General Affairs and External Relations Council Luxembourg, 26-27 April, 2004 - Statement by Minister of State Tom Kitt - Part I
Joint Committee on European Affairs, 22 April, 2004
General Affairs and External Relations Council Luxembourg, 26-27 April, 2004 Statement by Minister of State Tom Kitt
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Presidency - Development Co-operation On 26 January, the Irish Presidency was able to secure the first ever Council Conclusions from the annual Orientation Debate which agreed on the need to move development policy closer to the heart of the Union’s external policy, and also specific steps to ensure that the Community’s external assistance budget is better targeted towards poverty eradication.
On 23-24 February, the Presidency convened an international Ministerial conference in Dublin: “Breaking the barriers: the fight against HIV/AIDS in Europe and Central Asia.” The conference brought together representatives from 55 countries and a number of UN agencies to agree collective action in the fight of the explosive growth in HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the region. It agreed a detailed Plan of Action, “the Dublin Declaration”, with specific targets and timeframes, for fighting HIV/AIDS in the region in the coming years. HIV/AIDS remains a central theme on the development agenda of the Presidency. The Irish Presidency and the EU Commission will host a further international conference on the search for a HIV/AIDS vaccine and other new technologies for fighting HIV / AIDS in Dublin at the end of June.
The Irish Presidency brokered a compromise which finally saw the EU Water Facility approved by the Council on 23 March. The Facility will provide up to €500m for interventions designed to catalyse private sector investment in water in ACP Countries.
Work continues at the African, Caribbean and Pacific [ACP] Working Group in preparation for the ACP-EU Joint Ministerial Council to take place in Botswana on 6-7 May 2004, which Ireland will co-chair as EU Presidency. Finally, preparations are under way for an Informal Meeting of EU Development Cooperation Ministers at Dublin Castle on 1 June 2004.
General Affairs and External Relations Council – Development issues To comment briefly on the development issues due for consideration by the Council on Tuesday, 27 April. As is traditional on one occasion during the Presidency, the Council will consider a cluster of six development cooperation matters.