Policy Updates

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European Commission President emphasizes equal partnerships at G7 session on Africa

June 13, 2024 | EUI, Global Health, Global Health R&D | Share this update

On June 13, 2024, in her speech at the first-ever G7 session focused on Africa, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the potential of the African continent and the evolution of its relationship with the G7 from one of ODA to that of equal partners.

Von der Leyen highlighted the need to improve the G7's offerings compared to China, Russia, and the Middle East, emphasizing the importance of long-term, sustainable investments that create jobs in Africa. She stressed that the G7 has already demonstrated its commitment to Africa during the pandemic, citing EU support for establishing mRNA vaccine production facilities in Rwanda and Senegal. In addition, von der Leyen noted that the G7 has committed US$250 billion through the PGII, of which US$33 billion has already been delivered to North and Sub-Saharan Africa.

A breakdown of the full amounts and whether the referenced commitments are new or additional funding is not publically available.

Speech - European Commission

EU Commissioner for International Partnerships urges balance between development assistance, defense

June 12, 2024 | EUI | Share this update

On June 12, 2024, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen cautioned that the EU must strike a balance between increasing defense spending and maintaining development assistance to avoid geopolitical isolation.

Following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the EU and its member states have prioritized increased military spending. Despite being one of the world's largest donors of ODA, the EU faces the challenge of maintaining its level of funding for international partnerships in a context of geopolitical competition.

Urpilainen emphasized the need to invest in international partnerships alongside military capacity to address broader security challenges like climate change, migration, and terrorism. She warned that geopolitical competition necessitates a balanced approach, expressing concern about future political support for this strategy with the EU elections results tilting to the right.

In addition, Urpilainen stressed the importance of the next EU budget to maintain or increase funding for external relations, particularly keeping education at 13%, and for human development initiatives including education, research, and health to be included in Global Gateway.

Urpilainen underlined that Europe could become geopolitically isolated if investment in external relations is not sustained.

Interview - Euractiv

EIB provides US$107 million loan for Ukraine to rebuild municipal infrastructure

June 11, 2024 | EUI, Education, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On June 11, 2024, the EIB announced that it will provide Ukraine with a EUR100 million (US$107 million) loan to rebuild municipal infrastructure damaged by the war against Russia.

These funds, agreed at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin, will be used to rebuild schools, kindergartens, hospitals, social housing and local transport, in addition to ensuring essential services such as clean water and sanitation.

Calls for project proposals are set to be issued, inviting communities to submit applications for the reconstruction of health facilities, housing, education, water sector and shelters. The projects will prioritize liberated territories, areas close to conflict zones, and regions with large numbers of internally displaced persons.

Press release - EIB

EU announces new initiatives to bolster support for Ukraine’s recovery

June 11, 2024 | EUI | Share this update

On June 11-12, the Ukraine Recovery Conference, organized by Germany in Berlin, seeking to ensure that Ukraine can continue to defend itself and move towards closer integration with the EU.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced several initiatives aimed at strengthening Ukraine's sovereignty and bringing it closer to the EU, including:

  • Multiple agreements worth EUR1.4 billion (US$1.5 billion) with partner banks to attract private investments to Ukraine;
  • Targeted support for equity investments in the country, focusing on improving the financing of Ukrainian businesses, especially SMEs and startups;
  • Pledges to deliver an additional EUR1.9 billion (US$2 billion) from the EU’s Ukraine Facility by the end of June, thanks to progress on the Ukraine Plan and its anti-corruption reforms;
  • Announcing the transfer of around EUR1.5 billion (US$1.6 billion) of windfall profits generated by tied-up Russian assets for Ukraine's defense and reconstruction; and
  • Mobilizing about EUR500 million (US$534 million) for urgent repairs in the Ukrainian energy sector.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in February 2022, EU financial, humanitarian, emergency, budgetary and military support to Ukraine has reached almost EUR100 billion (US$107 billion).

News article - European CommissionNews article - Ukrainska PravdaNews article - EUnews

EU election shows shift rightward, EPP emerges as largest party

June 10, 2024 | EUI | Share this update

On June 10, 2024, following the 2024 European election, the center-right EPP emerged as the largest European party, while far-right groups ID and the ECR gained significant support; the liberal Renew Europe and the Green parties faced most of the losses.

Despite these changes, the authoritative victory of the far-right predicted by many experts did not materialize. The most probable governing majority coalition is believed to be between the EPP, Socialists & Democrats, and Renew Europe, potentially with the support of the Greens.

The shift of power towards the right is expected to further deepen the current EU approach to international partnerships, potentially leading to a more national interest-driven focus. The ECDPM predicted that a rightward change will likely deprioritize progressive policies. Development policy may receive less attention, with increased emphasis on defense, security, migration, and economic interests. Experts caution that development assistance may become more conditional on migration control and economic benefits for the EU, overshadowing global poverty eradication goals and potentially further straining relationships with partner countries, particularly those in Africa.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, member of the EPP, is seeking support for re-election among EU leaders and from groups in the European Parliament. Her prospects seem bolstered in light of the elections results, as the EPP group won in 13 countries. Additionally, French President Emmanuel Macron, who has yet to endorse von der Leyen, was significantly weakened, and allied Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk were among the few leaders whose parties saw success.

