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Procedure : 2012/2222(INI)
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Document selected : A7-0049/2013

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PV 11/03/2013 - 25
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PV 12/03/2013 - 10.9
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Tuesday, 12 March 2013 - Strasbourg
Financing of EU cooperation for African, Caribbean and Pacific States and Overseas Countries and Territories for 2014-2020

European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2013 on the preparation of the multiannual financial framework regarding the financing of EU cooperation for African, Caribbean and Pacific States and Overseas Countries and Territories for the 2014–2020 period (11th European Development Fund) (2012/2222(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States and the European Community (EC) and its Member States, signed on 23 June 2000(1),

–  having regard to Part IV of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the Overseas Association Decision (OAD) of 27 November 2001(2) associating the EU (previously the EC) with various overseas countries and territories (OCTs),

–  having regard to the proposal for a Council Decision on the association of the overseas countries and territories with the European Union (‘Overseas Association Decision’) (COM(2012)0362), adopted by the Commission on 16 July 2012 and currently under negotiation in the Council,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 7 December 2011 entitled ‘Preparation of the multiannual financial framework regarding the financing of EU cooperation for African, Caribbean and Pacific States and Overseas Countries and Territories for the 2014–2020 period (11th European Development Fund)’ (COM(2011)0837),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 October 2011 entitled ‘Increasing the impact of EU Development Policy: an Agenda for Change’ (COM(2011)0637),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 21 June 2001 entitled ‘Programme of Action for the mainstreaming of gender equality in Community Development Co-operation’ (COM(2001)0295),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 12 September 2012 entitled ‘The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with Civil Society in external relations’ (COM(2012)0492),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 29 June 2011 entitled ‘A Budget for Europe 2020’ (COM(2011)0500),

–  having regard to the European Consensus on Development of 20 December 2005 and the European road map for development and the resulting guidelines,

–  having regard to the European Consensus on humanitarian aid of 18 December 2007,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 29 June 2012 and 15 October 2012,

–  having regard to Article 32 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the European Union on 23 December 2010,

–  having regard to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly resolution on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in developing countries (ACP-EU/100.954/11),

–  having regard to the European Union Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development (2010-2015),

–  having regard to the European Union guidelines on violence against women and girls and combating all forms of discrimination against them,

–  having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A7-0049/2013),

A.  whereas the Internal Agreement establishing the 10th EDF will expire on 31 December 2013, and whereas the Commission has included in its communication (COM(2011)0837) a draft internal agreement to replace the existing agreement as from 1 January 2014;

B.  whereas the draft internal agreement for the 2014-2020 period is currently under negotiation in the Council without the participation of Parliament; whereas, however, there is nothing to prevent Parliament from drafting an own-initiative report on the 11th EDF on the basis of the Commission communication containing the draft internal agreement;

C.  whereas the Commission is not planning to include the EDF in the budget in 2014, but only from 2021 onwards, which is highly regrettable; whereas, however, that budgetisation should be prepared now to avoid a reduction in funding for the EU-ACP partnership and development aid in general;

D.  whereas the 11th EDF needs to have sufficient funding to ensure that the Union honours the undertakings made at international level concerning development and devotes 0,7% of its GDP to development aid, thus contributing to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);

E.  whereas the MDG progress reports show that progress has been uneven and that, in particular, the MDGs relating to maternal and child health will not be achieved by 2015 in most ACP countries;

F.  whereas the financial proposals for the 2014-2020 period, currently under discussion in the Council, have worrying implications for the future of European development policy, but also for the association linking the OCTs and the EU;

G.  whereas EU aid is increasingly effective, even though considerable progress still needs to be made, and whereas Community measures to promote international solidarity have the support of more than three-quarters of European citizens;

H.  whereas innovative forms of funding, designed to increase official development assistance by ensuring that the business and financial sectors make a fairer contribution, are essential;

I.  whereas donors should stop urging partner countries to accept the ownership principle at the same time as depriving them of the funding they need to consolidate their institutions and public services;

