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Procedure : 2017/2258(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0118/2018

Texts tabled :

A8-0118/2018

Debates :

PV 16/04/2018 - 24
CRE 16/04/2018 - 24

Votes :

PV 17/04/2018 - 6.12
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2018)0103

Texts adopted
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Tuesday, 17 April 2018 - Strasbourg Final edition
Implementation of the Development Cooperation Instrument, the Humanitarian Aid Instrument and the European Development Fund
P8_TA(2018)0103A8-0118/2018

European Parliament resolution of 17 April 2018 on the implementation of the Development Cooperation Instrument, the Humanitarian Aid Instrument and the European Development Fund (2017/2258(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 3(5) and 21 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 208 to 211 and 214 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, adopted at the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in 2011 and renewed at the High-Level Meeting in Nairobi in 2016,

–  having regard to the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Sendai (Japan) from 14 to 18 March 2015,

–  having regard to the UN resolution entitled ‘Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York on 25 September 2015, and to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals included therein,

–  having regard to the World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May 2016, and the ‘Grand Bargain’ agreement reached by some of the biggest donors and aid providers,

–  having regard to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement(1) signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000, as revised on 25 June 2005 and 22 June 2010,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2013/755/EU of 25 November 2013 on the association of the overseas countries and territories with the European Union(2),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 of 20 June 1996 concerning humanitarian aid(3),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(4),

–  having regard to the Internal Agreement between the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of the European Union, meeting within the Council, on the financing of European Union aid under the multiannual financial framework for the period 2014 to 2020, in accordance with the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, and on the allocation of financial assistance for the overseas countries and territories to which Part Four of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union applies (‘the Internal Agreement’),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) 2015/322 of 2 March 2015 on the implementation of the 11th European Development Fund(5),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) 2015/323 of 2 March 2015 on the financial regulation applicable to the 11th European Development Fund(6),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 233/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation for the period 2014-2020(7),

–  having regard to the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid of 2007(8),

–  having regard to the new European Consensus on Development of 7 June 2017(9),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 19 June 2017 on EU engagement with civil society in external relations,

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2016 on increasing the effectiveness of development cooperation(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2016 entitled ‘EU Trust Fund for Africa: the implications for development and humanitarian aid’(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2016 on the EU 2015 Report on Policy Coherence for Development(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 October 2013 on local authorities and civil society: Europe’s engagement in support of sustainable development(13),

–  having regard to the European Court of Auditors’ Special Report No 18/2014 on EuropeAid’s evaluation and results-oriented monitoring systems,

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 15 December 2017 entitled ‘Mid-term Review Report of the External Financing Instruments’ (COM(2017)0720), and the related staff working documents, ‘Evaluation of the Development Cooperation Instrument’ (SWD(2017)0600) and ‘Evaluation of the 11th European Development Fund’ (SWD(2017)0601),

–  having regard to the External Evaluation of the 11th European Development Fund (final report of June 2017), commissioned by the Commission from a team of external contractors,

–  having regard to the External Evaluation of the Development Cooperation Instrument (final report of June 2017), commissioned by the Commission from a team of external contractors,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 February 2018 on a new, modern Multiannual Financial Framework for a European Union that delivers efficiently on its priorities post-2020 (COM(2018)0098),

–  having regard to the ‘Coherence report – Insights from the External Evaluation of the External Financing Instruments’ (final report of July 2017), commissioned by the Commission from a team of external contractors,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure, as well as Article 1(1)(e) of and Annex 3 to the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 12 December 2002 on the procedure for granting authorisation to draw up own-initiative reports,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0118/2018),

A.  whereas since the adoption of the External Financing Instruments (EFIs), the international and EU policy framework has changed significantly with the adoption of landmark instruments such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, and the Agenda for Humanity; whereas the EU played a leading role in the negotiations of these instruments;

B.  whereas the Treaty of Lisbon, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), together with the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, the new European Consensus on Development and the Busan effective development principles, determine the EU strategy on development cooperation and humanitarian aid; whereas, in addition, the Council has adopted a Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, which deals inter alia with development cooperation;

C.  whereas according to Article 214 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, humanitarian assistance must be delivered in accordance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality and guided by a needs-based approach; whereas humanitarian aid must not be a crisis management tool;

D.  whereas development policy should complement EU foreign policy and migration management, while ensuring that development funding is used only for development-related objectives and purposes and not to cover expenses related to the achievement of different objectives, such as border control or anti-migration policies;

E.  whereas the main objective of the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) is to reduce and, in the long term, eradicate poverty in developing countries that do not benefit from funding under the European Development Fund (EDF), the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) or the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), to provide thematic support for civil society organisations and local authorities in partner countries in the area of development-related global public goods and challenges, and to support the strategic partnership between Africa and the EU; whereas the DCI is the main geographic instrument in the area of development cooperation in the EU budget, with EUR 19,6 billion in allocations for the period 2014-2020;

