MEPS say 2015 a year 'vital for development policy'

Representatives from the European commission and parliament have gathered in Riga to launch the European year for development.

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

09 Jan 2015

This is the first European year dedicated to external action. The EU is the world's largest development aid donor, although funding was cut for this year.

Neven Mimica, commissioner for international cooperation and development, said the aim "is to inform EU citizens about development cooperation by highlighting the results that the union, acting together with member states, has achieved as a global player".

Linda McAvan, chair of parliament's development committee, said "2015 is a vital year for international development policy".

She added that this year is "a great opportunity to galvanise support for a strong new framework among EU citizens - we want [to show] that development policy works".

2015 is the last year for the UN millennium development goals agenda, and world leaders are due to come together in September to agree on a new global development framework.

This is of crucial importance as the goals initially set for this year - such as cutting extreme poverty by half and universal primary education - have not been met.

"This is a great opportunity to galvanise support for a strong new framework among EU citizens - we want [to show] that development policy works" - Linda McAvan

MEPs have called for Europe to stand united in the fight against poverty. Arne Lietz, S&D group spokesperson for the European year for development, said, "if we want to achieve sustainable results in development policy, we need stronger cooperation between all players".

EPP group spokesperson Davor Ivo Stier agreed, insisting that, "business as usual is no longer an option", and that "it is essential that the EU speaks with one voice on the world stage".

He also stressed that "the EU should champion a transformative agenda which will address not only the symptoms, but rather the root causes of poverty".

Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said, "Europe can only be a global actor if Europeans understand how the role of the European union and its member states benefits us all in our interdependent world".

To this end, a number of events will be organised throughout the year, such as sporting occasions and art projects in schools.

Each month will be dedicated to a specific theme. This month's theme is 'Europe's position in the world'.


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