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Procedure : 2015/2341(INI)
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PV 12/09/2016 - 20
CRE 12/09/2016 - 20

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PV 13/09/2016 - 4.18
CRE 13/09/2016 - 4.18
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Tuesday, 13 September 2016 - Strasbourg Final edition
EU Trust Fund for Africa: implications for development and humanitarian aid

European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2016 on the EU Trust Fund for Africa: the implications for development and humanitarian aid (2015/2341(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 41(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displacement of persons in Africa (EU Trust Fund for Africa), established at the Valletta Summit on Migration held on 11 and 12 November 2015,

–  having regard to the Joint Action Plan adopted at the Valletta summit,

–  having regard to the Partnership Agreement 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 part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000(1), to its successive revisions and to Annex IC thereto (Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2014 -2020), corresponding to the 11th European Development Fund (EDF),

–  having regard to the Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2014-2020, constituting the EU budget, and to budget heading 4 contained therein (‘Global Europe’),

–  having regard to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit held in New York in 2015,

–  having regard to the Joint Staff Working Document on ‘Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women through EU External Relations 2016-2020’ (SWD(2015)0182) and to the Council conclusions of 26 October 2015 in which the corresponding Gender Action Plan 2016-2020 is endorsed,

–  having regard to the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) (1994) and to the outcomes of their review conferences,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0221/2016),

A.  whereas the main goal of the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), signed by the President of the Commission along with 25 EU Member States, as well as Norway and Switzerland, and launched at the Valletta Summit on Migration on 12 November 2015 by the European and African partners, is to help foster stability in the regions and contribute to better migration management; whereas, more specifically, the EUTF aims to address the root causes of destabilisation, forced displacement and irregular migration by promoting resilience, economic opportunities, equal opportunities, security and development;

B.  whereas the European Consensus on Development remains the doctrinal framework for EU development policy, and the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid reaffirms the fundamental principles of humanitarian aid; whereas peace has been recognised as crucial for development in the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on peace and justice that has been introduced; whereas the EU and its partners in the humanitarian field must be able to ensure assistance and protection based on needs and on respect for the principles of neutrality, impartiality, humanity and independence of humanitarian action, as enshrined in international law and in particular in international humanitarian law;

C.  whereas Africa continues to experience very high rates of population growth and only a slow decline in fertility rates, a situation which will lead in the near future to a sharp rise in the young working-age population, bringing great potential social and economic benefits; whereas equipping young people with the education and skills they need to realise their potential and creating employment opportunities are essential to foster stability, sustainable economic growth, social cohesion and development in the region;

D.  whereas the EUTF is intended to be a development tool that pools resources from different donors in order to enable a quick, flexible, complementary, transparent and collective response by the EU to the different dimensions of an emergency situation;

E.  whereas 1,5 billion people live in fragile and conflict-affected regions worldwide and fragile states and ungoverned spaces are spreading, leaving many in poverty, lawlessness, thriving corruption and violence; whereas the EUTF has been conceived in order to assist 23 countries across three African regions (the Horn of Africa; the Sahel and Lake Chad basin; and North Africa) that contain some of the most fragile African countries, are affected by migration as countries of origin, transit or destination if not all three, and will draw the greatest benefit from this form of EU financial assistance; whereas the eligible countries’ African neighbours may also benefit, on a case-by-case basis, from EUTF projects having a regional dimension with a view to addressing regional migration flows and related cross-border challenges;

F.  whereas the EUTF aims to tackle the root causes of irregular migration and displacement in countries of origin, transit and destination, through five priority sectors, namely: (1) development benefit of migration; (2) legal migration and mobility; (3) protection and asylum; (4) prevention of and fight against irregular migration; and (5) return, readmission and reintegration;

G.  whereas the EU’s contribution amounts to EUR 1.8 billion, while the Commission can also draw on additional funds from EU Member States and other donors for an equivalent amount; whereas the EUTF serves to complement the existing EU aid to the regions covered to the sum of over EUR 10 billion up to 2020, with the objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable economic growth;

H.  whereas two EUTFs were created in 2014, namely the Bekou Trust Fund focusing on the stabilisation and reconstruction of the Central African Republic, which has shown positive results, and the Madad Fund dealing with the response to the Syrian crisis;