F.  whereas the main objective of the EDF is to reduce and, in the long term, eradicate poverty in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region and achieve the sustainable development of overseas countries and territories (OCTs); whereas the EDF is the main EU development cooperation instrument, with EUR 30,5 billion allocated to the 11th EDF for the period 2014-2020;

G.  whereas the main objective of the Humanitarian Aid Instrument (HAI) is to provide assistance, relief and protection to people affected by natural or manmade disasters and similar emergencies, placing the focus on the most vulnerable victims regardless of nationality, religion, gender, age, ethnic origin or political affiliation, and in accordance with real needs, international humanitarian principles and the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid;

H.  whereas the HAI extends beyond the core task of lifesaving operations to include relief for those affected by longer-lasting crises, short-term rehabilitation and reconstruction work, disaster preparedness and addressing the consequences of population movements;

I.  whereas effective development cooperation calls for innovative approaches, giving donors the ability to respond quickly to local situations, work with local organisations and support local businesses and entrepreneurs, especially in the poorest and most fragile countries; whereas the EU’s audit system must give donors the flexibility to take on a reasonable amount of risk in such projects, enhancing the EU’s ability to react quickly and deliver effective aid;

J.  whereas the EU is the world’s leading donor of development and humanitarian aid; whereas through this assistance the EU champions efforts to reduce poverty and to promote global and EU interests and fundamental values;

K.  whereas the African Union-EU Summit held in Abidjan on 29 and 30 November 2017 confirmed the will to establish a genuine, modernised, globalised and ambitious partnership, creating the political and economic conditions for real equality;

L.  whereas there has been an exponential increase in the number of development cooperation agreements concluded with third countries, including China, Russia, Turkey, Brazil and India;

M.  whereas reinstating and extending the so-called global gag rule and cutting funds to organisations that provide women and girls with family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights services is of serious concern;

N.  whereas third-country governments have real expectations when it comes to swift action, effectiveness and addressing the urgent need to maintain sound development cooperation partnerships; whereas there is a need to develop open and productive economies in partner countries, while taking into account new circumstances and new economic stakeholders in the international arena;

O.  whereas given the lack of UK involvement beyond 2020, Brexit will entail a reduction in the EU budget of between 12 and 15 %;

P.  whereas the EDF and DCI evaluations confirm that using the different geographic and thematic instruments in a coherent manner is indeed possible;

Q.  whereas the evaluation of the 11th EDF states that ‘there is a real threat that EDF will be pushed into responding to agendas that distance it from its primary objective of poverty alleviation, which are difficult to reconcile with the EDF’s core values and compromise what it does well’, that ‘despite consultations, government and [civil society organisation] views (with some notable exceptions such as in the Pacific region), have rarely been taken account of in programming choices’ and that ‘the EDF11 programming thus used a top-down approach to apply the concentration principle but at the cost of the Cotonou Agreement’s central principle of partnership’;

R.  whereas according to the 11th EDF evaluation, by April 2017, nearly EUR 500 million from the EDF reserve had been disbursed to support the Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) department, nearly EUR 500 million had been allocated in emergency support to individual countries and EUR 1,5 billion had been disbursed to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa; whereas the EDF also contributes to the new European Fund for Sustainable Development;

S.  whereas the DCI evaluation states that ‘the DCI remains overall relevant and fit for purpose, both when it was adopted and at the mid-point of its implementation. It is broadly in line with new policy documents (e.g. the new European Consensus on Development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development) although implementing certain priorities, could be difficult in its current format’;

T.  whereas at the time of the adoption of the EFIs 2014-2020 Parliament expressed a preference for a distinct EFI dedicated to development cooperation and called for the ring-fencing of development funds should the EDF be budgetised;

U.  whereas with reference to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the EDF evaluation states that ‘compared to standard EDF projects, the shortened preparation and approval time, the indirect involvement of the EU in project implementation and the fact that these projects originate from EU priority concerns rather than as a response to [partner countries’] long-term objectives, all raise concerns over the likely effectiveness and sustainability of EU [Emergency Trust Fund for Africa] projects and over the ability of the EU to closely monitor their implementation’;

V.  whereas the financial flow from the Union to countries benefiting from financial instruments for development is lower than the remittances made privately by the diaspora from those same countries living in Europe;

W.  whereas despite having received billions of euros from the EDF for years and despite the Commission’s serious concerns about its financial management, the African Peace Facility was not part of the EDF evaluation; whereas the African Peace Facility has not been evaluated since 2011;

X.  whereas according to their respective evaluations and the Commission mid-term review report on the EFIs, the overall effectiveness and long-term impact of the DCI and the EDF in meeting their objectives is difficult to measure owing to serious limitations in defining adequate evaluation and monitoring systems and in assessing the role played by external factors, and to the breadth of the countries and themes concerned; whereas according to the evaluators, blending only mobilises additional resources in 50 % of cases;

