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Towns and regions applaud European Parliament’s support in the future development cooperation financing instrument

28 March 2019

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have renewed their full support to local and governments in development cooperation and in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On Wednesday 27 March, the European Parliament adopted its position on the proposed Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). The NDICI merges most of the EU’s current external financing instruments, including the European Development Fund, into one broad instrument.

Not mentioning the expertise of EU towns and regions in development cooperation, but also the absence of specific financing modalities for local governments from EU and partner countries in the initial Commission’s proposal was surprising and in contradiction with their recognition in the 2030 Agenda and the new European Consensus on Development,” said Marlène Siméon, Director of PLATFORMA, just after the vote in Plenary. She asked Member States to follow the path of MEPs.

This clear mention of local and regional governments and specific funding, answers to repeated calls by the PLATFORMA coalition. By strengthening the highlight on their key protagonist role to achieve the SDGs, the need to build enabling environments, to reinforce local democracy, to foster decentralisation processes and to respect the principle of subsidiarity, the European Parliament  also confirmed the European Commission vision about the importance of representative associations of cities and regions from Europe and in the global south, in raising awareness on the ground, in engaging in national and regional dialogues and in building capacities.

The partnership approach is also enshrined in the text, with an obligation for the EU, its Member States, partner countries’ national governments and EU Delegations to work hand in hand with local authorities and civil society organisations in the programming of geographic (national and regional) programmes.

Finally, the proposal to develop capacities of local authorities to be able to constructively input the multi-stakeholder dialogue in partner countries is welcomed.

Dedicated financing for towns and regions

In the adopted text, MEPs ask to increase the EU’s financing for civil society organisations to €2,2 billion, with an additional €0,5 billion to go to local and regional governments.

Recognising and supporting the role of local and regional governments in the localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals, in the narrative of the Regulation and with a dedicated budget, was one of the key recommendations we addressed to MEPs following the release of the NDICI last summer,” added Ms Siméon.

Once in force, the NDICI will be the EU’s main tool to foster cooperation with non-EU countries in the neighbourhood and beyond, and to implement its international commitments deriving from the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The new financial instrument now needs to be agreed by the European Parliament, EU Ministers and the European Commission in trilogue discussion. Meanwhile, PLATFORMA has started the discussion on the programming to ensure a dialogue at an early stage with the European Commission and EU Delegations. Contacts here in Brussels and back in partner countries with EU delegations will be crucial for local and regional governments in the coming months.

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(Picture © European Union, 2019 – Source: European Parliament)