The European Consensus on Development, adopted by the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, the European Parliament and the Commission on 22 November 2005 [Joint statement] states that the primary and overarching objective of EU development cooperation is the eradication of poverty in the context of sustainable development, including pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight MDGs are to: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce the mortality rate of children; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development. However, the European Union is founded on the values of democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and seeks to develop and consolidate commitment to these values in partner countries and regions through dialogue and cooperation (Articles 2 and 21 TEU). Therefore, the Consensus states also that the EU acknowledges the essential oversight role of democratically elected citizens’ representatives and encourages an increased involvement of national assemblies, parliaments and local authorities.
In this context the European Union finances measures aimed at supporting cooperation with developing countries, territories and regions included in the list of aid recipients of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD/DAC) - referred to as "partner countries and regions" in Annex I. The primary and overarching objective of cooperation under the Regulation establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation is the eradication of poverty in partner countries and regions in the context of sustainable development, including pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as the promotion of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights and for the rule of law [Regulation 1905/2006, last amended by Regulation 1341/2011]. Consistently with this objective, cooperation with partner countries and regions should:
- consolidate and support democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, good governance, gender equality and related instruments of international law;
- foster the sustainable development - including political, economic, social and environmental aspects - of partner countries and regions, and more particularly the most disadvantaged among them;
- encourage their smooth and gradual integration into the world economy;
- help develop international measures to preserve and improve the quality of the environment and the sustainable management of global natural resources, in order to ensure sustainable development, including addressing climate change and biodiversity loss; and
- strengthen the relationship between the EU and partner countries and regions.
In the implementation of Regulation 1905/2006, a differentiated approach depending on development contexts and needs is pursued so that partner countries or regions are provided with specific, tailor-made cooperation, based on their own needs, strategies, priorities and assets. Least developed countries and low income countries are given priority in terms of overall resource allocation in order to achieve the MDGs. However, appropriate attention is given to support the pro-poor development of middle income countries, particularly the lower middle income countries many of which face problems similar to those of low income countries.
A financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide contributes also to the achievement of the objectives of the development policy statement on the "European Consensus on Development" [Regulation 1889/2006 last amended by Regulation 1340/2011]. It provides assistance, within the framework of the Union's policy on development cooperation, and economic, financial and technical cooperation with third countries, consistent with the European Union's foreign policy as a whole, contributing to the development and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, and of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In addition to the Millennium Development Goals the EU Programme for the Prevention of Violent Conflicts, endorsed by the European Council, underlines the EU's "political commitment to pursue conflict prevention as one of the main objectives of the EU's external relations" and states that EU development cooperation instruments can contribute to this goal and to the development of the EU as a global player. In pursuit of this objective, the Regulation establishing an Instrument for Stability allows the EU to undertake development cooperation measures, as well as financial, economic and technical cooperation measures with third countries under the following conditions [Regulation 1717/2006]: in a situation of crisis or emerging crisis, to contribute to stability by providing an effective response to help preserve, establish or re-establish the conditions essential to the proper implementation of the Union's development and cooperation policies; and (b) in the context of stable conditions for the implementation of EU cooperation policies in third countries, to help build capacity both to address specific global and transregional threats having a destabilising effect and to ensure preparedness to address pre- and post-crisis situations. EU assistance under the Instrument for Stability is complementary to that provided for under related EU instruments for external assistance [see also sections 25.6 and 25.8]. It may be provided only to the extent that an adequate and effective response cannot be provided under those instruments.
EU technical and financial assistance in pursuit of the specific aims of the Instrument for Stability set out in point (a) above may be undertaken in response to a situation of urgency, crisis or emerging crisis, a situation posing a threat to democracy, law and order, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, or the security and safety of individuals, or a situation threatening to escalate into armed conflict or severely to destabilise the third country or countries concerned.
Assistance in the context of stable conditions for cooperation is granted notably in order to prevent threats to law and order, to the security and safety of individuals, to critical infrastructure and to public health. EU assistance in this context aims at: (a) strengthening the capacity of law enforcement and judicial and civil authorities involved in the fight against terrorism and organised crime, including illicit trafficking of people, drugs, firearms and explosive materials and in the effective control of illegal trade and transit; (b) support for measures to address threats to international transport, energy operations and critical infrastructure, including passenger and freight traffic and energy distribution; and (c) contributing to ensuring an adequate response to sudden major threats to public health, such as epidemics with a potential trans-national impact.