Y.  whereas Parliament has been faced with very short deadlines for the scrutiny of draft implementing measures; whereas these deadlines do not take proper account of the characteristics of parliamentary activities; whereas at times this has been compounded by the fact that Parliament was sent draft implementing measures after the deadline or before recess periods, which restricted even further its ability to adequately exercise its scrutiny powers;

Z.  whereas the EU has recognised the importance of partnerships with civil society organisations (CSOs) in external relations; whereas this includes involvement of CSOs in programming and implementing EFIs;

Facts and findings of the mid-term review of implementation of the DCI, EDF and HAI

General considerations

1.  Welcomes the fact that evaluations of the DCI, EDF and HAI show that these instruments’ objectives were largely relevant to the policy priorities at the time of their design and that they are generally fit for purpose and aligned with the values and objectives of the SDGs; points out that the annual funding gap for attainment of the SDGs is USD 200 billion;

2.  Notes that some countries where EDF and DCI geographic programmes operate have experienced progress in poverty reduction and human and economic development over the last ten years, while for others the situation remains critical;

3.  Notes with satisfaction that the DCI and EDF priorities are aligned with the SDGs’ values and objectives, owing to the instrumental role that the EU has played in their adoption, and that this fact has largely facilitated and simplified the mid-term review of these instruments;

4.  Notes that in their first years of implementation, the DCI and the EDF have enabled the EU to respond to new crises and needs thanks to the broad nature of the instruments’ objectives; notes, however, that a multiplication of crises and the emergence of new political priorities have put financial pressure on the DCI, the EDF and the HAI, have stretched these instruments to their limits and have led to the decision to set up new ad hoc mechanisms such as trust funds, which are surrounded by serious concerns, namely over transparency, democratic accountability and their disconnection from development objectives; recalls the recently adopted European Fund for Sustainable Development, which was created to provide further leverage capacity;

5.  Is satisfied with the increased internal coherence within the DCI and the EDF, largely due to high-quality assessments, harmonised decision-making processes and sector concentration;

6.  Notes that there are cases in which budget support is still criticised for its lack of appropriateness and efficiency, when it is actually a form of support that corresponds to a modern concept of cooperation that fits in very well with genuine development partnerships, makes partner-country ownership possible and has the advantage of being flexible and efficient; calls, therefore, for action to be taken to strengthen the political and institutional partnership that promotes the granting of budget support, while insisting on effective economic governance and respect for democratic values; points out that development cooperation policy must be implemented in a manner that takes account of the wishes of the countries and populations that need it, ensuring their participation in the decision-making process and that they assume responsibility for its transparent and efficient application;

7.  Notes the fact that a large number of countries have become upper-middle income countries (UMICs), with the result that they have graduated from bilateral cooperation under the DCI or receive reduced bilateral cooperation grants under the EDF, since development aid coupled with successful national policies may lead to positive outcomes; recalls that poverty and development are multidimensional, and that maintaining GDP as the unique development indicator is insufficient; notes also that since the majority of the world’s poorest people live in middle-income countries, in which inequalities persist, withdrawing aid to middle-income countries abruptly might undermine the achievement of the SDGs; insists, therefore, on the need to continue supporting these countries in this delicate phase on their path to greater development;

8.  Underlines the need to ensure that development aid is used in accordance with its original purpose, with due consideration of aid and development effectiveness principles; reiterates that EU development cooperation should be aligned with partner countries’ plans and needs;

9.  Emphasises that under no circumstances should the EU’s short-term (security or migration) domestic interests drive its development agenda, and that aid and development effectiveness principles should be fully respected and applied to all forms of development cooperation;

10.  Notes that the Commission has concluded that coherence among instruments could be enhanced through streamlining; highlights that no reference is made to such a finding in any of the different evaluations;

11.  Is worried by the evaluators’ findings concerning the lack of monitoring and evaluation systems, which makes it difficult to measure results; highlights, on the other hand, the numerous positive findings related to EU development policies of audits carried out by the European Court of Auditors (ECA); recalls the observations made by the ECA in its Special Report No 18/2014 on EuropeAid’s evaluation and results-oriented monitoring systems; calls on the Commission to use this occasion to further improve its results framework system in accordance with the recommendations made by the ECA;

12.  Is surprised by the discrepancy between the evaluation results and the conclusions drawn by the Commission in its mid-term review; regrets that the serious problems of the instruments’ lack of partnership and the risk of shifting the focus away from poverty alleviation are not addressed at all in the Commission’s conclusions despite this being a key element of the evaluation;

13.  Is concerned about the lack or limited nature of the data available; notes that the absence of a monitoring and evaluation system beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the SDGs makes it impossible to measure changes accurately, for example with regard to the instrument’s flexibility or the level of consistency with other instruments;

