With the approach of the Republic of Poland’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, beginning in the second half of 2011, the Polish administration is faced with challenges that stem from the necessity of ensuring both the effective functioning of the Council in its various compositions in terms of logistics and organization, and the substantive coordination of the Council’s work.
These challenges are especially significant in the case of EU policies that thus far have not been counted among Poland’s priorities and which, consequently, have not been the subject of sustained interest on the part of the administrative organs of government. Conspicuous among this group is development cooperation policy, which involves a significant proportion of the EU’s relations with developing countries.
Additionally, it is quite possible that Poland’s presidential mandate will coincide with a trying period for global and European development policy. In many developing countries, the world economic crisis will leave serious social problems in its wake, and may well hinder the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals – the world, including the European Union, will need to confront the question: what is to be done after 2015? At the same time, the budget problems with which the crisis has saddled European countries will limit their potential to abundantly support developing countries. In addition, negotiations aimed at establishing a new fiscal perspective for the period 2013-20 will need to produce a consensus on the appropriate balance between the capabilities of key donor countries, the needs of countries that continue to rely on EU structural funds, and the necessity to support global development.
Finally, Poland’s presidency will coincide with pivotal events for European and international development cooperation. Among them will be the 6th European Development Days, slated for June 2011, and the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in October 2011. These responsibilities will make the effective direction of EU activities in the sphere of global development a daunting challenge, necessitating the mobilisation and sustained engagement of various individuals and institutions, not only from Poland, but equally from the two countries that will complete the presidential trio, that is, Denmark and Cyprus.
In light of the above, the prompt establishment of an independent Consultative Group on European Development Policy seems indispensable.
Consultative Group establishment objectives:
The objective behind the establishment of the Consultative Group is to create an independent platform to discuss the core development cooperation activities of the Polish presidency in the EU Council, in consideration of the EU’s long-term development policy. It is also crucial that Poland, as the country opening the trio’s presidential term, takes into account the development policy experience and expectations of its two presidential partners, Denmark and Cyprus.
The task of the Working Group will be to elaborate a coherent vision of development policy for the duration of Poland’s presidential mandate, integrating the principles outlined above.