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EU Policies Violate the Rights of Poor People

Date

08 Nov 2011

Sections

Global Europe

Caritas Europa believes that the Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) principle as stated in the Lisbon Treaty needs to be better promoted and implemented. CONCORD’s report on PCD will serve as the basis for advocating at EU level namely considering the publication of the third EC report on PCD for ensuring that the aims and objectives of EU development co-operation policy are not undermined by other EU policies.

EU policies are continuing to seriously undermine rights in developing countries says a new report by CONCORD, the confederation of European development NGOs, of which Caritas Europa is a member. The report - Spotlight on EU Policy Coherence for Development - shows incoherencies between EU development objectives and other policies, coming at an important time as the EU reforms its agricultural, trade and development policies.

The report finds that:

· The EU is failing to meet its obligations under the Lisbon Treaty to make its policies coherent so that they do not undermine development objectives.

· The EU can greatly improve the impact of its €53 billion per year in development aid if it shows a clearer commitment to Policy Coherence for Development. According to article 208 of the Lisbon Treaty, “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.”

Caritas Europa believes that the Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) principle (as stated in the art.208 of the Lisbon Treaty) needs to be better promoted and implemented. Thus CONCORD’s report on PCD will serve as the basis for advocating at EU level namely considering the publication of the third EC report on PCD for ensuring that the aims and objectives of EU development co-operation policy are not undermined by other EU policies.

The factors that affect development are multiple, such as trade relations, migration flows, armed conflicts, climate change. Development and aid policies alone cannot address all these challenges while meeting the needs of developing countries. Necessarily, the solutions are more complex, and require a high-level of policy coherence, in order to create policy synergies and avoid harmful consequences. Caritas Europa strongly holds the view that the objective of international sustainable development must always prevail over narrower, sectorial EU-centred interests.

Caritas Europa believes it is necessary to:

· Create a complaints mechanism that will channel people’s objections to different EU policies;

· Conceive PCD as a global/transversal policy, where the EEAS, different Directorate Generals of the EC as well as the EP and the EU Council are involved and work in a coordinated manner;

· Develop PCD indicators and PCD capacities that will enhance visibility in terms of impact evaluation of different EU policies in poverty eradication.

EU policies have negative impacts on the developing world

The report shows how the EU is looking to meet increasing European demand for raw materials by signing unfair trade agreements with resource-rich developing countries.

But in failing to account for the affects of policies such as the EU Renewable Energy Directive on human rights and the environment, the EU is implementing policies which break its development commitments.

“You can’t deny that European policies have effects overseas. Our report shows that European agriculture, trade and migration policies have negative impacts on the developing world, undermining EU taxpayer’s support for reducing global poverty, said Rilli Lappalainen from CONCORD when the report was presented to the European Commission on Monday 6 November.

“Some EU policies are doing more harm than good”, said Laura Sullivan of CONCORD member ActionAid.

“For example, we’re seeing massive rights violations in the developing world as European companies, fuelled by EU targets and financial incentives on offer, are grabbing land in poor countries to produce biofuels – which themselves have questionable green credentials”.

“This undoes the good work being done with EU aid. The EU must provide a means through which these complaints can be heard and address the unintended consequences of EU policies. Current provisions aren’t putting people’s rights ahead of European commercial interests,” she added.

With the world on the edge of a new food crisis, food security matters more than ever. The report shows that 925 million people went hungry last year – that’s almost 1 out of every 7 people on the planet. At the same time one third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted.

“The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) must stop affecting food insecurity in poor countries. It has reduced export subsidies in successive CAP reforms, but EU exports made artificially cheaper by subsidies are still squeezing local farmers out of the production chain and their local markets”.

“The EU must realize that global food security can only be achieved if poor countries are enabled to develop and safeguard their own sustainable domestic production," said Laust Gregersen of CONCORD Denmark.

CONCORD calls on the EU to walk the talk of the Lisbon Treaty and demonstrate greater political will to make Policy Coherence for Development a reality, for the benefit of poor children, women and men in developing countries, and in the EU’s long-term interest.

In the view of CONCORD, The European Commission should assess the potential impact of its upcoming policies on development and put in place a complaint mechanism open to the affected communities outside Europe.

What is Policy Coherence for Development?

Policy Coherence for Development is about ensuring that the aims and objectives of EU development co-operation policy are not undermined by other EU policies, such as those on climate, trade, energy, agriculture, migration, and finance matters. These issues are highlighted in CONCORD’s report.

About the report

The report is the joint effort of European development NGOs and civil society organisations, coordinated by CONCORD. It follows a first report in 2009. In the 2011 report, throughout the thematic chapters of relating to food security, natural resources management, human security, and migration, CONCORD uncovers some incoherencies of current EU policies and proposes alternative, fairer measures that respect the Human Rights of all.

Read the full report here.

CONCORD is the European NGO confederation for relief and development. CONCORDs 26 national associations and 18 international networks represent over 1,600 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.

Caritas Europa is a member of CONCORD.

For more information, please contact

Thorfinnur Omarsson

Communication Officer

tomarsson@caritas-europa.org

Tel. +32 (0)2 235 03 94

Mobile: +32 (0)473 341 393

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