Procedure : 2007/2662(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0476/2007

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 15/11/2007 - 2
CRE 15/11/2007 - 2

Votes :

PV 15/11/2007 - 5.12
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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12 November 2007
to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure, by
   Maria Martens and Nirj Deva, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group,
   Alain Hutchinson, Glenys Kinnock, Ana Maria Gomes and Thijs Berman, on behalf of the PSE Group,
   Thierry Cornillet, on behalf of the ALDE Group,
   Ryszard Czarnecki and Ewa Tomaszewska, on behalf of the UEN Group
   Raül Romeva i Rueda, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group,
on the EU response to situations of fragility in developing countries

European Parliament resolution on the EU response to situations of fragility in developing countries  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions ‘Towards an EU response to situations of fragility – engaging in difficult environments for sustainable development, stability and peace’ of 25 October 2007(1),

–  having regard to the European Consensus on Development,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation, known as the 'Development Cooperation Instrument',

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

–  having regard to the ‘African Union Policy on Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development’, adopted by 52 Member States at the Banjul Summit of the AU in July 2006,

–  having regard to the ‘Ten Principles for good donor engagement in fragile states and situations’ of the OECD/DAC Fragile States Group, endorsed at the High-Level Meeting of the DAC on 3-4 April 2007 in Paris,

–   having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 60/1 of 24 October 2005 on the 2005 World Summit Outcome, and in particular paragraphs 138-140 thereof on the responsibility to protect,

– having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas, since the 1990s, states that lack capacity to fulfil their ‘traditional’ functions and to drive development forward and have weak institutions have been named ‘fragile states’ by the World Bank (WB) and the international development community,

B.  whereas state fragility is more an empirical concept than a normative one and it is a dependent variable and not an original condition; whereas a situation of fragility exists either before a crisis or after one; whereas the responsibility for determining when states are no longer ‘fragile’ should be that of their citizens,

C.  whereas, despite the fact that there is no unambiguous working definition of the concept, it is possible to identify states undergoing situations of fragility and the number of states judged by the WB to be ‘fragile’ almost doubled from 14 to 26 between 2000 and 2006, of which 14 are in Sub-Saharan Africa,

D.  whereas it is essential to understand the external and internal factors of fragility in order to provide assistance and empowerment to such states, for the direct benefit of their citizens and for the sake of regional and global peace and prosperity,

E.  whereas different kinds of fragility (for instance being conflict-prone, the so-called ‘resource curse’, bad governance, being landlocked) call for different kinds of intervention; whereas a given country might come under different types of fragility, thus rendering categorising and specific action difficult,

F.  whereas addressing fragility situations is a long-term process and requires a sustained and long-term commitment both from the countries affected and from the international community,

G.  whereas the African Union recognises that reconstruction is primarily a political rather than a technical matter; stressing, therefore, the need to build legitimate state authority, for consensus-based governance, for affirmative action for vulnerable groups and for local capacity building within the framework of an equitable distribution of power and mutual accountability(2),

H.  whereas situations of fragility are often rooted in poverty and bad living conditions, leading in most extreme cases to state collapse and permanent insecurity; whereas the lack of protection and rights for the citizens of the countries affected requires - and must be at the centre of - action from the EU and the international community,

I.   whereas there is still not enough sharing of state-building experiences between countries and between donors, thus preventing lessons from being learned,

J.  whereas there is a need for a double mechanism of accountability: between the donors and the recipient countries and between the latter and their people,

K.  whereas multiple funding instruments run the risk of duplication or of a lack of resource allocation and make accountability and participation more difficult for societies that era already weakened,

1.  Considers that fragility is a complex development challenge and stresses the need for a well defined and coherent fragility agenda, based on the principle of ‘doing no harm’, i.e. adapted to the situation, taking long-term considerations into account and coordinating the multiple aims and approaches of the different stakeholders in the light of the main and overarching objective of reducing poverty and achieving the MDGs;

2.  Welcomes the preparation of an EU response to fragility and stresses the need to involve parliaments in all phases of this strategy;

3.  Affirms that a stable democratic political system, conducive to development, the rule of law, the protection of human rights, good governance and peaceful conflict prevention is the best way out of fragility and towards functioning open institutions and efficient and equitable policy-making;

