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European Union (EU) Member State Ministers in charge of Development Cooperation met in Luxembourg on 9 and 10 December 2015 for an informal meeting marked by the closing of the European Year for Development 2015 (EYD). The negotiations underway at the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP 21), the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, as well as a discussion with NGOs were on the agenda of this meeting chaired by the Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Romain Schneider.
The Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, and the Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, Romain Schneider, took part, in the presence of Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, in the closing ceremony of the European Year of Development 2015 (EYD) which took place in the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on 9 December, on the sidelines of the informal meeting of Ministers for Development Cooperation. It was an opportunity to take stock and celebrate the achievements of the European Year of Development 2015 at EU level and in particular at Member States level, and highlighting the involvement of the many EU citizens throughout the year.
On 2 December 2015, Nicolas Schmit, the Minister responsible for relations with the European Parliament during the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), addressed the plenary session in Brussels during a debate on the European Year for Development. A few days before the closing ceremony to be held on 9 December 2015 in Luxembourg and in the margins of the informal meeting of the Ministers for Cooperation and Development, Nicolas Schmit delivered the Council's declaration on the implementation and assessment of the European Year, praising 'a stellar example of cooperation between the European Union institutions, Member States, civil society, the private sector and all those with an interest in development'.
On 11 November 2015, the Luxembourg Minister Nicolas Schmit, responsible for relations with the European Parliament during the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, addressed the plenary session of the European Parliament held in Brussels, on behalf of the Council of the EU. The MEPs discussed the funding of the Union's two new trust funds for Syria and Africa, the "EU Regional Trust Fund" set up in response to the Syrian crisis ("Madad" Fund), and the "Emergency Trust Fund for stability and the fight against the deep-seated causes of illegal migration and the phenomenon of displaced persons in Africa". They invited the Member States to respect their commitments on this matter. Nicolas Schmit recognised that Member States' commitments to the trust funds were insufficient, however, he indicated that these are likely to increase, in particular through the Valletta Summit. He also called on MEPs to take account of the international nature of the crisis.
The "Foreign Affairs" (Development) Council met in Luxembourg on 26 October 2015 and was chaired by the High-Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini. The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union outlined and prepared the agenda - a full day was allocated to this meeting - which reflects the growing importance given to development policy and humanitarian aid during the 2nd half of 2015.
After a first day devoted to future development aid beyond 2015, the delegates at the International Conference on European Development Aid Policy organised by the European Court of Auditors, together with the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), discussed the effectiveness of development aid and its monitoring on 21 October 2015 in Luxembourg.
Within the framework of the European Year for Development, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) organised with the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union an international conference on European development aid policy, held on 20 and 21 October in Luxembourg. During the first day of the conference, leading representatives of European institutions, the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and national development agencies discussed the future of development aid beyond 2015, within the context of adopting Agenda 2030 and new sustainable development goals (SDGs).
In a speech given on 1 October 2015 before the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Jean Asselborn, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Minister for Immigration and Asylum, addressed the issue of migration, which he described as a "priority" for the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union. This is an issue "to which I am fully committed", he added. We have decided to publish in full the part of Jean Asselborn's speech that summarises his address to the representatives of every State across the globe on the Luxembourg Presidency's policy regarding the refugee crisis.
Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, appeared on 22 September 2015 before the Development Committee (DEVE) of the European Parliament in Brussels to present the priorities of the Luxembourg Presidency on humanitarian aid. The Luxembourg Presidency will facilitate the debate as part of the World Humanitarian Summit with a view to establishing a common European position reaffirming humanitarian principles. The other two priorities are coordination between humanitarian and civil protection actors following natural disasters, and the issue of protection in conflict situations.
On 16 September 2015, the Luxembourg Minister responsible for representing the Luxembourg Presidency at the European Parliament, Nicolas Schmit, spoke before the Plenary Session of the Parliament. He pronounced a Council declaration on the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development, which will be held in New York between 25 and 27 September, and on development-related aspects of the Climate Conference in Paris (COP21).
In the framework of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Ministry of Culture is organising, on 3 and 4 September 2015, a conference at the Trifolion in Echternach on the theme "Culture and development: towards a more strategic approach to cultural policies in EU's external relations". The main objective of the conference will be to provide an overview of the ways in which culture and development interact, highlight the links between this subject and the more general context of culture in external relations and question the coherence between policies.
On 3 and 4 September 2015, the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU organized a conference in Echternach, entitled "Culture and development: towards a more strategic approach to cultural policies in the EU's external relations". The aim of the conference, which brought together around forty European and international speakers, was to give an insight into the way in which culture and development interact, and also to raise questions about the coherence of cultural policies and cooperation in development.
“International conference “Culture and development: Towards a more strategic approach to cultural policies in the EU’s external relations” - Agenda
On 13 July 2015, Romain Schneider, Luxembourg's Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, participated in the opening of the Third Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Along with the United Nations Summit in New York in September and the Paris Climate Conference in December (COP21), the Addis Ababa conference ranks among the three major events on the road to sustainable development to be held during Luxembourg's Presidency. The New York Summit aims to set out future sustainable development goals for the post-2015 development agenda (SDG). At the joint press conference with Nevin Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Romain Schneider, on behalf of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, presented the contribution of the European Union.
The Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Romain Schneider, opened on 9 July 2015 the Africa Day with the goal to "stimulate inclusive growth in Africa". He was supported by Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. The conference, organized by the European Investment Bank (EIB), as part of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, aims to exchange best business practices on the African continent.
The Luxembourg Minister in charge of relations with the European Parliament during the Presidency of the EU Council,Nicolas Schmit, spoke on 7 July 2015 in Strasbourg to MEPs during a plenary debate on the United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) from 13 to 16 July 2015.