The EU must systematically screen policies for impact on developing countries
- Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) enshrined in EU treaties
- Needs serious high-level commitment by European Commission
- Parliament ready to assess impact EU policies have on developing countries
MEPs want the European Union to take its legal requirement to consider the impact of all EU policies on developing countries more seriously.
In a plenary vote on Tuesday 14 March, MEPs approved by 545 votes in favour, 26 against, and 32 abstentions, a report by MEP Janina Ochojska (EPP, PO) on Policy Coherence for Development.
The report reiterates the fact that PCD – a principle whereby EU policies that are likely to affect developing countries are economically and socially consistent with the objectives of EU development policy – is a legally binding obligation on the EU, and has been enshrined in the EU Treaties formally since 1992.
Despite this obligation, MEPs say, recent studies have shown serious shortcomings in the implementation of the principle. They are calling for PCD to be applied across all policy areas and all those covered by the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. They want to make sure that all EU institutions are properly identifying and analysing the potential impact of their policies on the primary objectives of EU development policy – reducing and ultimately eradicating poverty.
Systematic screening of all EU policies for impact on development
Concretely, MEPs want the European Commission to make a clear, high-level political commitment to PCD, including by systematically screening at an early stage all planned Commission policy and legislative initiatives and trade agreements for their possible impacts on developing countries. If an adverse impact is found and is considered to be absolutely unavoidable, MEPs believe the Global Europe instrument could be used to minimise the consequences.
MEPs also demand that Parliament and member states also take the EU’s legal commitment to PCD seriously and carefully assess the impact of their amendments to proposed Commission legislation for possible negative consequences on developing countries. To improve and advance its own commitment to PCD, the report outlines several actions Parliament should take.
Janina Ochojska (EPP, PO) rapporteur, said: “The political visibility of PCD has clearly diminished in recent years. In this report, I have focused on concrete recommendations to member states and the EU institutions on the necessary changes and improvements that would allow a more effective implementation of PCD.
"The report calls for new Commission communication with an action plan and indicators to measure the implementation of PCD by the EU and member states by the end of this mandate. There are also concrete recommendations for Parliament itself, to strengthen the Parliament’s own awareness, expertise and coordination mechanisms, and to prioritise PCD in the EU’s work on sustainable development, inside the EU and in developing countries.”
Eoghan WALSHPress Officer