I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
The EU is pleased to participate in this event, and we thank the President of the General Assembly for meeting on this pertinent issue.
Today we come to you with a message of positivity. The EU is fully committed to helping create a development system that addresses the needs of Middle Income Countries while accelerating the SDGs and building back better.
This past year has demonstrated how the Covid-19 pandemic disproportionately affects Middle Income Countries; it erodes their development gains, negatively affects human development, in particular for women and girls, and exacerbates socioeconomic challenges. We emphasize the need to halt these additional setbacks, build resilience, and galvanize an inclusive and sustainable recovery in line with a ‘build back better and greener’ approach. In that same vein, the Team Europe Approach mobilized more than 40 billion Euros to support partner countries in the fight against the pandemic and promote a sustainable socio-economic recovery from its consequences.
The EU believes that achieving the targets set out by the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement requires a development system that actively engages with Middle Income Countries as key partners and allies, recognizing their diverse character, challenges and wide geographic scope, and supporting effective multilateralism and the rules-based international order.
These partnerships must not only help Middle-Income Countries achieve their own development goals, eliminate poverty, and reduce inequalities, but also grow their influence within the international community. With development comes global responsibilities; through strengthened partnerships, we can help these states in leading the way on global initiatives like this year’s UN Food Systems Summit, COP26, and the upcoming Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, allowing them to contribute to global development according to their national capacities.
We are committed to developing policy dialogue and international partnerships with Middle-Income Countries in line with the European Consensus on Development, and the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – Global Europe. In this regard, we have made partnerships with Middle Income Countries a primary concern across several of our global priorities such as the European Green Deal, the Digital Agenda, Growth and Jobs, Governance, Peace and Security, and Human Development.
The EU underlines the need to support these partner countries to enhance and strengthen domestic resource mobilisation, including accountable and transparent public expenditure systems, tax systems, financial, capital markets cooperation, and fiscal space, as well as combating illicit financial flows. We recognize the central role of trade for sustainable and inclusive economic development in Middle-Income Countries and we strive to enhance partner countries’ capacity to trade.
Finally, we note that development is a multi-dimensional, non-linear process and partner country challenges do not end with their graduation to middle-income status. Measures of development should look beyond GDP per capita and consider other dimensions, including inequalities within countries and climate change.
We look forward to working with all countries and stakeholders to facilitate sustainable transitions, development, and trade across the globe.