EU leaders will discuss the package of important appointments during an informal summit on June 17, 2024, and at the European Council on June 27-28, 2024. Once agreement is reached, the Parliament will vote on the new Commission president in July or September 2024. The president-elect will then allocate portfolios to commissioners from candidates proposed by the Member States. The final vote by the Parliament is likely to take place in late fall 2024, with the new presidential mandate officially starting in December 2024 or January 2025.

Web Page - European ParliamentReport - ECDPMVideo - ECDPM

European Commission earmarks US$27 million to Palestinian Authority, US$17 million to UNRWA

May 31, 2024 | EUI, Global Health, Education | Share this update

On May 31, 2024, the European Commission approved a second allocation of EUR25 million (US$27 million) to the Palestinian Authority, and granted EUR16 million (US$17 million) to UNRWA to provide basic services, such as health and education, to Palestinian refugees.

The funds allocated to the Palestinian Authority, as part of the PEGASE program, is intended to help the Palestinian Authority meet its commitments to pay salaries and pensions to civil servants in the West Bank. The payment is the second tranche of the EUR118 million (US$126 million) development assistance package approved in December 2023.

The European Commission authorized the EUR16 million (US$17 million) to UNRWA after assessing progress towards reform recommendations. The disbursement brings the total EU ODA to UNRWA in 2024 to EUR66 million (US$70 million), out of a total projected EUR82 million (US$88 million) for the year.

Press release - European Commission

EIB Global allocates US$27 million to Amethis Fund III

May 29, 2024 | EUI, Gender Equality, Global Health, Climate | Share this update

On May 29, 2024, the global arm of the EIB committed EUR25 million (US$27 million) to Amethis Fund III, a pan-African fund that supports the growth of medium-sized companies in Africa.

The fund focuses on companies providing goods and services to low and middle-income populations in sectors such as healthcare, business services such as logistics and IT, manufacturing and distribution, agribusiness, consumer goods, non-banking financial services, infrastructure, and energy.

The EIB Global investment aligns with the EU's Global Gateway strategy to promote economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. The fund will implement an impact strategy that addresses issues essential to the sustainable development of the continent, such as gender equality, sustainable employment with an emphasis on health coverage and climate considerations.

Press release - EIB

G7 finance ministers call on donors to coordinate efforts, increase investments

May 25, 2024 | UK, France, Canada, Japan, US, Italy, Germany, EUI, Global Health, Climate, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update

On May 23-25, 2024, the G7 Ministers of Finance met at a summit in Stresa, Italy, where the ministers voiced support for contributions to the IDA, WHO, Gavi, and the Global Fund in the resulting communiqué.

The G7 ministers supported efforts towards a successful 21st replenishment of the IDA by the end of 2024 through an ambitious policy and financing package. Notably, they did not give a concrete signal that the critical US$100 billion threshold requested by the World Bank will be crossed, nor any indication of the US$120 billion expected by African leaders.

The ministers reaffirmed their dedication to strengthening the governance and finance of the global health architecture and voiced support for refinancing processes of several GHIs, such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO, and the Global Fund, and expressed support for the Pandemic Fund. The communiqué called on the donor community to coordinate efforts and increase investments in global health in line with their capacities to ensure sustainable funding and maximize the impact of available resources.

Following the summit, the C7 pointed out the G7's lack of ambition and financial commitment to international development, including climate adaptation. International civil society organizations criticized the lack of any reference to allocating SDRs to global solidarity.

G7 Ministers of FinanceC7 statement

US starts delivery of humanitarian assistance through temporary pier in Gaza

May 17, 2024 | US, UK, EUI, Nutrition, Nutritious Food Systems, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On May 17, 2024, it was announced that the US has begun to deliver needed humanitarian assistance through a temporary pier into Gaza, which it characterized as a supplemental channel for emergency assistance and not a substitute for land deliveries.

This effort is being led by USAID and the US Department of Defense, and involves Cyprus, Israel, the UN, the UAE, the UK, and the EU. The conflict conditions in Gaza have engendered a dire need for food, shelter, medicine, and other emergency assistance.

The decision to set up the humanitarian maritime corridor was motivated in part by the slow delivery of humanitarian assistance into Gaza. Assistance delivered by truck has been reduced to approximately 100 trucks a day since the beginning of the conflict, approximately one-sixth of full operation. USAID's initial contributions through the pier will be hundreds of metric tons a day, including nutrient rich food for the most vulnerable children and adults. Other assistance includes shelter, water, and hygiene kits.

Press release - USAID

Team Europe provides US$44 million for clean energy in Nepal

May 17, 2024 | Germany, EUI, Climate | Share this update

On May 17, 2024, Team Europe and Nepal announced an EUR65 million (US$70 million) partnership to increase electrical connectivity in rural areas surrounding Kathmandu.

Co-financed with an EUR25 million (US$27 million) loan from the EIB, EUR14 million (US$15 million) from the KfW, and EUR1 million (US$1 million) from the EU, the project will support infrastructure development linking Kathmandu and outlying municipalities.

The project also aims to increase access to electricity from renewable energies, including hydropower from the Trishuli river. In total, the river has to potential to provide up to 650 megawatts with capacity improvements from current projects.

Press release - European Commission

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