New European Parliament working group on Population and Development
A new European Parliament Working Group on Population and Development has been formed to raise awareness and understanding of population issues and the effects of rapid population growth rates in the developing world.
The founding co-Presidents are:
Gianni Baget Bozzo (Italy, Socialist) Yvon Briant (France, RDE)
Margaret Daly (UK, ED)
Marijke van Hemeldonck (Belgium, Socialist)
Christopher Jackson (UK, ED)
Maartje van Putten (Netherlands, Socialist)
Simone Veil (France, LDR)
Maxime Verhagen (Netherlands, EPP).
Marie Stopes International, a British based NGO, has been asked by the Group to provide the administrative and research services.
The inaugural meeting of the Group was held in Strasbourg on I 0th December. The co-Presidents agreed to ensure that references to population are included in all relevant European Parliament Resolutions. They will also work to increase resources devoted to population programmes from the European Community budget and the Lomé Convention.
Christopher Jackson, the first chairman of the Group, commented that 'The co-Presidents share a concern for the problems caused at global, national and individual levels by high fertility rate'.
Most developing country governments now acknowledge the need to reduce population growth rates and have instituted a population policy. It is also clear that there is a huge unmet demand for family planning information and services in the world.
It is to these important issues and the means to tackle them effectively that the new Working Group will address itself.
A Resolution on Demography and Development, tabled by the co-Presidents of the Group, was passed by the ACP-EEC Joint Assembly at its meeting in Santo Domingo on 17-21 February.
The Resolution recommends that a Population Unit be created within DG VIII in the Commission to assist with the planning and execution of population initiatives. It calls on the Community to increase resources for population programmes and the governments of ACP countries to increase funding for voluntary family planning programmes. In addition, it urges the Commission to consider the demographic impact of development programmes, particularly in the area of primary health care and education.
The first plenary meeting of the Working Group on Population and Development will be held in Strasbourg on 9 June 1992. Dr Sai, President of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the umbrella group for family planning associations, will address the meeting, which will be open to all members of the European Parliament.
Development cooperation policy
German MPs visit
The Bundestag's cooperation committee went to Brussels on 18 March for a meeting on the Community's development cooperation policy. This was an important event-a premiere, in fact, at least in this field-and it shows that German MPs are keen to go right to the source at a time when the Community is expanding its activities more and more. The Commission was represented by a team from DGVIII, led by Director General Dieter Frisch, and DGI, led by Eberhard Rhein. Four German Euro-MPs were also there.
The two main items on the agenda were the Europeanisation of the development policy in the light of the Maastricht agreement and the Community's policy on human rights, democracy and development.
Discussion was frank and constructive. The German MPs were anxious to see the transfer of powers to Brussels monitored democratically by the European Parliament and to keep enough influence for themselves over the content of European policy, particularly in the event (as outlined by Dieter Frisch) of the phasing in of a Community framework to lay down guidelines for the policy of both Community and Member States. Instead of trying to centralise the management of our cooperation instruments, he said, the aim in the long run was gradually to transform the present coexistence of 12 policies plus one into a coherent whole, with proper respect for the principle of subsidiarily.
Spain and Portugal join DAC
Spain and Portugal have become new members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). This was accomplished last December during the annual high-level meeting of DAC. In becoming members, Spain and Portugal have also subscribed to the aims of the Committee as well as to the specific recommendations and guidelines it has adopted over the years. Portugal has, meanwhile, requested that it be removed from the DAC's list of Developing Countries, now that its aid programme, which currently stands at $150 million, represents 0.25% of its GNP. Spain has an aid programme of $800 million, about 0. 16% of its GNP.
[Ukrainian] [English] [Russian]