Informal Meeting of Development Ministers in La Granja
On 17th and 18th February, Commissioner Piebalgs participated for the first time in the Informal Meeting of Development Ministers in La Granja (Segovia) (see my interview in El País). The Informal Meeting was a good occasion to meet Development Ministers from the Member States and to start working together on the common challenges ahead. The Council also held discussions with representatives of the European Parliament, NGOs, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UN Special Representative in Haiti, E. Mulet.
During the meeting Commissioner Piebalgs presented his work priorities for the upcoming years, stressing the commitment to achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. "We are indeed, collectively, facing demanding five years ahead of us. In the face of growing challenges to developing countries’ efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction, we need a strong and collective action on the MDGs" said the Commissioner.
Other topics were also addressed during the discussions: the EU's post-earthquake assistance to Haiti, preparation for the forthcoming New York Meeting on MDGs, Aid Effectiveness, division of labour among the Member States and innovative mechanisms for financing development.