Wednesday, 10 December 2014

“We want them to stop thinking about development as being aid”


The European Union should form ambitious plans to help solve global problems, leading development policy expert Simon Maxwell told a Friends of Europe debate on 10 September, adding: There is no ‘them and us’ anymore. There is only us in the modern world.”

Introducing the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) 2014 report, “Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action,” Maxwell called for the new EU Commission to contribute to global development in five key areas: a more inclusive world economy; environmental sustainability; peace and security; democracy and human rights; and a reduction of poverty and inequality.

... continued on the Friends of Europe website

Friday, 14 November 2014

ETTG Upcoming Events

Meeting with Development Commissioner Neven Mimica

18th November

Meeting of the Directors of the member organisations of the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) with the new EU Development Commissioner Neven Mimica.


German Launch of the Report - Unser gemeinsames Interesse: Warum Europas Probleme globale Lösungen und globale Probleme Europas Handeln benötigen

Berlin, 13th November 2014


Why Europe's problems need global solutions and global problems need European action. 

Overseas Development Institute (ODI). 20 November 2014.

As the new European Commission takes office on 1 November, this event will explore, review and establish expectations of the new EU leadership team and debate the priorities for EU development cooperation in 2015 and beyond. The discussion will be based on a report launched recently by the European Think Tanks Group: “Our Collective Interest”. The report makes a strong case for a new development agenda, broader in its outlook and with strong links to internal EU policy. Speakers will debate such topics as the EU’s comparative advantage and disadvantage in global affairs; future prospects for EU external action; and what initiatives the EU should take in 2015. They will locate the development agenda in a wider context, talk us through the new European Parliament and Commission and the political relationships and set expectations for the future.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

EU’s pivotal role in tackling poverty and inequality worldwide

Photo by takasuii.
by Andrew Shepherd, ODI and Alisa Herrero, ECDPM

Continued economic expansion and general human development have brought poverty down substantially in recent decades. However, progress has been geographically uneven, and economic growth has left large numbers of people in low and middle-income countries living only fractionally above the poverty line.

Discussions on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, and a new global agenda and framework for development post-2015 have rekindled the debate on how best to tackle poverty and inequality.  There is now substantial evidence to support the argument that growth reduces poverty faster and more sustainably where equality is greater, or if inequality is reduced at the same time.  Redistribution does not need to hamper growth, and inequalities can indeed be tackled.

Tackling poverty and inequality is at the heart of Europe’s own integration project.  It is the main driver of EU’s external action, which promotes a world vision based on the values of social justice and protection, solidarity, and economic, social and territorial cohesion, with an overall objective: the eradication of world poverty.

Indeed, greater welfare and equality beyond Europe is in the EU’s own self-interest: besides contributing to economic growth, investment and improved governance in developing countries, it contributes to achieving EU security, migration and asylum policy objectives. Additionally, efforts in this area help the Union remain a key global player in the provision and protection of global public goods.

Unfortunately, the EU – like other donors - struggles to demonstrate impact on poverty and inequality.  Developing a much closer connection between its global poverty eradication objective and its policies across different investments, sectors and actions remains a challenge. Two fundamentals are: the need to pay attention to its own evaluations, which suggest that much work does not contribute significantly to addressing chronic poverty, stopping impoverishment or sustaining escapes from poverty – the objectives which need to be achieved if extreme poverty is to be eradicated; and to base its work on the best understandings of how poverty can be eradicated.

If the new EU leadership wants to make a difference in the eradication of poverty, it will need to frame its own poverty eradication policies as well as the goals and targets in the post-2015 development agenda in terms of the key measures which address chronic poverty, prevent impoverishment and sustain escapes from extreme poverty. It could also promote the inclusion of an income inequality target in the post 2015 framework (with details to be defined at national level).

To be effective, EU interventions should also be grounded on a solid analysis of the dynamics of political change and resistance to pro-poor reforms in partner countries. A new report from a group of leading think tanks (www.ettg.eu) explains the EU should adopt a poverty dynamics approach in identifying suitable sectors and programmes in partner countries.

The EU should ensure that the programming and implementation of the Partnership Instrument targets outcomes that contribute to poverty eradication in terms of, for instance, standard setting for decent work.

Sharing the positive elements and lessons from the European social model is key when exploring new and existing strategic partnerships with emerging countries, and when conducting political dialogue with countries phasing out from development assistance.

