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Hearings: Commissioners-designate development and humanitarian aid

In the context of the approval of the new European Commission, the Committee on Development (DEVE) held two hearings: The hearing with the Commissioner-designate for development and international cooperation, Mr Neven Mimica (nominated by Croatia), took place on in the evening of 29 September. The hearing with the Commissioner-designate for humanitarian aid and crisis management, Mr. Christos Stylianides (nominated by Cyprus), took place Tuesday, 30 September. Recordings of both hearings are available below (first link). The DEVE Committee is also invited to the Foreign Affairs Committee hearing with Frederica Mogherini, High representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy and Vice-President designate of the European Commission, scheduled for 6 October from 18:30 to 21:30 and taking place in Brussels in meeting room József Antall (JAN) 4Q2. 

   
 
Highlights
 
"Parliament must insist on rapid solution to EU humanitarian aid payment crisis"

The Chair of the EP Development Committee, Linda McAvan, has expressed grave concern about the lack of payment credits for humanitarian aid operations in the EU budget. Following an exchange with EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Georgieva on 3 September, the Committee Chair underlined that proper budgeting and adequate funding for humanitarian aid was crucial to help victims of current crises. She pointed out that currently more people were fleeing conflict zones than in the aftermath of the second world war.
 
McAvan called on the Council of Ministers to swiftly adopt the Draft Amending Budget, presented by the Commission in May, in order to address a widening gap in payments, a gap which is threatening to stall humanitarian aid operations to which the EU has already agreed. Commissioner Georgieva said that "Member States must recognise that it is not only morally proper but also in our interest to bring down the flares of conflict".
 
Following the meeting and based on a mandate from political group Coordinators of the Development Committee, Linda McAvan also expressed these concerns in a letter to the Chair of the Committee on Budgets, Jean Arthuis:
 
"Disruptions in humanitarian aid delivery are incomparable to those in other EU activities: humanitarian aid is often a matter of life or death. (...) The absence of a Council response suggests that crucial humanitarian aid funds are effectively being held hostage to agreement on the entire EU budget for the next year. For the sake of the children, women and men dependent on EU humanitarian relief and of implementing partners' ability to focus on delivery of this relief, Parliament must insist on a rapid solution to the aggravating payment crisis."
 
During the meeting of 3 September, the Development Committee also voted for an increase in the Emergency Aid Reserve in the 2015 budget but the final decision will be with Council and Parliament's plenary.

   
 
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Committee responsible for:
 
1. the promotion, implementation and monitoring of the development and cooperation policy of the Union, notably:
(a) political dialogue with developing countries, bilaterally and in the relevant international organisations and interparliamentary fora,
(b) aid to, and cooperation agreements with, developing countries, notably oversight of effective aid funding and evaluation of output, including in relation to poverty eradication,
(c) monitoring of the relationship between the policies of the Member States and those implemented at Union level,
(d) promotion of democratic values, good governance and human rights in developing countries,
(e) the implementation, monitoring and advancement of policy coherence with regard to development policy;
 
2. all legislation, programming and scrutiny of actions carried out under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), the European Development Fund (EDF) – in close cooperation with national parliaments – and the Humanitarian Aid Instrument, as well as all matters related to humanitarian aid in developing countries and the policy underpinning them;
3. matters relating to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement and relations with the relevant bodies;
4. matters relating to Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs);
5. Parliament’s involvement in election observation missions, when appropriate in cooperation with other relevant committees and delegations.
 
The committee coordinates the work of the interparliamentary delegations and ad hoc delegations falling within its remit.
 
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Welcome words
 
 

Welcome to the website of the Committee on Development (DEVE). I have had the honour of being Chair of the committee since July 2014.
 
Nearly a billion people around the world live in extreme poverty. Many more face hunger and disease or have no access to healthcare or education. Yet global development efforts, under the framework of the Millennium Development Goals, have led to measurable progress, and we have seen millions being lifted out of poverty in recent years. At the same time however, we are also see growing inequalities and need to find ways to make economic growth more beneficial for a greater number of people.
 
The EU’s contribution to supporting development is vital and parliamentary support and scrutiny is an important element. Our committee participates in deciding the budget for EU aid spending, we keep a close watch on the European Commission, External Action Service and all those using EU aid funds, and we push for better coordination between donor countries and agencies. We participate in making the laws that frame EU development aid. We also meet with officials, stakeholders and experts from around the world to discuss solutions and hear what's really needed on the ground. I invite you to regularly check the news and announcements, consult meeting documents or even watch our committee meetings live as they happen.
 
Linda McAvan