The recurring tragedies in the Mediterranean where thousands of people are risking their lives in order to reach Europe’s shores clearly show an ever-growing need to continue, strengthen, but also refocus the EU's development policy.
"Poverty, war, lack of freedom, as well as poor governance - these factors make desperate people undertake dangerous journeys in search of a better life in Europe. Development policy is an important part of the answer to these challenges", emphasised Davor Ivo Stier MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in the European Parliament’s Development Committee, during the debate on Financing for Development (FfD) ahead of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Adis Ababa.
The EPP Group Shadow Rapporteur on FfD, Paul Rübig MEP, highlighted the importance of job creation in developing countries, especially for the younger generation. "The private sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, plays a crucial role in providing jobs and enabling sustainable development. Hence, measures such as micro credit systems need to be promoted further", he said.
The EPP Group believes that the EU needs to remain the leader in global development efforts and thus calls on Member States to re-commit to 0.7% of GNI to Official Development Assistance (ODA), taking into account national budgetary constraints.
"There is a need for a completely new approach to financing development. We need to go beyond ODA and work on mobilising all types of finance - public and private, international and domestic. However, mobilising financial resources alone will not be sufficient. Policies are of fundamental importance in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We need policies to ensure that finance is used effectively and that it is invested in areas that are enablers of development and which enable the further mobilisation of resources", commented Stier.
"We are in favour of raising financing for development but in doing so, we shouldn't lose sight of the financial difficulties in some countries, especially after an economic crisis", concluded Rübig.
The EPP Group believes that the EU's development policy needs to focus in a more assertive way on the promotion of good governance, building effective and inclusive institutions, as well as building peaceful societies. Furthermore, special attention should be given to engaging the private sector in development, as well as creating a business-friendly environment for SMEs.