July 25, 2014 10:25

EU must live up to its International Responsibility

Alliance2015 asks: What about development policy, Mr Juncker?

Alliance2015 members miss a clear reference to development policies in Jean-Claude Juncker's recent inaugurational speech. “Juncker reduces a combined EU foreign policy to security aspects,” said Wolfgang Jamann, President of the European NGO network Alliance2015 and Secretary General of  the German member Welthungerhilfe. “Poverty and inequality are the most important global challenges and the cause of social unrest and civil war.” In his candidacy speech to the European Parliament on 15 July Juncker presented a detailed ten-point programme for his Presidency. While spendings on development cooperation stagnate, Juncker aims at a significant build-up of the border agency FRONTEX and the common defence policy.

"The European Union must not give up its leading role as the largest donor of development funds in the world,” said Jamann. “It has to meet its international responsibilities, particularly with reference to the global development targets that have to be agreed upon in 2015.” The European Union is still a long way away from the target it has set itself of donating 0.7 per cent of gross national income to development cooperation; all  member countries taken together gave 0.43 per cent in 2012. 

“We should not fight refugees but understand them for what they are: a sign of hunger and desperation in many countries worldwide,” said Jamann. “We expect a clear commitment to solidarity with the poorest in the world from Mr Juncker. His home country has understood this long ago: Measured by gross national income Luxembourg is the third largest donor after Sweden and Norway.”

Jean-Claude Juncker was elected President of the Commission by 422 out of 751 members of the European Parliament on 15 July. The Christian Democrat succeeded José Manuel Barroso (European People’s Party).