The new European Commission needs to shift its focus from humanitarian aid in conflict zones to conflict prevention and intervene more as a ‘best supporting actor to the UN’, says a paper by the European Think Tanks Group published today (1 September), reports
‘Our collective interest’, which will be presented to the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee today, is the fruit of a year’s work by 26 researchers from the German Development Institute, European Centre for Development Policy Management, Overseas Development Institute and Fride.
Its theme is that “the new EU leadership must step up and realise that to ensure stability and economic growth at home, global issues must be tackled head on. Europe will prosper if the world is prospering,” according to Kevin Watkins, ODI’s executive director.
Some 1.5 billion people in the Middle East, Africa and European neighbourhood are affected by conflicts and the report argues that the Commission has sufficient policy guidance, mandate, specialist units, adapted financial instruments, operational capacity and institutional reach to massively step up its developmental profile in such regions.
But this is being hampered by institutional structures which incentivise duplication, division and unhelpful competition, rather than genuine cooperation.
“On paper there is a division of labour but when it comes to implementation, there’s a lack of clarity because the overall purpose of action isn’t clear,” Volker Hauck, one of the report’s authors told EurActiv.