Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Rolandas Kriščiūnas on December 18 in Brussels presented to the Committee on Development (DEVE) of the European Parliament the achievements of the Lithuanian Presidency, which include agreements reached on funding external support and establishing the European Union Humanitarian Volunteer Corps.
The Deputy Minister also discussed the application of the transition experience of Lithuania and other EU Member States in achieving development cooperation objectives beyond 2015, and, on behalf of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton i, introduced the outcomes of the Development Cooperation Council held on 12 December 2013.
Deputy Minister Kriščiūnas noted that the Council of Ministers approved the decisions reached by the Lithuanian Presidency, discussed development agenda after 2015, coherence of the EU policies that influence development cooperation and the implementation of the EU Agenda for Change. Ministers also discussed the situation in Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the continued support for the Eastern Partners.
The Deputy Minister pointed out that to secure stability and respond to changes in the EU’s neighbouring countries and around the world, the experience of Lithuania and many other EU Member States gained during the transition to democracy and the market economy should be used more extensively. Deputy Minister Kriščiūnas admitted that the EU already has a number of good tools for the dissemination of this experience, and especially appreciated the achievements of the Lithuanian experts participating in the EU Twinning Programme and developing bilateral projects with the institutions of partner countries in providing technical assistance.
Speaking about the new development agenda after 2015 that will replace the Millennium Development Goals approved in 2000, the Deputy Minister emphasized the need to expand the geographical targeting of current EU programs that spread EU experience and knowledge.
“Currently, many experience-sharing programs are adapted only for the EU neighbourhood countries, thus limiting the number of countries that could benefit. However, developing countries are changing, and often international financial assistance is no longer the most important instrument for cooperation. Developing countries are interested in the structural economic transformations, creation of effective institutions and ensuring good governance, therefore, we should more effectively share the available EU knowledge in implementing reforms and make it accesible to all partner countries that request it,” said Deputy Minister Kriščiūnas.
Members of the EP Committee on Development welcomed the achievements of the Lithuanian Presidency, especially the agreement on the financial instrument for development cooperation that will amount to 20 billion euros in 2014-2020 multiannual EU budget as well as regulation establishing the European Union Humanitarian Volunteer Corps.