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Press Release
Jean-Louis Schiltz addresses the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Bamako, Mali

Date of release : 20-04-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Within the context of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Jean-Louis Schiltz, Minister for Development, Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, spoke at the 9th session of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of the ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) countries and the Member States of the European Union in Bamako, Mali on 19 April 2005. The Assembly is a biannual meeting of parliamentarians of the two entities.

Jean-Louis Schiltz, who was on a two-day working visit to Mali – target country of Luxembourg Development Cooperation – delivered a speech dedicated mainly to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the purpose of which is to halve global poverty by 2015, and to the revision of the Cotonou Agreement.

"Reducing poverty is a matter of political will," the current Council President stated. In his opinion, achieving the Millennium Goals and solving development problems, especially in Africa, require an increase in Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The European Union, the world’s main donor, is on the right track to achieve the ODA goals set for 2006, namely 0.39% of GNI, Jean-Louis Schiltz underlined before the ACP country representatives and European parlamentarians. Furthermore, this year the EU will debate setting ambitious new ODA goals for 2009-2010.

"With the increase in ODA, the effectiveness of that aid must also be increased," Jean-Louis Schiltz stated, before noting the efforts made by the European Union and various institutions that have undertaken to increase the coordination, harmonisation and alignment of development procedures.

Nevertheless, the Luxembourg Minister added that achieving the Millennium Goals is not just the responsibility of the donor countries. The developing countries as well should make efforts, such as improving their governance and effectively fighting corruption.

In addition to reducing poverty, the Millennium Goals also aim to combat HIV/AIDS. This is of the Luxembourg Presidency’s priorities and the issue is on the agenda of every meeting between European and developing countries. In this contexte it is equally essential to ensure the effectiveness of aid, the Minister indicated.

On the issue of fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS, Jean-Louis Schiltz praised the ESTHER initiative (Ensemble pour une solidarité thérapeutique hospitalière en réseau), which seeks to promote partnerships between hospitals in the North and the South.

With regard to the Millennium Goals, Jean-Louis Schiltz also drew attention to the goal pertaining to water, which aims to "halve the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water."

Review of the Cotonou Agreement

The review of the Cotonou Agreement "constitutes major political progress in 2005 and bears witness to a common commitment for an effective partnership," Jean-Louis Schiltz said.

He pointed out that the review of the agreement was completed on 23 February 2005 under the Luxembourg Presidency and welcomed the negotiations that were held with "everyone’s honest and constructive cooperation."

Jean-Louis Schiltz underlined particularly that the partners reached an agreement on the provisions relating to the struggle against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and agreed to insert an explicit reference to international justice in the agreement, thus supporting the operation of the International Criminal Court. Jean-Louis Schiltz also praised the multi-annual financial framework agreement, according to which, as of 1 March 2005, the EU will be committed to maintaining its aid effort to the ACP countries at no less than the same level as for the preceding period.

The President also added that the revised Cotonou Agreement would be signed in Luxembourg on 24 and 25 June 2005, within the context of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers.

Review of the agreement, as well as the treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, confirm the main goal of the EU’s development policy, which is the eradication of poverty, stated Jean-Louis Schiltz, who concluded his address by quoting Nelson Mandela: "Overcoming poverty is not an act of charity, it is an act of justice."

This page was last modified on : 21-04-2005

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