Europe must live up to its global responsibilities, PES development ministers insist

19/11/2021

Development ministers from the PES meeting in Brussels, 19 November 2021

Development ministers from the PES meeting in Brussels, 19 November 2021

As the world continues to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, Team Europe must build on its good work so far and ensure vaccines are accessible to all, particularly in the most vulnerable countries. This was the conclusion as development ministers from the Party of European Socialists met in Brussels this morning.

Convening to coordinate before today’s Foreign Affairs Council on development, progressive ministers exchanged views also on COVID-19, strengthen cooperation with USAID, and water diplomacy.

Francisco Andre, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Chair of the meeting, said:

“Together as Team Europe, EU institutions and Member States took the lead on the global response to the pandemic. In one year, we secured more than 46 billion euros to help our most vulnerable partner countries. Thanks to High Representative Josep Borrell and other progressives, Europe was a driver behind COVAX, the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, and many other initiatives.

“With the virus rising in several parts of the work, it is more important than ever for Europe to live up to its global responsibilities. Today only 4% of the population in Africa is fully vaccinated. We must increase that number through donations and support for local manufacturing capacity. In one way or another, we must ensure vaccines are available for the whole population of the world. No one will be safe from COVID-19 until everyone is safe.”

Europe’s socialists and democrats are pushing to step up donations of vaccines from Europe to the most vulnerable partner countries. Team Europe has committed to donating 500 million doses by mid-2022 and at least 250 million by the end of 2021. Alongside donations, it is vital to further develop local manufacturing capacity for vaccines, medicine, and health technologies, especially in Africa.

Development ministers from the PES also highlighted the importance of water diplomacy, and the need for the EU to work to ensure access to, and protection of, water resources around the world. Access to safe water is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a basic human right. The ministers committed to work for a strong EU common position for the UN Oceans Conference, in 2022, taking place in Lisbon, and for the UN conference on water, expected to take place in 2023.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Francisco André, Meeting Chair, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Portugal
  • Meryame Kitir, Minister for Development Cooperation, Belgium
  • Ville Skinnari, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Finland
  • Pilar Cancela Rodríguez, Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Spain
  • Udo Bullmann, MEP, S&D Group Coordinator on Development, European Parliament
  • Giacomo Filibeck, Deputy Secretary General, PES