Tag Archives: Poverty

Enhancing the Asia strategy

Enhancing the Asia strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enhancing the Asia strategy


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Enhancing the Asia strategy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 4 September 2001. Europe and Asia: A Strategic Framework for Enhanced Partnerships [COM(2001)469 – Not published in the Official Journal].


Taking account of the developments that have taken place since its 1994 Communication entitled ‘Towards a New Asia Strategy’, the Commission updates the mechanism established by the 1994 strategy. It sets outs a comprehensive strategic framework for relations between Asia, its regions and the European Union (EU) in the coming decade, while recognising the diversity of Asia through different forms of partnership. The Commission aims to strengthen the EU’s political and economic presence in Asia, raising it to a level commensurate with the growing global weight of the enlarged Union.

The new strategy therefore focuses on six key points:

  • strengthening the EU’s engagement with Asia in the political and security fields;
  • further strengthening mutual trade and investment flows with the region;
  • demonstrating the EU’s effectiveness as a partner in reducing poverty in Asia;
  • promoting respect for human rights, democracy, good governance and the rule of law;
  • building global alliances with key Asian partners (to address global challenges and within international organisations);
  • strengthening mutual awareness between the EU and Asia.

The Communication identifies concrete proposals aimed at strengthening EU-Asia relations in these key areas and launching actions on a broader regional scale.

As regards peace and security, the EU must play an active role in regional fora, promote conflict prevention through the sharing of experiences and strengthen EU-Asia dialogue on justice and home affairs, an area that includes, in particular, the right to asylum, immigration and arms trafficking.

Mutual trade and investment flows must benefit from better market access and investment conditions on both sides. Efforts must be made to encourage contacts between the private sector (especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)) and in particular the high technology sector, strengthen dialogue on economic and financial policy, and enhance market access for the poorest developing countries.

In order to reduce poverty, the Commission will give priority in its cooperation programmes to key issues such as education and health, economic and social governance, and the link between environment and poverty. Enhanced dialogue on social policy issues would make it possible to exchange experiences on the most appropriate method of addressing the challenges of globalisation and modernisation.

Promoting civil society and a dialogue between Asia and Europe must encourage democracy, good governance and the rule of law. As regards human rights, constructive exchanges, such as the dialogue with China on human rights, should pave the way for better cooperation.

It is also important to conclude partnerships and build alliances in addressing global issues such as the reform of the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the environment and other challenges, for example international crime, terrorism and the spread of AIDS.

The opening of new delegations is one of the instruments that promotes better mutual knowledge between Europe and Asia. Support should also be provided for university, cultural and scientific exchanges and for civil society contacts between the regions.

The Communication also sets out specific measures to target the EU’s initiatives concerning the different component parts of Asia (South Asia, South-East Asia, North-East Asia and Australasia, which is included for the first time in the EU-Asia strategic framework). These measures aim first and foremost to improve relations with certain countries in the region and cover bilateral issues with each country, while providing a framework for the overall relations between Europe and Asia. The Commission favours a pragmatic approach, based on a specific analysis of its relations with each country or group of countries.

At an institutional level, the EU’s relations with Asia have developed considerably in recent years. The first bilateral summit was held in 1991 with Japan. Similar summits have been organised recently with India and China as well as with East Asia as a whole under the ASEM process (Asia-Europe Meeting). At ministerial level, the EU’s dialogue with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the one hand, and with Australia and New Zealand on the other, continues to make progress.

European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion

European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social inclusion and the fight against poverty

European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010)

The fight against poverty and social exclusion is a primary objective of the European Union (EU) and its Member States. A significant part of the European population is in a situation of poverty and lacks access to basic services. The launch of a European Year dedicated to this objective is intended to give a new impetus to the process of social inclusion.

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1098/2008/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008 on the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010) (Text with EEA relevance).


On the occasion of the European Year 2010, the European Union (EU) reaffirms its commitment to the fight against poverty and social exclusion. It promotes a social model contributing to the welfare of individuals, their participation in society and the economic development of Europe.

The fight against poverty and social exclusion is linked to a series of socioeconomic and cultural factors which call for multidimensional strategies of national, regional and local dimension. It requires the participation of public authorities and individuals alike.

Objectives and beneficiaries

This initiative aims at informing European citizens but also to give a voice to people in a situation of poverty and social exclusion.

In accordance with the European principles of solidarity and social justice, the Year will have four guiding principles.

Recognition of the fundamental right of people in a situation of poverty to live in dignity and to play a full part in society. In particular, the aim is to guarantee access to resources, social services, culture and leisure.

Promotion of social cohesion,in the form of actions to enhance quality of life, social welfare, equal opportunities and sustainable development, by promoting an employment market that is open to all and the principle of equality in education and training. In particular, these actions will target victims of discrimination, people with disabilities, children and situations of family poverty, vulnerable groups or groups in a situation of extreme poverty.

Shared responsibility and collective and individual participation, to expand the role of all public or private actors in the fight against poverty and social exclusion.

Commitment and political action by the Member States and the EU, and the intensification of actions taken at all levels of authority. In this respect, the potential of the open method of coordination (OMC[m1]) introduced by the EU in 2000 in the fields of social protection and inclusion must be better exploited.

Actions and procedure

This initiative will give rise to actions launched at Community and national level. They will take the form of public awareness campaigns, innovative and creative initiatives, or meetings, discussions and studies. A committee of representatives of the Member States will support the Commission in the implementation of the European Year.

The Member States shall carry out these actions through national programmes adapting the Community guidelines to the challenges and priorities of each country. Each Member State shall appoint a body to prepare and implement these programmes. Those bodies will cooperate with civil society, the social partners, and regional and local authorities.

These objectives should be pursued both within the EU and beyond its borders. The initiative is open to participation by European Free Trade Association (EFTA) States, candidate countries for EU accession and third countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).


