The European Union (EU) supports farmers in developing countries with its development policy measures. At the same time EU policy causes the export of millions of tons of subsidised milk, often in form of milk powder. These exports destroy markets for milk in developing countries and destroy local production. One policy measure strongly contradicts the other - this must not happen!
Policy coherence for development (PCD) may seem complicated at the first glance but it is the fundamental basis of an effective development policy. According to the Lisbontreaty, the eradication of poverty is the main aim of the EU policy that affects developing countries. In the European Consensus on Development, one of the most important strategic EU documents on development policy, and in the Lisbon Treaty, the EU committed itself to policy coherence for development. This means in plain language that the EU has to assess all its policy measures that might have an impact on developing countries and check whether they contradict the aim of poverty eradication.
This is a cornerstone on the road from “merely” developing policies to having a global structural policy - not just a drop in the ocean but an approach to tackle global injustice.
The EU Commission publishes a biannual report that examines the progress of PCD implementation and for the first time has drafted a work programme that indicates how to enhance PCD in the EU institutions’ and Member States’ policy making. All Commission documents related to PCD can be found on:
However, implementation is difficult and several cases of conflicting policies attest to the lack of realisation of the PCD imperative. Moreover, many areas are glossed over by the Commission and measureable criteria are lacking. Often, short-term (economical) interests conflict with development interests, which have weaker lobbies in the EU.
EU trade policy has its main focus on providing European companies access to foreign markets. To this end, the EU makes other countries to open and liberalize their markets. This often leads to local industry not being able to develop because products are not competitive with higher-quality products fromEuropeand because the know-how often remains in industrialized countries.
To counter this effect, products from the least developed countries have privileged access to EU market, but lots of barriers persist. For example the EU has placed higher tariffs for processed goods than for raw materials. This hinders developing countries from establishing developed industries. Patent law and intellectual property rights are further obstacles to technology transfer.
In the framework of the negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States the EU urges for opening markets. These negotiations do not take place at eye level if a small African country is faced by the huge EU machinery with all its expertise and economic power. Moreover the EPAs threaten the regional economic structures inAfrica because the countries are in different stages of the negotiating process and the trade between them is hampered.
A large part of the liberalization agenda is also included in the Free Trade Agreements that the EU is about to conclude with countries likeIndia,South KoreaandColumbia. In addition, these Agreements weaken multilateralism because negotiations take part outside of international forums. The EU often does not care if a state commits grave violations of human rights when negotiating the Free Trade Agreements. And again, these bilateral agreements hinder regional trade.
- The EU must strengthen regional trade with its policy.
- The EPAs must be replaced by fair trade rules and preferences for the least developed countries must not be abolished.
- Developing countries must have the right to protect their markets.
- The EU has to lower tariffs on processed goods.
 The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Article 208: … Union development cooperation policy shall have as its primary objective the reduction and, in the long term, the eradication of poverty. The Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries….