EU Council confirms commitment to reach 2010 Aid for Trade target despite delays
The EU Council adopted conclusions on 18 May 2009 which welcome the fact that, even though the deadline for meeting its Trade-Related Assistance target has not been reached, the EU is already close to meeting its collective pledge of 2 billion EUR and reaffirms its commitment to reach its 2010 target.
The EU will continue implementing its 2007 Strategy on Aid for Trade in all its dimensions, including on financial commitments and aid effectiveness principles. The Council welcomes the recent improvement of AfT monitoring and encourages further harmonisation both within the EU and globally. The Council further recalls the importance of supporting regional integration agendas, including by making progress on regional AfT packages. The Council also stresses the importance of progressing towards comprehensive, regional, WTO compatible and development-oriented Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with ACP partners. European NGO networks, however, criticised the Council for not requiring EU Member States to meet individual targets, making it increasingly difficult to hold European governments to account over their development promises. The EU Development Commissioner, Louis Michel, also accused EU Member States of failing countries worst hit by the global economic crisis by delaying approval of a plan to release 500 million Euros of funds. The European Commission said in April 2009 it would accelerate aid to poor countries by releasing some previously earmarked funds earlier than planned. EU Development Ministers meeting said they took "positive note" of the European Commission's plan to present details of the proposal and that they looked forward to discussing it, but stopped short of a clear endorsement. "I think there is a kind of natural and spontaneous reluctance of some member states to deliver on their commitments," Commissioner Michel said.