The first Development Committee meeting of the European Parliament took place on the 21st July 2009 in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting was chaired by Ms. JOLY (Greens / EFA, FR).
I. Announcements from the Chair
MPs were informed that the European Commission has sent a Observation Mission of hundred people in Afghanistan to monitor the elections scheduled for 20 August 2009. The President also indicated that the item “Mauritania” would be discussed at the meeting September.
II. Communications from the European Commission
A Commission representative highlighted the key points in recent years in terms of development, while stressing the importance of the European Consensus on Development in December 2005 and about 60% of public aid to development comes from the EU. He stressed the need to avoid fragmentation of this aid.
III. Communications from the President on the recommendations of the coordinators
Members were informed that the coordinators had decided to maintain “a group co-ordinator” and the four working groups. The hearing of Mr De Gucht is scheduled for the 2nd of September 2009 however it was underlined that there is obviously another important meeting, thus it has to be rescheduled.
IV. Partnership Agreement in the fisheries sector between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea
For procedural reasons, it was decided to cancel the draft opinion of the DEVE Committee. The debate on this point will take place at the September meeting.
V. 2010 budget: Section III – Commission
After a brief presentation by the rapporteur of the working paper, the representative of Commission has made several observations, including in particular the concerns of the Commission on the reductions of the budget proposed by the Council. Following this intervention, several MPs have voiced concerns about the proposals
as well as the margin of approximately EURO 220 million available under the section 4 for 2010, is unsatisfactory (Mr Cashman (S & D, UK), Guerrero Salom (S & D, ES), Goerens (ALDE, LU), Michell (EPP-ED, IE) and the President). They underline that the economic crisis should not be used as a pretext to reduce official development assistance and that developing countries might be more affected by this crisis. MM. Mitchell and Neuser (S & D, DE) required greater clarity on the budget of the Commission, ensuring full allocation of funds. Ms. De Keyser (S & D, BE) felt that there should be no worries since the Council’s proposals are part of the trading at the usual budgetary process.
VI. Climate Change and Developing Countries
The representative of Oxfam International made a presentation on the consequences of climate change and the actions needed to address them. He considered that climate change has tremendous consequence that can lead to a development crisis. According to him, the EU should play a lead role in this field.
Following this presentation, some parliamentarians recalled the humanitarian dimension of climate change (M. Cashman) and the need to stop its progression (Ms. Keller (Greens / EFA, DE) and Mr. Guerrero Salom). Ms. Sargentini (Greens / EFA, NL) asked for more funds to fight climate change, while Mr. Goerens considered that the public funding seems less promising. Mr. Mitchell added that the DEVE should send a delegation of eight members to the UN conference on the change Climate (Copenhagen, December 2009).
VII. Date and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 2 September 2009, 15 am to 18 pm and 30 on Thursday 3
September 2009, from 9 am to 12 am 30 in Brussels