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Next EU Budget: Will Member States follow the European Parliament’s example?

5 March 2019
Gender equality, sustainable development and children and youth are all essential to ensure the next EU budget will help the EU reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda over the next 7 years. On 4 March 2019, Members of the European Parliament (EP) in the Foreign Affairs and the Development Cooperation Committees voted on amendments to the European Commission’s proposal for the Budget’s Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). With this vote a few months before the European elections they leave behind a strong legacy.

"Almost 1000 amendments were tabled in addition to the 380 amendments prepared by the 4 co-rapporteurs and 6 opinions from other committees. [...] This is the largest file ever to be handled by any of the European Parliament’s external affairs committees." - David McAllister, Chair of AFET Committee, EPP

The text of the NDICI was significantly strengthened by several amendments on sustainable development, gender equality, children and youth and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Notably, the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs are now part of the objectives of the NDICI.

With regards to gender equality, the EP set clear targets: at least 85% of programmes funded through Official Development Assistance (ODA) should have gender equality, women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment as a principal or a significant objective.

When it comes to SRHR – crucial to girls and young women -  the EP has made a tremendous step in the right direction. “Promoting the protection and fulfilment of women’s and girls’ rights, including economic, labour, social and political rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights, including sexual and reproductive health services, education and supplies”, is now part of the NDICI.

Last but not least, the amended text will support children and young people in their access to basic social services, with a focus on health, nutrition, education, early childhood development and social protection. Here again, the EP supported SRHR, information and supplies, as well as dedicated youth-friendly services and comprehensive sexuality education, nutrition, education and social protection.

However, this text is not the final version of the NDICI. It is the European Parliament’s position for the future negotiations with the European Commission and the European Council. The European Parliament has set the bar high. We now encourage the European Council to follow in its footsteps, to set the stage for a negotiation in which the EU’s own commitments to girls and young women are not forgotten.