An Informal EU Development Ministers’ meeting was held in Brussels on 16 March. The Member States had gathered to discuss the revision of EU development cooperation policy, the EU’s relations with the African countries, and migration-related issues, including the European External Investment Plan.
In an exchange of views on the revision of EU development cooperation policy, representatives from Latvia emphasised that the policy should become more pragmatic and closer connected with the strategic interests of the EU’s foreign policy. Latvia supports a stronger link with the Global Security for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy and synergy with security policy instruments. Support for the development and stability of the regions closest to the EU is of special importance.
The Latvian delegates called on EU institutions and Member States to go ahead with their support for the regions such as Central Asia and the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries – Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus. The value of transition experience and the role of the small donors in the implementation of the EU development policy were also stressed at the meeting.
The agenda also included a discussion on the EU’s further cooperation with the African countries and the EU-Africa Summit to be held on 29-30 November with the focus on youth empowerment. The Latvian delegation recalled that by promoting education and employment among young people and their participation in administrative processes we are reducing the risks of poverty, migration and radicalisation.
Latvian participants called for establishing deeper cooperation with the African countries in migration matters in order to promote their more active engagement in addressing the causes of migration and other problems identified. The EU and its Member States can provide support, while the partner countries themselves must undertake reforms in the areas of the rule of law, good governance, gender equality, and human rights.
As concerns common denominators for migration and development cooperation, Latvia believes that the aspects of special importance are the tackling of the root causes of migration, eradication of networks for the trafficking and smuggling of human beings, and effective cooperation on the return of migrants to their countries of origin.