EU financial rules for development should be on local governments’ side
On 6th February PLATFORMA brought the voice of local and regional governments to the European Parliament. VNGi Executive Director Peter Knip spoke on behalf of PLATFORMA to the Committee on Development (DEVE) during a debate on the revision of EU financial rules. He informed MEPs about PLATFORMA’s survey on Financial rules and Interaction with EU Delegations in partner countries.
Building capacities and developing institutional strength needs public investment. Doing it through international partnerships needs funding. PLATFORMA actively engages the European institutions to influence policy making and programming to the benefit of local and regional governments.
VNGi Executive Director was presenting beneficiaries’ views on EU financial rules, along with representatives of the German international cooperation agency(GIZ) and the NGO network CONCORD.
He made clear that EU financial rules of external action instrument discourage local and regional governments to engage in EU development policies. “This is contrary to the increased recognition by the EU and the United Nations of the added value of local and regional governments to achieve sustainable development,” he said.
Mr Knip asked the EU to recognize the specific nature of local and regional governments as public bodies and to involve their associations in the design of programs. He insisted that local and regional governments contribute to the goals of the EU Development Consensus – from their particular perspective as democratically legitimate self-governing authorities.
He criticised the fact that if “Pagoda constructions” facilitate the speed with which the European Commission can contract out services to so-called ‘7 pillar assessed organisations’ (state related development organisations), it excludes in practice development agencies or associations of local and regional governments to get access to EU funding for larger assignments focussed on interventions in support of strengthening the public domain.
This hearing is part of a larger process of review of the European Union contribution to sustainable development. Another key element is the new European Consensus on Development.