Development leaders call for the EU to think and act globally

Press Release, 6 May 2014

The Independent Vision Group on European Development Cooperation calls for a stronger global role of the European Union (EU), especially in its relations with the developing world.

The Independent Vision Group on European Development Cooperation worries, that Europe is so preoccupied with its own economic and social problems that it risks to turn inwards and neglects the wider world. Rather than turning inwards, Europe needs to find innovative solutions to renew its global commitment, to achieve an inclusive globalisation which benefits all, a sustainable environment protected from climate change, and resilient societies free of conflict.

This is the key message of the Independent Vision Group’s Report “Re-shaping global development: Will Europe lead? An Argument and a Call to Action, which was published on 6 May 2014. The Group, chaired by Baroness Margaret Jay of the UK, consists of experienced leaders from eight countries, among them Dirk Messner, Director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and Co-Director of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Reserch.

“Global challenges such as climate change can only be tackled through global action”, argues Dirk Messner. “Thus, we must not allow Europe to turn inwards. The new EU parliament and the EU Commission will have the responsibility and the opportunity to renew Europe's global citizenship and partnership”, states Messner on the occasion of the launch of the report in Bonn.

The time is right for the EU to lead. No other agent in the multilateral sphere has the range of resources – financial resources, voice on trade, authority on human rights, role in foreign and security policy – available to the EU. The Independent Vision Group sees three big challenges which will determine all our futures, and which European values and resources can help to solve:

  • First, the challenge of building a world economy which creates livelihoods for all – an inclusive globalisation which allows people everywhere to fulfil their aspirations, providing opportunities for poor countries to eliminate absolute poverty in all its dimensions, and fulfil the right to education, jobs, health and livelihood, for all women, men and children.
  • Second, the challenge of sustainability, dealing with climate change, but also protecting water supplies, air quality, oceans, forests and biodiversity, in a planet increasingly threatening to overstep the planetary boundaries.
  • Third, the challenge of security, whether tackling violence in all its forms, building defences against natural disasters, or protecting everyone from financial, food or fuel shocks that undermine welfare and reverse progress – for households as well as for nations.