PES development ministers: social democrats will continue pressing for action to eradicate poverty around the world

PES development ministers: social democrats will continue pressing for action to eradicate poverty around the world

Meeting by videoconference, progressive ministers and European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen exchanged on development priorities, coronavirus vaccination, and support for the Afghan people.

Francisco André, Chair of the PES Network and Portuguese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, said:

“As social democrats, we are pushing for a strong European development policy with human development and social inclusion, gender equality, partnership of equals, respect of the ownership and mutual interests, and accountability principle at the core. Amidst geopolitical tensions and changes, climate change, and the pandemic, we will continue to fight to transform the world for the better.

“We thank Commissioner Urpilainen for the remarkable work she has already done. In these difficult times, her efforts have transformed lives. From support for the Afghan people, to disarmament, to improving cooperation with partner countries and regions, her work is a leading light for Europe’s role in achieving sustainable development and a peaceful world.”

Ministers also exchanged on vaccine sharing and reiterated socialist and democratic calls for equitable vaccine rollout globally. The EU must continue to make doses available through COVAX, and work to remove current obstacles to distribution. So far, only 40% of the total doses donated by the EU to COVAX have been delivered. Distribution must be complemented with a strategy to boost local vaccine production, investments in additional production capacity, as well as tackling supply chain and logistic issues.

The meeting also examined the humanitarian challenges in Afghanistan, which continue to deteriorate because of worsening weather conditions, drought, coronavirus, economic decline, and human rights abuses targeting women, minorities, activists, and journalists. The United Nations estimates 24.4 million people are in need in the country, including almost 13 million children. The meeting welcomed the €268.3 million of EU support for education, health and livelihoods in Afghanistan announced this month, and urged all global actors to similarly step-up efforts to provide humanitarian aid to those in need in the country.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Francisco André, Chair of the PES Network, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, EU Council Presidency, Portugal
  • Meryame Kitir, Minister for Development Cooperation, Belgium
  • Niels Annen, Parliamentary State Secretary, Germany
  • Marina Sereni, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Italy
  • Matilda Ernkrans, Minister for Development Cooperation, Sweden
  • Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, European Commission
  • Udo Bullmann, MEP, S&D Group Coordinator on Development, European Parliament
  • Giacomo Filibeck, Deputy Secretary General, PES