| The Courier N°152 July - August 1995 Dossier NGOs Country Reports Belize, Malawi |
|CTA - Bulletin|
Development ministers meet
Meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday 1 June, under the chairmanship of Jacques Godfrain, French Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs with responsibility for cooperation policy, the Development Council discussed and approved a number of texts on different subjects. Three resolutions were adopted:
1. Complementarity of EU and Member State policies
This text, which is part of the follow-up to the document 'Horizon 2000', seeks to increase the effectiveness of the mechanisms that have been put in place. Stressing that complementarity is important for the efficiency of both Union and Member State development policies, the Ministers recognised that this did not pose a threat to the policies of the latter. It represented, instead, a means of gaining added value from the experience of both sides-a synergy which could only benefit the recipients of aid in the final analysis.
2. Support for structural adjustment
This resolution, which fixes orientations for the Commission, is aimed at improving the effectivenes of the structural adjustment facility in the light of the mixed experiences of ACP and Mediterranean countries in this area.
3. Support for regional integration
The text adopted refers to the lees-than-decisive results of past experience in the field of regional integration, sets out the preconditions for success in this area and makes recommendations in the fields of trade policy, donor coordination and general development cooperation policy.
In addition, the Council adopted a declaration on research in the developing countries which sets out priorities for the EU and its Member Stat". Thee include a lasting improvement in the food security and health spheres, support for better utilisation of university resources and assistance for development-related research activities. The declaration referred to the need for research results to be used and disseminated, and for aid in this area to be made more effective, as well as reiterating the basic purpose which is to allow developing countries to achieve sound and sustainable development.
There was a detailed exchange of views on the evaluation of EU development programmes, leading to the adoption of a document which sets out the way in which this should take place (terms of reference, field of application, methods and implementation rules). This follows on from the declaration made by the Development Council in November 1994.
As regards cooperation with South Africa, the Council adopted conclusions on a Commission proposal for a regulation concerning the legal framework for implementing the EPRD (European Programme for the Reconstruction and Development of South Africa). This establish the modalities for managing the ECU 15 million which have been allocated to this programme under the Community's 1995 budget.
The Ministers welcomed with some enthusiasm, the positive outcome of Commissioner Pinheiro's trip to South Africa, and made an appeal for the General Affairs Council to adopt the negotiating mandate pertaining to the Community's long-term relationship with this country, at its meeting on 12 June. This would allow the Commission to proceed rapidly with the negotiations.
The Council also noted, with interest, a proposal for a regulation on humanitarian aid that was presented by Emma Bonino, the Commissioner responsible for the EC Humanitarian Office (ECHO). This foresees the establishment of a legal base for a number of budgetary lines devoted to humanitarian aid, in particular as regards ECHO's own operations.
The Development Council's decision to engage in a political and technical dialogue with Rwanda, with a view to the resumption of aid, was perhaps the most significant on the agenda at this particular session. Ministers discussed the situation in the country in the aftermath of the Kibeho massacres. With the assistance of Commissioner Pinheiro, it was possible to resolve the outstanding differences between the different delegations. The Council decided to send an emissary from the Union, within the following 10 to 15 days, to open a dialogue with the Rwandan government.
This decision was taken, bearing in mind the need to support the process of normalisation and reconciliation in the country, and the positive reaction of the Rwandan government to the conclusions of the International Commission of Inquiry. On the basis of the report from this emissary, it may be possible to resume provision of the aid that has been suspended (amounting to between ECU 40m and ECU 45m), thus allowing the EU to resume its participation in the rehabilitation and reconstruction process in Rwanda. These decisions were the subject of a joint declaration by the Council and the Commission, the text of which is reproduced in the Common Foreign and Security Policy section of this News Round-Up.
During the press conference which followed, Minister Godfrain and Commissioner Pinheiro expressed satisfaction with the positive outcome of the meeting. They were particularly encouraged by the decisions taken in respect of Rwanda.
The President in Office of the Development Council also expressed pleasure at the progress made on the subject of coherence in Community policies, and on the operational coordination taking place in six 'pilot' countries (Bangladesh, Costa Rica, CotÃ© d'lvoire, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Peru) in the fields of health, the fight against poverty and Aids.
