Time to deliver: Challenges of the new EU Commissioner for Development

In a challenge ahead, Europe has two main contributions to make: development policy thinking and development aid delivery. Development policy is a key part of the ”Europe 2020” vision presented by president Barroso. In particular, as we look ahead to a ”global Europe”, it is in times of development challenges that the EU can become a champion of global governance – challenges which include world economic recovery, climate change, migration, food security and making progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The Commission is already exploiting its expertise in development and strengthening the link between development policy, researchers, national authorities and civil society. To meet the Millennium Development Goals, the EU must implement its plans for greater coherence between policies in different sectors (”policy coherence for development”) and make aid more effective by coordinating the Commission (EuropAid) and 27 EU countries in one cogent effort to tackle poverty worldwide.

The EU is the biggest aid donor in the world, channelling some 60% of total official development assistance to Asia, Pacific, Middle East, Africa, Caribbean and Latin America ( €49bn in 2008, or €100 per European citizen). By improving aid predictability and achieving a better division of labour (the 2 main principles of efficient aid delivery), the EU could minimise the burden on recipient countries and free up resources worth €3-6bn a year (2009 aid-effectiveness study). Helping developing countries recover from the economic slowdown and beyond will be the top priority for the incoming development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs. In times of economic crisis, sustaining financing for development is difficult but crucial for poor countries suffering even more than their developed counterparts. Source: European Commission, http://ec.europa.eu/development/icenter/featured_20100209_en.cfm