It should further extend joint programming with EU member states and work with them to maximise the focus on the reduction of poverty and inequality of all EU international cooperation.
Ensuring that those countries in which aid is being phased out have a clear ‘destination’ of graduation, including making sure that not all instruments are withdrawn (particularly aid and aid-for-trade) simultaneously, is also important.

As part of the implementation of the Agenda for Change, the EU should keep the list of countries to which it provides aid under review and use opportunities such as the Mid-Term Review in 2017 to make further adjustments to the list.

Friday, 24 October 2014

A global economy that works for the good of all: responsible trade and financial policy coordination

Photo by Danumurthi Mahendra
by Mark Furness and Jodie Keane (ODI)

After a long period of economic prosperity in advanced and developing countries, the 2008 financial market meltdown and subsequent global and Euro crises came as a shock. The limitations of orthodox market governance approaches were starkly revealed, the global economy remains fragile, and few policy reforms to address the imbalances and loopholes that led to the crisis have been undertaken. The EU could drive a more holistic reform process, while articulating its vision of a sustainable 21st century growth trajectory.

Despite the Euro crisis, the EU single market is still the world’s largest trader and investor. This is not expected to last past 2020, so the EU needs to use its leverage in the global economy while it still can. There are several levers that European policymakers can pull. Two stand out, both for their potential impact on the framework conditions for global economic exchange, and for the fact that if they are to be pulled successfully, collective action at the EU-level is needed: first, responsible trade; and, second, global financial policy coordination, particularly with regard to tax havens.

The EU could win friends and influence people, and lead by example, including by taking the following steps:

Articulate a sustainable development vision with regard to trade, financial coordination and taxation issues
  • Adapt to the realities of Global Value Chains (GVCs): existing trade and investment mechanisms need better alignment. There are examples of poor understanding of how the EU trades within GVCs, including recent anti-dumping actions over imported solar panels. 
  • Upgrade existing trade and development mechanisms to incentivise sustainable development: social and environmental standards should not be lower or less enforceable in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) than the EU’s General System of Preferences (GSP+). The EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) presents a unique opportunity to better align trade and development mechanisms. Areas of harmonisation between the US and EU include standards, but also rules of origin. 
  • Develop impact assessments and promote dialogue: when seeking to upgrade developing country trading partners to new FTAs it is important to update existing business dialogue and mechanisms for monitoring progress. This is not only important for trading partners, but also within and amongst EU member states, so that appropriate flanking and sensitising measures required by new trade liberalisation can be designed. Current reliance on Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIAs) to assess the pros and cons of ‘hypothetical’ trade and investment agreements is weak. 
  • The Bali package agreed at the recent WTO Ministerial needs to be implemented. Resources for trade facilitation (aid for trade) should be additional to ODA. The EU could lead by example by responding effectively to calls from the LDC group on rules of origin and implementation of the services waiver, including through broadening and deepening its GSP. 

Work with partners on coordinating the governance of global financial markets and the reform of international financial institutions
  • There is a need for transparent, widely accepted triggers for economic policy coordination. Existing EU shock facilities need updating to new realities and an ex-ante rather than ex-post approach. Using triggers to guide policy interventions before they arise would avoid the need for bailouts later. 
  • Address illicit financial flows out of and into developing countries, including measures to improve the exchange of tax information and transparency. Recent changes to the Savings Tax Directive and the Administrative Cooperation Directive can extend automatic exchange. By reaching internal agreement with EU member states and associated countries, the new leadership would lend the EU the credibility necessary to push for a global standard. 
  • The 2012 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations are the most progressive worldwide standard on increasing financial transparency. The new EU leadership should continue to push member states and associated countries to meet FATF standards, particularly requiring companies to disclose ownership information, making this accessible in public registers and making tax crimes a predicate offence. Steps towards this are already being taken under the fourth revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive. 
Domestic and global reform processes must go hand in hand. Europe needs to lead by example and assume a new, more positively influential role within a multi-polar global economy. In order to do this, it needs to get its own house in order and articulate a new vision of growth and development. Such prescriptions may seem pie-in-the-sky. But as the new Commission takes office, we need to ask ourselves what the alternatives are. We can muddle along, hoping that everything will be fine but fearing that it will not; we can give up on internationalism and retreat into our shells, a move that would foster inefficient isolationism and dangerous nationalism; or we can try again at the global level to strike a series of deals that make a difference.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Ensure a EU climate agreement and support a transition towards a green economy

United Nations Photo


by Imme Scholz, Niels Keijzer, Neil Bird, Alejandro Guarín

In 2015, the EU needs to achieve both a substantive climate agreement and an ambitious global development agenda with transformative potential. This is necessary not only for increasing global prosperity in a sustainable way, but for securing its own future.

