Commissions intent of policies on paper rather than identifying the incoherencies that cause conflicts and pointing to contentious issues that need attention moving forward with the PCD agenda. The Spotlight report 2013 put forward concrete analysis and recommendations for policy change in areas such as taxation, energy, trade, food security, climate change, raw materials etc. These should be addressed in future EC PCD reports and feed into the next EC PCD Work Programme.
• We agree with the credit the EC gives to many Member States for setting-up national PCD systems, but are concerned by the fact that the increased focus on PCD is not reflected in the positions of Member States when they negotiate PCD relevant policies in the Council. We therefore want to underline that Member States have a responsibility for PCD in this regard as well and encourage the CODEV and COREPER to play a role in enhancing PCD in Member States’ policy positions beyond the FAC.
• We share the analysis that the most urgent outstanding issue is “monitoring and follow-up” on the EC PCD Work Programme for the next period need to be improved in order to demonstrate results (p. 167). Yet, the examples given in the thematic chapters of the report and many Member States’ lack of PCD efforts in policy positions in the Council show, that there is a need for clear political objectives in the next PCD Work Programme in order to deliver results in terms of policy change and PCD impact. The “scope, baselines, indicators and targets will have to be considered careful in a new PCD Work Programme” as the EC writes but the success of a future WP will depend on whether concrete political objectives are included in the programme.