Page 38 - London Business Matters May 2020
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   38 Enterprise Europe Network News May 2020 EU remains world’s leading aid donor The collective Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the European Union and its Member States amounted to €75.2 billion in 2019, representing 55.2% of global assistance, according to figures released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC). The EU’s and its Member States collective assistance represented 0.46% of EU Gross National Income (GNI), slightly lower than the 0.47% in 2018, but remains significantly above the 0.21% average of the non-EU members of the DAC. Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “As the world’s leading donor of Official Development Assistance, the EU is saving lives, building stronger economies and protecting the planet for the benefit of millions throughout the world. However, I am concerned that our collective effort on GNI is at its lowest since 2016. I call on all Member States and all development actors to re-double their efforts. The current coronavirus crisis shows how interdependent we all are and how important it is to step up support to our partner countries as Team Europe.” Commitments In 2019, three EU Member States met their ODA commitments of providing 0.7% or more of their GNI in ODA: Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark as well as the United Kingdom. All in all, 17 Member States have increased their ODA in nominal terms compared to 2018: Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania, Slovenia, Spain as well as the UK. The following Member States increased their ODA/GNI ratio by at least 0.01 percentage points: Austria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Luxembourg and Malta. However, the ODA to GNI ratio decreased in 8 Member States by at least 0.01: Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Sweden. The EU’s ODA to Least Developed Countries increased for the second consecutive year in 2018, to €19.8 billion, i.e. 0.125% of GNI in 2018. Figures for 2019 will only be known in December. In 2018, EU28 ODA to Africa increased by 4.3% and reached EUR 25 billion. Beyond ODA, the EU is helping partner countries to make the most of the diverse financing sources available to support implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The EU has been instrumental in bringing together aid, investment, trade, domestic resource mobilisation and policies designed to unlock the full potential of all financial flows. The EU has played a key role in the Integrated National Financing Frameworks, to design financing strategies for sustainable development from all sources of finance. Through the European External Investment Plan, the EU is on track to leverage over €47 billion in investment for Africa and our neighbourhood. The European Fund for Sustainable Development guarantee in particular plays a key role in unlocking additional finance for partner countries. The EU also supports partner countries to improve tax collection and public spending.  Coronavirus: Commission guidance on implementing EU rules on asylum The Commission has adopted guidance on the implementation of relevant EU rules on asylum and return procedures and on resettlement in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, which it will present to Member States. This responds to Member States’ request for advice on ways to ensure the continuity of procedures and the respect of, at a minimum, basic rights. The guidance was prepared with the support of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), and in cooperation with national authorities. Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “The pandemic has direct consequences on the way EU asylum and return rules are being implemented and a disruptive effect on resettlement. Today we are acting to support Member States in providing guidance on how to use the flexibility in EU rules to ensure the continuity of procedures as much as possible while fully ensuring the protection of people’s health and rights. While our way of life may have changed drastically in the past weeks – our values and principles must not.” Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “Even in a health emergency, we need to guarantee individual fundamental rights. The Commission fully acknowledges the difficulties that Member States face in the current situation. In the guidelines, we give advice for practical solutions which take into account Member States’ legitimate concerns and constraints. Any measure taken in the area of asylum, resettlement and return should also take full account of the health protection measures introduced by the Member States to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Vulnerable persons, in particular unaccompanied minors, and families should receive particular care and attention.” Asylum procedures Health measures taken to limit social interaction among asylum personnel and applicants have an impact on asylum processes. The flexibility provided for in EU rules should be used: • Registration and processing of applications should continue. Maximum flexibility should be permitted in relation to deadlines and the duration for processing and examining claims. However, any delays in registration should not mean applicants are left without reception conditions. • Personal interviews can be conducted with specific arrangements such as remotely through video conferencing or even omitted if needed. • Dublin Regulation: Close cooperation between Member States is of fundamental importance for the good functioning of the Dublin system. The Commission encourages all Member States to resume transfers of applicants as soon as practically possible in view of the evolving circumstances. Before carrying out any transfer, Member States should consider the situation related to the coronavirus, including that resulting from the heavy pressure on the health system, in the Member State responsible. Where transfers to the Member State normally responsible cannot take place within the applicable time limit, Member States can still agree bilaterally to nevertheless carry out the transfer at a later date, which is to be encouraged for example for unaccompanied minors and family reunification cases. The Commission and EASO are prepared to facilitate cooperation between Member States. • Reception conditions: Quarantine and isolation measures must be reasonable, proportionate and non-discriminatory. Applicants must receive the necessary health care.Applicants in detention should continue to have access to open air and any restrictions, such as limitation of visitors, need to be carefully explained. • Fingerprinting: In line with the Eurodac Regulation, where it is not possible to take the fingerprints of an applicant on account of measures taken to protect public health, Member States should take fingerprints as soon as possible and no later than 48 hours after such health grounds cease to exist. Resettlement The outbreak of the coronavirus has led to a severe 

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