14.  Notes, in addition, that the lack of a funding chapter that is explicitly designed to encourage political debate, with particular reference to support for political parties, is not conducive to achieving sustainable development targets;

15.  Calls for reporting to be improved by automatically producing statistics and indicators;

16.  Regrets that the Commission has not seized the opportunity presented by the mid-term review to adapt its policies to the requirements set out in the new European Consensus on Development on support to small-scale and sustainable agroecological farming; notes that, on the contrary, proposed measures include even more support to large-scale farming and agro-businesses;

DCI

17.  Stresses that the DCI’s relevance lies primarily in its flexibility to respond to unforeseen events as regards the choice of programming and implementation methods and with regard to reallocations within and between instruments and to the use of reserve funds; highlights that flexibility in the multi-annual programming has also allowed for the adaptation of the length of the programming period to the situation on the ground, for a swift reallocation of funding in case of major changes, and for the use of special measures;

18.  Welcomes the fact that evaluations have underlined the strategic relevance of the DCI’s thematic programme, in particular its ability to promote global actions on public goods;

19.  Takes note of the simplification, harmonisation and broader implementation modalities introduced in Regulation (EU) No 236/2014 on common rules for the implementation of the EFIs, which has brought about more effectiveness in the DCI; stresses that Regulation (EU) No 233/2014 establishing the DCI does not provide details on a monitoring and evaluation system for measuring the instrument’s performance; is extremely concerned about the fact that the implementation procedures, some of them originating from the Financial Regulation, are still perceived as lengthy and burdensome, which discredits the EU and increases the appeal of approaches taken by certain countries which are seen as relying to a much lesser extent on formalities and conditions; recalls, in this context, that some of these procedures stem from the Financial Regulation, and not from the EFIs, while other requirements are based on the application of fundamental principles of development cooperation, such as partnership and ownership;

20.  Notes that Commission working documents show that amounts paid are fairly low compared with amounts committed; emphasises that this is a major problem where ‘competition’ for development assistance is concerned; calls, therefore, for better communication on funding options, to ensure that the EU’s partners are informed; calls for training on compiling EU files to be provided for local stakeholders, including civil servants, to ensure that they are in the best position to fulfil the criteria and therefore increase their chances of making successful project applications; notes that such training could also be geared towards improving responses to calls for projects from other international organisations;

21.  Is concerned that the mid-term evaluation of the DCI points to the risk of a perceived lack of compliance with the requirement to allocate at least 20 % of assistance under the DCI to basic social services such as health, and to secondary education and other social services, when these needs are essential to the development of these countries; is also concerned by the inadequate support given to national health systems, as well as the lack of data concerning results achieved in relation to education funding; reiterates the commitment made in the new European Consensus on Development to allocate at least 20 % of EU official development assistance (ODA) to social inclusion and human development;

22.  Is satisfied with the objectives and results of the thematic programme dedicated to CSOs and local authorities, and calls for its retention in future instruments; is gravely concerned, however, at the shrinking space awarded for CSOs and local authorities in the programming and implementation phases of the programmes, and calls for a strengthened role for these bodies, including as service providers, as well as for more tailor-made cooperation modalities and a more strategic approach; underlines that the development of these countries can only be fully achieved through cooperation with legitimate local authorities;

23.  Encourages the Commission to implement policies that encourage the involvement of the African diaspora as key development stakeholders;

EDF

24.  Notes that the EDF has played an important role in addressing poverty eradication and the attainment of the SDGs; notes, however, that evidence of progress is weaker at regional level and that the EDF has not consistently established solid synergies and coherence across its national, regional and intra-ACP cooperation programmes;

25.  Regrets that the mid-term review did not cover the African Peace Facility, which has not been properly evaluated for years; considers that in times where more and more political emphasis is placed on the security-development nexus, evidence-based policymaking is key;

26.  Welcomes the fact that the EDF has proven to be fit for purpose in a fast-changing environment thanks to a reduced planning cycle, streamlined procedures and improved budget management; notes, however, that it is still not fully adapted to a changed context and that the procedures continue to be somewhat rigid and burdensome;

27.  Notes that the very different needs and nature of the groups of ACP countries and OCTs covered by the EDF raise questions over the one-size-fits-all approach that characterises the choice of procedures and modalities, and ultimately over the territorial scope of the EDF; recalls the need for a new and genuine partnership among equals, with human rights as the main focus;

28.  Notes that the EDF faced pressure to tackle an increasing number of political demands, such as security and migration, which are difficult to align with the EDF’s core values and the principles of the EU’s development and cooperation policy, namely poverty eradication;

HAI

29.  Is satisfied that the HAI has achieved its objective of providing aid in emergency situations on a basis of full respect of public international law, while ensuring that humanitarian aid is not instrumentalised and that the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence are respected;