Climate change is a major threat to future well-being, and it compounds other aspects of global environmental change such as biodiversity loss, desertification, and ocean acidification. The EU has been and continues to be a major driver of those changes. Despite the relatively high efficiency standards in energy use within its borders, Europe’s production and consumption relies heavily on external inputs. Imports of fossil fuels, raw materials, biofuels, virtual water (the water necessary to grow imported food), meat and livestock feed increase the size of Europe’s environmental footprint in an era of increasing resource scarcity.

Until now the EU has been a recognised global leader of climate change policy, both at the international negotiations table and at the cutting edge of implementation at home. But now there are signs of diminishing ambition: the 2014 Commission’s proposal on climate and energy policy eliminates the goal on renewable energy shares at member states’ level and is less demanding with regard to energy efficiency. It proposes a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 40 percent by 2030 based on 1990 levels. Are 40 percent enough if the Commission calculates that it will reach a reduction of 32 percent already by 2020? And it makes the next stretch of the road much steeper: by 2050, the EU wants to achieve a target of 80 percent reduction.

Therefore, we believe that a higher target for 2030 would a) make the road towards 80 percent decarbonisation by 2050 more realistic by making it more gradual and b) offer space for European demand for emission reduction certificates from developing countries, such that the EU could provide further support for developing countries in their efforts to reduce emissions.

The reduction in the EU’s level of ambition can be attributed largely to the nature of the economic recovery of most EU economies after the financial crisis, which has been slow and painful. The governments of several member states are nervous that a commitment to cleaner energy and lower carbon emissions will result in higher energy and transportation costs—both of which are anything but politically palatable. But this perspective ignores ongoing changes outside the EU’s borders: 138 countries are already implementing renewable energy targets. China, the US and many other countries are increasing their investment in renewable energy technologies. In 2012, 40 percent of new photovoltaic modules and 70 percent of new wind power were installed outside Europe. Efforts in energy efficiency are also increasing worldwide, with China and India leading in energy-efficient cement production. Emission trading systems are under preparation in 16 countries and at provincial or state level in the US, Canada and China.

Securing the EU’s position within the leading group of climate and energy policies is thus a matter of maintaining both its clout in multilateral diplomacy and safeguarding its economic competitiveness.

What’s at stake and what the EU should do

A failure to negotiate a climate agreement and an ambitious post-2015 agenda will not only weaken global cooperation but also reduce the EU’s ability of protecting its own citizens from the worst effects of climate change. Neighbouring regions, especially North Africa, the Mediterranean and Southeast Europe, will also be heavily affected by global warming and spillovers to the EU are very likely. At the same time, a proactive climate and energy policy would contribute to maintaining European economic competitive advantages, its significant export trade in the areas of low carbon technology development and implementation, and to reducing its dependence on fossil fuel energy imports.

So far, climate policy commitments fall short of the objectives that scientists claim are necessary to stay within safe planetary limits.

Therefore, the next High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy should build up a much stronger profile in the area of climate change, in close cooperation with the Climate and the Energy Commissioners, and strengthen linkages between climate policy measures in the EU and abroad. This is needed given the importance of reversing climate change as a long-term EU foreign policy interest. The new Development Commissioner, Neven Mimica, should continue on the path started by his predecessor in pursuing the further integration between development and environment policy, including through a post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

The EU has to back its international discourse with far-reaching actions inside its own borders and globally to maintain credibility as a champion of progressive climate and environmental policy. The EU can make a difference: its main contribution will not be to reduce its GHG emissions as already in 2011 they accounted for barely 11 percent of global emissions. What the EU is expected to do is, first, to demonstrate that it is possible to decarbonise an economy, by investing in R&D, changing incentives, policies, and institutional setting, and thus behavioural patterns while maintaining satisfying levels of prosperity. Second, the EU is expected to establish mitigation partnerships with all countries willing to engage in decarbonisation processes, and to cooperate in identifying and implementing solutions for this task.