The building of a society which is founded on social inclusion and on reducing poverty is one of the essential priorities of the EU. At the Lisbon summit in 2000 the Member States committed themselves to making progress towards the elimination of poverty in Europe by 2010.

Carried out in the context of the process of social inclusion, their actions require the wider participation of all the actors involved.


Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 1098/2008/EC


OJ L 298 of 7.11.2008

Active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market

Active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social inclusion and the fight against poverty

Active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market

Document or Iniciative

Commission Recommendation 2008/867/EC of 3 October 2008 on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market [Official Journal L 307 of 18.11.2008].


With this Recommendation, the Commission is encouraging Member States to take action for the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market. To this end, the Commission recommends that the Member States draw up and implement an integrated comprehensive strategy. The strategy should be composed of the following three strands:

  • sufficient income support;
  • inclusive labour markets;
  • access to quality services.

The actions should support the employment of those who can work, providing the resources required for a dignified life, and promote the social participation of those who cannot work.

The Member States are further recommended to ensure that the inclusion policies are effective. This should be done by:

  • combining the above three strands of the strategy in an appropriate manner;
  • implementing the strategy in an integrated manner across the three strands;
  • coordinating the policies among authorities at local, regional, national and European Union (EU) level;
  • including all relevant actors in the development, implementation and evaluation of the strategy.

In particular, the inclusion policies should take account of fundamental rights, the promotion of equal opportunities for all, the specific needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups and the local and regional contexts. In addition, the inclusion policies should contribute to preventing the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

Furthermore, the Commission recommends that the Member States organise and implement active inclusion policies with the detailed set of common principles and practical guidelines put forward in the document. With regard to:

  • sufficient income support, Member States should recognise and implement the right of individuals to adequate resources and social assistance as part of consistent and comprehensive efforts to fight social exclusion;
  • inclusive labour markets, Member States should provide assistance for those who can work to enter or re-enter and stay in employment that best relates to their capacity to work;
  • access to quality services, Member States should ensure that proper social support is given to those that require it, in order to promote social and economic inclusion.

The Member States are also recommended to ensure that the necessary resources and benefits are provided under the social protection instruments, taking into account the economic and budgetary constraints. Active inclusion measures may also be funded from the Structural Funds. Information about the rights and support measures available to all must be publicised widely, and if possible, through electronic means.

In addition, Member States should simplify administrative procedures. At the same time, access for the public to the appeals systems should be made easier.

Finally, the Commission is also recommending that the Member States take steps to enhance indicators and statistical data on active inclusion policies. The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) on social protection and inclusion should be employed for monitoring and evaluating these policies on the basis of close collaboration between the Social Protection and the Employment Committees and with the support of the activities funded by the Progress programme.

The active inclusion measures should be aligned with the social cohesion objectives of the Lisbon Strategy.


Poverty and social exclusion are addressed, in particular, in the Council Recommendation 92/441/EEC of 24 June 1992 on common criteria concerning sufficient resources and social assistance in social protection systems. While this Recommendation still applies, additional measures need to be taken to implement it fully. Subsequent instruments include, among others, the OMC on social protection and inclusion and the European employment strategy. Furthermore, the persisting problems, especially in terms of poverty and joblessness, require that social protection systems are modernised and that comprehensive and integrated policies are initiated. These are the objectives of the “active inclusion” approach that complements social assistance benefits with support to enter the labour market and with access to quality services.

European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion

European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social inclusion and the fight against poverty

European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 16 December 2010 – The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion: A European framework for social and territorial cohesion [COM(2010) 758 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion is a flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 strategy. Its creation by the Commission should support European Union (EU) action aimed at lifting at least 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion by 2020.

Combating poverty at European level

Coordinating the policies of EU Member States is essential in order to meet European objectives on tackling poverty. Their cooperation is based on the Open Method of Coordination for social protection and social inclusion, and on shared statistics and common social indicators.

Their progress is monitored and assessed by the Commission, in order to meet the targets of the EU 2020 strategy.

In the EU, unemployment is the main cause of poverty and exclusion. However, the number of poor workers has also been increasing since 2000. Furthermore, some groups of the population are exposed to higher risks, namely:

  • children and young people;
  • single parents and households with dependants;
  • women;
  • people with disabilities and their households;
  • people with a migrant background and certain ethnic minorities;
  • the elderly.

There are serious forms of exclusion, such as housing exclusion, financial exclusion, fuel poverty (in particular electricity and heating), and exclusion from essential domestic necessities.

Objectives of the Platform

The Platform is to bring together all stakeholders involved in a partnership to tackle poverty. Such stakeholders may be Member States, EU institutions, or national, regional and local authorities, as well as the social partners, NGOs and persons who are themselves in a situation of poverty.

Their partnership is aimed at developing common approaches in all areas relating to social inclusion, particularly in respect of:

  • access to employment, by assessing national inclusion strategies and European strategy to develop jobs and workers’ skills;
  • access to basic services and social protection, particularly in the context of ageing populations and the increase in social exclusion;
  • education and youth, to reduce early school leaving and inequalities in education;
  • economic and social integration of migrants, through a new European strategy;
  • tackling discrimination, especially against minorities, persons with disabilities and the homeless, but also improving financial independence and gender equality;
  • access to information and communication technologies, network services, as well as financial and energy services.

The Commission encourages social innovation and the modernisation of social policies through exchanges of experience and good practices. The Platform supports the introduction of innovative social programmes, as well as the development of tools for cooperation among Member States.

In addition, the Platform fosters the development of the social economy, with a view to improving the legal framework and access to European funding, including the use of the 2011 Social Innovation Europe initiative. Social enterprises represent 10 % of European enterprises and employ 11 million workers, especially those in situations of exclusion.

