European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel called today in Prague on the new Member States to be active players and bring their added value to the development policy. During his visit to the Czech Republic, a first visit to a new EU Member State, Commissioner Michel stressed that “embracing an active cooperation policy upgrades the international profile of a country, opens new opportunities and helps to educate young generations in the respect of fundamental rights, solidarity and universalism”. Meetings in Prague included exchanges of views with Deputy Prime Minister Martin Jahn, Minister of Foreign Affairs Cyril Svoboda, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of Development Petr Koláø and meetings with NGOs and development experts.
Under the Monterrey Agreement of 2000, the new Member States have to reach an official development aid level of 0.33% of GNI in 2015. Commissioner Michel welcomed “the efforts and commitment of Czech authorities to increase substantially the official development aid”. He also invited Czech authorities, NGOs and civil society to submit their contributions to the ongoing consultation process for a revised declaration on development policy.
During his meeting with NGO representatives, Louis Michel encouraged them to establish a platform to improve coordination, efficiency and capacity to interact with European institutions. Commissioner Michel said: “The European Commission will support your efforts. I encourage you to bring us your views and fresh ideas. We both have a lot to share and to learn from each other for a richer development agenda”.
“I was impressed by the response of the Czech authorities and the civil society to the tsunami humanitarian crisis. The EU is the biggest aid donor in the world and the enlarged Europe has even strengthened this commitment”, added Commissioner Michel.