The European Commission releases 2015 report on Policy Coherence for Development

On the 3rd of August 2015, in the midst of the summer recess, the European Commission published its biannual policy report on Policy Coherence for Development. Fair Politics has scrutinized the report and will remark on some of its rather disappointing contents.

Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is enshrined in article 21 and 208 of the Lisbon Treaty. This means that the European Union is legally obligated to take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies it implements, which are likely to affect developing countries. Every two years, the EU commission releases its own report on PCD. In this latest report, the input from EU member states and EU delegations is used, as well as the EU institutions. The state of affairs, and achieved progress, on the promotion of PCD is given, as well as the policy areas of trade and finance, food security, climate change, migration and security. During the parliamentary year 2014-2015 Fair Politics has closely followed the policy developments of topics such as TTIP, food security, the EU raw materials policy and migration. Fair Politics wants to give developing countries a fair chance at development, and this can only be achieved by coherent EU policy, in all areas. In what follows, we elaborate on some of the contents of the report.

TTIP: What about the impact on developing countries?

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnerships is still being negotiated and the Commission is rather vague about the impact it will have on developing countries. The Commission intends to ensure the necessary monitoring throughout the negotiating process in order to anticipate risks, opportunities and any need for accompanying measures. Developing countries might benefit from positive trade creation effects of TTIP, and the ‘regulatory trade diversion’ could reduce costs for exports. The negotiation process is done behind closed doors and it is unclear what efforts are made to avoid a negative impact on developing countries. A few months ago Fair Politics published a policy paper on the possible impact of TTIP on developing countries. The EU and the US must include the interest of the developing and emerging economies in the negotiation process, to avoid a negative impact. Click here to read our policy recommendations. 

Food security

biofuelsplaatje2In May, the European Parliament Research Service (EPRS) published a briefing on policy coherence for development and its state of play in the European Union. This research stated that the EU Food Security Policy Framework (2010) is incoherent with the EU Renewable Energy Directive (2009). In May 2015 a new EU biofuels legislation was agreed upon. This new legislation marks the first effort of the EU to end the practices of land grabbing and related food insecurity that were related to the production of biofuels. However, in the Commission work report on PCD, the EU biofuels policy is not mentioned, even though it is a clear example of incoherent EU policy. The social, economic and environmental effects of EU biofuels policy needs to be monitored and reported on.

Smallholder family farmers are the most poor and vulnerable group and affected by the EU agriculture and trade policies. In the work report, the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) is elaborated upon. The measurements that have been taken include minimising the market distortion and stopping the use of export refunds. In the past these policies have created much disadvantages for exporters in developing countries and have resulted in ‘dumping’ of EU agriculture products (such as chicken and milk powder..). ECDPM has stated that development interest have not been granted much attention in the CAP reform, and the proposal to monitor the CAP’s impact on food security in developing countries has been rejected as part of the CAP reform.  The policies of the EU should enable farmers in developing countries to have access to EU markets, to give them a fair chance at development   

As part of the Common Agricultural Policy reform, sugar quotas will be lifted in October 2017.The Commission states that it is expected that the most competitive sugar suppliers in ACP countries and the EU will benefit.  However, several MEP’s  have called this into question and have tabled written questions to the Commission, asking what the impact of the sugar reform will be in countries such as Zambia, Mozambique and Jamaica.

EU Raw Materials Policy

On the 20th of May 2015 an unexpected breakthrough was reached in the Europeanconflictmineralen Parliament on conflict minerals. MEP’s voted for binding legislation, to ensure transparency and monitoring along the whole supply chain. The Parliament wants to oblige European companies to report on the origins of the minerals they use. The legislation covers four important conflict minerals: gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten. The first steps are taken to end the link between minerals in electronic devices and human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, this current state of affairs of the conflict minerals legislation was not mentioned in the Commission PCD report. The report only refers to the draft legislation made in 2014.

More mobility for development!

In May 2015 the Commission released its EU Agenda on Migration. The Commission work report on PCD includes an overview of the intentions of the Commission to develop a long-term, coherent migration policy. Fair Politics calls for the migration and development nexus to become an inherent part of the EU migration policies, because migration can be a positive enabler for development. One way to achieve this is through facilitating more circular migration. In the EU report on PCD, the Commission recognises the opportunities of circular migration. It states that the EU works to foster skill mobility and promote circular migration with the objective of achieving a triple-win situation for countries of origin and destination as well as for the migrants themselves.

migrationThis past year Fair Politics has conducted research on the EU mobility partnership (MP) with Cape Verde and given recommendations on how the MP can become a better tool for development. In the report on PCD it can be read that more could be done to enhance the use of MPs to facilitate mobility of migrant workers and other persons such as students, service providers or professionals, in cooperation with non-EU countries. However, the Commission must come up with an EU migration policy which looks for more long-term solutions to combat irregular migration and offers migrants a safe route to the EU.  To read the impact study ‘more mobility for development! Policy Coherence for Development in practice: making the EU Mobility Partnership a tool for development in Cape Verde’ and our policy recommendations, click here.

Fair Politics is disappointed with the lack of concrete proposals to achieve more policy coherence for development in EU policies in the Commission report. 2015 is the European Year for Development and CONCORD is realising, throughout the year, spotlight papers on the impact of EU policy on developing countries. To read more about the paper on EPA’s click here, to read more about the paper on fair taxes, click here. Fair Politics hopes the Commission is ready to take the next step and make policy coherence for development a real priority!

Marije Raedts

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