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European Union

Banderas de la Unión Europea frente a la Comisión Europea


Within the system of EU competencies, its Development Cooperation policy is designed to complement the development cooperation policies of its Member States (articles 208 to 211, TFEU). In this respect, the co-legislative bodies, Council and Parliament make decisions related to development cooperation and the Commission implements the corresponding EU Policy. The primary objective of the EU Development Cooperation policy is the reduction and, in the long term, the eradication of poverty (article 208.1, TFEU). In addition, the Council helps to coordinate the development cooperation policies of Member States.  

The European Union Council for foreign affairs dedicates one session a week to Development Cooperation topics. During these sessions the EU position on development cooperation matters is debated and established in order to define the Union's own policy and contribute at any time to ongoing international debates. The legislative files within its area of responsibility are also approved during these sessions. The Spanish representative at these sessions is the Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America. The Council's projects in this field are prepared by a working group known as CODEV, which includes a member of the Spanish Permanent Representation. Under the general guidance of the Office of the Secretary of State for the European Union, the Office of the Secretary-General for International Development Cooperation (SGCID) is responsible for establishing Spain's position on all matters relating to Development Cooperation and for providing the corresponding instructions to the Spanish member of the CODEV group.

The European Parliament also operates in the field of Development Cooperation, exercising a range of co-legislative powers and controls over the Commission. A permanent and specialised parliamentary commission, the DEVE Commission, is responsible for preparing all Parliament resolutions in this field.

The European Commission implements the EU Development Cooperation policy according to its own competencies, the EU's annual and pluri-annual budgets and the legislative instruments approved by the Council and the Parliament. These include a robust network of international agreements with developing countries, many of which include key content relating to Development Cooperation. Signed in 2000, the Cotonou Agreement stands out among these agreements, linking the European Union with countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). The Commissioner for development, DEVCO Directorate-General and an extensive network of EU Delegations in developing countries all exercise key powers in terms of Development Cooperation under the guidance of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission. The Humanitarian Aid Commissioner, Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner and the ECHO and ELARG DGs also play an important role in development-related matters. In order to carry out its work, the Commission frequently consults expert groups from all Member States and legally submits to the control of these groups through various Committees that are responsible for studying and approving the implementation measures proposed by the Commission.

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