Gates announces his support for Agenda for Change and MFF during visit to Brussels
Gates speaks at the European Parliament, and meets President Barroso and Commissioner Piebalgs.
During his speech to the European Parliament yesterday, Bill Gates described the Commission's Agenda for Change, and its focus on modernising development policy, as 'a very good initiative, that we are certainly in agreement with'. He also roundly welcomed the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF); saying that this was 'a very important year because of the long-term budget put in place."
Gates urged the Parliament to retain development aid goals in the next EU budget, and stressed that he often cites the EU approach to development as an example when urging other donors to step up their development aid to the same level.
"Whether you like it or not, you are the leader in development aid and it is very unlikely we can do without this example if Europe does not continue its upward push. This is particularly important as you are looking at your 7-year budget. I know you have some difficult trade-offs to make because of the economic situation, but the money you devote to development will have a huge impact in the world", said Mr Gates.
As part of his visit to Brussels to present the "Living Proof" campaign, Bill Gates also met yesterday with President Barroso. They discussed further cooperation between the Commission and the Gates Foundation on global development, especially regarding poverty alleviation, health and vaccination campaigns, as well as sustainable agriculture and food security.
"The EU is the world's largest donor and we will continue to invest in human development across the globe" President Barroso said. "The Commission has just proposed a substantial external aid package for 2014-2020 period that reflects this European leadership and commitment … To be as effective as possible in our support, we will deepen our cooperation with private partners, like civil society organisations and foundations", the President stressed. "The Gates Foundation will remain a key partner for us."
During this meeting, President Barroso also outlined the Commission's ambitious MFF external instruments' proposal and the way ahead on the MFF. He praised the Gates Foundation for its excellent work and in communicating the importance of development assistance.
Gates expressed particular interest in the DCI and EDF parts of the MFF proposals, as well as the research budget (Horizon 2020) and referred to his meeting with Commissioners Piebalgs and Geheoghean-Quinn and his "Living Proof" presentation at the European Parliament, which included examples of EU assistance financed by e.g. the Food Facility. President Barroso suggested that examples of successful EU funding could be included in Mr Gates' presentations on successful development projects, to which Mr Gates replied very positively.
Commissioner Piebalgs and Bill Gates also met to discuss their respective work on development cooperation and to explore ways in which to work together more in the future.
In particular, they discussed the Commission's proposal for the future EU external aid financing instruments, underlining the importance of increasing aid budgets in times of crisis. A focus was put on health and agriculture issues. Other topics, such as the Commission's legislative proposal to increase transparency of EU extractive and forestry industries' activities in Africa, were also discussed.
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