The Future of EU Development Policy
State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner at DC Council in Brussels
Brussels, 15 November 2011 – The discussions at yesterday’s meeting of ministers of the Development Cooperation Council revolved around the future strategic orientation of the EU’s development policy. State Secretary Waldner welcomed the “Agenda for Change” of the European Commission.
“If we want to achieve long-term reduction of poverty, jobs will need to be created so that poverty-stricken sections of a country’s population can participate in the increasing prosperity”, Waldner said. And he added that Austria actively advocated concentrated donation of EU aid funds to the least developed countries paying particular attention to the issue of sustainable energy supply.
Given the disastrous situation in the Horn of Africa, the Austrian Government decided to increase the funds for humanitarian aid to 8.5 million euros. The funds will be deployed by UN organisations, mainly UNOCHA, and UNICEF and the ICRC, as well as by proven Austrian NOGs which work on site in the affected countries.
Austria is going to support the process of optimising the efficiency and effectiveness of development cooperation at the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness that will be held from 29 November to 1 December 2011 in Busan/South Korea. The State Secretary is to head the Austrian delegation. “We will speak in favour of continuing, deepening but also improving the Aid Effectiveness process in Busan, and we are going to advocate a “country-specific”, i.e. differentiated approach to development cooperation. Human rights, democracy and the rule of law will remain essential framework conditions for aid funds”, Waldner said.
A High Level Forum on EU expansion was held on the margins of the Council meeting in Brussels. State Secretary Waldner was pleased about the progress made by the countries of the Western Balkans that he had visited last week. “We support the states in this region in their endeavours for European integration. The example of Croatia shows that targeted measures will pave the way towards membership in the European Union. The progress reports of the Commission must be seen as an opportunity to step up efforts to establish closer links. In the case of Serbia and Montenegro, in particular, the EU should initiate the next integration steps”.
A video message of State Secretary Waldner from Brussels will soon be available on the website of the Austrian Foreign Ministry at http://bmeia-webtv.ots.at/?channel=1
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