These objectives should also be taken into consideration by partner countries in the EU enlargement process and European Neighbourhood Policy.


The Platform objectives should be met mainly by Member States and through funding from the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and the PROGRESS programme for employment and solidarity.

Similarly, the Progress microfinance instrument should help vulnerable people to create small businesses or to take up self-employment.


The Platform offers a well-adapted framework to ensure that European action to tackle poverty can be pursued. It thus enables actions undertaken during the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010) to be continued. Its implementation will be evaluated each year at a large-scale Annual Convention that will analyse, together with Member States, the progress achieved during the current year, and will propose actions for the following year.

Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2006

Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2006

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2006


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social protection

Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2006

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission, of 13 February 2006, to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2006 [COM (2006) 62 final – Official Journal C 67 of 18.03.2006].


The European Union (EU) and its social policies face major challenges in the medium to long term.

In the long run, the challenges of global competition, the impact of new technologies and an ageing population need to be addressed.

More immediate action is needed to boost sluggish growth, curb high rates of unemployment and reduce continuing inequalities.

Social protection and social inclusion: developments and reforms

After several years of stagnation, the percentage of GDP (28% in 2003) spent on social protection has now risen slightly.

Systems of cash transfers (other than pensions) account for 5% of GDP. In this area, reforms have been undertaken with a view to strengthening incentives to take up work. Benefits to support incomes for those making the transition to (low-paid) employment are also becoming more widespread. Social assistance is increasingly linked closely with social and employment services, thus achieving synergies and increasing efficiency. Moreover, notable reform efforts were made in relation to long-term sickness/invalidity schemes.

Spending on pensions, which averaged 13% of GDP in the EU in 2003, has ensured that being old is no longer associated with being poor or being dependent. Furthermore, in the light of population ageing and the increase in life expectancy in Europe, most Member States have undertaken reforms to ensure the adequacy, sustainability and modernisation of pensions. The National Strategy Reports which Member States submitted in 2005 show that these three objectives must be viewed together in order for the reforms to succeed. Member States have therefore adopted a three-pronged strategy based on:

  • reducing public debt;
  • higher employment rates among older people;
  • reforming pensions.

In 2003, spending on health care and long-term care averaged 8% of GDP. At present this area is directly affected by the consequences of ageing and the emergence of new technologies. In 2004 the Open Method of Coordination (MOC) was extended to include health care and long-term care, areas which continue to pose challenges in terms of supply, access and financial sustainability. In response to ever-growing demand, in order to guarantee access to health care for all and also to overcome the quantitative and qualitative gaps in supply, Member States have undertaken various reforms:

  • ensuring greater effectiveness and efficiency through reorganisation, prioritisation and the development of incentive structures for users and providers;
  • strengthening the role of health promotion and disease prevention policies;
  • systematic use of charges and co-payments as well as reductions in fees, targeted at disadvantaged groups;
  • promoting active lifestyles and healthy ageing;
  • developing indicators and setting quality standards, practice guidelines and accreditation systems;
  • involving patients;
  • promoting choice;
  • technological progress.

With regard to fighting poverty and exclusion, considerable progress has been made in several areas. However, like the economic situation, the picture remains mixed. Moreover, the review of the Lisbon Strategy revealed an implementation gap between what Member States committed to and the policy effort to implement them. There are eight problem areas in which action must be taken:

  • labour market participation, which is generally low;
  • modernisation of social protection systems;
  • disadvantages in education and training;
  • child poverty, which still persists;
  • assistance to families;
  • housing, an area where significant inequalities persist;
  • access to quality services;
  • integration of people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and immigrants.

Intervention was also necessary in light of the concentration of multiple disadvantages in certain urban and rural communities and among some groups (people with disabilities, migrants and ethnic minorities, homeless, ex-prisoners, addicts and older people).

Social protection and social inclusion: challenges

The Commission’s January 2006 Communication on a new framework for the OMC identifies four overarching challenges for social protection and inclusion policies:

  • to promote social cohesion and equal opportunities for all through adequate, accessible, financially sustainable, adaptable and efficient social protection systems and social inclusion policies;
  • to interact closely with the Lisbon objectives on achieving greater economic growth and more and better jobs and with the EU’s Sustainable Development Strategy;
  • to strengthen governance, transparency and the involvement of stakeholders in the design, implementation and monitoring of policy;
  • finally, there should be a two-way interaction between the OMC and the Lisbon Strategy. Social protection and inclusion policies should support growth and employment objectives, and, conversely, growth and employment policies should support social objectives.

For social protection schemes a holistic approach is required which focuses on:

  • sustainability;
  • monitoring the effectiveness and efficiency of systems, policies and funding mechanisms;
  • the distribution of spending across different branches;
  • the balance between public provision and self-reliance.

With regard to pension schemes, it is necessary to:

  • further highlight the interlinkages between the three broad objectives of adequacy, sustainability and modernisation of pension systems;
  • continue to remove disincentives and strengthen incentives for working longer (including for potential beneficiaries of minimum pensions);
  • improve the way in which both employers and labour markets treat older workers;
  • monitor the trend towards a decline in replacement rates;
  • take better account of new forms of working and of career breaks (particularly for care);
  • ensure that women can build up their own pension rights;
  • ensure that private pension schemes are affordable and secure, so that they can complement public schemes (which are the principal source of pensions in all but a few Member States) as effectively as possible.

With regard to health care and long-term care:

  • in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, there is a need for greater coherence and better coordination between different types of care;
  • in terms of access and quality, action must be taken to strengthen the role of family doctors;
  • in terms of financial sustainability, it is recommended to boost incentives to use resources in a rational way, and to ensure greater use of regulated competition.

The chapter on the challenges for the future in relation to fighting poverty and exclusion highlights a threefold need:

  • better mainstreaming;
  • better governance;
  • better links between the NAPs for inclusion and the Structural Funds (in particular the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund).

