(Riga/Brussels, 09/01/2015) CONCORD Director Seamus Jeffreson spoke alongside the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini amongst other high level speakers at the opening conference of the European Year for Development 2015 held today in Riga, Latvia.

2015 is the official European Year for Development, the first ever on EU external policies and an idea originally proposed by CONCORD, the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs.

A new conversation on international development

“The European year is an opportunity to have a conversation about development and issues of global justice with a broader public, with people unaware of European development cooperation and not necessarily involved with the NGOs and institutions working on development. We want the year not just to be about aid, what Europe gives, but also about how Europe lives: how our lifestyles and our trade, agricultural and economic policies in Europe affect global development,” said Seamus Jeffreson, CONCORD Director.

Why a year for development in 2015?

“2015 is ideal timing for Europe to focus on international development. 2015 is the year the United Nations Millennium Development Goals expire and negotiations for what will replace them take place, so it’s crucial that Europe re-assesses its role to tackle global poverty and inequality.” says Inese Vaivare, Director of LAPAS, the Latvian Development NGO network

NGOs to be partner of European Year activities

“CONCORD, as the main European network of development organisations, is proud to have been asked by the EU institutions to lead the Civil Society Alliance of the year, bringing together a broad coalition of civil society organisations from across Europe. This alliance will not only help us reach out to as large and diverse audience of EU citizens as possible, but we also are confident that these new partnerships will lead to synergies from which we will continue to benefit well beyond 2015” said Marius Wanders, spokesperson for CONCORD’s Civil Society Alliance.

More info on CONCORD’s role in the year here.

Notes to editors

1. The opening event: 09:00, CET. Livestream available on: https://eu2015.lv/ The thematic year will be officially launched on 9 January at an event organized by the Latvian Presidency of the EU in Riga.


Media contacts:

Daniel Puglisi
Communications Coordinator
Tel. +32-2-743 8777
Twitter: @daniel_puglisi @Concord_Europe
Skype: concord.communications