Monday, 13 October 2014

VIDEO: European Think Tanks Event at the EU Commission


Introduction: Mr. Gaspar Frontini, Head of Unit, DEVCO A1, International Development Dialogue

Presentation: Mr. James Mackie, Senior Adviser EU Development Policy, ECDPM

Link to report: “Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s Problems need Global Solutions and Global Problems need European Action”

The presentation can be found below:


Monday, 6 October 2014

LIVESTREAM from EU Commission - Our Collective Interest: Europe’s Problems need Global Solutions

Watch the livestream of our EU Commission event on Our Collective Interest: Europe’s Problems need Global Solutions.

UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVENT CANNOT BE LIVESTREAMED. WE WILL POST A VIDEO OF THE MEETING LATER TODAY. WE ARE LIVE TWEETING USING THE HASHTAG #ETTG
Friday, 10 October, 1pm (GMT+1) until 2pm.

The European Think Tanks Group published a major report addressed to the new leadership of the European Union entitled “Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s Problems need Global Solutions and Global Problems need European Action”. The report puts forward recommendations for the EU’s engagement in 5 areas – trade and international finance; environmental sustainability; peace and security; democracy and human rights; and, poverty and inequality – and proposes organisational and structural changes to enhance the EU’s performance.

Introduction: Mr. Gaspar Frontini, Head of Unit, DEVCO A1, International Development Dialogue

Presentation: Mr. James Mackie, Senior Adviser EU Development Policy, ECDPM

Friday, 26 September 2014

Event at the Commission - Our Collective Interest: Europe’s Problems need Global Solutions

Lunch-time Conference – External Cooperation Info Point

10 October 1pm-2.30pm
European Commission
Rue de la Loi, 43

The European Think Tanks Group published a major report addressed to the new leadership of the European Union entitled Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s Problems need Global Solutions and Global Problems need European Action. The report puts forward recommendations for the EU’s engagement in 5 areas – trade and international finance; environmental sustainability; peace and security; democracy and human rights; and, poverty and inequality – and proposes organisational and structural changes to enhance the EU’s performance.

Introduction: Mr. Gaspar Frontini, Head of Unit, DEVCO A1, International Development Dialogue

Presentation: Mr. James Mackie, Senior Adviser EU Development Policy, ECDPM

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

ETTG Presents to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament

The ETTG presented the report on EU global action, entitled Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on Monday 1st of September 2014. Kevin Watkins, Executive Director at the Overseas Development Institute made the presentation and it was live streamed here

Chairman, Elmar Brock said that MEPs should use our report to prepare for the Parliament's upcoming confirmation hearing with the European Commission Vice-President/EUHigh Representative for Foreign Affairs.

Vice-Chair of the European Parliament's Development Committee, Paavo VÄYRYNEN, called for a joint report to be prepared by the Development and Foreign Affairs Committee on the EU's global challenges. Elmar Brok supported this.


Friday, 12 September 2014

Watch back: Reconciling Values and Interests: A new vision for global development



Senior EU officials attending Wednesday’s launch (recording available) of the European Think Tanks Group’s report “Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action” agreed with the report’s call for more integrated, comprehensive EU global action.

The European Commission Director General for Development and Cooperation said the new Commission structure, adopted on the same day, seeks to address this issue through clusters of Commissioners responsible for specific policy areas, such as development, who will work closely together and under the guidance of the EC Vice-President/EU High Representative (a recommendation of the ETTG report). 

The Director for Multilateral Relations and Global Issues at the European External Action Service said the report reflects his own view that the EU has to overcome silo thinking, draw on all its available tools (policies, finance, etc) and speak with one voice to have a role on the global stage. The Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs said the new EC organigramme is the best way of organising the institution and will provide synergy effects.

We have two recordings available - the first above is in higher quality. The second below is of the entire meeting, with questions from the floor, from our livestream that was on the day.


Friday, 5 September 2014

Watch live 10th September: Reconciling EU interests and values: A new vision for global development

Do Europe’s new leaders recognise the need for a new global strategy that links internal and external action? How can Europe’s policymakers ensure there will be a greater commitment to collective action at EU level? Is there a readiness to connect new ways of working with new systems and processes? How can the EU’s leadership be strengthened across policy areas and institutions? Does the European Think Tanks Group’s 2014 report Our Collective Interest: Why Europe's problems need global solutions and global problems need European action offer the sort of answers needed? 