J.  whereas developing countries urgently need to establish tax systems based on their citizens' ability to pay;

K.  whereas the Commission, in its communication on the Agenda for Change, called for the principle of differentiation to be applied to the allocation of European development policy funds, of which the 11th EDF is a part, and introduced the principles of sectoral concentration, combined grant/loan funding and support for the private sector;

L.  whereas the European Consensus on Development and the Cotonou Agreement recognise the primary role of civil society organisations (CSOs) and local and regional authorities (LRAs) in efforts to tackle poverty and promote good governance;

M.  whereas the OAD proposal takes account of the specific challenges facing OCTs, which differ from those confronting ACP states; whereas the OCTs should therefore no longer be covered by the EDF, but by an ad hoc financial instrument entered in the EU budget;

N.  whereas the Partnership Agreement 2000/483/EC between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000, stipulates that ‘systematic account shall be taken of the situation of women and gender issues in all areas – political, economic and social’;

O.  whereas the European Union’s Plan of Action recognises the importance of women’s involvement and a gender equality perspective for the development of its partner countries and for achieving the MDGs; whereas gender equality is one of the priorities for EU action under the ‘Agenda for Change’;

Objectives of the 11th EDF

1.  Notes that the main objectives of European development policy (under Article 208 TFEU), the Cotonou Agreement and the European Consensus on Development are to reduce and, ultimately, to eradicate poverty; stresses, therefore, that at least 90 % of the appropriations under the 11th EDF for ACP states should meet the official development aid (ODA) criteria, as laid down by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee;

2.  Considers that, in order to meet that objective, more needs to be done to ensure that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on which the least progress is being made are met, in particular those concerning the most vulnerable groups in society and gender issues, as stipulated by Articles 22, 25 and 31 of the Cotonou Agreement; reiterates its support for the MDG initiative and contracts, and calls on the Commission and Member States, in agreement with the ACP States, to earmark 20 % of the 11th EDF budget for the provision of basic social services, particularly health care and basic education, to ensure that MDGs 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and other international commitments concerning development are met; calls, therefore, for the performance indicators linked to gender equality proposed in the ‘Programme of Action for the mainstreaming of gender equality in Community Development Co-operation’ to be applied to the 11th EDF and its programming in order to ensure that the specific actions and the measures to promote gender equality in all programmes are implemented in an appropriate and consistent manner;

3.  Urges the Commission and the partner countries to prioritise aid to strengthen health systems in order to ensure access to basic maternal, reproductive and child healthcare, with particular emphasis on the poorest sections of the population and the fight against HIV/AIDS, recalling that these objectives are Millennium Development Goals on which progress has been disappointing in many ACP countries;

4.  Considers that, in order to meet the above objective, it is essential to include the most vulnerable groups in society, including but not limited to, women, children, and persons with disabilities, in all projects aimed at poverty eradication, both in the programming and implementation and evaluation phases;

5.  Welcomes the Commission’s intention to act in a more strategic and coordinated manner on issues of social protection in developing countries, and calls for the development, in partnership with the ACP countries, of integrated social protection policies which also take into account support for basic mechanisms such as the creation of social security floors under the 11th EDF;

Promoting the economic and social development of the OCTs

6.  Recalls that the EDF finances not only the ACP-EU partnership, but also the OCT-EU association arrangements, which cover 26 OCTs;

7.  Welcomes the fact that the OAD proposal recognises the need to develop a new long-term partnership with the OCTs, centred around four new objectives:

   boosting the competitiveness of the OCTs;
   strengthening their adaptability;
   reducing their vulnerability,
   promoting their cooperation with other partners;

8.  Regrets the absence of a financial instrument dedicated to the OCTs that could be integrated in the Union budget so as to allow democratic, transparent control over funding allocated by that means;

9.  Calls for better cooperation between the outermost regions, the ACP States and third countries neighbouring OCTs, the combined use of the various financial instruments applicable to these regions, states and countries, and better access for the OCTs and outermost regions, as observers, to the plenary sessions of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, in accordance with the Assembly's Rules of Procedure;

