Credit: Friends of Europe

Credit: Friends of Europe

In a rapidly changing and interdependent world, Europe’s new leaders need to adopt a global perspective in European policy-making, a new understanding of the EU’s global role, and in particular, a new approach to international development. In this event hosted by Friends of Europe in Brussels on 10 September 2014, we asked whether the European Think Tanks Group’s 2014 report ‘Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action’ offer the sort of answers needed.

See the programme here and watch a recording of the event here.

Chad food programme DG ECHO

Image: Rein Skullerud, Flickr

As the new EU leadership team prepares to take office in Brussels, we’ve joined forces with our partners in the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) with our latest publication: ‘Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action’.

In this report, 28 authors from the four think tanks argue that the EU’s ambitions for its own citizens – for prosperity, peace and environmental sustainability – cannot be divorced from its global responsibilities and opportunities. A collective effort is in our shared interest.

We identified five global problems which will shape the future of the EU and the world, and where the EU has a comparative advantage to act:

  • The world economy
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Peace and security
  • Democracy and human rights
  • Poverty and inequality.

Read the full report here and see this infographic for a summary of our recommendations.

EU flag_destroyed schoolThe European Commission published its Communication on post-2015, ‘A decent life for all: from vision to collective action’, in June 2014. The EU Council is expected to agree ‘Conclusions’ in December. When the previous Communication was published in February 2013, our advice to the Council was to limit their Conclusions to six words: ‘thank you very much, we agree’. Read Simon Maxwell’s opinion on the June Communication and advice for the Italian presidency here.

In a major forthcoming report for the new EU leadership, the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) makes the case for joined-up thinking across the institutions and policies of the EU to address five global challenges: climate change; poverty and inequality; trade and financial policy; conflict and security and democracy and human rights.

Read more here.

With elections for the European Parliament looming, we collected some key facts on the EU’s aid programme. Here are 10 things to know about EU aidLargest aid donor! Use these graphics to find out about its size, importance and spending priorities.

In May 2014, European Parliament elections will be held across Europe. Our latest paper addresses the growing awareness that tEU radical righthe next European Parliament may contain a large contingent of anti-Europe radical right parties. At the domestic level, the reality is that 21 out of the 28 EU member states have a radical right party in their political system but only in nine countries have those parties gained in popularity since 2005. Nevertheless, at the European level, radical right parties could see an almost 50% increase in their number of seats. This increase could result in a stronger influence over European decision-making, with implications for reduced aid budgets, aid tied to national interests and potentially a threat to the EU aid programme. Read the working paper here.

VotingElections to the European Parliament will take place in May this year. Yet, an oddity of the European elections is that they are out of synch with the main policy and budgetary processes of the EU. Does this suggest that the role of the new Parliament is limited; that all that is left is the job of holding the executive to account for the implementation of decisions taken by others? Have the Parliament’s guns been spiked?

In this blog, Simon Maxwell and Mikaela Gavas argue that rather than being powerless, the new MEPs have an opportunity to exert influence in various subtle ways.  They also set out a series of questions on international development that can be asked of all political party manifestos.

Read the recent manifestos from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), the Socialists & Democrats (PES) and the European People’s Party (EPP), and our summary of the 2009 manifestos, which highlights the areas of consensus and points of contention.

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