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How can the EU help developing countries in overcoming the crisis and what steps can those countries take themselves; these are two complementary dimensions that should be tackled in tandem in a joint strategy. This is the key idea set out in the opinion adopted by the EESC plenary session on 16 December 2009.
The opinion on “Support for developing countries in coping with the crisis” by rapporteur Luca Jahier (Various Interests’ Group, Italy) takes into account the effects of three crises. “The agriculture, food security and climate change crisis of 2007 and 2008 had a more profound impact on the poorest sectors of society than the financial crisis itself,” said the rapporteur in his opening speech.
Within this context, the EESC calls on the international community to respect existing financial commitments, to make available additional resources to assist developing countries and to redistribute funds. In this way, developing countries receive at least 0.7% of the sums mobilised for tackling the crisis. Moreover, innovative development funding mechanisms should be supported, such as new mechanisms for taxation on financial transactions.
“The EU, as the world’s foremost donor, must continue to play a leading role in reforming global development assistance, in order to make it more effective, coordinated, transparent and efficient, taking into account the challenges of green growth and migration,” emphasised rapporteur.
The opinion also highlights the pivotal role of non-state actors in national, regional and international efforts to limit the impact of the crisis on developing countries. “Actors such as the private sector, farmers’ organisations, trade unions and consumers can identify problems and possible solutions. These are the actors in the field, who know from their daily work what has changed and what could be done to improve the situation,” said Mr Jahier.
The EESC also points out that one key priority at global level should be the fight against corruption, money laundering, tax havens and illicit financial flows, with a view to gleaning major new resources for development schemes. The Commission should address this issue forthwith and draw up appropriate proposals.
“Europe not only has the responsibility to assist developing countries, it also has an interest in so doing; Europe needs to pursue a new, more coherent and overarching external strategy. It is in its own interest to set global standards for development cooperation and international trade,” concluded Mr Jahier.