• 11 November 2013

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    Category : Entrevista

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    There must be accountability with European taxpayers

    We interviewed Claudio Salinas, EuropeAid’s Head of Budgetary Support and Geographic Coordination for Latin America and the Caribbean.

    The European Union continues to be the largest global donor of official development aid, after giving 55.2 trillion Euros in 2012. One of the EU’s strategic lines is the “Programme for Change”; it establishes a more strategic approach to reducing poverty, proposing a series of changes to how the EU provides assistance.

    Claudio Salinas is EuropeAid’s Head of Budgetary Support and Geographic Coordination for Latin America and the Caribbean. We spoke with him about the future of European aid:

    P: What has the “Programme for Change” meant and how has it affected the EU’s agenda?

    The “Programme for Change” was approved in 2012, and we are still undergoing a period of transition. Generally speaking, it indicates that we should maximise the positive impact on the countries most in need, emphasising good governance, helping the countries take responsibility for developing their own fiscal policy, working in a maximum of three sectors per country, and promoting the agenda of sustainable, inclusive growth.

    P: In Latin America, 60 million people have been lifted out of poverty from 2002 to 2012. There are “graduate” countries that will no longer receive bilateral aid from the EU.

    We will be working in six countries in Latin America: Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, El Salvador and Guatemala. Although the other countries will no longer receive bilateral aid, our cooperation will continue through a more mature partnership, increasingly focused on mutual interests. Of course, all Latin American countries will receive resources through other budget lines.

    This phenomenon is also reflected in Asia. China, India and Malaysia will not receive cooperation aid for obvious reasons.

    P: The FIIAPP has a lot to say about working in Latin America in regard to this new type of cooperation with emerging countries, sharing experiences and common interests.

    Yes, in Latin America we especially want to work with continental tax entities. The region has high demand for twinning projects, and this type of programme will, therefore, surely be implemented in the future.

    P: Will work also be carried out in Latin America to improve the resilience of the most vulnerable population sectors?

    While the Commission’s report “THE EU’S APPROACH TO RESILIENCE: LEARNING FROM FOOD SECURITY CRISES” proposes mainly working in Africa and Asia, it is true that the European Union has implemented one billion Euros in  major food operations in Honduras, Guatemala and Bolivia in the past.

    We anticipate that the majorconcentration of these efforts will be focused on Africa in the future, following the experience in El Sahel andthe Horn of Africa, where two major initiatives were already implemented in 2012, and to a lesser degree in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Claudio Salinas highlights that the EU is doubling its efforts to “maximise the impact of our actions, increase visibility and improve results.” We want to support sustainable public policy reforms in order to help countries take responsibility for their own development.

    The following questions are from our twitter users. Claudio Salinas replies:

    –          How should we evaluate and monitor our budgetary support operations for accountability?

    EuropeAid has two monitoring systems. We have modified the methodology since last year to incorporate budgetary support. In evaluation terms, a great effort has been made to develop a new budgetary support evaluation methodology with the entire donor community. Pilot operations have been launched in Tunisia, Tanzania and Zambia, which have all demonstrated that this methodology is useful. We want to capitalise on what was done right, avoid repeating what was not done as well, and, above all, be accountable to European taxpayers.

    The results are very good in Latin America; our monitoring shows that we are working effectively, with good, specific results. Countries like Bolivia, Honduras and Ecuador have shown very satisfactory results.

    –          What structure should Spanish cooperation have in order to properly manage budgetary support operations?

    Spain has to be present in the field, but, above all, it must have expertise in public policy, public finances and macroeconomic management.

    The majority of the FIIAPP’s cooperation projects are financed by the EU, making its work with EuropeAid intense and continuous.

    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the sole responsibility of its author.