These questions will be discussed at the Friends of Europe event in Brussels on the 10th of September. If you can't make it then, tune into the livestream.

 

Monday, 1 September 2014

Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action



In 2010, the European Think Tanks Group published a report addressed to a new leadership in the European Union (EU). In 2014, welcoming a new team of European leaders, we again call attention to the importance of a global perspective in European policy-making. This report is issued in the name of our four institutions (Overseas Development Institute, ECDPMGerman Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik and FRIDE) and of the 26 authors who have contributed to the text. It calls for a new understanding of the EU’s global role, and in particular, a new approach to international development.

Press release: The EU should look outwards or risk further instability - warn leading European think tanks

The key message is that the EU’s ambitions for its own citizens – for prosperity, peace and environmental sustainability – cannot be divorced from its global responsibilities and opportunities. As the title of the report suggests, Europe’s problems need global solutions, and global problems need European action. A shared collective effort is in our common interest.

Seen from within Europe, the rest of the world is a vital source of raw materials, manufactured products, markets, innovation and cultural enrichment. It can also be a source of environmental degradation and insecurity. The EU can only benefit if the rest of the world, and developing countries in particular, pursue a path of successful sustainable development.

Seen from the outside, the EU is a source of goods and services, of technology, of aid, and of inclusive and accountable political and social models. At its best, the EU can offer technical, institutional and financial contributions to global public good. However, it can also be a factor in financial and political instability.

We identify five global challenges which will shape the future of the EU and the world, and in relation to which the EU’s performance as a global actor can be judged. These are:
 
  • The world economy. Is the world economy becoming more equitable, resilient and democratic? Is the EU contributing to better and more inclusive trade and finance regimes, which allow for full participation by all? 
  • Environmental sustainability. Is the world set on a more sustainable path, in which the EU is playing its 
part internally and externally, especially with regard to climate change and the necessity of a green 
economy? 
  • Peace and security. Is the world becoming more peaceful and secure? And is the EU contributing to the prevention of violent conflict and to peaceful societies? 
  • Democracy and human rights. Is the world better governed and more democratic? Is there greater 
respect for human rights around the world? And is the EU acting effectively to understand and support 
democratic political change? 
  • Poverty and inequality. Have poverty and inequality declined? And is the EU acting effectively to understand and tackle the drivers of poverty and inequality?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Blog Series: A global economy that works for the good of all


Responsible trade and financial policy coordination

EC/Charlemagne
By Mark Furness, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) & Jodie Keane, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

In the run up to 1 September, we will be publishing a blog each Monday setting out the context of five global challenges. Today’s blog, the fourth in our series, examines trade and international finance. Originally published on DIE's Current Column

After a long period of economic prosperity in advanced and developing countries, the 2008 financial market meltdown and subsequent global and Euro crises came as a shock. The limitations of orthodox market governance approaches were starkly revealed, the global economy remains fragile, and few policy reforms to address the imbalances and loopholes that led to the crisis have been undertaken. The EU could drive a more holistic reform process, while articulating its vision of a sustainable 21st century growth trajectory. 

Despite the Euro crisis, the EU single market is still the world’s largest trader and investor. This is not expected to last past 2020, so the EU needs to use its leverage in the global economy while it still can. There are several levers that European policymakers can pull. Two stand out, both for their potential impact on the framework conditions for global economic exchange, and for the fact that if they are to be pulled successfully, collective action at the EU-level is needed: first, responsible trade; and, second, global financial policy coordination, particularly with regard to tax havens.

National regulators have not been able to match the speed of the transformation of global trade and financial flows, particularly as a large part of the process has been conducted using offshore financial centres out of reach of national tax authorities. Furthermore, as around one third of global trade is now conducted within multi-national enterprises (MNEs), there are big questions about how to track and tax these intra-firm transactions.

The EU–US TTIP, if agreed, could do much to reinvigorate and strengthen trade and investment relations between two of the world’s largest trading blocs. However, should this new ambitious partnership be agreed, greater attention needs to be paid to the effects that TTIP has on the global trade system, emerging economies and on developing countries.

A further priority is addressing illicit financial flows out of and into developing countries, including measures to improve the exchange of information and transparency. Estimates show that developing countries lost close to $6 trillion in illicit financial flows over the last decade, much of it linked to tax avoidance. Several of the world’s most notorious tax havens are under the sovereignty of EU member states, such as those located in British overseas territories, while the tax policies of some member states, including Austria, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Ireland and the United Kingdom, do not go far enough in questioning the origin of funds invested by non-residents. The EU should be a role model in promoting the automatic exchange of tax information.

