Danish Presidency – what priorities for development policy?

Denmark has taken over the EU Presidency until the end of June this year. In spite of many other important priorities related to the European economic crisis, Danes still make ambitious plans in the field of development and declare efforts to “make development policy a more central part of EU foreign policy”.

During the Danish Presidency focus will be put on six areas in respect to development cooperation and policy:

1. Renewal of the EU’s development policy

During their EU Presidency Danish will have to renew the EU’s development policy. EU needs to be better at taking action in the face of global challenges such as climate, migration, equality, security and consequences of the financial crisis. The focus will be kept on poverty reduction and advancing Millennium Development Goals. More attention will be paid to the possibilities of people to realize their rights.

2. Negotiations about EU’s development funds

Even though the negotiations on the EU’s financial framework for 2014-2020, including the size of the development budget, will not be finalized during the Danish Presidency, Danes want to advance the negotiations as much as possible before their term is up.

3. Humanitarian assistance

Danish government wants to support the efforts for greater coordination between humanitarian interventions and protection of civilian populations as well as other measures that will allow EU to respond quickly and adequately to humanitarian disasters.

4. European Humanitarian Volunteers Corps

During the Danish Presidency the Council of Ministers will examine the proposal of launching European humanitarian volunteers corps program, that will allow European citizens assist humanitarian work all around the world.

5. Cohesion between relevant policies for development

Before the Danish term is over, the Commission will launch and discuss a report on policy coherence for development with the objective of ensuring more cohesion between policies such as trade, agriculture, migration and defense in the benefit of the world’s poorest countries.

6. 0.7% GNI to development assistance

The Danish will insists on delivering EU’s aid commitments and work to ensure that EU development cooperation is more effective, targeted, results-oriented and based on mutual accountability.

Other priorities declared for the Danish EU Presidency of significant importance to development work include reducing agricultural subsidies, inclusion of human rights and democracy clauses in the fishery partnership agreements and the focus on sustainability criteria for biofuels. Danish government would also like to strengthen sustainable trade relations with economically less developed countries to contribute to poverty reduction. Danish Presidency will also lead the EU in the effort for the establishment of a global tax on financial transactions. A ambiguous element of the Danish plans for Presidency is the commitment to promote trade liberalisation both through the European Neighbourhood Policy and WTO negotiations.

One of the most important events for the Danish presidency will most certainly be the UN RIO+20 Rio+20 Rio+20 was a UN conference of the highest possible level, including the heads of state and government or other high-level representatives. It was coordinated by UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs (DESA). Rio+20 was a follow up of two important events: the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. The conference took place 20 to 22 June 2012 and was accompanied by a number of side events (People’s Summit, Dialogue Days, Trade Union Assembly on Labour and Environment, etc.). One of the outputs of Rio+20 was the Sustainable Development Goals. summit in June in Brazil, where their plans for “Green Europe” will be confronted in the global discussions on sustainable development and green economy. Danish government commits to strengthening political will and securing ambitious, development-oriented results of the talks.

You can read more about the EU development policy on the website of the Danish EU Presidency and in the EU’s Global Role brochure.