Still in relation to fighting poverty and exclusion, a more strategic, systematic and transparent approach is needed for the formulation of NAPs for inclusion, to ensure that policies are set out more clearly. The OMC needs to develop a strong focus on poverty among children and their families. The multiple exclusion faced by young people from ethnic minorities in poor neighbourhoods also needs increased attention. In this context, the fundamental role of education and training in breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty should be highlighted.

It is essential to ensure that the OMC and the revised Lisbon Strategy mutually reinforce one another. Monitoring and evaluation also need to be strengthened.


This second Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion responds directly to the challenges of the Lisbon Strategy and of the Hampton Court Summit, and builds on the 2003 Communication ” Strengthening the social dimension of the Lisbon strategy: Streamlining open coordination in the field of social protection “. It draws on the plans and policy statements produced by the Member States during 2005 under the three policy strands of social inclusion, pensions, and health and long-term care. It is guided by the views expressed by Member States and stakeholders on the value of the OMC.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 22 December 2005, “ 
A new framework for the open coordination of social protection and inclusion policies in the European Union
 ” [COM (2005) 706 – Not published in the Official Journal]

Communication from the Commission of 27 January 2005 on the 
Draft joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2005
 [COM (2005) 14 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Communication from the Commission, of 27 May 2003, Strengthening the social dimension of the Lisbon strategy: Streamlining open coordination in the field of social protection [COM (2003) 261 final – Official Journal L 314 of 13.10.2004].

Code of Conduct on Complementarity and the Division of Labour in Development Policy

Code of Conduct on Complementarity and the Division of Labour in Development Policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Code of Conduct on Complementarity and the Division of Labour in Development Policy


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > General development framework

Code of Conduct on Complementarity and the Division of Labour in Development Policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 28 February 2007 entitled “EU Code of Conduct on Division of Labour in Development Policy” [COM(2007) 72 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The present Communication proposes a Code of Conduct to enhance complementarity and the division of labour amongst EU donors (Union and Member States) in developing countries. The Code of Conduct was adopted on 15 May 2007 by the General Affairs and External Relations Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council. On that occasion, the Council amended certain points of the Commission proposal, in particular adding an eleventh principle to the ten principles proposed.

Donors frequently concentrate on the same countries and the same sectors. This leads to a significant administrative burden and high transaction costs in the beneficiary countries, diffuses policy dialogue, reduces transparency and increases the risk of corruption. Some countries, on the other hand, are almost ignored by donors.

The Code of Conduct defines the operational principles of complementarity in the field of development cooperation. In the absence of an internationally recognised definition of complementarity, the Commission defines it as the optimal division of labour between various actors in order to achieve optimum use of human and financial resources. This implies that each actor focuses its assistance on areas where it can add most value, given what others are doing.

The Code is based on good practices from the field and was drafted in collaboration with Member States’ experts. It builds on the principles contained in the Paris Declaration on the effectiveness of development aid (ownership, alignment, harmonisation, management by results and mutual responsibility ) and on the complementary objectives and values stressed in the European Consensus.

The Code proposes broad guidelines which establish the principles of complementarity in development aid. In particular, the Code consists of eleven guiding principles:

  • concentrate the activities on a limited number of national sectors (focal sectors). EU donors should confine their assistance in a partner country to two sectors in which they offer the best comparative advantage, as recognised by the government of the partner country and the other donors. Apart from these two sectors, donors can provide budget support and finance programmes relating to civil society, research and education;
  • redeploy into other activities in-country (non-focal sectors). As regards the non-focal sectors, donors should either remain committed through a delegated cooperation/partnership agreement * redeploy the resources becoming available in general budget support or exit from the sector in a responsible manner;
  • encourage the establishment, in each priority sector, of a lead donorship arrangement responsible for coordination between all the donors in the sector, with a view to reducing the transaction costs;
  • encourage the establishment of delegated cooperation/partnership arrangements through which a donor has the power to act on behalf of other donors concerning the administration of funds and dialogue with the partner government on the policy to be implemented in the sector concerned;
  • ensure appropriate support in the strategic sectors. At least one donor should be actively involved in each sector considered relevant for poverty reduction. In addition, there should be a maximum of three to five active donors for each sector;
  • replicate this division of labour at regional level through the application of the principles of the in-country division of labour in cooperation with the partner regional bodies;
  • designate a limited number of priority countries for each donor through dialogue within the EU;
  • grant adequate funding to the countries which are overlooked as far as aid is concerned and which are often fragile countries whose stabilisation would have positive repercussions for the region as a whole;
  • analyse and expand areas of strength: the EU donors should deepen the evaluations of their comparative advantages with a view to greater specialisation;
  • pursue progress on other aspects of complementarity, such as its vertical * and cross-modality/instruments dimensions;
  • deepen the reforms of the aid systems: the changes suggested by the Code require reforms of a structural nature and in terms of human resources.

The Commission believes that this Code of Conduct will enable the Union to play a driving role on matters of complementarity and the division of labour as part of the international harmonisation and alignment process (Paris Declaration).

Successful implementation will largely depend on the role of the Commission delegations and Member States’ field offices. In addition, its implementation is to be the subject of annual monitoring based on sampling of relevant country cases, a revised EU Donor Atlas and the Development Report.

The Code of Conduct is an ongoing document; it is to be reviewed regularly on the basis of the lessons learned from its implementation and the monitoring of the results.


The objective of promoting the division of labour in EU development policy is not new. In 1995 and 1999, the Council had already adopted Resolutions on complementarity between the Community development cooperation policy and the policies of Member States. Then the Statement on Development Policy of November 2000 was an attempt to achieve operational complementarity between the Commission and the Member States on the basis of areas of added value for Community assistance. However, this approach gave rise to political and operational difficulties. In 2004 the EU decided to draw up an operational strategy towards complementarity the result of which is the present Communication. In addition, this commitment to enhanced complementarity has become a central element of the European Consensus and the Aid Effectiveness Action Plan.