Domestic and global reform processes must go hand in hand. Europe needs to lead by example and assume a new, more positively influential role within a multi-polar global economy. In order to do this, it needs to get its own house in order and articulate a new vision of growth and development. Such prescriptions may seem pie-in-the-sky. But as the new Commission takes office, we need to ask ourselves what the alternatives are. We can muddle along, hoping that everything will be fine but fearing that it will not; we can give up on internationalism and retreat into our shells, a move that would foster inefficient isolationism and dangerous nationalism; or we can try again at the global level to strike a series of deals that make a difference.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Blog Series: Living up to democracy commitments

S_K_S/Flickr
In the run up to 1 September, we will be publishing a blog each Monday setting out the context of five global challenges. Today’s blog, the fourth in our series, examines democracy commitments. It was originally published by FRIDE

A challenge for the new EU leadership

By Clare Castillejo

Democracy and human rights are central to the EU’s identity and a commitment to promoting these values is embedded across its policy framework for external action. However, recent events – notably the Arab uprisings, but also other trends including developments in the Eastern neighbourhood – have revealed some serious disconnects between the EU’s principles and its actions or impact on these issues.

In recognition of these problems, over the last few years the EU has developed a range of new policies aimed at strengthening its external democracy and human rights promotion. This new policy framework, despite being in some ways more a hasty response to events than a well considered reflection on the EU’s potential role in this area, nonetheless provides an opportunity for the EU to raise its game on democracy and human rights promotion. Seizing this opportunity and living up to the EU’s democracy commitments will be an important challenge for the incoming leadership in Brussels.

If the EU is indeed serious about doing better, it must move beyond its traditional approach to human rights and democracy promotion. This has been overly focused on rules, technical blueprints and elite actors; has been hampered by inflexible bureaucratic mechanisms; and has failed to provide effective incentives for reform. Instead it must use its enhanced policy framework as a starting point to develop an approach that is more politically and contextually nuanced, that recognizes that political change processes are complex and domestically driven, and that is based on a realistic vision of the EU’s role in influencing such processes.

Not only must the EU better understand local political contexts and dynamics, it must also tailor its approach to broader changes in the global context for democracy support. These include an increase in hybrid regimes, new forms of citizen activism and shrinking space for civil society, as well as the increased influence of emerging powers and reduced EU leverage in many contexts.

In the coming years the EU will be under pressure to live up to its promises to become a stronger and more effective democracy and rights champion, as well as respond to a wide range of democracy and human rights challenges in its neighbourhood and beyond. It is therefore high time for an enhanced approach that both builds on lessons from the EU’s past experience in this field and is able to respond more effectively to the complex local and international dynamics of political change. Sustained political commitment and high level support within the EU institutions will be critical to driving forward such an approach. It is therefore to be hoped that democracy and human rights will be a priority for the EU’s incoming leadership.

ETTG Presents to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament

The ETTG will be presenting the report on EU global action, entitled Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on Monday 1st of SeptemberKevin Watkins, Executive Director at the Overseas Development Institute will make the presentation and it will be live streamed here from 15.00 – 18.30 CET.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Blog Series: EU’s pivotal role in tackling poverty and inequality worldwide

By Andrew Shepherd, Alisa Herrero

In the run up to 1 September, we will be publishing a blog each Monday setting out the context of five global challenges. Today’s blog, the third in our series, examines inequality.


Continued economic expansion and general human development have brought poverty down substantially in recent decades. However, progress has been geographically uneven, and economic growth has left large numbers of people in low and middle-income countries living only fractionally above the poverty line.

Discussions on progress towards the MDGs and a new global agenda and framework for development post-2015 have rekindled the debate on how best to tackle poverty and inequality. There is now substantial evidence to support the argument that growth reduces poverty faster and more sustainably where equality is greater, or if inequality is reduced at the same time. Redistribution does not need to hamper growth, and inequalities can indeed be tackled.

Tackling poverty and inequality is at the heart of Europe’s own integration project. It is the main driver of EU’s external action, which promotes a world vision based on the values of social justice and protection, solidarity, and economic, social and territorial cohesion, with an overall objective: the eradication of world poverty. Indeed, greater welfare and equality beyond Europe is in the EU’s own self-interest: besides contributing to economic growth, investment and improved governance in developing countries, it contributes to achieving EU security, migration and asylum policy objectives. Additionally, efforts in this area help the Union remain a key global player in the provision and protection of global public goods.