Budgetisation and financial allocation

10.  Calls once again for the budgetisation of the European Development Fund (EDF) in the next programming period and default from 2021, with the full transfer to Section 4 of PSC (‘Europe in the world’), as this would contribute to the more effective promotion of Union priorities and thematic support and would enhance the democratic scrutiny, visibility and predictability, as well as the consistency, of the EU’s actions as the world’s largest donor of development aid;

11.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the budgetisation of the EDF proceeds as smoothly as possible, by informing the European Parliament regularly of the progress made and liaising closely with the ACP countries, in order to ensure that they are involved in the future implementation of the EDF;

12.  Welcomes the fact that the contribution keys for the Member States for the 11th EDF are more similar to those used for the Union budget and that the programming period for the 11th EDF has been brought into line with the implementing period for the MFF;

13.  Supports the Commission’s proposal to earmark a total of EUR 30 319 000 000 (at 2011 prices) to the 11th EDF, and calls for the sums set aside for the 11th EDF and the other cooperation instruments, including the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), to be used to ensure that the Union’s official development aid (ODA) is maintained at its current level, or even increased, in order to help the Member States achieve their common objective of devoting 0,7 % of GDP to ODA;

14.  Stresses the need, given that some ACP countries are at great risk from disasters, for a substantial investment in disaster risk reduction in development programmes financed by the EDF; stresses that this investment is essential to reduce needs following an emergency situation and increase the resilience of ACP countries;

15.  Deeply regrets the agreement concluded by the Member States on 8 February 2013, which provides for an 11 % reduction in the 11th EDF budget proposed in July 2012 by the Commission; draws attention to the glaring contradiction between the repeated undertakings given by the Council to meet development aid targets by 2015 and the substantial cuts made to international development appropriations in both national and Union budgets;

16.  Takes the view that, in making these budget cuts, the Union and its Member States, as the main ODA providers, will be held primarily responsible if the objective of reducing global poverty levels by half is not met by 2015;

17.  Emphasises the importance of the Union having a budget that is capable of meeting the challenges facing it, particularly in times of crisis, as that budget provides funding, in particular for development, that could not be made available at national level; calls, therefore, for the Union's budget to be funded from own resources, such as a financial transactions tax, so that the size of the budget is no longer just about the level of payment appropriations;

18.  Calls for the proportion of the EDF budget set aside for OCTs to be kept at the figure proposed by the Commission, whatever contribution scales and levels of appropriations are set for the 11th EDF;

19.  Urges that, under the 11th EDF, the proportion of resources devoted to the intra-ACP programme and regional programmes should be the same as that under the 10th EDF, also providing for a flexible reserve and ensuring maximum complementarity with the Pan-African programme planned as part of the future DCI, because this reserve will be used in part to finance the new scheme to absorb any exogenous shocks with an international dimension (in particular, financial, food or humanitarian crises) that may affect an ACP country, as well as emergency humanitarian aid; stresses the importance of these programmes, which can help to increase the level of preparedness of ACP countries in the event of a crisis, boost their resilience and improve coordination of emergency measures, rehabilitation and development;

20.  Takes the view that approximately 5 % of the appropriations under the 11th EDF should be used to cover Commission support costs, so as to ensure that the instrument is managed effectively;

Reform of European development policy and the 11th EDF

21.  Stresses that the Cotonou Agreement should continue to be the main reference framework for the 11th EDF;

22.  Takes the view that the application of the principle of differentiation to eligibility for funding under the 11th EDF will be beneficial only if the impact is offset by a vulnerability index that supplements the GDP criterion, incorporates a national poverty and inequality index, and takes account of the specific circumstances of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), pursuant to Article 2, last indent, of the Cotonou agreement; notes that ongoing close political dialogue is essential if our ACP partners are to accept the principle;