Key terms used in the act
  • In-country complementarity: ensure balanced funding between all the sectors, transcending their political interest.
  • Cross-country complementarity: ensure that the EU has an overall, more regular presence in all the developing countries, by correcting the current imbalance arising from the fact that too many donors concentrate their efforts on certain efficient countries, often disregarding fragile countries.
  • Delegated cooperation: a practical arrangement where one donor (a “lead” donor) acts with authority on behalf of one or more other donors (the “delegating” donors or “silent partners”). The practical implementation modalities are defined between leading and delegating donors.
  • Vertical complementarity: ensuring synergies between similar activities in several areas undertaken at national, regional or international level.

Millennium Development Goals : twelve-point action plan

Millennium Development Goals : twelve-point action plan

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Millennium Development Goals : twelve-point action plan


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > General development framework

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): twelve-point action plan

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of the Regions of 21 April 2010 – A twelve-point EU action plan in support of the Millennium Development Goals [COM(2010)0159 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The European Union (EU) has undertaken to help accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

The developing countries have not made equal progress; some areas and regions are significantly behind. For example, improvements have been made in reducing extreme poverty, and in the areas of universal primary education and access to water. But 1.4 billion people still live in extreme poverty (51% of them in Sub-Saharan Africa) and one sixth of the world’s population is undernourished. There has been little progress in reducing maternal and child mortality, or with regard to access to sanitation.

Achieving the commitments of official development assistance

The EU has committed itself to increasing its official development assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) by 2015. This commitment should be respected, despite the difficulties associated with the economic and financial crisis. The Commission therefore proposes to:

  • establish annual action plans to optimise the implementation of ODA;
  • strengthen the EU accountability mechanism, based on an assessment of ODA;
  • enact national legislation for setting ODA targets.

In addition, the Commission calls on other international donors to increase their contribution in line with EU ODA.

Improving the effectiveness of aid

The EU should strengthen the effectiveness of development aid and the coordination of the various actors involved. From this perspective, the Commission proposes in particular to:

  • progressively use a joint programming framework and a single programming cycle for the EU and its Member States by 2013;
  • introduce an Operational Framework for aid effectiveness, division of labour, transparency of funding, mutual accountability of the EU and developing countries;
  • encourage other donors to follow the principles of aid effectiveness.

Action plan to accelerate progress towards the MDGs

To accelerate progress towards the MDGs, the Commission proposes to:

  • target as a priority the countries and populations which are furthest behind, including countries in situations of fragility and least developed countries (LDCs);
  • target the MDGs which are furthest behind and improve the impact of European sectoral policies, particularly in the key sectors of health, education, food security and gender equality;
  • foster ownership of MDGs by partner countries, particularly by integrating these goals into their own development strategies and by improving the quality of statistical data;
  • adopt a Work Programme on Policy Coherence for Development concerning all European policies which are likely to affect partner countries. This applies particularly in the key areas of trade and finance, climate change, food security, migration and security;
  • promote the mobilisation of domestic resources, in particular through better national and international tax governance and the strengthening of partner countries’ tax systems;
  • promote regional integration and trade, which stimulate growth and jobs;
  • identify and promote innovative sources of funding, including via public-private partnerships, with a view to ensuring stable incomes for sustainable development, including in the poorest and most vulnerable countries;
  • support climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in partner countries, particularly by promoting cooperation, research and access to green technologies;
  • create long-term security conditions, given that most of the countries behind in achieving the MDGs are in a fragile situation as a result of armed conflicts;
  • give a new impulse to the process of reform of the international governance architecture, in order to improve the effectiveness and legitimacy of the process through better inclusion of the poorest countries, whose interests are often marginalised.

These objectives are to be implemented by the Council and EU countries. The Commission will monitor the action plan and its funding.

Combating hunger: strategy for food security

Combating hunger: strategy for food security

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Combating hunger: strategy for food security


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > International dimension and enlargement

Combating hunger: strategy for food security

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 25 January 2006 – A thematic strategy for food security: Advancing the food security agenda to achieve the Millennium Development Goals [COM(2006) 21 final – not published in the Official Journal].


Among the thematic programmes forming part of the Community’s external action, the Commission has drawn up a programme on food security. Its legal bases are the Development Cooperation Instrument and the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.

Action on food insecurity is enshrined in the first Millennium Development Goal and, despite progress in reducing hunger at global level, much still needs to be done. Food insecurity is typically exacerbated by environmental degradation, poor productive systems, badly functioning markets and limited human capacity and is compounded by inequalities, with social entitlements to food affected by gender, age and ethnicity.

Food insecurity is particularly rife in a number of States which are vulnerable institutionally and where food security goals are difficult to attain because of political instability.

Policy guidelines for combating hunger

since its inception. It now consists of support for broad-based food security strategies at the national, regional and global level rather than the mere delivery of food aid. Food security remains a priority in European development policy, as stated in the European Consensus.

Community policy stresses the central role of nationally developed strategies to achieve long-term food security and the need to target hunger as the first priority in the fight against poverty.

In 2004, an external evaluation confirmed the validity of the strategy adopted and concluded that food security can be achieved only by simultaneously addressing the availability of food, access to food, the quality of nutrition and the prevention of food crises. It also stressed the added value of Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development (LRRD).

The evaluation identified the following areas for possible improvement:

  • a more systemic approach to LRRD in order to respond more effectively to the dynamic and multidimensional nature of food insecurity;
  • better integration of food security as a priority area in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers;
  • greater dialogue between governments in order to establish a long-term policy on food security;
  • greater coherence of policies at national level.

Why use a thematic approach?

