PN070706C

Embargo: 00:01 Friday 7th July 2006

Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659

TIME FOR THE EU AND ITS MEMBERS TO LIVE UP TO ITS PROMISES TO AFRICA

The House of Lords EU Committee has warned that European governments and the EU must coordinate their efforts on Africa or risk failing the commitments made under the UN Millennium Development Goals and the EU's own Strategy for Africa.

In a report published today the Committee states that the EU has been effective in identifying what needs to be done to help African countries and praises the EU Strategy's focus on peace, security and good governance.

The Committee also asserts that the EU is uniquely well placed to help drive progress in Africa with the longstanding relationships between European and African States and the EU's own multinational perspective. However the report goes on to make clear that so far not enough has been done and it is now time for the EU to deliver on its promises.

The report shows that of the 25 EU states seven - Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden - are well on course to meet aid targets agreed by the EU but others, notably Germany and Italy, are lagging behind.

The report also stresses the importance of African ownership of development programmes and moves towards good governance. To achieve this the Committee recommends the EU take steps to encourage greater participation in the African Peer Review Mechanism. This could be done through the allocation of aid and by providing administrative and other support to countries taking part in the APRM.

Other recommendations in the report include:

  • The EU Commission should conduct a major review of member states' support of African nations in 2010 to ensure development goals are being met.

  • The EU should give its support to the African Union in dealing with problems in Africa.

  • The situation in Zimbabwe is a major impediment to better relations between Europe and Africa.

  • The AU needs to cooperate with the UN to find a solution to the crisis in Darfur.

Commenting on the report, Lord Bowness, Chairman of the Sub-Committee which conducted the inquiry, said:

"When the EU announced its Strategy for Africa it was widely welcomed and we are pleased that peace, security and good governance were identified as vital measures to helping African nations develop their economies.

"However, simply deciding on a strategy is not enough .The EU must go beyond that and ensure concrete steps are taken to encourage good governance and to reduce conflict in Africa. African leaders must be supported in their own efforts to create stable and effective states.

"We are concerned that a number of EU states may not meet their targets on aid commitments and ask the UK Government to set an example.

"The Africa Progress Panel, announced by the Prime Minister last week to measure progress on the G8 commitments will help to keep these issues at the top of the global agenda, but the work of the EU itself must not be overlooked.

"We have had plenty of noble words on the need to provide adequate support to African countries; it is now time to deliver. It is the responsibility of the EU, acting under its Strategy for Africa, to make this happen."

Notes to Editors

1. The report is published by The Stationery Office, The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership, House of Lords European Union Committee (Sub Committee C), HL Paper 206, ISBN 010400908 X, Price £15.50

2. The full report will be available online shortly after publication at:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldeucom.htm

3. The members of the Committee who conducted the inquiry are:

Lord Bowness (Chairman)

Lord Boyce

Lord Dykes

Baroness Falkner of Margravine

Lord Freeman

Lord Hannay of Chiswick

Lord King of Bridgewater

Lord Lea of Crondall

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Lord Tomlinson

Lord Truscott

4. Corrections:

  1. Footnotes 5 and 6 should state that figures are based on purchasing power parity.

  2. The Africa Partnership Forum is next due to meet in Russia in October 2005, not the United Kingdom as stated in Box 5.

[ENDS]