23.  Recognises, nevertheless, that the application of the principle of differentiation is a vital political tool which can be used to encourage middle and higher income ACP countries to establish a welfare state and devise national policies to redistribute wealth and tackle poverty and inequality;

24.  Stresses the importance of maintaining all the national budgets at their current levels under the 11th EDF, given that European development aid can still have a decisive impact in some middle and higher income ACP countries, in order to support reforms aimed at reducing inequality;

25.  Takes the view that differentiation should also take account of the specific situation in fragile states, given that the human consequences when a state fails are devastating and cancel out the progress made in terms of development; points out that re-establishing the rule of law in a failed state is a much more onerous and lengthy process than providing additional support to states identified as fragile, and therefore calls for a special focus on the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa in the programming of the 11th EDF;

26.  Notes that the Agenda for Change contains new proposals, including combined grant/loan funding and support for the private sector; considers that the principal aim of these proposals should be to lift people in developing countries out of poverty and free them from their dependence on aid, and help strengthen the private sector in ACP States, given that failure to do so would result in unbalanced development and growth; calls on the Commission to inform the European Parliament of the results of the study it commissioned recently on private-sector participation in the development and expansion of combined EU grant/loan activities;

27.  Recognises that the new funding arrangements, such as combined grant/loan funding, have definite advantages in a context of ever more scarce public resources; calls on the Commission and the EIB, nevertheless, to carry out detailed and independent impact studies in order to measure the impact of these new funding arrangements on poverty reduction, the environment, etc.; welcomes, therefore, the recent establishment of the ‘Results Measurement Framework’ (RMF), an index that enables the EIB to measure the development impact of all its operations outside the EU; calls on the Commission to publish guidelines and precise criteria that clarify the principles that should inform the selection of projects when these new arrangements are implemented; calls for more synergy and complementarity between the activities of the Commission, the EIB and other European bilateral financial institutions, such as development banks;

28.  Acknowledges also the importance of supporting the private sector, in particular micro-enterprises and SMEs in ACP countries, in order to encourage wealth creation and the establishment of business-friendly environments so as to facilitate more inclusive and sustainable growth that helps reduce poverty;

29.  Notes the establishment of the ‘EU Platform for External Cooperation and Development’, in which Parliament is an observer and which is intended to provide guidance for joint mechanisms involving combinations of existing grants and loans; believes that neither civil society nor the EIB is adequately involved in this new structure; calls on the Commission, therefore, to involve civil society directly in the work of the platform and to recognise the unique role played by the EIB as EU financial institution, in the platform governance;

30.  Notes the sectoral concentration proposed by the Commission in its Agenda for Change; stresses that sectoral concentration should not be pursued at the expense of meeting the specific needs of certain countries; points out that democratic ownership is key to ensuring that aid is effective, and stresses that decisions concerning the sectors to be targeted under national indicative programmes should therefore be made on a flexible basis and through dialogue with all development stakeholders, including civil society and local authority representatives;

31.  Calls without delay for the implementation of the resolution of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in developing countries, especially its Articles 19, 20, 21 and 22, in order to ensure an 11th EDF that is inclusive and accessible to all;

32.  Welcomes the fact that the UN initiative ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ enjoys strong support from the EU to the tune of EUR 500 million under the 10th EDF, and calls for this level of funding to be continued under the 11th EDF;

33.  Welcomes the fact that agriculture, in particular support for family farms, is one of the thematic priorities of the future EU development policy; recalls the commitment, which was poorly honoured, made by ACP states in the Maputo Declaration to allocate 10% of national budget revenue to agriculture and rural development;

34.  Insists that thematic concentration should not jeopardise the concept of budget support, which is designed to encourage sound management of public finances by the beneficiaries; calls for this support to remain an important aspect of the 11th EDF, subject to closer dialogue on human rights between the Commission and the ACP States;

Democratic scrutiny

35.  Notes that the Commission has agreed to inform Parliament about the strategy documents for the 11th EDF, but criticises the fact that Parliament has no specific powers to scrutinise the measures taken by the Commission in this context; points out that the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly can also play a central role in exercising democratic scrutiny over all the EDF strategy documents, in accordance with Article 17 of the Cotonou Agreement, in particular the third indent of paragraph 2;