30.  Notes that the number of humanitarian crises and disasters dealt with by the HAI has significantly increased in the last few years, which has led to the full use of the Emergency Aid Reserve and to the need to use additional funds, and that this situation is not likely to improve in the short to medium term given the growing number of crisis situations affecting many areas all over the world; notes that this points to the need for a substantial increase in the Emergency Aid Reserve and for a swifter and more flexible use of all available resources;

31.  Considers that people and communities should remain the core targets and stakeholders of the HAI, and that a flexible, coordinated, context-specific approach that takes on board the views of local governments and authorities, as well as local communities, religious development-oriented organisations, and civil society actors, should be adopted in all circumstances; underlines that many of these organisations, including Europe-based diaspora organisations, carry out valuable work in several critical areas and can provide added value to humanitarian aid;

32.  Recalls that unsafe abortion is listed by the World Health Organisation as one of the five leading causes of maternal mortality; recalls the internationally declared legal basis for the right to sexual and reproductive health and rights for victims of sexual violence and people in conflicts;

Recommendations for the remaining implementation period

33.  Stresses that the DCI, the EDF and the HAI should be implemented in the light of the new international and EU policy framework, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Agenda for Humanity;

34.  Recalls that the SDGs must be achieved worldwide through the joint efforts and partnership of all international actors, including developing and developed nations and international organisations; stresses that, at EU level, this calls for internal and external policies designed and implemented in a joint, coherent and coordinated fashion, in accordance with Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) principles; considers that PCD must be a major factor in the definition and implementation of the EFIs and in the adoption of other EU policies and instruments by reason of the interconnection between internal and external EU policies; takes the view, however, that overall coherence between instruments should be further improved, in particular by improving coherence and coordination between geographic and thematic programmes and by achieving greater coordination and complementarity with other EU policies;

35.  Is worried that UMICs that have graduated from the EDF and the DCI may be faced with a funding gap that places them in a situation of vulnerability; calls on the Commission to reflect on the consequences, to consider measures to prevent negative effects, and to facilitate UMICs’ access to EFIs tailored to their needs, with a view in particular to stepping up efforts to enhance good governance by combating corruption, tax fraud and impunity, ensuring respect for the rule of law and the holding of free and fair elections, ensuring equal access to justice, and addressing institutional weaknesses; acknowledges the work carried out by EUROsociAL in this area; stresses, however, the need to prioritise the allocation of grants to the least developed countries (LDCs) which are prone to instability, face significant structural impediments to sustainable development and therefore depend heavily on international public finance;

36.  Takes the view that EFIs should continue to directly support both EU and local CSOs, local communities, local and regional governments and local authorities in partner countries and their partnerships with European local and regional governments, and systematically facilitate their active participation in multi-stakeholder dialogues on EU policies and on all programming processes across all instruments; considers, furthermore, that the EU should promote the role of CSOs as watchdogs both in and outside the EU and support decentralisation reforms in partner countries; welcomes, in this context, the Commission’s intention to deepen and consolidate ongoing work to build partnerships and dialogue with civil society working in development and to enhance the engagement in dialogue and involvement of networks of CSOs in EU policymaking and processes; recalls that the EU should support democratic consolidation by identifying mechanisms to support the activities of organisations in third countries, so as to contribute to the stabilisation and improvement of institutional standards for the management of public goods;

37.  Confirms its determination to monitor the fulfilment of the EU commitment to provide continued support for human development in order to improve people’s lives, in line with the SDGs; recalls that, in the case of the DCI, this results in the need to allocate at least 20 % of assistance to basic social services, with a focus on health and education, and to secondary education; is concerned, therefore, that at a time when doubts persist over the achievement of the 20 % human development objective, the Commission is shifting funds away from human development towards investment;

38.  Calls for the strict application of preconditions allowing for the effective use of budget support and for a more systematic monitoring of this aid modality in partner countries, so as to improve accountability, transparency, aid effectiveness, and the alignment of budget support with its objectives;

39.  Warns against abusive recourse to trust funds, which threatens the specificity of EU development cooperation policy; insists that they should be used only when their added value compared with other aid modalities is guaranteed, especially in emergency situations, and that their use should always be fully in line with aid effectiveness principles and development policy’s primary objective: poverty eradication; is concerned at the fact that contributions from Member States and other donors to trust funds have been below expectations, with negative consequences for their effectiveness; recalls the need for parliamentary scrutiny of these funds; is seriously worried about the findings of the EDF evaluation on the effectiveness of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa;

40.  Recalls that the Commission should ensure transparency when trust funds are used, inter alia by providing Parliament with regular information updates and ensuring its proper involvement in relevant governance structures, in accordance with the applicable EU legislation; recalls, moreover, that trust funds must apply the full range of development effectiveness principles, should be consistent with long-term development priorities, principles and values, national and EU country strategies and other relevant instruments and programmes, and that a monitoring report assessing this alignment should be published biannually; reiterates that, to that end, the aim of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa is to address the root causes of migration by promoting resilience, economic opportunities, equal opportunities, security and development;

