On 1 July, Germany takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union with the rallying cry ‘Together for Europe’s recovery.’ Germany is assuming the Presidency at a time when the world is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic and all its impacts, from rising infection and death rates, overburdened health systems and social distancing to collapsing economies, a slowdown in global trade, huge debts and growing poverty. The pandemic and global health will have major influences on Germany’s Presidency across all areas, but particularly in development cooperation as it seeks global solutions to a global challenge. Beyond the German Presidency, GIZ continues to provide political and strategic advice on EU processes throughout the Trio Presidency of Germany, Slovenia and Portugal (1 July 2020 - 31 December 2021).
GIZ supported the German Government in a number of different ways in implementing its priorities during the Presidency. It fed its expertise into a range of ministries in Germany but also to the European Commission in Brussels, and over the six months of the Presidency it ran many different specialised events in relevant areas.
As a German federal enterprise, however, GIZ is continuously working on fulfilling the political principles and international obligations of the EU and of Germany. It works around the world both with and on behalf of the EU in numerous thematic areas and supports it on behalf of the German Government in fields ranging from technical advisory services to practical project implementation. It is active in areas including ‘green’ energy, environmental protection, climate change, economic development and employment, sustainable agriculture, displacement, peace, human rights, and the partnership with Africa. And in future, alongside particular involvement in climate change and energy (the ‘Green Deal’), it will also focus on the increasingly important topic of the circular economy, which the EU is keen to promote both in its own Member States and in partner countries around the world.
‘2020 set the direction for the years ahead. Despite a host of challenges, Germany was successful in its Presidency of the Council of the European Union and delivered key impetus for fairer, more sustainable and more resilient European development cooperation work — true to the motto: Together for Europe’s recovery.’
Director for European Union and Multilateral Development Policy,
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
Another reason the EU is able to make a difference is that it is a major global player: along with its Member States, it provides more than half of all public development financing, making it the largest donor to international development cooperation. The framework within which it does this is, at European level, the 2017 European Consensus on Development, which identifies eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development in partner countries as its two key objectives. At international level, the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Paris Climate Agreement form the framework for the EU’s commitment.
GIZ uses its decades of experience, its technical expertise and its wide-ranging implementation skills to good effect in EU activities around the world. It is able to implement demanding commissions in the field of international cooperation rapidly and effectively, even under the most challenging conditions. And that is a crucial skill during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
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Copyright: François Genon, Europäisches Parlament, Thomas Imo/photothek.net, Marius Becker/dpa, Christianthiel.net