The EU Africa Strategy and its implementation

by Maria Mertens, Member of the European Parliament for the EPP-ED Group (CDA NL)

In 2005 the European Commission launched for the first time in history a special development strategy for Africa. It was the first step in the elaboration of the new overall EU development cooperation policy. The initiative of the European Commission was much appreciated.

In November 2005 the European Parliament adopted a resolution with the view of the European Parliament on the proposal of the European Commission. I had the honour to be the rapporteur for it.

The report proposes priorities for action, defines roles and responsibilities of the EU development policy, pleas for ensuring effective follow-up of all commitments in areas of good governance, capacity building, social infrastructure, economic growth, peace and security, sustainability of natural resources and environment. In order to achieve structural stability so as to, in turn, allow further development, poverty reduction is crucial. In the view of the
Parliament, therefore all policies must first and foremost be an instrument geared towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Commissioner Michel is right by saying that we must provide more aid, better and faster. We cannot do this by only giving more money, even if we are talking about a few billion extra. It is great that Europe wants to free up more funds and that the Commission wants to remind the Member States of their financial commitments, but we need more than that. The EU policy should improve in Coordination, Coherence and Complementarity. Without those aid will never be
more effective. Much will also depend on the political will within African countries as well as within the EU member states.

Read the full editorial

Source: EU-Africa e-alert – No. 4 / December 2006

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