41.  Recalls that the budget for EU external action has constantly been mobilised and reinforced, exhausting all available margins in order to tackle the increasing number of crises; is of the view that in this context of multiple crises and uncertainty the EFIs need to have sufficient flexibility to be able to adjust swiftly to changing priorities and unforeseen events, and to deliver rapidly on the ground; recommends, to this end, a smart use of the EFI reserve or the unused funds, more flexibility in the multiannual programming, an appropriate combination of funding modalities and greater simplification at implementation level; stresses, however, that greater flexibility should not be achieved at the expense of aid effectiveness and predictability, long-term geographic and thematic priorities, or commitments to uphold reforms in partner countries;

42.  Calls on the Commission to implement the HAI in a way consistent with the humanitarian principles, the commitments agreed in the Grand Bargain at the World Humanitarian Summit, and the conclusions of the ECA Special Report No 15/2016(14); calls on the Commission, in particular, to increase transparency in the strategic programming and funding selection procedure, pay due attention to the cost-efficiency of actions, without compromising humanitarian aid objectives and the willingness to help the most vulnerable and while maintaining the capacity to sustain the humanitarian imperative by reaching the most vulnerable and operating where needs are most pressing, improve monitoring during implementation, allocate greater funding for national and local responders, cut bureaucracy through harmonised reporting requirements, and make provision on a multiannual basis in terms of strategy, programming and funding, so as to ensure greater predictability, flexibility, rapidity and continuity in humanitarian response;

43.  Insists that humanitarian aid should continue to be allocated to population groups in crisis areas, and that humanitarian actors should have unfettered access to victims in conflict areas and fragile countries to enable them to carry out their activities;

44.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that, in addition to immediate response to humanitarian crises, the HAI, together and in complementarity with the DCI and the EDF and in the light of the humanitarian-development nexus, builds up resilience to future shocks by promoting early warning and prevention strategies and structures, provides longer-term sustainable development benefits in line with the need to link relief, rehabilitation and development, and keeps a focus on forgotten crises with full respect for the principle of leaving no one behind;

45.  Notes that complementarity between development instruments and the HAI must be improved, in particular in the context of the humanitarian-development nexus, the new strategic approach to resilience and the EU’s commitment to disaster risk reduction and preparedness, without undermining their respective objectives and mandates;

46.  Recalls that development complements humanitarian aid with a view to the prevention of shocks and crises;

47.  Calls for the recognition of the specificity of humanitarian aid in the EU budget, which entails the need to secure the Emergency Aid Reserve as a flexible instrument for responding to new crises with sufficient funds;

48.  Takes the view that the EU delegations should be more involved in development cooperation programming choices under the different EFIs they manage; considers that this would also allow for improved complementarity and synergies, and for increased alignment with needs and partner country ownership;

49.  Insists on adequate staffing at Commission and European External Action Service (EEAS) headquarters and in EU delegations, in terms of both numbers and development and humanitarian aid expertise;

50.  Is unsatisfied with the very short deadline allowed for Parliament’s scrutiny of draft implementing measures under the DCI; urges the Commission to modify the Rules of Procedure of the DCI and Humanitarian Aid Committees by December 2018 so that Parliament and the Council are given more time to exercise their scrutiny powers adequately;

51.  Urges the Commission and the EEAS to increase and improve donor coordination through joint programming and joint implementation with other Member States and donors, aligned with partner countries’ national development programmes, under the leadership of and coordinated by the EU delegations;

52.  Calls for Parliament to have increased political scrutiny over the 11th EDF programming documents as a means to enhance transparency and accountability;

Recommendations for the post-2020 architecture of the DCI and the EDF, and for the future implementation of the HAI

53.  Reiterates the autonomy of the EU’s development and humanitarian policies, which are based on specific legal bases recognised in the Treaties and establish values and objectives that are specific, should not be subordinated to the EU’s geopolitical strategy, and should always be aligned with development effectiveness principles and, in the case of humanitarian aid, the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence;

54.  Stresses the absolute necessity of maintaining separate development and humanitarian aid instruments respecting key development principles, in the light of the EDF and DCI evaluation findings concerning the lack of partnership and the threat to the central objective of poverty alleviation within the new framework of shifting policy priorities;

55.  Recalls that the EDF, the DCI and the HAI are characterised by positive budget execution and are key to demonstrating international solidarity, while contributing to the credibility of the EU on the global stage; considers that, irrespective of possible structural changes or mergers with regard to these instruments, including the possible budgetisation of the EDF, the overall appropriations for the next MFF should be increased, while the ODA criteria should not be diluted, and that the future architecture of the EFIs should include a more transparent inclusion of trust funds and facilities guided by the key principles of democratic ownership and development effectiveness, as well as a possible continuation of the External Investment Plan, based on an evaluation demonstrating its development additionality and human rights, social and environmental impact;

