Treaty rejection will affect poor countries


ABANDONING THE Lisbon Treaty would have negative consequences for Africa and the wider developing world, Minister of State for Overseas Development Peter Power warned yesterday.

Speaking at a conference at Trinity College to mark Africa Day, Mr Power said one important feature of the Treaty is that it puts poverty eradication at the heart of the EU’s development goals, and it stipulates that Brussels take account of development co-operation in all its policies.

‘‘It commits the Union to ‘foster the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of developing countries, with the primary aim of eradicating poverty,’’’ the Minister said. ‘‘It also recognises a more complex set of development issues, including climate change, energy, free and fair trade, humanitarian action and civil dialogue.’’ Failure to implement the Lisbon Treaty would have negative consequences ‘‘not just for Africa, but for the entire developing world,’’ he argued.

Mr Power told those attending the “Africa – Moving Forward” conference that the EU had a ‘‘proud record’’ in development co-operation, it is the largest donor in the world, providing more than 55 per cent of overseas development assistance. Last year, the EU’s contribution to the developing world amounted to about €50 billion.

Irelands capacity to wield influence on development issues is best maximised through the auspices of the EU, Mr Power said.

‘‘It is precisely through our membership of the European Union that we shape policies that can really influence the impact on the lives of the citizens of the great continent of Africa,’’ he added.