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Mid-term report on policy coherence for development

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Mid-term report on policy coherence for development

This report illustrates progress already achieved and progress to be made with respect to coherence between 12 important European policies, the Union’s organisational mechanisms and Europe’s development goals. The report underlines that, on the whole, Member States believe that progress in matters of coherence has been more significant at EU level than at national level and that conflicting priorities or conflicts of interest between Member States and between developing countries constitute the main obstacles to coherence in development policy.


Commission working paper of 20 September 2007 – EU report on policy coherence for development [COM(2007) 545 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The European Union (EU) is seeking to increase the effectiveness of its development aid by endeavouring to ensure policy coherence for development (PCD), i.e. synergies between development goals and other European policies. This concept was first presented in a Communication from the Commission in 2005 and constitutes one of the objectives of the consensus on development. Within this framework, the EU’s commitment is based on 12 themes (trade, the environment, climate change, security, agriculture, fisheries, the social dimension, employment and decent work, migration, research, the information society, transport and energy).

The report concludes that substantial progress has been made towards more policy coherence. Firstly, the European institutions have become more aware of the external impact of EU policies other than development policy. And secondly, organisational mechanisms have improved both at EU and at Member State level. Despite this progress, much remains to be done to promote PCD, the main obstacles being policy priority conflicts and conflicts of interest between Member States and between developing countries. Sometimes this is accompanied by insufficient capacity and lack of awareness amongst non-development departments.

The report evaluates the state of play with PCD by reviewing several Community policies, namely:

  • Trade: the EU promotes the integration of developing countries in international trade, through the negotiation of economic partnership agreements, the generalised system of preferences generalised system of preferences and measures to assist trade in particular. Moreover, the Commission is improving its preference rules. At multilateral level, the EU was one of the main promoters of the Doha development agenda of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • The environment: developing countries, most of which are threatened by environmental degradation, benefit indirectly from EU policy in this field. Moreover, the EU is prepared to assist them in complying with changes to its environmental standards and supports their effective participation in multilateral agreements concerning the environment.
  • Climate change: developing countries will be affected most by climate change and therefore will benefit directly or indirectly from EU policy in this field. A global climate change alliance with developing countries, proposed by the Commission, will constitute significant progress towards integrating this issue in the political debate with developing countries and in cooperation programmes.
  • Security: the EU is strengthening the links between development and security by integrating conflict prevention in cooperation programmes, promoting transparent and fair natural resource management and supporting disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programmes in particular. However, progress remains to be made, for instance as regards the reinforcement of organisational mechanisms at the Commission and the Council in order to develop a link between security and development policies.
  • Agriculture: the European Community has come a long way in making the Common Agricultural Policy more development-friendly. Since 2003, trade-distorting measures such as domestic and export subsidies have been significantly reduced and the EU has proposed to adopt the same approach in negotiations with the WTO. In addition, it supports agricultural and rural development in developing countries, in Africa in particular.
  • Fisheries: following the reform of the EU fisheries policy, partnership agreements in this sector have become more coherent with development goals. Among the important issues in this sector, the report underlines the development of fisheries activities in developing countries through efficient use of financial contributions received under the agreements.
  • The social dimension of globalisation, employment and decent work: the promotion of these values is part of Europe’s social agenda and of the consensus on development. At the international level, the EU supports actions concerning the social dimension of globalisation and decent work. This is accompanied, at regional and national level, by increasing integration of employment and social issues in the dialogue, cooperation programmes and trade relations with developing countries.
  • Migration: on the basis of the progress in establishing a political framework and initiating a political dialogue with developing countries at the regional and country level, the EU must currently concentrate on elaborating concrete measures.
  • Research: developing countries benefit from research projects funded by the EU in areas of global interest. Moreover, the EU contributes directly to the building of their capacities through specific international development projects. Nevertheless, progress is needed to promote participation of these countries in the 7th Research Framework Programme, which is hampered by insufficient human and institutional resources in this field.
  • The information society: in order to promote information and communication technologies in developing countries, the EU must support political dialogue and capacity building, following an approach based on private investment in this infrastructure and government action aimed at creating a favourable regulatory environment. This should be accompanied by more generalised access to research and education networks.
  • Transport: EU action in developing countries consists in setting international standards and in cooperation in international projects, and in policy aimed at developing environmental, social and security standards applicable to modes of transport entering EU territory and to its own fleets. Moreover, the EU is aiming at promoting sustainable transport in these countries directly.
  • Energy: the EU has adopted several measures in favour of developing countries, such as the EU Energy Initiative for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development (EUEI), the EU-Africa infrastructure partnership and the EU-Africa energy partnership. In addition, these countries will benefit from the efforts of the new EU energy policy in terms of energy supply diversification and the development of renewable energy sources.


Council conclusions on policy coherence for development (PCD). General Affairs and External Relations Council – 20 November 2007 [Not published in the Official Journal].

Council conclusions on coherence between EU migration and development policies. General Affairs and External Relations Council – 20 November 2007 [Not published in the Official Journal].

Council conclusions on security and development. General Affairs and External Relations Council – 19 November 2007 [Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 28.11.2007