On July 27, 2016 MEUSAC, in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organised a consultation session at MEUSAC’s offices on revising the European Consensus on Development, a session which turned out to be fruitful.
In his opening remarks, MEUSAC Head Dr Vanni Xuereb reminded those present that 2015 was the European Year for Development and that MEUSAC was the national coordinator.
He said that European years do serve a purpose, same as the EYD 2015 did. He pointed out that a significant improvement was witnessed, particularly in relation to Malta where public opinion is concerned, in terms of Malta’s positive assessment on what the EU is and what it is doing. He said this emerged in the Special Eurobarometer Survey for EU Development, Cooperation, and Aid published this year.
He pointed out that the EU development policy seeks to eradicate poverty in the context of sustainable development. He said 2015 was an important year for development as the world adopted the new 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Although the EYD came to an end, the national coordinators have agreed to continue collaborating in an informal manner to ensure that development policy remains high on the agenda,” he said.
Neville Aquilina, Director-General, Global Issues, International Development & Economic Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, said that NGOs are the mind and hands of what is happening in international development. He said 2015 was a groundbreaking year for international development. He referred to some major events which were held and which witnessed some groundbreaking agreements such as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which provides a foundation for implementing the global sustainable development agenda, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
He also highlighted that when Malta will host the Presidency of the Council of the EU during the first six months of 2017, it will also push forward the European Consensus on Development.
Maria Camilleri Calleja, Director, International Development at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, gave a presentation. She highlighted that the European consensus is no longer fully aligned with the long-term vision for sustainable development and must be updated, hence the consultation sessions which are being held leading to the revision of the European Consensus on Development.
She said the document, which will be reviewed, includes proposals from all stakeholders. She urged all stakeholders to give their take on the subject and to participate in the European Commission’s public consultation session by filling in the questionairre made available. The public consultation session ends on August 21.
Dr Xuereb said that today’s session also served as a way for stakeholders to give their take on a national level which helps guide the Maltese Government to present its proposals to the Commission as well on the matter.
An NGO present mentioned that funds tied to migration should not be taken out from the Development pot, something ministry representatives agreed with. In fact, it was highlighted by Ms Camilleri Calleja that additional funds had been allocated towards the EU Trust Fund for Africa, further stating that Malta’s contribution towards this cause was one of the largest made per capita by an EU Member State.
About the European Consensus on Development
On 20 December 2005, the Presidents of the Commission, Parliament and the Council signed a statement on EU development policy, the "European consensus", which, for the first time in 50 years of cooperation, defined the framework of common principles within which the EU and its Member States each implemented their development policies in a spirit of complementarily. This consensus is now being updated.