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New Report: EU failing its own Treaty with incoherent actions towards developing countries


20 Sep 2013


EU Priorities 2020
Social Europe & Jobs
The real life impact of EU policies on the poor - #RealLifeImpact

A new report released today shows that real impact of EU policies on the poor in developing countries contradicts EU’s Lisbon Treaty. Caritas Europa reiterates that all EU policies must be coherent in supporting the needs of developing countries.

As a member of CONCORD, Caritas Europa contributed to the new report, The Spotlight on EU Policy Coherence of Development (PCD). Caritas Europa believes that all EU policy areas must be in support of developing countries’, or at least not contradict the aim of poverty reduction. Complying with Article 208 of the Lisbon Treaty primarily means adopting the overarching principle of ‘Do no harm’ in the EU’s external relations.

Caritas Europa believes that only by adopting a genuinely coherent, accountable, and across-the-board right to food and Human Rights-Based Approach to ensuring global food security can the EU assume the global leadership and legitimacy urgently required to end hunger by 2030.

“Europe cannot finance two contrary things at the same time. The left hand must know what the right hand is doing – and they have to work together. The EU, rightfully, claims to be a global champion in development policies, but these actions should not be damaged by other EU policies. Ensuring that EU policies are genuinely coherent and mutually reinforcing to ensure food security is vital,” says Jorge Nuño-Mayer, Secretary-General of Caritas Europa.

Following the reports in 2009 and 2011, the new Spotlight Report (launched on the 18th of September) assesses different EU policies in the areas of Financing for Development, Food Security, Climate Change and Natural Resources against the benchmark of Policy Coherence for Development; a Lisbon Treaty provision to ensure that EU policies take account of development objectives, centred on poverty eradication. A number of recommendations to ensure coherence are proposed to EU institutions.

Findings in the report include:

  •  At least $859bn was lost from developing countries in 2010 alone through illicit financial flows. This is 13 times the amount the EU spent on development aid in 2012.
  •  In tax revenue alone, at least $100bn was lost from developing countries through insufficient international tax policies.

“Europe cannot continue to give aid with one hand and take away with the other and tax policy is a classic example of where it’s doing this. Billions go to poor countries in aid only to return again to rich countries via tax dodging. The balance sheet shows that the poor in developing countries are losing out here. According to the European Commission, tax evasion also costs the EU itself one trillion euros every year. This has to stop.” says Laust Leth Gregersen, Chair of CONCORD’s working group on Policy Coherence for Development.
As the future development framework will be discussed at the 68th United Nationa General Assembly, European decision makers need to stand up for fairer policies in the international arena too including a strong commitment with a Human Rights based approach (HRBA).

Read the full report here.
Read Caritas position for the 68th UN General Assembly here.

Press contact: Thorfinnur Omarsson,, tel: 04 73341393.

Notes to the Editors:
1. What is Policy Coherence for Development? (PCD)
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 Caritas Europa
Caritas Europa is a network of 49 Caritas organisations in 46 European countries. We have a heartfelt commitment to analyse and fight poverty and social exclusion; and to promote true integral human development, social justice and sustainable social systems in Europe and throughout the world.
Caritas Europa is an active member of CONCORD, the European NGO confederation for relief and development, together with 27 national associations and 18 international networks, representing over 1,600 NGOs which are supported by millions of citizens across Europe.

3. About the report
The report is the joint effort of European development NGOs and civil society organisations, coordinated by CONCORD. It follows reports in 2009 and 2011. The report includes three thematic chapters focusing on financing for development, food and nutrition security, climate change and natural resources. It also has a chapter assessing the institutional mechanisms in place for Policy Coherence for Development. A separate study published by CONCORD today looks at the mechanisms in place for Policy Coherence for Development across 17 EU Member States



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