Senior official with Romania's Foreign Ministry (MAE) Maria Magdalena Grigore attended a meeting of the EU development ministers as part of a Foreign Affairs Council (FAC - Development) in Brussels on Thursday that addressed current development affairs and the situation in the Sahel.
The ministers held a debate on the role of the EU in advancing the implementation of the external component of 2030 Agenda, based on a synthesis report on the implementation of the new European Consensus on Development presented by the European Commission on May 10, 2019, with Grigore mentioning that the Romanian presidency of the EU Council promotes an ambitious approach in this area, bearing in mind the importance of this file ahead of the High Level Political Forum to be held in New York in July, where the implementation of the 2030 Agenda will be approached.
According to a MAE press statement, at the proposal of the Romanian presidency, the European officials also held a debate on youth promotion in the context of international development co-operation, with the participation of United Nations Secretary General's Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake.
"The Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU has placed youth and children at the core of its development policy efforts. These are among the main actors in development and Romania has consistently pursued within these six months in office the implications of development policies at European level on young people and children. I hope that the issue will be further promoted by the forthcoming EU Council rotating presidencies," Grigore said.
Talks on the recent developments in the Sahel were an extension of foreign and defence meetings on May 13-14. The meeting highlighted the importance of an integrated EU involvement in the region, on all levels (political, security, development).
Four sets of conclusions were adopted prepared by the Romanian presidency of the EU Council in the dedicated working group. Thus, with regard to the conclusions on the consistency of development policies, the council highlighted the role that an integrated approach to development policies has in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the 2030 Agenda, the MAE points out.
The conclusions on the Annual Report on the implementation of the European Union's instruments for financing external actions in 2017 highlight the efforts made by the EU and the member states to meet their global commitments (2030 Agenda, multilateralism, etc.) through the funding they provide at the external level, including through the funds allocated to the Enlargement Policy and the Neighbourhood Policy. The conclusions also encourage strengthening the youth and children's inclusion in the EU's external action, which is among the priorities of the Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Conclusions on the implementation of EU commitments in the area of development assistance pointed out that the EU bloc was still a global leader in 2018, with the EU's annual contribution amounting to 74.4 billion euro, representing 57 percent of the total assistance provided worldwide.
Conclusions on the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) highlighted its added value as it facilitated dialogue with partner countries and produced concrete results. The conclusions also welcome the recommendations of the European Court of Auditors, namely that the trust fund should be more focused on actions that produce measurable results.
On the side-lines of the development ministers' meeting, Grigore participated alongside the other ministers in a working lunch extended by Federica Mogherini dedicated to the future financial architecture for the EU's sustainable development and neighbourhood, where she highlighted the importance of agreeing as soon as possible on the future financial framework for implementing the EU's foreign policy.
The Romanian official also had a bilateral meeting with British Minister of State for Africa and International Development Harriett Baldwin, to discuss implementing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.