Monday, August 17, 2009

The New Development Committee of the European Parliament

In July the new European Parliament officially started its mandate. After the summer recess the EP will resume sessions in Brussels on 1 September and there will be a full sitting of the Parliament on 14 September in Strasbourg.

Currently 7 political groups constitute the Parliament:
- the EPP: the group of European People’s Party, center-right, Christian democrats – 265 seats
- the S&D: the group of the progressive alliance of Socialists and Democrats – 184
- the ALDE: the group of the alliance of Liberals and Democrats – 84
- the Greens/EFA, the group of Greens and European Free Alliance – 55
- the ECR, European conservatives and reformists group – 54
- the GUE/NGL, the Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left- 35
- the EFD, Europe of Freedom and Democracy group – 32

In addition, 27 MEPs are not affiliated to any group.

Mrs Eva Joly, a French MEP born in Norway and known for campaigning against corruption, from the Group of the Greens will chair the Committee with the support of three other vice-chairwomen, Michèle Striffler (F, EPP), Iva Zanicchi (I, EPP) and Corina Cretu (R, S&D) and one vice chairman, Deva Nijr (UK, ECR). The list of members of the Development Committee counts 30 members among them 23 are new to the committee and 14 are new MEPs. Former Commissioner Louis Michel is a substitute member of the Committee. A hearing of his successor Karel de Gucht by the Development Committee will take place early September.

At the first Development Committee meeting on 21 July, the chairwoman, Mrs Joly, presented the programme of the committee for the coming months. On top of the agenda are two key priorities: the impact of the Financial and Economic Crisis on developing countries and the inter-connection between climate change and development. The Development Committee would like to have debates on these two issues in plenary sessions of the Parliament as early as possible.

At the July meeting of the Development Committee a working document on Climate Change and Developing Countries was discussed after a presentation on the status of and expectations from the UNFCCC negotiations by Tim Core from Oxfam. The committee also expressed its intention to be well represented in the Parliament’s delegation to the Copenhagen conference. The Committee has commissioned two new reports, one on the impact of the Financial Crisis and another one on the mid-term review of the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). Also the Committee intends to organise a hearing on the Commission's management of Non-State Actors' involvement in EC Development Cooperation in follow-up of a report by the Court of Auditor on that issue.

For more information on the work of the Development Committee of the European Parliament you can check the website of the EP and the websites of Euforic members APRODEV, CIDSE, Concord and Eurostep.

See also the Euforic newsfeed and dossier on the European Parliament