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.
During a press conference, Romain Schneider welcomed a "fruitful and very busy year" with major events such as the International Conference on Development Finance in Addis-Ababa, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in New York, the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP 21) and the refugee crisis.
The role of the European Year was to raise public awareness, especially among young people, in order to promote the policy for development, indicated the Minister, praising the adoption on the previous day of an Interinstitutional Declaration on the legacy of the European Year by the European Parliament, Commission and Council. The momentum created by this European Year must not be lost on 31 December, insisted Romain Schneider. One of the priorities of the Luxembourg Presidency was to ensure "coherence in policies" and to integrate the development section into the Council's other configurations, the Minister also explained.
The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, underlined the fact that public opinion realises that "development is a real investment in stability, security and peace".
The implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on 25 September 2015, was a hot topic of discussion, noted the High Representative, stressing that the EU was "the main actor for achieving these goals" and that it will be the main actor for a rapid and coherent implementation. She insisted on the need to involve civil society and NGOs. So, the Ministers held discussions with the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs (CONCORD).
Migration and the results of the Valletta Summit were also discussed by the Ministers, according to Federica Mogherini. In this context, she called upon the Member States to show political will in implementing relocation and resettlement mechanisms which, according to her, are "crucial" for being able to register migrants at their arrival point. She congratulated the efforts of the Luxembourg Presidency in trying to reach a consensus and warned against "blame games".
The European Commissioner in charge of International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, deemed that the EU should, as a key stakeholder in the world in the field of development, comply with needs and responsibilities, particularly regarding the implementation of the sustainable development goals defined in Agenda 2030.
When asked about the EU's Emergency Trust Fund for Africa representing 1.8 billion euros for stability and the fight against the deep-seated causes of illegal migration, Neven Mimica claimed that it was the main outcome of the Valletta Summit and that the Commission would be able to present a first package of projects for the Sahel and the Horn of Africa region in mid-January. He stressed the need for striking a balance between implementing actions as quickly as possible and the importance of ensuring the political relevance of projects, with the latter being evaluated on the basis of "three pillars": strengthening the resilience of societies from where migrants originate, creating economic and social opportunities for them and improving migration management.