The designation of 2015 as European Year for Development (EYD), with the motto “Our world, our future, our dignity”, coined by MEPs, is an opportunity that must be taken to raise citizens’ awareness of the EU's contribution to fighting hunger and eradicating poverty worldwide, said MEPs on Tuesday afternoon, in their first debate on possible EYD activities. The EYD must also anchor “development thinking” in institutions around the world, they added.
“This first ever European Year dealing with the EU's external action will provide an unparalleled opportunity to engage with citizens in the EU's contribution to fighting hunger and eradicating poverty worldwide”, said Development Committee chair Linda McAvan (S&D, UK) who opened the debate.
"This is the first time the EU has had a ‘Year for Development’, and it has to see enough structural progress to anchor development policies in world's institutions and our citizens’ hearts", said MEP Charles Goerens (ALDE, LU), who is chairing the committee’s coordination group for the EYD. Mr Goerens presented MEPs’ proposals for Parliament’s participation in EYD activities.
MEPs stressed that since Parliament had played a key role in designating 2015 as the EYD and coined its motto, it also had a duty to engage actively in helping to achieve its aims.
Engaging actively includes, working with citizens and national parliaments, taking part in the EYD opening event in Riga (Latvia) in January, holding parliamentary hearings, e.g. in January on post-2015 development goals and in February on the future of development finance, and also representing the EU at high-level international meetings on development issues.
European Year themes are proposed by the European Commission and must be approved both by the European Parliament (a decision taken in April this year) and the European Council. The EYD is the first European Year dealing with the EU's external action.
The EU is world's biggest development aid donor.