Friday, 30 January 2009

EU Law: Development cooperation

Trade and aid are two pillars of the rich world’s actions to improve the lot of people living in the developing countries.

The European Union and its member state contribute almost half of annual development aid internationally.

We look at the current treaty and the Treaty of Lisbon to see what EU development cooperation is based on.


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Current treaty



Article 177 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) heads Title XX Development cooperation.

European Community policy is categorised as complementary to the development cooperation policies of the member states.

The principal aims with regard to developing countries are:

· Sustainable economic an social development
· Integration into the world economy
· Campaigning against poverty

The Community policies aim to promote:

· Democracy
· The rule of law
· Human rights and fundamental freedoms

Commitments and objectives approved by the European Community (European Union) and the member states within the United Nations and other international organisations are given emphasis in the third paragraph.

Here is the text of Article 177 TEC currently in force, as reproduced in the latest consolidated version of the treaties, OJEU 29.12.2006 C 321 E/125–126:


TITLE XX
DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

Article 177 TEC

1. Community policy in the sphere of development cooperation, which shall be complementary to the policies pursued by the Member States, shall foster:

— the sustainable economic and social development of the developing countries, and more particularly the most disadvantaged among them,

— the smooth and gradual integration of the developing countries into the world economy,

— the campaign against poverty in the developing countries.

2. Community policy in this area shall contribute to the general objective of developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law, and to that of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

3. The Community and the Member States shall comply with the commitments and take account of the objectives they have approved in the context of the United Nations and other competent international organisations.


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Original Lisbon Treaty

The original Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) reorganised the provisions on external action (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306). The new Part Five and the Titles and Chapters were structured in the following way in Article 2, point 154 (page 91):





EXTERNAL ACTION BY THE UNION

154) A new Part Five shall be inserted. Its heading shall be ‘EXTERNAL ACTION BY THE UNION’ and it shall contain the following Titles and Chapters:

Title I: General provisions on the Union's external action

Title II: Common commercial policy

Title III: Cooperation with third countries and humanitarian aid

Chapter 1: Development cooperation

Chapter 2: Economic, financial and technical cooperation with third countries

Chapter 3: Humanitarian aid

Title IV: Restrictive measures

Title V: International agreements

Title VI: The Union's relations with international organisations and third countries and Union delegations

Title VII: Solidarity clause.

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Article 2, point 159 and 160 ToL inserted the new Title III, Chapter 1 on development cooperation and the new Article 188d amending Article 177 TEC (page 93):

159) A Title III ‘COOPERATION WITH THIRD COUNTRIES AND HUMANITARIAN AID’ shall be inserted.

160) A Chapter 1 ‘DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION’ shall be inserted, taking over the heading of Title XX of Part 3.

161) An Article 188 D shall be inserted, with the wording of Article 177; it shall be amended as follows:

(a) paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be replaced by the following:

‘1. Union policy in the field of development cooperation shall be conducted within the framework of the principles and objectives of the Union's external action. The Union's development cooperation policy and that of the Member States complement and reinforce each other.

Union development cooperation policy shall have as its primary objective the reduction and, in the long term, the eradication of poverty. The Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries.’;

(b) paragraph 3 shall be renumbered ‘2’.


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Consolidated Lisbon Treaty

The end result is presented in a more readable form in the consolidated version of the Lisbon Treaty, where Article 188d ToL has become Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), as published OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115/141:

TITLE III
COOPERATION WITH THIRD COUNTRIES AND HUMANITARIAN AID

CHAPTER 1
DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

Article 208 TFEU
(ex Article 177 TEC)

1. Union policy in the field of development cooperation shall be conducted within the framework of the principles and objectives of the Union's external action. The Union's development cooperation policy and that of the Member States complement and reinforce each other.

Union development cooperation policy shall have as its primary objective the reduction and, in the long term, the eradication of poverty. The Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries.

2. The Union and the Member States shall comply with the commitments and take account of the objectives they have approved in the context of the United Nations and other competent international organisations.


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Lisbon Treaty changes

There is a slight strengthening of the European Union’s development cooperation policy, in that it is not only complementary to the member states’ action. They are now meant to complement and reinforce each other, which speaks for improved internal coordination.

The EU policies are to be conducted according to the principles and objectives of the European Union’s external action. Even if the repetition is needless, it refers to Articles 21 and 22 of the amended Treaty on European Union (Title V, Chapter 1). The guiding principles of democracy, the rule of law as well as human rights and fundamental freedoms are all there, and more.

The specific objectives of development cooperation have been concentrated in line with the UN’s Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) to underline the reduction and long term eradication of poverty.

But especially Article 22 TEU retains and embellishes upon the other goals mentioned in the current Article 177 TEC, so none have gone missing.

In addition, the second subparagraph of paragraph 1 now contains a horizontal clause, which obliges the European Union to take account of its objectives of development cooperation in all policies likely to affect developing countries.

(Surely, this includes the common agricultural and fisheries policies?)

The first paragraph of Article 208 TFEU is the same as Article III-316(1) of the Constitutional Treaty. There is no substantial difference between Article 177(3), Article III-316(2) Constitution and Article 208(2) TFEU.


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EU competence

Article 4(4) TFEU subjects development cooperation to a special kind of shared competence, dependent on good will between the European Union. This shared competence ‘light’ is described like this:

4. In the areas of development cooperation and humanitarian aid, the Union shall have competence to carry out activities and conduct a common policy; however, the exercise of that competence shall not result in Member States being prevented from exercising theirs.


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Summary of legislation

The European Union together with the member states is the world’s largest donor of development aid, so the policy area is important both internally and for the needy of this world.

The Commission’s Scadplus web page Development is the portal to summaries on Community legislation concerning development cooperation:

http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/s05030.htm

There are links to the General development framework, Sectoral development policies, African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACPs), South(ern) Africa, Overseas countries and territories (OCTs) and the Least developed countries (LDCs).


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Commission activities

The index page of the Commission’s Directorate-General Development is significantly titled Development and relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific States, bringing the special relations with the ACPs to the fore:

http://ec.europa.eu/development/index_en.cfm

The Commissioner in charge is Louis Michel.

The pages offer links to news, events, policies and documents on the European Union’s wide-ranging development cooperation activities.


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European Development Fund (EDF)

Because of the close links with the ACP countries and the associated OCTs, there is cause to point out the European Development Fund (EDF), the main instrument for these policies:


http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/r12102.htm



Ralf Grahn