Dermot Ahern in Nairobi stresses strong Development dimension to Reform Treaty
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern, T.D., stressed the strong Development dimension to the EU Reform Treaty during his visit today to the European Union office in Nairobi Kenya. The Minister said that the development aspects of the Treaty, and the ability it will give the Union to be more effective in combating global poverty, provide further reasons why we ought to say Yes to the Reform Treaty when it is put to the people in a referendum next month.
The Minister said
"For the first time the whole area of development assistance is built into the text of an EU Treaty. Where we want to be first on the ground in a major humanitarian crisis such as the Tsunami, the Treaty provides for the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps. Such a move could greatly assist our own Rapid Response Corps – Ireland’s own corps of humanitarian experts ready to be sent to humanitarian crisis zones at short notice. In addition the Treaty enables the Council of Ministers to decide to act by a qualified majority in order to get urgent humanitarian funding to humanitarian crises zones
“The Treaty for the first time ever provides a clear legal basis for the EU to deliver humanitarian aid to those in need. It makes it crystal clear that eradicating poverty is the primary objective of the Union in its development cooperation policy and that this goal must be fully respected when the EU implements any policy affecting developing countries.
“Right now the EU is the largest development assistance donor on
This year we will spend more than €48 billion on ODA –
- That’s more than half the total global development assistance being provided this year.
“And yet, when I travel to Palestine or sub-Saharan Africa, or to any area of conflict and under-development, I invariably find that the EU, though it is the biggest spender, never has the biggest voice for human rights and equality, and democracy and the rule of law. We don’t have a big enough say internationally because we don’t yet have a single visible presence or voice in areas where we can be stronger when we act together.
“That’s where the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs comes in. This will give the EU someone to speak for us all – but only in those areas where we want to speak with a single voice. For us that means a stronger voice for human rights. It means making the EU a stronger ally to the poorest of the world’s poor. A more forceful advocate for the developing world.
Ratification of the Reform Treaty will help us to achieve all these goals and surely that is something no one can oppose.”
Note for Editors:
The Minister will visit the European Union office in Nairobi on Thursday 24 April 2008 where he will be briefed on the EU's programme of bilateral assistance to Kenya. The Programme's main objective is to support the government of Kenya in its efforts to achieve sustainable growth and reduce the country’s high incidence of poverty. Kenya should receive an allocation of €383M for the period 2008-2013, the strategy focuses on the following focal sectors:
1- Macro-economic budget support - €126.8M
2- Agriculture and rural development - €98.8M
3- Transport infrastructure /road sector - €126.8M
Other activities including support to the private sector, good governance including civil society, and the technical cooperation facility will receive €30.6M.
This programme highlights the support the EU gives to the developing world , the EU is the largest aid donor in the world and as an EU member state Ireland is centrally involved in framing and detailing this policy.
The Irish government through Irish Aid has committed a total of
about €27 million to Kenya from the start of 2006 up until the end
of this year. This includes over €7 million in humanitarian relief
for Kenya in response to emergency appeals, and over €19 million
for Irish, international and local NGOs, as well as missionaries,
who are working in Kenya. (Ireland does not provide any direct aid
to the Kenyan Government).
Ends + + +