The European Parliament today voted two key reports defining its vision for future EU and global development co-operation frameworks. The Socialists and Democrats (the group which the European Parliamentary Labour Party sits in) put human rights at the heart of the discussions.
The Parliament voted to approve a revision of the Cotonou Agreement – the deal which defines relations between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific States. However, concerns were expressed about the weak political dialogue on human rights, and in particular the absence of a specific mention of sexual orientation as a potential factor in discrimination. This reserved consent invites the European Commission to revise it further in 2015 to address these concerns.
The European Parliament also voted on its position on the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals in advance of the UN Summit in September. The strongly worded text takes an unprecedented human-rights based approach to a universal development framework. The over-arching goal is equality and the text introduces binding national legislation on committing 0.7% of GNI to development aid.
MEP Michael Cashman, the European Parliament’s negotiator on the Cotonou Agreement and S&D spokesperson on the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals, said:
“Today we have sent a strong and unanimous message to the European Commission, EU member states and citizens, third countries and their citizens that there will be no successful development without human rights as the axis of our co-operation.
“The EU is the biggest aid donor in the world and it should be at the forefront when defining the future framework. We should not be complacent and never forget that that which happens to them is as if it were happening to us.
“We need development for the people along with the economies.”
S&D vice-president Véronique De Keyser added:
“We are disappointed to see the right-wing are still failing to see that sexual and reproductive health and rights, which include the right to abortion and contraception, are universal human rights and are key to achieving all the Millennium Development Goals.”
S&D co-ordinator on development co-operation Ricardo Cortés Lastra said:
“The S&D Group believes that the new framework should be universal and global, with ambitious and measurable goals that hold the EU accountable in achieving real development and poverty eradication. We must ensure sustainable development and human rights remain a priority on our political agenda after 2015.”