During lunch, the Ministers discussed, among other subjects, the situation in Angola and Mozambique, Eritrea, humanitarian flights to Somalia, and the Conference on Women scheduled for Beijing later this year.
Within the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the European Union has recently issued a number of statements, details of which are set out below:
Rwanda: condemnation of events in Kibeho
Declaration of 25 April 1995
The European Union utterly condemns the violence which led to several thousand civilian deaths in the Kibeho camp during Rwandan army operations to close down the camp on 22 April. The Union urges the Rwandan authorities to launch an inquiry without delay in order to identify those responsible for the massacre and to take all the necessary sanctions speedily. Events of this gravity can only make it more difficult for refugees and displaced persons to return, this being an essential prerequisite for national reconciliation and a lasting solution to the Rwandan problem. The EU would point out that its development aid for Rwanda is conditional on respect for human rights and progress towards national reconciliation. It emphasises that international aid to the local population must be allowed to proceed unhindered. It therefore calls on the Rwandan authorities to make it easier for the international and non-governmental organisations to carry out their task of relieving suffering.
Rwanda: development aid suspended
Joint Council and Commission declaration of 12 May 1995
Following the events in Kibeho, implementation of the aid programmes for the Government of Rwanda undertaken by the Community pursuant to the recommendations of the Development Council on 25 November 1994 in the light of the objectives and priorities defined in the common position of 24 October 1994 has been temporarily suspended. Following detailed consultations, it has been established that the suspension will affect the Community's development aid programmes and will not affect humanitarian and emergency aid, aid to the health and education sectors or measures in support of human rights and the rule of law. Subject to action to be taken following the conclusions of the Committee of Inquiry, which must work in total independence, the gradual resumption of assistance will depend on the concrete efforts of the Rwandan authorities to achieve the objectives and priorities of the common position adopted by the Council on 24 October 1994. The Commission will provide the Council with further information as necessary.
Rwanda: dialogue on the resumption of aid
Joint Council and Commission declaration of 2 June 1995
Taking account of the positive response of the Rwandan Government to the conclusions of the Commission of Inquiry, and the need to provide support towards improving the situation, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission have decided, fully respecting the common position of 24 October 1994, to engage in political and technical dialogue with the Rwandan government aimed at the full resumption of EU assistance to Rwanda and at the pursuit of efforts designed to establish ways and means of promoting rehabilitation and reconstruction within the country.
Niger: peace agreement with Tuareg rebels
Declaration of 10 May 1995
The European Union welcomes the signing of the peace agreement between the Government of Niger and the Armed Resistance Organisation (ORA). It is heartened by this decisive step towards national reconciliation, which offers hope to the population of Niger and the region as a whole, urges the signatories to do their utmost to consolidate the peace, and will, in future direct its cooperation with Niger towards attainment of that objective.
Angola: Dos Santos and Savimbi meet
Declaration of 10 May 1995
The European Union welcomes the fact that the long-awaited meeting between President Dos Santos and Mr Savimbi finally took place smoothly in Lusaka on 6 May. It pays tribute to all who worked for the holding of that meeting.
It considers that the meeting represents an important development making possible the swift of UNAVEM III forces and contingents. It hopes that the climate prevailing at those talks will impart fresh impetus to the application of the peace agreements on the ground and will serve to strengthen in practice the essential process of national reconciliation in Angola.
Sierra Leone: European hostages freed
Declaration of 18 May 1995 The European Union welcomes the release of the ten European hostages abducted in Sierra Leone and pays tribute to all those who played a role in securing their release. The European Union notes that the continuation of the conflict has led to the death, displacement or disappearance of many innocent Sierra Leoneans and calls on all parties to seek an end to the hostilities and to work towards national reconciliation. It welcomes the statement made by the Sierra Leonean Government proposing a cease-fire and unconditional peace talks and announcing the lifting of the ban on political activity. It counts on all Sierra Leoneans to participate wholeheartedly in the peace process. The European Union strongly supports the efforts made by the United Nations Secretary-General and his special representative to promote peace in Sierra Leone. It also welcomes the active commitment of the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States and other States in the region.