The thematic programme can support the development of national food security policies and monitoring systems in order to ensure that a strategic approach to food security is enshrined in national poverty reduction strategies. Geographical programmes are the standard instrument for implementing the Community’s food security policy world-wide, in cooperation with governments where the operational framework permits.

When emergency aid comes to an end, a transition from humanitarian assistance to this type of thematic programme is warranted in the following circumstances:

  • where it is difficult to agree on food security measures with partner governments due to food insecurity being concentrated either in areas out of State control, or among internally displaced people;
  • if cooperation has been suspended or no cooperation framework is in place;
  • “forgotten crises” in which cooperation with national governments may be difficult to establish through geographical instruments.


The thematic programme aims to:

  • support the delivery of international public goods * contributing directly to food security;
  • address food insecurity in the most vulnerable countries or regions;
  • develop innovative policies and strategies in the field of food security.

Its coverage varies according to the different components:

  • the first component focuses generally on the continental, inter-regional and regional levels, with special emphasis on Africa;
  • the second component is implemented primarily at national and local level, supplementing the geographical instrument where necessary;
  • the third component supports innovative policies, strategies and approaches, irrespective of geographical level.

Programming is based on the following principles:

  • respect for the principle of subsidiarity; it will therefore exclude long-term structural aid funded through the geographical programmes and may support innovative regional, national and local projects of a pilot nature;
  • sufficient flexibility to respond to a rapidly changing environment;
  • support for ownership of the programme by beneficiaries and for the role of all regional and continental organisations acting in the field of food security;
  • fostering a participatory approach by reinforcing partnership with civil society organisations, particularly with farmers’ organisations in order to reinforce their role in national and regional discussions regarding agricultural policies and food security;
  • promotion of coherence with other international actors with food security expertise, in line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (pdf ) as well as between Commission departments;
  • priority for the most vulnerable areas and groups in terms of food security;
  • ensuring the sustainability of the measures taken.

Implementation of the programme is based on multiannual programming and on a thematic strategy paper covering the period 2007-2011. It will be evaluated during the first three-year period (2007-2009) in order to help prepare the second thematic strategy paper (2011-2013).

The strategic priorities of the programme are:

  • support for the development of international public goods *, that is research and technological innovation in agriculture that are favourable to the poor and based on demand;
  • support for global programmes that aim to develop common approaches across regions affected by food security;
  • support for food security in exceptional situations of transition and state fragility;
  • support for the development, testing and promotion of innovative strategic policies.

The primary beneficiaries of the programme are the following groups: children under the age of five; communities with members suffering from HIV/AIDS or other chronic illnesses; war-affected communities and groups and internally displaced people; women; pastoralists, small farmers and fisher folk; landless and farm labourers and the urban ultra-poor.

Key terms in the act
  • International public goods: issues that are important for the international community, which cannot be dealt with by one sole country and which are consequently tackled in a collective way on a multilateral basis, both by developed and developing countries.

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2005/769/EC of 27 October 2005 laying down rules for the procurement of food aid by NGOs authorised by the Commission to purchase and mobilise products to be supplied under Council regulation (EC) No 1292/96, and repealing its decision of 3 September 1998 [Official Journal L 291, 05.11.2005].

Modified by: Commission Decision 2006/541/EC [Official Journal L 214, 04.08.2006].

This decision defines the rules that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) benefitting from Community aid must respect in buying products to be supplied as Community food aid.

Council Decision 2000/421/EC of 13 June 2000 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Food Aid Convention 1999 [Official Journal L 163, 04.07.2000].

of 27 June 1996 on food-aid policy and food-aid management and special operations in support of food security [Official Journal L 166, 05.07.1996].

Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy

Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External trade

Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled “Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy – the Commission’s contribution” [COM(2007) 163 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Trade is an important catalyst for growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. But successful integration of developing countries into world trade requires more than better market access and strengthened international trade rules. In order to fully exploit the benefits from trade, developing countries also need to remove supply-side constraints and address structural weaknesses. This includes domestic reforms in trade-related policies, trade facilitation, enhancement of customs capacities, upgrading of infrastructure, enhancement of productive capacities and building of domestic and regional markets. Complementary efforts are required in areas such as macroeconomic stability, fiscal reforms, promotion of investment, labour policy, capital and product market regulations and institutions, and human capital development.

Aid for Trade is a very important factor in this context. It is geared to generating growth, employment and income, thereby contributing to the first and eighth Millennium Development Goals, i.e. to reduce the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and to establish an open trading and financial system that is rule-based and non-discriminatory.

The objectives of Aid for Trade are:

  • to enable developing countries, particularly the least?developed countries (LDCs), to use trade more effectively to promote growth, employment, development and poverty reduction and to achieve their development objectives;
  • to facilitate the access of these countries to international markets by improving their supply-side capacity and trade-related infrastructure;
  • to help these countries to implement and adjust to trade reform, including via labour market and social adjustments;
  • to assist regional integration;
  • to assist good integration into the world trading system.

An EU Aid for Trade strategy can contribute to these objectives through the following measures:

  • increasing the volumes of EU Aid for Trade, in particular by taking trade?related assistance up to EUR 2 billion a year by 2010, but also by promoting an effective response to wider Aid for Trade needs;
  • enhancing the quality of EU Aid for Trade;
  • implementing effective monitoring and reporting.

Increasing the volumes of Aid for Trade

The Commission recalls that five categories of Aid for Trade were identified by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Task Force on Aid for Trade, i.e.:

  • trade policy and trade regulation;
  • trade development;
  • trade-related infrastructure;
  • productive capacities;
  • trade-related adjustment.

The first two categories are grouped under “trade?related assistance”. They include:

  • trade policy and trade regulation, which are aimed at ensuring effective participation of developing countries in multilateral trade negotiations and assisting these countries in the implementation of trade-related legislation;
  • development of trade and the business climate, and improvement of business support services and institutions.

