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Report: EU’s policies undermining people’s rights

European Union (EU) policies are continuing to seriously undermine people’s rights, because they are not coherent with development objectives, according to a new report launched on Monday.

The EU has failed to comply with its own treaty obligations, says the report by CONCORD, the confederation of European development NGOs.

A statement received in Accra said the report “Spotlight on EU Policy Coherence for Development” was launched in Lome, Togo, to coincide with the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly where African, European, Caribbean and Pacific decision-makers meet twice a year as part of the Cotonou Agreement.

The Cotonou Agreement provides for the possibility for ACP representatives to question the European Commission on any policies that have or likely to have an impact on development.

Gerard Karlshausen from CONCORD said: “You can’t deed cording to a report launchny that European policies have effects overseas, like right here in Africa. Our report shows that European agriculture, trade and migration policies have negative impacts on ACP countries, undermining efforts to reduce global poverty.”  

The report finds that ACP agriculture continues to be negatively affected by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy; ACP countries are experiencing more land grabs due to biofuel demands triggered by the EU’s Renewable Energy policy; migration and human security are also affected by EU policies that fail to meet rights obligations; the EU is failing to comply with its Lisbon Treaty that states that European policies should take into account development objectives; and the Cotonou Agreement mechanism allowing for enquiries on EU policy impact on development is largely underused.

“(About)  925 million people went hungry last year –  that’s almost 1 out of every 7 people on the planet the report shows. At the same time one third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted.”

Speaking at the launch event, Salif Foulani Sissoko, Malian agro economist, said: “EU policies can do more harm than good in the developing world. In Africa for example, we see the affects in our agricultural production where we just cannot compete with cheaper, subsidized European imports.”

Laust Gregersen of CONCORD Denmark said: “The EU must realize that global food security can only be achieved if poor countries are enabled to develop and safeguard their own sustainable domestic production.”

“To avoid harmful policy impacts, more dialogue must take place between the EU, notably the EU Delegations, and the stakeholders in ACP countries, including civil society organizations.  Delegates of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly should embrace the opportunity that the Cotonou Agreement gives them to engage this dialogue on policy impact on development. The Assembly should nominate two of its delegates to gather evidence of policy incoherencies and seek to redress the situation,” said Pascal Erard of CFSI -Coordination Sud.

The statement says the EU invests €53 billion per year in its development policy, being the biggest aid donor.  But without a clearer commitment to Policy Coherence for Development, the positive development gains achieved through EU aid-funded programmes will continue to be severely jeopardised by the negative impact of other EU policies

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