January will mark the start of the European year for development (EYD), the first European year to focus on external action.
At the start of the debate, Charles Goerens, rapporteur on the EYD, said that next year "has to see enough structural progress to anchor development policies in the world's institutions and in our citizens' hearts".
Davor Stier, rapporteur on the EU development framework, prided himself on having managed to reach an agreement between different parliamentary groups, as this was "a big dossier [that] required a lot of patience and goodwill to find a consensus".
He explained that his report "stressed that ending poverty and fighting inequality should be underlying themes in the new framework".
"It is important the EU speaks with a common voice in these important global discussions" - Linda McAvan
Stier highlighted the need to focus on "the model of universality", seeing as "the millennium goals [implemented by the UN and ending next year] were only aimed at developing countries".
According to the EPP deputy, "sustainable development is possible but only if there is respect for the dignity of all human beings". He also underlined that development should be a global issue, and that "we cannot secure sustainable peace and wellbeing for EU citizens if we do not also address issues like extreme poverty and hunger".
Stressing the importance for all layers of society to be involved in the effort towards sustainable development, Stier called for "a renewed global partnership between civil society and national and regional parliaments".
With world leaders gearing up for a UN summit next September to discuss the next steps following the end of the millennium development goals, the Croatian MEP said that he hopes the EU will "adopt a strong, unified position".
Linda McAvan, chair of parliament's development committee, echoed her colleague's statement, saying "it is important the EU speaks with a common voice in these important global discussions".
The debate will continue at the next plenary session in Strasbourg later this month.