The European Union is often criticised for the difficulty it has in transforming its well-intended policies into action. In the past days, we have seen some concrete measures to prove that argument wrong. I am talking about increasing coherence between the different EU policies which interlink with development and with our goal of overcoming poverty worldwide; the so-called Policy Coherence for Development (PCD).
Last week, the EU agreed on new rules to curb food speculation by limiting the use of financial instruments linked to commodities, which has been blamed for the rise in food prices. My colleague, Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner responsible for financial regulation, agreed on the fact that this is a good deal for everyone, and he himself explained that the new rules will contribute to orderly pricing and prevent market abuse, thus curbing speculation on commodities and the disastrous impacts they can have on the world’s poorest populations.
Just as politically relevant was last week’s declaration by Commissioner Cioloş (responsible for Agriculture policy) on export refunds. Although this traditional tool for subsidising EU agricultural exports has been massively scaled back in recent years, last year’s Common Agricultural Policy reform confirmed that the instrument can be re-introduced in times of market crisis. Underlining the importance that such support should not risk affecting the capacity of less developed countries to develop their own agriculture, he made clear that, even in times of crisis, the EU is ready to step up its efforts and confirm the definitive end for using export refunds for destinations in Africa.
Food prices and agricultural production are clearly linked to development policy, but are impacted by several EU policies. I am glad to see these commitments that will increasingly bring EU policies fully into line with EU development objectives.Stepping-up the team work towards development objectives,