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European Social Model, Jobs and Competitiveness

JEF: Statement on the new EU Consensus on Development

The New EU Consensus on Development includes youth issues but will it contribute to poverty eradication and to reducing inequalities?

The Youth path of the LADDER project, led by JEF Europe, welcomes the greater integration of a youth dimension in the new EU Consensus on Development and the recognition of youth unemployment as one of the biggest challenges for both developed and developing countries, especially those experiencing situations of conflict.

Whereas the 2005 EU Consensus simply mentioned the need to invest in quality primary education and vocational training, the new EU Consensus highlights the role of education and of creating quality jobs in promoting the engagement of young people in the economic, social and political life of their societies. Furthermore, as young activists we applaud the promotion of youth participation in policy-making processes – notably through youth organisations – and the involvement of young people in leadership positions as a way to ensure their empowerment and the upholding of their rights. However, we regret that the EU Consensus does not deliver a more ambitious proposal to guarantee a constant dialogue between youth and public authorities, such as structured and permanent mechanisms.

Nevertheless JEF Europe would like to express its concerns with regards to the implementation of this new framework for EU development policies as it reveals a strong leaning towards solving short-term political concerns rather than laying down a long-term coherent vision to address the primary objectives of eradication of poverty and fight against exclusion and inequalities. The short-term view is exemplified by the influence of the current political crises Europe is facing, notably the crisis of European asylum policies, unable to cope with large migratory flows. It contains the word migration on 34 occasions and uses the term ‘irregular migration’ instead of ‘forced migration’ or even ‘refugees’. In line with the Bratislava declaration from last September, EU Member States prefer to protect their own security and migration interests without committing to a common approach to solve current issues. In that respect, as long-standing advocates of enhanced democratic standards at EU level, we support the view of ensuring a “close parliamentary scrutiny and monitoring of agreements linked to migration management and of migration-linked use of development funds” as stated in the Wenta-Neuser report on the revision of the European Consensus on Development from 2017.

We therefore support the concerns of numerous other civil society organisations, which expressed their worries about the securitization agenda and hardened tone of the new consensus. And although welcoming the greater engagement of young people in development policies, we wish to see a permanent dialogue between the youth and the decision-maker.

More information on the EU Consensus
A year after formally launching the review of EU development policy, on 19 May 2017 the Foreign Affairs Council adopted the final text of the new European Consensus on Development. Replacing the joint statement created in 2005, this document aims to revise the EU’s development policy to incorporate the set of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) included in the universally applicable Agenda 2030 adopted in September 2015. In order to act as a practical framework for the EU and its Member States to coordinate and comply with their international commitments, the new Consensus is structured around the ‘5 Ps: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships. These represent the EU’s priorities, values and funding sources for each of these fields of action.

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