I.  whereas the report of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) ‘ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Report’, published on 12 February 2014, stresses that the protection of women and adolescents affected by violence must be a priority on the international development agenda;

J.  whereas trust funds are part of an ad hoc response – thus laying bare the scarcity of recourses and limited flexibility characterising the EU’s financial framework – but are vital for ensuring a rapid and comprehensive response to humanitarian crises, including long-term crises;

K.  whereas the EU will continue to pursue efforts to effectively implement UN Security Council resolution 1325 and the subsequent UN resolutions on women, peace and security;

Financial allocation and budgetary aspects

1.  Recalls that financial allocation is characterised by three main phases: promise, commitment and action/payment; points out, however, that lessons need to be learnt from previous EUTFs; regrets the fact that to date Member States’ contributions have remained too low, amounting only to a small fraction of the Union contribution and are thus far from reaching the official commitment, totalling only EUR 81,71 million in April 2016 (or 4,5 % of the projected EUR 1,8 billion); insists that promises and commitments must translate into action; reminds the Council and Commission that effective aid is characterised by timely and predictable funding, and calls for disbursement of this funding to be expedited;

2.  Welcomes the intention to disburse funds more quickly and flexibly in an emergency situation, and to bring together various sources of funding in order to address the migration and refugee crisis in its multiple dimensions; criticises the fact that the Commission has diverted appropriations from the objectives and principles of the basic acts to channel them through the EUTF, as this is in breach of the financial rules, and furthermore jeopardises the success of long-term Union policies; calls, therefore, for fresh appropriations to be used wherever possible and for full transparency to be ensured as to the origin and destination of funds;

3.  Observes that in the field of external action, EUTFs are mainly designed to enable a swift response to a specific emergency or post-emergency crisis by leveraging the contribution of EU Member States and other donors while increasing the global visibility of European efforts; stresses, however, that Member States should not overlook their commitment as regards achieving the target of 0,7 % of Gross National Income (GNI) for official development assistance (ODA); calls on the Member States accordingly to respect their commitments as regards both the ODA 0,7 % target and their contribution to the EUTF for Africa;

4.  Stresses the volatility of voluntary contributions and urges the Member States to honour their pledges and to rapidly and effectively match the Union contribution, in order to allow the EUTF to develop its full potential rather than provide the minimum required to obtain voting rights on the Strategic Board;

5.  Deplores the fact that the trust funds result in bypassing the budgetary authority and undermining the unity of the budget; notes that the fact that this ad hoc instrument has been set up is an acknowledgement that the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF is undersized; points out that Member State contributions make up 85 % of the Union budget; considers that setting up the EUTF is de facto tantamount to revising the ceilings for the current MFF by increasing Member State contributions; stresses, therefore, that the creation of funding instruments outside the EU budget must remain exceptional; deplores the fact that Parliament is not represented on the Strategic Board, despite the fact that substantial funds come from the Union budget; calls for the budgetary authority to be invited to participate in the Strategic Board;

6.  Notes that the EU’s financial allocation for the EUTF for Africa currently comes mainly from the 11th EDF; stresses that the EUTF was established because the EU budget and the MFF lack the resources and the flexibility needed to address the different dimensions of such crises promptly and comprehensively; calls for the EU to agree to find a more holistic solution for emergency funding in the framework of this year’s revision of the 2014-2020 MFF and the revision of the external financing instruments in 2016, with a view to increasing the effectiveness and reactivity of humanitarian and development assistance available under the EU budget;

7.  Calls, in particular, for an adequate revision of the ceiling to allow for the inclusion of the crisis mechanisms in the MFF in order to restore the unity of the budget; considers that revision of the MFF would provide greater budgetary, democratic and legal certainty; stresses, moreover, the need to review the financial rules with a view to facilitating the management of EU budget funds and to achieving, as part of an integrated approach, greater synergies between the Union budget, the EDF and bilateral cooperation so as to increase the impact of development funding and pave the way for the budgetisation of the EDF, while maintaining the level of resources as foreseen as of 2021; urges the Commission to take immediate steps to improve the involvement of the budgetary authority and to better align the trust funds and other mechanisms with the budgetary norm, notably by making them appear in the Union budget;