36.  Reiterates the importance of observing the principle of democratic ownership, as defined in the programme for aid effectiveness; calls on the Commission, therefore, to continue its support for measures to strengthen the capacity of national parliaments and courts of auditors in the ACP States and to keep civil society informed, and on the ACP States to work more actively with their national parliaments, so that the disbursement of the funds provided for in each country's strategy documents is made subject to ex post parliamentary scrutiny; applauds the invaluable work of the Office for the Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy; recommends that all national ministries participate in the discussions between the national authorising officer and the Union delegation concerned in order to ensure that the strategy documents offer a comprehensive assessment of the country's development needs;

37.  Believes that transparency and accountability are fundamental when allocating EDF funds and monitoring the projects financed, including direct aid to national budgets;

38.  Draws attention to the invaluable contribution of civil society organisations (CSOs) and local and regional authorities (LRAs) as regards the provision of basic services, democratic scrutiny, support for marginalised groups and the promotion of human rights and gender equality, and calls on the Commission and ACP countries to consult CSOs and LRAs at the programming stage and to work closely with them when implementing and evaluating the 11th EDF, pursuant to Articles 2, 6 and 70 of the Cotonou Agreement; calls on the Commission to include in the progress reports on the 11th EDF a section outlining the stage reached in the talks held by Union delegations at national level with CSOs and LRAs;

Development effectiveness

39.  Emphasises the merits of the joint programming of aid between the Union and its Member States, given that it boosts the visibility, impact and effectiveness of European development policy, whilst preventing duplication and waste; stresses the need, however, to expand on and clarify the rules set out in the common framework for joint multiannual programming; emphasises the key role that could be played by EU delegations, which should bring further transparency to this process, in particular by involving not only administrations, but also non-state actors, of the recipient countries concerned;

40.  Calls on the Commission scrupulously to respect Article 19 C, first paragraph, of Annex IV of the Cotonou Agreement, which makes compliance with social and environmental standards a condition for obtaining public procurement contracts financed from the 11th EDF in ACP countries, in order to promote the principles of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility;

41.  Stresses that the success of efforts to tackle poverty and ensure aid effectiveness is contingent on the capacity to raise revenue at national level, and that the ACP-EU partnership must therefore make it a priority to promote effective and fair tax collection systems in order to improve tax collection and prevent tax evasion and the use of tax havens;

42.  Welcomes the Commission communication on ‘The future approach to EU budget support to third countries’; highlights the importance of Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, which makes provision for aid to a state to be suspended if it violates the principles of the agreement;

43.  Notes that budget support has many advantages, because it leads to more responsible decision-making, more precise results analysis, greater policy coherence, more effective forecasting and optimum use of the funds available directly for the benefit of the population;

44.  Highlights the importance of regarding women not just as a vulnerable section of the population but as active facilitators of development policies; stresses, in this respect, that women play a crucial role in nutrition and food security – not least in recognition of the fact that they are responsible for 80 % of farming in Africa – even though they are still hardly ever able to own the land they cultivate; stresses, likewise, that women have proven competence in resolving problems and conflicts, and therefore urges the Commission and the ACP countries to increase the role of women in action groups and working parties;

45.  Calls on the Commission to apply the performance indicators established in the EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development;

o   o

   46. Asks the Commission to provide Parliament with a progress report on the implementation of the EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development;
   47. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the EEAS, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, and, where appropriate, those of the ACP countries and the OCTs.

(1) OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3. Agreement revised in Luxembourg on 25 June 2005 (OJ L 287, 28.10.2005, p. 4) and in Ouagadougou on 22 June 2010 (OJ L 287, 4.11.2010, p. 3).
(2) OJ L 314, 30.11.2001, p. 1. Decision amended by Decision 2007/249/EC (OJ L 109, 26.4.2007, p. 33).

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