EU — Remarks at the end of Foreign Affairs Council

Remarks by EU High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cather­ine Ash­ton at the end of For­eign Affairs Coun­cil (Devel­op­ment)
“It is just over 6 weeks until South Sudan’s inde­pen­dence and we held a very use­ful dis­cus­sion on the sit­u­a­tion there.
I intend to attend the Inde­pen­dence Day cer­e­mo­ny on 9th July in Juba and we will upgrade the office we have there to a ful­ly-fledged EU Del­e­ga­tion.

We are com­mit­ted to help­ing both North and South Sudan, and yes­ter­day adopt­ed an extra 200 mil­lion euros from the EDF for the South. We are work­ing hard to have a com­pre­hen­sive EU strat­e­gy for South Sudan for the June For­eign Affairs Coun­cil.

That said, we are very con­cerned about the secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion. The Coun­cil strong­ly con­demned the recent vio­lence in Abyei, which saw Sudanese Armed Forces occu­py­ing the town and civil­ians being dri­ven out.

We con­sid­er the use of force against civil­ians to be total­ly unac­cept­able.

It’s cru­cial that hos­til­i­ties cease imme­di­ate­ly, and that the north­ern forces with­draw from Abyei, to pre­vent a seri­ous set­back for the Com­pre­hen­sive Peace Agree­ment.

We call on all par­ties to redou­ble their efforts to resolve all out­stand­ing issues with the help of Pres­i­dent Mbe­ki.

Today marked the first time the For­eign Affairs Coun­cil in devel­op­ment min­is­ters for­ma­tion has adopt­ed a report on Offi­cial Devel­op­ment Assis­tance.

Before I ask Andris to go into greater detail on this, a few points:
While of course, devel­op­ing coun­tries them­selves bear the respon­si­bil­i­ty to make the best use of their resources we are com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing their devel­op­ment efforts.

In 2010, we gave col­lec­tive­ly €53.8 bil­lion for Offi­cial Devel­op­ment Assis­tance. This is 57% of total devel­op­ment assis­tance from all donors of the OECD’s Devel­op­ment Assis­tance Com­mit­tee. In oth­er words, we are by far the biggest donor in the world.

How­ev­er, we did not reach the tar­get set for 2010, so min­is­ters agreed that sub­stan­tial extra efforts are need­ed, and recon­firmed the EU com­mit­ment to increase aid to 0.7% of EU Gross Nation­al Income.

We also had a very inter­est­ing dis­cus­sion on the Hun­gar­i­an Presidency’s ini­tia­tive on water man­age­ment.

Clear­ly, we want to see water and san­i­ta­tion inte­grat­ed bet­ter into the EU’s future devel­op­ment pol­i­cy and we look for­ward to tak­ing those dis­cus­sions for­ward.

We have also touched on Cote d’Ivoire and I’d like to ask Andris to brief you on that.”

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union

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