In 2005 the EU undertook to increase its trade?related assistance to EUR 2 billion per year by 2010, with half coming from the Commission and the other half from the Member States. The Commission currently provides EUR 840 million per year, whereas Member States contribute only EUR 300 million.

To increase the volume of aid, the Commission recommends that:

  • the Member States reach a level of EUR 600 million per year by 2008, in order to attain the 1 billion target set for 2010;
  • a significant share of the increased aid should be allocated to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in support of regional integration and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). In particular, the ACP countries must be given guidance on the actual amounts involved.

In addition, in all the developing countries, it is necessary to develop effective approaches to trade needs assessments at regional level and to ensure that these needs will be taken into account in the national development strategies of the partner countries. In particular, the EU should endeavour to apply effectively the instrument of the Integrated Framework * used with the LDCs and to extend the same type of approach to non-LDCs.

The EU must also continue to implement a wider Aid for Trade agenda in order to:

  • support economic infrastructure, productive capacities and trade-related adjustment (fiscal reforms);
  • develop coherent reporting practices for all categories of Aid for Trade.

Enhancing the quality of Aid for Trade

In order to improve the quality and effectiveness of Aid for Trade, the Commission recommends that the EU strategy focuses on the following aspects:

  • lay down the means to ensure that the Aid for Trade actions produce results in this field, e.g. by identifying the areas of Aid for Trade which bring about the widest and most sustainable reduction in poverty;
  • ensure better ownership and participation by integrating trade-related issues into poverty reduction strategies, with active participation by private?sector and civil?society stakeholders;
  • promote the institutional and financial sustainability of programmes by stakeholder capacity?building and ownership in all operations. It is also necessary to guarantee social and environmental sustainability by means of sustainability impact assessment of trade policies and agreements. In the specific case of environmental sustainability, the EU must help partners develop sustainable production methods. Other important aspects are the promotion of decent work and the development of effective labour market and social adjustment mechanisms;
  • ensure joint analysis, programming and delivery between EU partners. The joint analysis of trade-related needs must be undertaken by using the Integrated Framework instrument in the LDCs and by developing similar processes in other countries. The EU could then better coordinate its response strategies in countries and regions. The opportunities for joint delivery depend in particular on progress in working through sector-wide approaches (SWAPs) in the field of Aid for Trade. In particular, the SWAPs are to permit the development of joint delivery methods, such as budget support and co-financing between EU partners;
  • aim for aid effectiveness in regional Aid for Trade, and in particular supporting regional partners’ capacity to own and lead Aid for Trade efforts, coordinating the programme in support of regional and trade integration, streamlining the methods of delivery and enhancing cooperation with non-EU donors. In particular, the EU strategy must give priority to regional interventions in the EPA context.

Implementing effective monitoring and reporting of aid

To make progress in all these areas, monitoring and reporting are essential, both at international and EU levels. In particular, global monitoring and reporting must include the quantitative dimension of Aid for Trade and the qualitative dimension (associated with the effectiveness of the aid). At EU level, the Commission recommends that progress in implementing the EU Aid for Trade strategy should be assessed yearly by the Council.

Finally, the three groups of measures mentioned above must be accompanied by building human capacity in donor organisations. On this subject, the Commission recommends taking stock of the EU’s existing capacity and expertise and of joint European initiatives to develop and share expertise.


This Communication is the Commission’s contribution to further expanding EU support for Aid for Trade with a view to adoption of a joint EU strategy by the Council (see Related Acts). It belongs to a package of measures adopted by the Commission to monitor the honouring of the development policy commitments entered into by the EU (see Related Acts).

Key terms of the act
  • Integrated Framework: multi-donor programme introduced to support LDCs in increasing their participation in the global economy. Its objective is to support LDCs in mainstreaming trade into their national development plans and to assist in a coordinated delivery of trade-related assistance in response to needs identified by the LDCs.

Related Acts

of 15 September 2008 “social provisions in free trade agreements”.
By introducing provisions on labour and sustainable development in its free trade agreements, the European Union (EU) contributes to the economic, political and social stability of its partner countries. This Report enumerates the different models and practices on the subject.

Since 1996 the World Trade Organization (WTO) has committed to respecting the fundamental principles of labour legislation. On the basis of these principles, the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted an agenda for the promotion of decent work in 2000. This agenda was taken on by the UN and the EU. They committed to including it in their international trade agreements. The agenda is also an essential reference for companies drawing up social responsibility charters and codes.

Some international treaties concluded at the bilateral or regional levels include provisions on labour legislation. In particular, agreements concluded by Canada, the United States, Mercosur and the European Union. The main provisions relate to fundamental standards of labour legislation (freedom of association, collective bargaining, the abolition of child labour, the elimination of all forms of forced labour and discrimination in the workplace). The social provisions in the agreements could extend to other areas, in particular working conditions, minimum wage, working hours, health and safety in the workplace and sustainable development. Clauses related to labour are provided for in the agreements linked to the Generalised System of Preferences, as well as to the possibility for positive or negative sanctions. After their reciprocal opening up of trade, the EU and its partners should deepen their relationships by developing minimum standards and by adopting provisions in other areas, such as fair trade, the negative effects on employment and defending universal values.

The inclusion of such provisions aims at reducing the negative effects of trade liberalisation. However, the Report emphasises that objections to the principles of labour legislation would put the brakes on social development and economic growth.

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 4 April 2007 – From Monterrey to the European Consensus on Development: honouring our commitments [COM(2007) 158 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This political Communication introduces the two Specific Communications “Keeping Europe’s promises on Financing for Development” and “Towards an EU Aid for Trade strategy – the Commission’s contribution”.

