European Parliament to discuss 2021-2027 development instrument

The European Parliament Development Committee will tackle several issues on January 21, 2019, including the European Solidarity Corps proposal, reforming the Common Agricultural Policy, the European Investment Bank's external lending, development cooperation with Eritrea, post-Cotonou negotiations, and the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On January 22, 2019 the Romanian Council Presidency will present its priorities, the OECD will report on its peer review of EU development cooperation, and EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides will discuss current crises. The last item will be a joint discussion with the Foreign Affairs Committee of amendments tabled for the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). The meeting will be streamed live at the link below.

Website – European parliament


EU advances plans for next R&D spending program with 'trilogue' discussion

EU discussions continue on defining sector-specific details for Horizon Europe, the proposed 2021-2027 EU research and innovation program. Negotiators from the EU Council and European Parliament meet this week for the opening 'trilogue' discussion to agree on how money will be spent. While the Parliament has set its stance on Horizon Europe, the Council has only partly agreed on an official position. Agreement on the rest is expected to take place during the EU Competitiveness Council meeting in February 2019.

According to a draft agenda for this week’s trilogue, five issues will kick off the discussion: the structure of the program; defense research; widening participation measures to improve participation of newer EU countries; ensuring open access to research results; and ethics.

Draft document – Politico EU

High-level stakeholder recommendations for EDCTP program published

At a September 2018 high-level meeting on the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP), the German, Portuguese, Swedish, and UK governments affirmed their commitment to a third EDCTP program. Meeting participants called for increased African financial contributions; for EDCTP to better build the case for investment in health research; for new models of engagement, increasing private sector partners, and community engagement. Participants called for a better rollout and population uptake of interventions; more focus on affordability; encouraging private initiatives and philanthropy to help leverage investments; combating corruption and improving transparency through 'open science' knowledge sharing; and addressing epidemic preparedness, antimicrobial resistance, climate change, and surveillance and monitoring to identify changing priorities and unmet needs.

News release – EDCTP

EU Germany Sweden United Kingdom

Romania sets six-month agenda for EU Council presidency

Romania has published a provisional agenda for the next six months as current President of the Council of the EU, with a heavy focus on decision-making for the 2021-2027 EU multi-annual financial framework (MFF). February and May 2019 will be key months for debate and decision-making on the future EU research program, Horizon Europe. March and June 2019 will include decision-making on internal security, migration, and border management. A May 2019 EU Foreign Affairs Council exchange of views on development and international cooperation will be very important for decisions about future EU development and humanitarian aid funding.

Document – Council of the EU


European Court of Auditors calls for NGO definition

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has called for a formal definition of 'Non-Governmental Organization' (NGO), claiming that ambiguity compromises the integrity of European budget implementation. According to an ECA report, 1.7% of the EU budget is implemented by NGOs, notably for humanitarian and development aid, environmental protection, and culture. NGOs also play roles in implementing 6.8% of the European Development Fund (EDF) for African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states, which is not part of the European budget.

In total, from 2014 to 2017 the European Commission distributed around €11.3 billion (US$2.5 billion) to NGOs. The auditors argue that “the current system of classifying organizations as NGOs is not reliable […] and the European Commission does not have sufficiently detailed information on how the money is spent.”

News article – Euractiv


France announces its priorities as president of G7 in 2019

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian has offered details on the 2019 French presidency of the G7, which will culminate in the G7 Heads of State summit in Biarritz August 24-26. The central theme will be inequality, with a particular focus on pay, the fight against tax havens, social protection, education, gender equality, digital divide, climate change, global health, and environmental issues (biodiversity and protection of oceans). The French G7 presidency will also discuss peace and counter-terrorism, as well as promotion of fair trade and fiscal and development policies.

The G7 platform will be used to reinforce multilateralism through the inclusion of five international organizations and additional countries to the traditional G7 membership, such as South Korea, Australia, Mexico, India, and some African countries. Eight dates have been released for G7 ministerial meetings in 2019 on the following themes:

  • Foreign and Home Affairs (April 5-6)
  • Environmental Affairs (May 5-6)
  • Gender Equality (May 9-10)
  • Health (May 16-17)
  • Work and Employment (June 7)
  • Development and Education (July 4-5)
  • Finance (July 17-18)

Civil society will be included in the G7 preparation through separate preparatory meetings with NGOs (C7), youth (Y7), trade unions (C7), the private sector (B7), think tanks (T7), and scientific organizations (S7).

Website - French G7 presidency

News article - AFP (in French)

EU and African-Caribbean-Pacific countries negotiate to modernize their relationship

Chief negotiators for the EU and for 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific (ACP) have broadly agreed on the structure of a future agreement on their cooperation and its strategic priorities. Since mid-October 2018, the technical work on the new agreement mainly focused on the values and principles that bring the EU and ACP countries together. The future agreement will have three action-oriented regional pillars to focus on each region's specific needs. Starting in January, the second round of technical negotiations is expected to take place over a three-month period. Throughout that time, EU and ACP countries will start drafting the agreement around agreed priorities.

The existing agreement, known as the Cotonou Agreement, expires in 2020.

Press release – EU


European Council postpones decision-making on next multi-year EU budget

The European Council meeting in Brussels welcomed the intensive preparatory work carried out during these past months on the EU's 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and called on the incoming Romanian Presidency of the Council to continue preparation for the next stage of the negotiations, aiming for agreement in the European Council in autumn 2019

Press release – EU


EU increases 2019 budget for development cooperation, including SRHR and family planning

The European Union will increase its 2019 budget for development cooperation, including sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and family planning (FP), by just over US$36 million. The human development budget line, which funds health, education, social protection, and SRHR/FP now amounts to US$263 million in total for 2019. Investments in human development are intended to strengthen health systems, help achieve gender equality, fight against poverty-related diseases, and help realize the Sustainable Development Goals. Advocates hope this is a positive sign for the future EU 2021-2027 budget, while observing that the EU 2019 budget falls far from the EU’s commitment to dedicate at least 20% of its total official development assistance (ODA) to human development and social inclusion, as per the European Consensus on Development.

Press release – European Parliamentary Forum


European Parliament votes on future regulation for EU research programs

The European Parliament has adopted its position on Horizon Europe, the 2021-2027 EU program funding research and development. The parliament supports a large increase in the overall budget, from almost US$100 billion currently to US$133 billion. The largest share (56%) would go to Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness, which includes a US$10.8 billion allocation for health.

The parliament supports keeping grants as the main form of support under the program; encourages multi-stakeholder consultation; encourages open access to research data; and wants to strengthen support for infectious diseases and poverty-related and neglected diseases. The relevant parliamentary committee will now enter inter-institutional negotiations with the Council of the EU and European Commission to agree on the final program proposal.

Legislative text – European Parliament