4.  Points out that programming and action in situations of fragility need to be comprehensive and coherent and have the people and the sustainable development of the countries affected at its core, considers that existing instruments and mechanisms must mainstream a fragility-sensitive approach and fully agrees that the potential of Country Strategy Papers and thematic programmes, prepared in partnership, to prevent fragility needs to be enhanced;

5.  Stresses that the main components of the fragility agenda should be three-fold, with a pro-poor and prevention emphasis: promoting human security, improving development and ensuring peace; also stresses the need to implement them with consistency in the field;


6.  Considers that long-term strategic planning needs to be coordinated with the implementation of programmes on the ground that have to remain flexible and adaptable, and needs to be able to be responsive to the country context; calls on the Commission, therefore, to promote long-term development, but also to provide basic services such as health and education in the short term;

7.  Stresses that development programmes in fragility situations should conform to the same underlying principles as for development programming anywhere, that is, ownership, partnership, mutual accountability and sustainability;

8.  Calls on the Commission to support all-inclusive peace and political dialogue and reconciliation processes and to enhance the participation of communities and civil society in all aspects of the recovery cycle and the development strategies;

9.   Stresses that sustainable peace can only be achieved if justice is done, and seen to be done, in particular with regard to war crimes and crimes against humanity; in this context, calls on the Commission to support the strengthening of the legal and judicial systems of fragile states, in order to ensure that perpetrators of serious crimes against humanity are brought to justice, but also to allow for the parallel advancement of justice and reconciliation initiatives;

10.   Calls for the strengthening of individual legal rights, including on land holdings of the poorest; and calls on the Commission to support efforts made in developing countries to diversify their agricultural production so as to allow them to get out of a situation of highly vulnerable single-crop economies and thus avoid fragile situations resulting from economic collapse;

11.   Reiterates the need for EU development and humanitarian action to put a stronger emphasis on preventive measures, early warning and risk analyses to avoid both man-made and natural disasters that result in fragile situations;

12.   Affirms that a comprehensive model on fragility and development needs to take into account existing local, regional and continental initiatives such as the recent ‘African Union Policy on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development’, NEPAD, the African Peer Review Mechanism and the Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in Africa; calls on the Commission, therefore, to support efforts to strengthen South-South cooperation in this field;

13.   Calls also on the Commission to ensure not only that domestic stakeholders are fully involved in the efforts to overcome fragility situations, but also that their own notion and definition of state-building and their state model is considered and that local expertise is used;


14.  Stresses the crucial role which women and vulnerable groups play in promoting development and peace, and asks the Commission to promote their empowerment, namely by taking into account their specific needs and situation in fragility environments;

15.  Welcomes the fact that, under the framework of the joint EU-Africa Strategy, the EU and Africa will hold a dialogue on the concept of 'situations of fragility' aimed at reaching a common understanding and agreeing on steps that could be taken and that this dialogue is already foreseen in the Action Plan;

16.  Recalls that each individual state has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and that the EU strongly supports the responsibility to protect, in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 60/1 of 24 October 2005; stresses that the responsibility to protect includes the application of sustained diplomatic, economic and legal pressure and threats, coercive military intervention being only the last resort and needing to be strictly controlled;

17.  Underlines that addressing situations of fragility is complex and requires significant financial and human resources, as well as long-term commitments; calls on the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to ensure that these resources are made available in a sufficient, adequate and predictable way and that there is coherence between donor agencies;

18.  Stresses that the use of budget support is not appropriate in fragility situations, where audit and monitoring capacities are weak or inexistent; calls on the Commission, therefore, to use other forms of funding in such situations, unless it can provide detailed information on how the money is being spent;

19.  Asks the Commission to provide Parliament with a mapping of donors and international actors and the type of work they are doing, in order to allow the monitoring of the optimal use of available tools and resources;

20.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the African Union.

(1) COM(2007)643; SEC(2007)1417.
(2) ‘African Union Policy on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development’, adopted by 52 Member States in the Banjul Summit of the AU in July 2006.

Last updated: 13 November 2007Legal notice