At an estimated EUR 49 billion, the European Commission and EU Member States provide more than half of all official global development aid, yet in a recent survey among Europeans, the EU trailed behind the UN and World Bank for being best suited to carry out development policy.
Is this due to an information gap on the role of the EU as a global actor in development, or is it an institutional problem? Can ambitious projects such as the Joint Africa-EU Partnership make a real difference?
In early November the European Commission aims to show that it is at the forefront of defining policy with the publication of its Green Paper on development, which will deal with questions on its vision, use of the right instruments to make development effective and in which areas improvements are needed.
This comes ahead of a summit between 80 Heads of State and Government from the EU and Africa set to convene in Libya in late November--there they will discuss the state of the Africa-EU Partnership since it was set up at Lisbon in 2007. The initiative was intended to move the relationship between the two continents beyond the traditional donor-recipient approach.
Now three years on, in 2010, the European Commission takes stock of the successes and failures with the publication of its "Communication on the future of the Africa-EU Partnership." The seminar will provide an excellent opportunity to discuss with stakeholders and experts whether hopes for new and closer levels of dialogue and cooperation have been fulfilled.
On November 8-10 the EJC will co-organise a seminar for 15 journalists from the EU-27 Member States, together with the Commission's DG Development. The seminar will preview and then co-incide with the likely adoption and publication by the European Commission of both the Green Paper on development and Communication on Africa and the EU on November 9th, 2010.
It is likely that Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will personally present both initiatives under embargo to seminar participants and answer their questions on November 8th, one day ahead of the official announcement.
The seminar will include expert panel discussions on EU aid policy, Budget Support for Africa, the Joint African European Strategy's (JAES) future prospects and related issues of security and economic prospects for bi-continental relations. Venues are expected to include DG Development, the European Parliament as well as the European Journalism Centre, where many of the panel discussions will be held.
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