56.  Invites the Council, the Commission and the European Investment Bank to conclude an interinstitutional agreement with Parliament on transparency, accountability and parliamentary scrutiny on the basis of the policy principles set out in the new European Consensus on Development, given the shift in aid modalities from direct grants to trust funds and blended finance, including through the European Fund for Sustainable Development;

57.  Stresses the positive image that the international community has of the EU as a cooperative global actor, which nonetheless risks being tainted by red tape and bureaucratic delays; is of the view that this contributes to the EU’s soft power in international relations, which calls for a strong and autonomous development policy after 2020 with differentiated development instruments;

58.  Stresses that the reduction and, in the long term, eradication of poverty, together with the implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement and the protection of global commons, should constitute the primary objectives of the EU’s development policy and instruments, with special attention paid to those most at risk;

59.  Stresses that the post-2020 architecture of the DCI and the EDF and the implementation of the HAI must be aligned with the EU’s international commitments, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, and the EU policy framework, including the new European Consensus on Development, the new Global Strategy for the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy and the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid;

60.  Considers that the architecture of the new EFIs should take into account the proven good functioning of the current EFIs, ODA eligibility and the need to deliver on the SDGs;

61.  Considers that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the global dimension of many SDGs call for a new political approach, whereby all political actors, from both developing and developed countries, must endeavour to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs through consistent and coordinated internal and external policies, and considers that the new EFIs post-2020 and the new European Consensus on Development will be instrumental to this end;

62.  Is convinced of the importance of promoting a human rights- and principle-based approach to development, thereby promoting democratic principles, fundamental values and human rights worldwide; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to adequately combine assistance under the EFIs and political dialogue, both bilaterally and in the framework of regional and global organisations, in order to promote these principles, values and rights;

63.  Considers it vital to include horizontal and cross-sectoral environmental protection and the opportunities offered by environmental policies in all development policies; regrets the insufficient progress made in terms of mainstreaming democracy, human rights and gender equality; urges, furthermore, that the Paris Agreement commitments be fully reflected in future instruments and programmes, accompanied by adequate monitoring; considers, therefore, that the fight against climate change should play an increasingly important role in development cooperation;

64.  Considers it necessary to conduct a ‘lessons learned’ exercise in order to identify the shortcomings in, and improve, the coordination of EU EFIs with the financing instruments of other international institutions, so as to create synergies and maximise the impact of the financing instruments in developing countries;

65.  Considers it necessary to increase the current levels of EU ODA in the future architecture of the EFIs post-2020 and to develop a clear timeline, so as to enable the EU to honour its collective commitment to provide 0,7 % of Gross National Income (GNI) in ODA and allocate 0,2 % of ODA/GNI to the least developed countries; welcomes, in this context, the recent Commission communication on the new MFF; reminds Member States of the need to respect their commitment to contribute 0,7% of their GNI in ODA; recalls the need to implement the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee recommendations on reaching an average grant element in total ODA of 86 %;

66.  Is of the view that, without prejudice to increased flexibility and/or reserves, the post-2020 architecture of EFIs should continue to make provision for a mix of both geographic and thematic multiannual programmes, allowing for development actions on different scales; considers support to the regional cooperation and integration of partner countries to be an important factor which is necessary in order to eradicate poverty and promote long-term sustainable development;

67.  Stresses that the EU’s external development action must be based on an appropriately balanced combination of flexibility and predictability of development assistance, on a basis of sufficient funding; acknowledges, at the same time, that predictability of development assistance can be achieved, inter alia, through well-functioning established early warning systems, primarily in the most vulnerable and least resilient countries;

68.  Is of the view that the transfer of funds between objectives and for changing priorities within an instrument should only take place on the basis of real needs of partner countries, without compromising the principles and objectives of the instrument and with adequate involvement of the monitoring authority; calls, in particular, for a clear distinction between ODA-eligible funding and other, non-ODA-eligible funding; strongly rejects any transfer of funds earmarked for DACable activities to programmes that cannot be accounted for as ODA; emphasises the need for ODA targets in EFI regulations to safeguard this;

69.  Is of the view that the post-2020 architecture of EFIs should include a number of benchmarks and strict ring-fenced earmarking, as well as mainstreaming commitments to ensure sufficient funds for key priorities;

70.  Considers that unforeseen needs should be covered by sizeable contingency reserves in the different EFIs, and that uncommitted or de-committed funds relating to a given year should be transferred to the contingency reserves for the following year;

71.  Recalls the need to maintain a robust and independent instrument for humanitarian aid, as called for by the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid; considers that a separate reserve specifically for humanitarian aid should be maintained to take account of the fact that, owing to increasing needs worldwide, the Emergency Aid Reserve has been activated constantly during the current MFF period; recalls that while repeatedly acknowledging the efforts of the Commission to respond to increasing challenges, Parliament has regularly highlighted the need to increase funding for humanitarian aid and has insisted on closing the widening gap between commitments and payments and on increasing the effectiveness and reactivity of humanitarian and development assistance available under the EU budget;