Unfortunately, the EU – like other donors - struggles to demonstrate impact on poverty and inequality. Developing a much closer connection between its global poverty eradication objective and its policies across different investments, sectors and actions remains a challenge. Two fundamentals are: the need to pay attention to its own evaluations, which suggest that much work does not contribute significantly to addressing chronic poverty, stopping impoverishment or sustaining escapes from poverty – the objectives which need to be achieved if extreme poverty is to be eradicated; and to base its work on the best understandings of how poverty can be eradicated.

Originally published on ODI's website

Monday, 4 August 2014

Blog Series: Ensure a climate agreement and support a transition towards a green economy

This is the second blog in our series in the run up to 1 September when the European Think Tanks Group will publish a major report. It will be addressed to the new leadership of the European Union entitled, Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action.


http://www.die-gdi.de/en/the-current-column/article/ensure-a-climate-agreement-and-support-a-transition-towards-a-green-economy/ Some rights reserved by Twm™


The problem

In 2015, the EU needs to achieve both a substantive climate agreement and an ambitious global development agenda with transformative potential. This is necessary not only for increasing global prosperity in a sustainable way, but also for securing its own future.

Climate change is a major threat to future wellbeing, and it compounds other aspects of global environmental change such as biodiversity loss, desertification, and ocean acidification. The EU has been and continues to be a major driver of those changes. Despite the relatively high efficiency standards in energy use within its borders, Europe’s production and consumption relies heavily on external inputs. Imports of fossil fuels, raw materials, biofuels, virtual water (the water necessary to grow imported food), meat and livestock feed increase the size of Europe’s environmental footprint in an era of increasing resource scarcity (ERD, 2012)...


Monday, 28 July 2014

Blog series: post every Monday

On 1 September, the European Think Tanks Group will publish a major report addressed to the new leadership of the European Union entitled Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action.

It calls for a new understanding of the EU’s global role, and in particular, a new approach to international development. The key message is that the EU’s ambitions for its own citizens – for prosperity, peace and environmental sustainability – cannot be divorced from its global responsibilities and opportunities. 

We identify five global challenges where we believe the EU has a comparative advantage to act and make a positive contribution to the world’s future.

These are: trade and international finance; environmental sustainability; peace and security; democracy and human rights; and, poverty and inequality.

In the run up to 1 September, we will be publishing a blog each Monday setting out the context of these five global challenges. Today’s blog, the first in our series, examines peace, security and state fragility


March 2013 conflict IDPS North Kivu, DRC European Commission DG ECHO

The full report on 1 September will put forward recommendations for the EU’s engagement in each of these areas and propose organisational and structural changes to enhance the EU’s performance. We believe that this will involve creating a truly integrated, but flexible approach across institutions, and stronger political leadership to enable complex linkages between today’s global challenges and agendas.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

EVENT: Reconciling EU Interests and Values - A new vision for global development





The European Think Tanks Group in collaboration with Friends of Europe are delighted to invite you to participate in the policy insight entitled: Reconciling EU Interests and Values: A new vision for Global Development. The event will be held on Wednesday 10 September 2014 in Brussels.

UNDER DISCUSSION:

As the process of appointing a new EU leadership team gets underway, now is the time for new and sustained initiatives on longer-term challenges which will shape both European and global welfare in the years to come.

In a rapidly changing and interdependent world, Europe’s new leaders need to adopt a global perspective in European policy-making, a new understanding of the EU’s global role, and in particular, a new approach to international development. Do Europe’s new leaders recognise the need for a new global strategy that links internal and external action? How can Europe’s policymakers ensure there will be a greater commitment to collective action at EU level? Is there a readiness to connect new ways of working with new systems and processes? Does the European Think Tank Group's 2014 report Our Collective Interest: Why Europe's problem need global solutions and global problems need European action offer the sort of answers needed?

SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

Stephan Auer, Director for Multilateral Relations and Global Issues, European External Action Service (EEAS)
Elmar Brok MEP, Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs
Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, European Commission Director General for Development and Cooperation
Teshome Toga Chanaka*, Ambassador of the Mission of Ethiopia to the EU
Simon Maxwell, European Think Tanks Group
Linda McAvan MEP, Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Development
Jeroen Verheul, Ambassador for Trade and Development and Head of the Ministry’s Task Force for the Global Partnership for Effective Development, the Netherlands
* to be confirmed

Please visit the Friends of Europe website for the full programme, latest speaker updates and logistical details.

If you can't make it then, tune into the livestream.

TIME:

12.00-12.30 Registration of participants and sandwich lunch

12.30-14.00 Policy Insight

REGISTRATION:

To register, please click here.

You will receive a confirmation of your registration prior to the event. In the meantime, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


The European Think Tanks Group and Friends of Europe

The European Think Tanks Group brings together four leading European Think Tanks: Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM).

http://www.ettg.eu/

Friends of Europe is a membership-driven think tank but is pleased to offer non-members invitations to sample up to two Friends of Europe events free of charge. Thereafter, Friends of Europe reserves the right to request membership for further attendance. If your organisation is not yet a member of Friends of Europe, click here to find out all the different membership information and advantages.



Friday, 27 June 2014

Our common interest: Why Europe's problems need global solutions

We are, once again, at a watershed for the European Union (EU). 


At the end of 2014, the EU and its new leadership could find itself in a stronger position, ready to play a more prominent role in the world, looking after its own interests whilst recognising that those interests are reinforced by an international outlook that actively promotes stability, democracy and sustainable development. The EU and its Member States could be working towards a shared vision of global cooperation, pooling expertise and resources. Or they could find themselves at cross-purposes.

This year of change comes against the backdrop of an EU that is substantially weaker now than it has been at other points in history, struggling to emerge from a crisis, with 26 million people out of work, 124 million people at risk of poverty and social exclusion and a rapidly ageing population. 

The rise of populists and euro-sceptic political parties has altered the European political landscape. On the international stage, the EU continues to struggle to assert itself as an influential global player. Member States’ interests and foreign policies are not always aligned. Global problems in an inter-dependent world grow deeper, while global governance continues to erode. And yet, the ‘rise of the rest’ means that the EU cannot afford to disengage from the rest of the world and turn inwards.

Addressing global problems is in the EU’s self-interest. Greater welfare and equality beyond Europe contribute to achieving economic growth, foster investment and improve governance, all of which have positive spillovers in EU migration, asylum, economic, trade and security objectives. A sustainable environment in Europe will only be achieved if decisive progress is made in tackling climate change. Security in Europe will only be guaranteed if peace can be maintained in other parts of the world. Prosperity, sustainability and peace in the world also depend on actions in Europe.

The status quo is no longer an option for Europe. With new leaders to be appointed at the helm of EU institutions in the coming months, there is a window of opportunity to change step, renew ambition and foster join action.

2015 will offer two key opportunities for the EU to show leadership on the international stage: the global agreement on a post-2015 sustainable development framework, to be agreed at the United Nations, and a global climate deal, to be agreed at UN talks in Paris. Beyond 2015, there is a need for efficient EU collective action on the key substantive planks of a global agenda: effective global development cooperation with a stronger focus on reducing inequalities, more equitable trade and tax arrangements, a more coherent approach to conflict, and much stronger action on climate change.

The potential gains from cooperation have never been greater. Peace, prosperity and sustainability in the world as a whole are essential if Europe is to thrive. Now is time for European consensus on a global development agenda.

The European Think Tanks Group brings together four leading European international development think tanks, the German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), Fundacion para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Dialogo Exterior (FRIDE) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). We share a commitment to European development cooperation, and a sense of urgency about the need for greater cooperation for new and challenging times. In a forthcoming major new report for the new EU leadership, we make the case for joined-up thinking across the institutions and policies of the EU to address five global challenges: climate change; poverty and inequality; trade and financial policy; conflict and security and democracy and human rights.

Our analysis and recommendations will give the new EU political leaders:
  • A critical assessment of the current debate on international cooperation and sustainable development; 
  • An analysis of the EU’s track record in addressing identified challenges and value added in the current global context 
  • A set of recommendations on the strategic approach and policy measures required for the EU to take effective collective action when addressing global challenges.
The report, "In our common interest: Why Europe's problems need global solutions and the world's problems need European action" will be published on 1 September.

Watch the video interview below of the European Think Tank Directors from DIE, ECDPM, FRIDE and ODI discussing the main points of the report:


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