The world is more complex and interconnected than ever, and so are the challenges and threats we face. At a time of concern about protecting our borders, we also need to ensure that the world outside the EU is stable and peaceful. Essential to this is a sound and coherent development policy, the ultimate goal of which should be eradicating poverty and fighting against discrimination and inequalities.
Coordinating the external policies of the EU and its Member States
To get there, we believe that there is a need to establish a clear link between development and security. We need to ensure that our internal and external policies are well coordinated and complement each other, notably by developing the links between migration, security and development policies.
The EU institutions and Member States should take account of development cooperation objectives in all external and internal policies that are likely to affect developing countries.
We need stronger aid effectiveness and to avoid overlapping assistance in the EU and Members States' external activities.
Official development assistance (ODA) should remain the backbone of EU development policy. For this reason, the EU’s commitment to contribute 0.7% of national GNI to development policy should be enshrined in the new European Consensus on Development. Nevertheless, more innovative funding should be put into place. Blending and public-private partnerships can leverage public financing. Trust funds, as foreseen in the newly-proposed External Investment Plan, can effectively improve the investment climate in places where the risks are too high to attract private funding, like fragile, conflict- and violence-torn countries or regions, some of which are important countries of origin of irregular migrants.
Shifting our attitude towards Africa
We need a paradigm shift in our understanding to recognise that Africa is not only a continent of commodities but the place with the highest demographic growth, which needs attention in our development policy. By 2050 its total population will double, reaching 2.5 billion, according to the UN.
Women and youth in particular must be seen as drivers of development. Access to education and appropriate healthcare, the fight against youth unemployment, exchange of good practices, student and professional exchanges between Europe and developing countries should become priority actions for the EU.
Development however goes hand-in-hand with good governance. EU action needs to support the assisted countries in fostering good governance and observing the rule of law and democratic principles, with a key focus on the participation of civil society.
Focusing on security
Another crucial element is a stronger focus on security, since there is no development without security. Synergies between the Common Security and Defence Policy and development tools could be put in place for conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation. Some funding of soft security actions should be explored.
The EU and the Member States need to ensure more coherence in their external action, notably by developing the links between migration and development policies, as well as security and development Bogdan Wenta
We are contributing with ideas and great engagement to the European Consensus on Development. “To tackle these challenges more efficiently, we insist that the EU and the Member States need to ensure more coherence in their external action, notably by developing the links between migration and development policies, as well as security and development,” says Bogdan Wenta, EPP Group Coordinator in the Development Committee and Rapporteur on the revision of the European Consensus on Development.
Addressing the root causes of forced migration and displacement
Finally, development cooperation is crucial for addressing the root causes of forced migration and displacement. Stable, resilient states are less prone to situations that may eventually result in forced migration. Migration-linked development assistance in emergencies is important in order to stabilise the situation, maintain the functioning of states and enable the displaced to live in dignity.
We believe that EU development policy should play a central role in addressing problems such as the fragility of a state, conflicts, insecurity and marginalisation, poverty and the violation of human rights.
In this sense, development policy will remain an essential part of the range of EU policies for tackling global challenges, managing interdependence and building a better world.