2015: A window of opportunity for the EU

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

Diogo Pinto, Secretary General, [European Movement International]

The 2015 European Year for Development creates an opportunity for the European Union to act as a united force, contributing to the global development agenda, writes Diogo Pinto.

Diogo Pinto is the Secretary General of European Movement International.

Our World, our dignity, our future

As the most recent Eurobarometer survey shows, the vast majority of EU citizens consider it important to provide support to people in developing countries, and two-thirds think this should be one of the European Union’s main priorities. Hence, there is a clear opportunity for the European Year for Development (EYD) 2015 to make use of this positive view. However, this view on EU involvement in development cooperation contrasts with more general anti-European sentiments increasingly widespread in Europe today. In this regard, the European Year for Development 2015 offers an opening for showing the relevance of European policies and the connection to citizens’ lives.

With citizens at the core of the EYD2015 goals, the active involvement of Civil Society Organisations is essential for the ultimate success and long term impact of the EYD2015 on development cooperation and citizens’ involvement in the EU. The European Movement International and its Members recognise this, and will contribute to the goals of the EYD2015 in their work in 2015.

Secondly, the EYD2015 also offers a chance for the European Union and its Member States to consolidate and reinforce the significance of the European Union on the international stage. The European Union, together with its Member States, provides more than half of all global Official Development Assistance. As, the first European Year dealing with the external actions of the EU, this creates an opportunity to both consolidate and better promote its work in this area. Key to this is the agreement on a common European position on the post-2015 development agenda.

Creating a common position

The European Movement International thus advocates using this opportunity to create a common EU position on the post-2015 agenda, and to close the gap between the EU and its citizens, in order to promote a stronger European voice on the international stage. Throughout the year, EMI members will be blogging on their experience with the different monthly themes envisaged by the organisers of EYD2015.

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