72.  Highlights that any gain in terms of financial flexibility and simplification should not be achieved at the expense of less monitoring and scrutiny capacity on the part of the co-legislator, which would jeopardise the principles of accountability and transparency; stresses the need for transparency in the funds’ allocation criteria and in all phases of programming; is of the opinion that the new EFI architecture should be flexible and modern, allowing for the optimisation of resources and producing development results for partner countries;

73.  Stresses that financial flexibility in the new EFIs should also extend to in-country flexibility to award small grants to local CSOs, businesses and entrepreneurs on a discretionary basis; considers that the Commission should review its current auditing requirements in respect of development aid in order to allow an increased risk profile for small-scale, in-country grants;

74.  Highlights that development policy and humanitarian objectives should not be subjugated either to donor countries’ and the EU’s security objectives or to border controls and migration flow management; considers, in this vein, that ODA should be used primarily to alleviate poverty and that actions and programmes that are solely aligned with the national security interests of donors should therefore not be funded using development finance; considers it necessary, at the same time, to support the resilience of partner countries with the aim of creating favourable conditions for sustainable development;

75.  Considers that, in the future MFF, expenditure for pursuing the EU’s internal objectives under the headings of migration, asylum and internal security, on the one hand, and geared to supporting the implementation of the new European Consensus on Development, on the other, must be kept separate; takes the view that to merge these two distinct headings would be to run the risk of further instrumentalising EU aid, including by making it conditional on cooperation in the field of migration;

76.  Proposes, in this context, that societal and state resilience be further strengthened through development aid, and that more financial and political means be dedicated to conflict prevention, disaster preparedness and to taking early action in the face of both conflicts and natural disasters;

77.  Calls on the Commission not to base funding allocations to partner countries and cooperation modalities solely on GDP, but on a broad range of criteria taking into account inclusive human development, human rights and levels of inequality;

78.  Reiterates its request for EDF budgetisation as a main tool to ensure coherence between development and other EU policies and to enhance Parliament’s budgetary scrutiny; reiterates that EDF budgetisation would bring advantages such as stronger democratic legitimacy and scrutiny of the instrument, better absorption capacity and enhanced visibility and transparency, leading to more clarity on EU spending in this field, as well as an increase in the efficiency and development effectiveness of EU development aid; recalls that parliamentary debates on development policy assist citizens in the implementation of EU spending on development aid;

79.  Underlines that EDF budgetisation should be accompanied by guarantees to prevent any transfer of former EDF funds to other budget lines and that it should take into account any third-country donors; underlines, furthermore, that the African Peace Facility should remain outside the EU budget and within the framework of a dedicated instrument;

80.  Stresses that budgetisation of the EDF should be accompanied by a proportional increase in the agreed EU budget ceiling, so that it leads neither to a cut in the EU’s financial commitment to the ACP countries nor to an overall decrease in EU development assistance in the post-2020 MFF;

81.  Considers that the open-ended nature of the HAI has led to positive outcomes; recommends, therefore, keeping separate instruments and budgets for humanitarian and development action, while also keeping strong, strategic links between these two areas;

82.  Underlines the importance of reinforcing democratic legitimacy in the post-2020 architecture and the need to rethink the decision-making procedure; stresses that in this new post-2020 architecture, the co-legislators should be empowered to exercise fully their scrutiny power at both legal and political level, throughout the design, adoption and implementation phases of the instruments and their implementing programmes; underlines that sufficient time must be allowed for this purpose;

83.  Is of the view that the potential for cooperation with Member States in the design and implementation phases of development programmes, notably through joint programming and based on, and synchronised with, national development programmes, should be fully exploited;

84.  Calls for a mid-term assessment and review of the post-2020 architecture of EFIs to further improve their management, look at ways to achieve greater coherence and simplification, and ensure continued relevance and alignment with the effective development principles; calls for full involvement of stakeholders in this exercise;

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85.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Vice-President/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.
(2) OJ L 344, 19.12.2013, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 163, 2.7.1996, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(5) OJ L 58, 3.3.2015, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 58, 3.3.2015, p. 17.
(7) OJ L 77, 15.3.2014, p. 44.
(8) OJ C 25, 30.1.2008, p. 1.
(9) OJ C 210, 30.6.2017, p. 1.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0437.
(11) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0337.
(12) OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 2.
(13) OJ C 208, 10.6.2016, p. 25.
(14) European Court of Auditors, Special Report No 15/2016, ‘Did the Commission effectively manage the humanitarian aid provided to populations affected by conflicts in the African Great Lakes Region?’, 4 July 2016.

Last updated: 1 July 2019Legal notice