8.  Observes that Parliament has demonstrated responsibility, as one arm of the budgetary authority, by agreeing to release emergency funds; deplores the fact, however, that, as a result of the proliferation of emergency instruments, the Community method is being abandoned; gives an assurance of its intention to safeguard the fundamental principles of the Union budget, notably budget unity and codecision; considers that a rethink of the Union’s ability to respond to large-scale crises, in particular as regards their budgetary implications, is what is genuinely imperative; makes its agreement to future proposals for crisis instruments subject to incorporation of those implications into the mid-term review of the MFF, which is scheduled to take place before the end of 2016;

9.  Observes that further funding has been drawn from other financial instruments under the EU budget, such as the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), for EUR 125 million, the Instrument for Humanitarian Aid, for EUR 50 million, and the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), for EUR 200 million;

10.  Notes that of the total EU contribution of EUR 1,8 billion, only the EUR 1 billion from the EDF reserve is an additional resource; is concerned that financing of the EUTF may be implemented to the detriment of other development objectives; recalls that the EUTF tool should be complementary to already existing instruments, and calls on the Commission to ensure transparency and accountability over the use and amount of current budget lines contributing to the EUTF;

11.  Strongly underlines that funds from EDF and ODA sources must be devoted to the economic, human and social development of the host country, with particular focus on the development challenges identified in the Trust Fund decision; emphasises that development is not possible without security; condemns any use of EDF and ODA funds for migration management and control of any other actions without development objectives;

Funding least developed countries

12.  Stresses that the use of the EDF to finance the EUTF for Africa may have an impact on the aid recipient African countries which are not covered by the Trust Fund, and in particular the least developed countries (LDCs);

13.  Deeply regrets the fact that, despite the continued importance of ODA for LDCs, the already low levels of development assistance to LDCs declined for the second year in a row in 2014, and that the proportion of aid allocated to those countries is at its lowest for ten years; calls on the Commission and the Member States, accordingly, to make sure that aid is not diverted away from the poorest countries to cover the cost of the current crises;

The role of civil society, NGOs, local authorities and international organisations

14.  Considers that the EUTF for Africa should contribute to development in countries of transit and origin of migrants, the strengthening and improvement of local public services (social services, health, education, nutrition, culture), of political participation and of governance, especially through community-based projects; considers that the Fund should contribute to the development of employment in local sectors, while respecting human rights and the environment; believes, in this framework, that local government authorities must be consulted as full partners as long as there are full guarantees of efficiency and good governance in accordance with the principles of aid effectiveness, and that they should also be the main actors in charge of public services delivered at the local level; believes that civil society, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international organisations and diaspora communities should play a complementary and pivotal role in addressing the root causes of migration and improving local services;

15.  Recalls that regional and local authorities, civil society organisations and NGOs are natural partners for an effective development policy, and that a constant dialogue with national authorities and local communities is essential in order to define common strategies and priorities and allow an evidence-based approach in the implementation of the Fund, particularly in states demonstrating insufficient guarantees of good governance and transparency; calls for respect for the principle of subsidiarity and ownership also in this field of action; stresses that local government bodies, local civil society, NGOs and international organisations should be strongly involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation phases of the EUTF; calls on the Commission to clarify and formalise the consultation procedures with these stakeholders so as to ensure their effective participation in the discussions taking place in the Operational Committees, with clear and transparent eligibility criteria;

16.  Stresses the importance of ensuring a better balance of funding for recipient country governments and especially for reliable civil society actors, who tend to be more aware of societal deficiencies which are in need of support;

17.  Recalls the importance of a people- and community-centred approach to resilience, and strongly believes that the EUTF should focus not only on economic development but also on grassroots projects specifically aimed at improving quality, equity and universal accessibility of basic services as well as training to develop local competences as well as to responding to the needs of vulnerable communities, including minorities;

Transparency and clarity for better achievement of goals

18.  Acknowledges the complexity and the multidimensional nature of the current refugee crisis; warns, however, against the serious risk of misuse of EU development aid, in particular in conflict-affected countries where security, migration and development issues are closely interconnected; emphasises that the projects covered by the EUTF, which have been created using sources mainly devoted in principle to development purposes, must have development objectives; stresses that projects aimed at reinforcing security capacity in particular countries must be designed in such a way that their final outcomes are focused on poverty reduction, as well as the stability of the recipient countries;

