The European cooperation system is in deep restructuring; discussions are ongoing on the reform of the management of the foreign aid of the EU

This process of public debate on the role and the quality of European aid continues its evolution. This 8 September will start the third phase of discussion. It will take place from September 8 to November 3, 2000 and will be centered on the reform of the foreign aid of the European Union.

Indeed, some important changes are in progress: in the month of May, the Commission launched a process of reform of the services in charge of the elaboration of policies of cooperation and their implementation, which will spread over two years. It defined a communication at the same time on Community aid to development, reinforcing its commitment to the fight against poverty.

The new agreement of partnership between the EU and the ACP was signed in June in Cotonou. Given the magnitude of the reform of the aid and the magnitude and the nature of the challenges to which it must bring an answer, the in-depth recasting of the cooperation system should take in account different realities of countries and societies, the specificities of the European institutional system, the details of constraints and potentialities of cooperation as experienced in daily life.

The forum can contribute to create the conditions of dialogue between the different institutions, to make possible to inform and to give the opportunity to all those that contribute to the implementation of cooperation to discuss options proposed on the basis of their experiences.

ECDPM completed an analysis on the reform of foreign aid in April 2000 (see

==> This new debate will make it possible to bring new elements to it.

This new phase of discussions reflects continuity and opening:

Continuity and opening: to make of this forum a public good managed in turn alternately by a network of organizations of the North and the South sharing the ambition to contribute to the improvement of the relevance and the efficiency of relations of cooperation of the European Union. ECDPM facilitates this public forum as of September 8, 2000.

Opening: the public debating forum that was created at a small scale opens up to new partners to become a public good on European cooperation, an international agora, means of information and monitoring by citizens of public action, a place of meeting among European institutions. This forum will be managed in turns by different organizations: ECDPM takes in hand the management of this good to start with and is involved in its financing with other partners. ECDPM and its partners are aware that the discussion on the reform of the management of the foreign aid of the EU will be far from finished in November and that the implementation of the reform will always be timely. Otherwise, it will be necessary to do everything possible to open the network of partners in the South and the North.

This opening of the public debating forum will take place on the basis of shared ethical and methodological principles. The ethics of the discussions and the way they take place are based on opening, respect, and the mutual attention. They are based on the concrete practices of everyone in cooperation in order to avoid pre-established rhetoric or self-promotion.
Participants should share the common ambition to improve the relevance and the efficiency of cooperation. The methodology of the public forum is based on continuity and opening to the broadest range possible of intervening parties, while taking care to inform them on the elements necessary for the understanding of the terms of the discussion, to listen to them all, and to give increasing importance to those who represent collective positions in the North and in the South. These principles will be the object of a charter common to the partners of the public debating forum.

What has been accomplished in the EU-ACP forum will be preserved, with the electronic debating forum open to all, facilitated by a team that includes members of ECDPM and members of the former team. The methods of contribution and the ethics of the discussions will be conducted in the same way, with in addition the possibility or reporting on and to meetings, taking place in Brussels or elsewhere.

The information aspect of the forum will be reinforced with an active implication of Euforic <>, which will facilitate the access to the necessary information for the discussions. The experience base available on the Web site will also be used to fuel the discussions.

Several measures will be taken to limit the constraints observed in the past. Contact-making and awareness-raising have been conducted significantly by ECDPM with regard to officers of the European Commission, of the European parliamentarians, of Member State representatives at different levels, and of networks active in development. The possibility of making non-nominative contributions will be open to allow those who wish to speak more freely. The opening on the news available on European cooperation will be reinforced by cooperation with Euforic and Oneworld <>.

==> This new phase of discussion that begins will be transmitted to the Ministers of Cooperation (Development Council of the European Union of November 10, 2000) in order to reinforce the impact of the results of the discussions of the forum.

In its next messages, the Forum Coordination will present the topics that will be discussed during these two months as well as the methods of contribution.

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