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close this bookThe Courier N 145 - May - June 1994- Dossier : European Union: the Way forward - Country Report: Ethiopia (EC Courier, 1994, 104 p.)
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View the documentEuropean Union: the way forward
View the documentEurope makes its way: from Rome to Maastricht
View the documentEconomic and Monetary Union - Major features of the Maastricht Treaty
View the documentThe European Monetary Institute - The tasks ahead
View the documentThe Courier surveys the scene with the help of Egon Klepsch, President of the European Parliament
View the documentThe challenge for 1996 - A people's Europe
View the documentTowards enlargement of the European Union
View the documentPHARE-TACIS: EU cooperation with its Eastern neighbours
View the documentWhat future for the CFSP?
View the documentThe European Union's development cooperation policy
View the documentThe challenges and ways forward into the 21st century
View the documentThe GATT exception for cultural products and the European creative imagination
View the documentImages of Europe

The European Union's development cooperation policy

The Courier asked Commission Vice-President Manuel Marin about the consequences of the European Union for the developing countries, with a particular focus on the new institutional rules laid down in the Maastricht Treaty. Here is his reply.

First of all, there is a strictly political principle here which I should like to emphasise, and emphasise strongly, and it is that the forward march of the European Union must never lead it to cut Europe off or distance it from the developing countries.

Let us now move on to the Union's economic effect on the developing nations. I shall be very brief.

To put the highly sophisticated arguments of my economists in elementary terms, I can sum up the whole issue in a syllogism. The European Union should be conducive to better internal growth. Better internal growth should lead to greater demand for imported products. So the European Union will bring great benefits to the developing countries which export such products. That is probably exactly what will happen in the long run, but what our partners want to know is: when and how is it going to happen and, most important, for whose benefit? That is the question.

This brings me to the third part of my reply, on the institutional and operational side of European Union cooperation. The Union's job is not just mechanically to trigger growth in the developing world (to be no move than a market, to make myself clear). Above all, it is to be active in working through its institutions to bring a deliberate, active policy into play to help ease the weakest nations into a market position which will give them the resources they need for their economic and human development.

How can the Union do this?

In development cooperation, Maastricht gives us the sort of scope we never had under the Treaty of Rome. One conclusion we came to when thinking about the implementation of the new Treaty - and indeed described in detail in the paper on cooperation policy in the year 2000 - was that much of the inefficiency of international development aid was caused by the funders' piecemeal efforts and their failure to act together.

The result is that the Community's drive to run a properly coordinated cooperation policy now suffers from three handicaps - a coordination gap between national and Community development cooperation policies, inconsistency between the cooperation policies and other aspects of the Community integration process and a lack of European assertion and motivation in international circles and vis-is other funders.

All this is detrimental to the ACPs, for it deprives them of the potentially mass benefits of a consistent policy on the part of the Community and the Member States. Don't forget that 42% of developing country assistance in the world today comes from the 12 Member States. Title XVII of the Treaty of Maastricht enshrined development cooperation as a Community policy, so the Community now has a proper legal basis on which to propose and lay down coherent lines along which both it and the Member States can develop their cooperation activities independently, but in harmony.

The Maastricht Treaty in fact gives official recognition to a policy which has already existed for more than 30 years. Part three of Title XVII sets cooperation among the Community policies to ensure that the Commission and the Member States coordinate their approach to sustainable economic and social development, to the gradual integration of the developing countries into the world economy and to poverty alleviation. It also forces the Community to take account of these aims in other policies when the developing nations may be affected.

The advantages of a Community policy of this sort could be tighter coordination and greater compatibility with other Community policies, better integration of the various development policy instruments and greater political effectiveness (featuring greater Community weight in international circles). Lastly, it could make for more efficient political dialogue with the developing nations by boosting the finances enough to encourage donor coordination.

The advent of the Treaty on the European Union coincides with the need to adjust the Community's development policy, particularly (for reasons of chronology) in the light of the mid-term review of LomV. Manuel Marin's views on this are clear.

The basic idea is that the Lomonvention will survive only if it can adapt its structures and modus operandi to the changes in the world over the past few years.

So there are three fundamental aims, namely to:

- assert the principle of democracy, the rule of law and the proper management of public affairs;

- adjust the instruments of dialogue between the Community and the ACP countries, which must become real partners in discussion;

- make the instruments and administrative procedures of the Convention more efficient.