19.  Reminds the Commission and the authorities directly entrusted with the managing of the Trust Fund that the resources coming from the EDF or other development funding must be used exclusively for actions directly devoted to development assistance; asks the Commission to provide express assurance as regards such use and to ensure regular and comprehensive reporting of the use of these funds;

20.  Emphasises that the EU budget cannot be used to directly finance military or defence operations (Article 41(2) TEU), but that there is no explicit exclusion of peacekeeping operations with development objectives; recalls furthermore that Articles 209 and 212 TFEU do not explicitly exclude the financing of capacity-building in the security sector;

21.  Calls on the Commission, the Strategic Board and the Operational Committee to focus primarily on capacity-building, stability and peace, resilience, wellbeing and empowerment of local populations, promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights, and creation of work opportunities and training, particularly for women and young people;

22.  Emphasises strongly that the ultimate purpose of EU development policy, as enshrined in Article 208 TFEU, must be the reduction and eradication of poverty; in this regard, deplores the fact that while the EU contribution to the EUTF will be made mostly using ODA resources, this financing mechanism will not be focused exclusively on development-oriented objectives; stresses that a clear, transparent, and communicable distinction must be made within the EUTF between the funding envelopes for development activities on the one hand, and those for activities related to migration management, border controls and all other activities on the other; stresses that diluting ODA so that less funds are used to fight extreme poverty would undermine the significant progress made in international development and threaten the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);

EU policy coherence and commitment on human rights

23.  Calls for the EU to show greater coherence when acting in the field of international cooperation for development, from a twofold point of view: the EU and the Member States should, on the one hand, act according to their commitments and, on the other, exhibit overall coherence in their external policies and instruments for the African region, with particular regard to the co-management spirit of the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement; from the latter perspective, considers that the EUTF should reflect the principles of policy coherence for sustainable development and complementarity between all development stakeholders, and should avoid any contradiction between development aims and security, humanitarian and migration policies; hopes that the Better Regulation package will contribute to furthering policy coherence for sustainable development by taking into account development and human rights in all its impact assessments;

24.  Recalls that the rules and criteria that govern development aid for projects financed by the EUTF must be set according to shared values and common interests, in particular as to the respect and promotion of human rights; in this regard, underlines that EU policy regarding cooperation on security, migration management and human trafficking and smuggling should include specific provisions aimed at ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law, with particular attention to women’s rights, the rights of LGBTI persons, sexual and reproductive health and rights, children’s rights, and the rights of minorities and other particularly vulnerable groups; points out that the EU must encourage efforts to combat discrimination on grounds of religion or personal beliefs, sex, race or ethnic origin, disability and sexual orientation;

25.  Points out that trust funds must contribute to achieving the long-term objectives of ensuring peace and strengthening governance in recipient countries; stresses the need to carefully and systematically evaluate the impact of the actions funded under the EUTF for Africa on the delivery of humanitarian aid; underlines that the EUTF should not undermine the long-term development cooperation of the EU; stresses that ownership and complementarity of long-term and short-term projects must be ensured, safeguarded and aligned with the EU’s existing regional and country strategies for the Sahel, the Gulf of Guinea, the Horn of Africa and North Africa; stresses that a comprehensive country and sector diagnosis is required for a good allocation of funds, as well as in terms of developing close partnerships with a wide range of civil society actors; welcomes the research component integrated in the EUTF as a potential opportunity to create development opportunities and synergies between the EU and the countries concerned;

Objectives and follow-up

26.  Calls on the Commission to systematically monitor how the EUTF funds are employed and how they are allocated, and to increase Parliament’s scrutiny powers over the EUTF; in particular, calls on the Council and the Commission to regularly communicate on the specific actions undertaken by both the EU and the African states when employing these funds and the results achieved;

