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Stepping-up the team work towards development objectives

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seminarCAThe 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, 3.8 out of 5 based on 5 ratings

One Response to “Stepping-up the team work towards development objectives”

  1. Brussels, 29 January 2014

    Dear Commissioner

    Thanks for sharing your reflections on Policy Coherence for Development. The Fair Trade movement is very pleased with the recognition to the role that Fair Trade has in the context of latest EC Policy Coherence for Development report and your support to Fair Trade in the context of the future post-2015 sustainable development framework (www.fairtrade-advocacy.org/beyond2015/98-projects/fair-tade-beyond-2015/news/636-ftao-press-release-200-mayors-support-fair-trade-in-new-global-goals-for-poverty-eradication-and-sustainable-development-post-2015)

    There are however numerous other EU policy areas where there is room for improvement in terms of Policy Coherence for Development. One of the most important ones is trade and investment policy, as you know. I am pleased to let you know that on 26 November 2013, together with a number of 50 European CSO networks, we made public an “Alternative Trade Mandate” http://www.alternativetrademandate.org with proposals to make EU trade and investment policy work for people and the planet, and not for the vested interests of a few.

    EU internal policies also have the potential to have good or negative developmental impacts. One of key important decisions we are expecting from the European Commission is what follow-up will be given by the EC to the Green Paper of 31 January 2013 on “Unfair Trading Practices in the Food and Non-Food Supply Chain in Europe”. In this context, together with the trade union movement leaders, we sent to EC President Barroso a letter in December 2013 to share our concerns on impact of “buyer power” on farmers and workers in the South (for more details: http://www.effat.org/en/node/10765) and we call on the Commission to put in placa a coordinated and robust EU enforcement mechanism against Unfair Trading Practices, which guarantees anonymity and has the ability to sanction rogue traders.

    In this context, we would like to kindly ask you to share the potential negative impact on development of unfair trading practices with the College of Commissioners and add this topic to the “radar screen” of DG DEVCO so that the follow-up to this Green Paper and the impact on the EU development objectives is evaluated in the next EC Policy Coherence for Development report.

    Thanks in advance

    Yours sincerely

    Sergi Corbalán
    Executive Director
    Fair Trade Advocacy Office
    The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out on behalf of the Fair Trade movement for Fair Trade and Trade Justice with the aim to improve the livelihoods of marginalised producers and workers in the South. The FTAO is a joint initiative of Fairtrade International, the European Fair Trade Association and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe. Through these three networks the FTAO represents an estimate of 2.5 million Fair Trade producers and workers from 70 countries, 24 labelling initiatives, over 500 specialised Fair Trade importers, 4,000 World Shops and more than 100,000 volunteers.

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