The European Union should form ambitious plans to help solve global problems, leading development policy expert Simon Maxwell told a Friends of Europe debate on 10 September, adding: There is no ‘them and us’ anymore. There is only us in the modern world.”

Introducing the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) 2014 report, “Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action,” Maxwell called for the new EU Commission to contribute to global development in five key areas: a more inclusive world economy; environmental sustainability; peace and security; democracy and human rights; and a reduction of poverty and inequality.

“We want them to stop thinking about development as being aid,” he said. “We want them to redefine the problem with a vision of what the world could be like after 2015.”

Panelists agreed that the focus must be on coherence and synergies between the EU institutions, their different departments, among member states and the EU and with other donors. They also underlined the need to tackle poverty and inequality, the importance of women in development and the role of the private sector.
Europeans used to assume that different parts of the world had different problems, Maxwell said. But poverty, climate change and human rights are global problems now. “It matters that a billion people in the world live on less than a dollar a day,” he said. “It also matters that 400 million people in G20 countries live on less than $2 a day, he said.

Download PDF