Annual Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 4 April 2007 – Keeping Europe’s promises on Financing for Development [COM(2007) 164 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Agricultural commodities, dependence and poverty

Agricultural commodities, dependence and poverty

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agricultural commodities, dependence and poverty


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External trade

Agricultural commodities, dependence and poverty

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 12 February 2004 from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Agricultural commodity chains, dependence and poverty – a proposal for an EU Action Plan [COM(2004) 89 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Communication establishes policy priorities for addressing the six main challenges facing commodity dependent developing countries (CDDCs):

  • treating commodity chains and dependence as priority issues in combating poverty;
  • remedying the long-term decline in prices;
  • managing commodity risks and providing access to financing;
  • diversifying production to include non-traditional commodities;
  • promoting integration in the international trading system;
  • encouraging the use of viable business and investment practices in the CDDCs.

The Communication focuses on agricultural (not mineral) commodities traded and marketed internationally, since these products are directly linked to poverty.

It does not cover timber as the Commission has already drawn up a strategy and provided a specific budget line for this product. The Commission has also implemented an action plan to combat illegal logging.

Treating commodity chains and dependence as priority issues in combating poverty

Commodity chains have a major impact on the poorest sections of the population and should be treated as a priority in development strategies and combating poverty.

To this end, the Commission proposes:

  • helping the CDDCs develop national commodity strategies as part of the fight against poverty;
  • enhancing the strategies developed in international commodity bodies for each commodity category.

Remedying the long-term decline in prices

As demand for commodities has been outstripped by the increase in supply on the world market, there has been a long-term decline in commodity prices.

To address this problem, the Commission proposes:

  • encouraging implementation of commodity chain strategies in the CDDCs, particularly in terms of improving capacity and support services at producer level, establishing basic infrastructure in production regions and pursuing policy reforms at macroeconomic level;
  • setting up support services at regional level to promote regional cooperation among farmers’ networks, regulatory bodies, research institutions, the services responsible for infrastructure, etc.;
  • supporting regional integration by concluding economic partnership agreements with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

Managing commodity risks and providing access to financing

There is high price volatility on the agricultural commodities markets, and this creates uncertainty and affects the willingness and capacity of farmers to invest.

To address this phenomenon the Commission proposes:

  • improving producer access to commodity risk insurance and trade finance;
  • encouraging the development of shock management tools for the macroeconomic level;
  • improving the CDDCs’ access to the Flex compensatory mechanism. Flex is an EU instrument that allows the countries concerned to compensate for sudden declines in export earnings.

Support for diversification

Expanding the markets for both inputs and output products would reduce investment risks.

To achieve this the Commission proposes:

  • offering CDDC governments technical assistance with policy choices concerning diversification;
  • providing more support for implementation of diversification and growth strategies;
  • supporting the preparation and implementation of a growth-focused strategy allowing products traded at national level to be developed; such a strategy would include abandoning unprofitable commodities;
  • increasing aid to the private sector, drawing on the available instruments for private sector development in non-traditional sectors.

Promoting integration in the international trading system

International trade rules are important for the CDDCs and commodity producers. Rules on domestic support, export competition and market access all shape commodity producers’ opportunities, as do measures and standards and other technical regulations.

The Commission therefore proposes:

  • working to achieve a substantial and development-friendly outcome from the current negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda;
  • pursuing reform of its agricultural polices so as to reduce trade distortions as much as possible and monitoring the impact of national aid policies;
  • facilitating CDDC access to the EU market, in particular by revising the generalised preference system;
  • supporting CDDC efforts to profit from their market access, in particular by enhancing helpdesk services.

Encouraging the use of viable business and investment practices in the CDDCs.

The international commodity companies and retailers play a central role in framing the future of the commodity sectors since local entrepreneurs are often unable to compete effectively with these large consolidated corporations whilst remaining independent. Their dependence on the corporate policies of multinational enterprises means that they need to improve their social and environmental practice.

The Commission therefore proposes:

  • fostering social responsibility at international level by promoting the application of viable codes of conduct, supporting the pooling of experience and studying criteria for the establishment of voluntary fair and ethical trading schemes at Community level;
  • supporting CDDCs’ efforts to benefit from companies’ social responsibility and setting up public-private partnerships in some countries to evaluate the experience gained;
  • promoting competition by drawing up common guidelines within the WTO, in particular in the context of regional cooperation.


The prices of some important agricultural commodities (for example, sugar, cotton, coffee and cocoa) fell by 30 to 60% between 1970 and 2000. This has led to macroeconomic imbalances in the developing countries concerned, reducing export earnings, debt repayment capacity, imports, credit availability, government revenue and the provision of basic services (health care and education).

There are about fifty highly commodity dependent developing countries (with export revenues based on a maximum of three commodities). They are located mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in the Caribbean and Central America. They are mainly least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked countries or islands.

Many of these countries are caught in a trap of declining income and investment, stagnating competitiveness, endemic poverty and dependence. A lack of resources means that their commodities sectors are finding it ever harder to take on international competition, handle change and deal with the situation facing them.

Related Acts

Commission communication of 12 February 2004 to the Council and Parliament: Proposal for an EU-Africa partnership in support of cotton-sector development [COM(2004) 87 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Concerned about the crisis in the cotton sector in African ACP countries – as highlighted at the WTO ministerial conference in Cancún – the Commission proposes, as part of its action plan for agricultural commodities, a partnership in the cotton sector centred on two series of measures. The first set of measures is designed to achieve more equitable commercial conditions on international cotton markets by giving priority to market access, the reduction of internal support, support for exports and trade-related technical assistance. The second concerns support for African regions and countries producing cotton, and comprise measures intended to consolidate the competitiveness of the African cotton sector, help the regions dependent on this product to diversify, and mitigate the effects of price volatility. The Commission stresses the importance of dialogue with the African countries concerned and identifies the financial instruments that can be used to support this partnership.