27.  Is concerned at the lack of coordination among all the actors involved in managing the EUTF (and in particular between the Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) and its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO)), and at the lack of clear guidelines as to how funding can be secured; deplores the lack of clarity and transparency regarding the funding criteria and the volume of funds available for civil society under the EUTF; recalls the need for better communication between the Commission, the Member States and Parliament in programming and implementing actions of the EUTF in general, in the interests of the further planning of potential additional Trust Funds; recalls that the Commission must take particular care to ensure that its actions are consistent and coordinated with the Regional Development Programmes (RDPs), in order to avoid duplication of effort and ensure that the main focus is on development, and not on border control and security to the detriment of migrants; calls on the Commission, for the same reason as well as in order to maximise the impact and effectiveness of global aid, to maintain a strong dialogue with the UN in the context of the EUTF; also calls on the Commission to strengthen its efforts with a view to the more systematic impact assessment of its policies and funding, including the EUTF, especially with regard to their effects on sustainable development, human rights and gender equality, and to integrate the results of these assessments into its policies and programming;

28.  Underlines the lack of involvement of Parliament thus far in the establishment of the EUTF, and insists on the need to guarantee, through detailed and regular reporting by the Commission, Parliament’s scrutiny as to how the Fund is being implemented;

29.  Believes that, given the extraordinary flexibility and rapidity proper to a Trust Fund, periodical reporting to Parliament should be undertaken at least once every six months; strongly underlines the need for transparent performance monitoring, evaluation and accountability;

30.  Believes that transparency, communication and visibility in relation to projects developed in the framework of the EUTF are of the utmost importance with a view to disseminating the results and involving and sensitising European private actors, local and regional authorities, NGOs and civil society, in order to create the conditions for broader involvement and facilitate participation by Member States;

31.  Underlines the need for thorough monitoring of the implementation of the provisions on redistribution, replacement in countries of origin, and Member States’ financial commitments, paying particular attention to human rights;

32.  Recalls that EU migration policies should primarily focus on addressing the root causes of migration; stresses that EU migration policies should work to help create peace and stability and foster economic development, in line with goals 3, 4 and 5, target 7 of goal 10, and goal 16 of the SDGs Agenda 2030 by working more closely with third countries to improve cooperation on incentives for return to and reintegration in the countries of origin of migrants, including high-skilled migrants, voluntary return and readmission, in a way that enhances their opportunities;

33.  Stresses that instability and physical insecurity are prominent causes of forced displacement, and therefore supports a conflict-sensitive approach to implementation of the Fund that would prioritise conflict prevention, state-building, good governance and the promotion of the rule of law; believes that the EUTF is a great opportunity for the EU, enabling it to reinforce its cooperation and political dialogue with its African partners, in particular concerning the effective implementation of return and readmission agreements, and to build up on common strategies for the management of migration flows; points to the need for sharing of responsibilities between the EU and its African partners, in line with the conclusions of the Valletta summit of November 2015; considers, however, that development aid should not be used to stem the flows of migrants and asylum seekers, and that the projects covered by the EUTF should not serve as a pretext for preventing departure or tightening borders between countries while ignoring the factors that drive people from their homes; expresses grave concern at the impact which the EUTF may have on human rights, if containing migratory flows involves cooperating with countries which commit systematic and/or serious violations of fundamental rights; asks the Commission to make sure that the Fund serves its purposes, directly helping those in need and not financing governments responsible for human rights violations; calls for respect for migrants’ human rights to be improved in EU-financed projects;

34.  Emphasises that it is important to understand the causes and consequences of international migration from a gender perspective, including the process of decision-making involved and the mechanisms leading to migration; recalls that women and girls, as refugees and migrants, are particularly vulnerable when they find themselves in situations where their safety cannot be ensured and where they may be subject to sexual violence or exploitation; stresses that the EUTF needs to contribute to the protection, support and/or assistance of vulnerable migrants, refugees and victims of trafficking, and that special attention should be given to women and children;

35.  Notes that the EUTF for Africa was created following the Valletta summit of African and European Heads of State and Government held on migration issues; calls on the Commission to provide Parliament with an overview of the concrete actions that followed this summit, notably in the field of development, the fight against smugglers and the signature of return, readmission and reintegration agreements; calls on the Council to provide the Commission with the necessary mandates to conclude such agreements with the countries concerned by the EUTF;

o   o

36.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the European Council, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the parliaments of the Member States, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the President of the Pan-African Parliament.

(1) OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.

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