European Union Member States recognise Fair Trade as a priority area for Policy Coherence for Development

The Council of the European Union issued conclusions on Policy Coherence for Development on 17 November 2009.

European Union Member States identify Fair Trade as a key example to make trade policy more coherent with development policy.

Sergi Corbalán stated, on behalf of the four main Fair Trade networks FLO, WFTO, NEWS! and EFTA‘We welcome today’s announcement as a very positive step forward.

The Council’s Conclusions will be welcomed by producers throughout the Global South, especially during uncertain economic times. It is now time for the European Union to pass from words to action. Following on from these conclusions, we expect the European Commission to translate the high priority allocated to Fair Trade by the Council into specific measures to support Fair Trade in its work programme 2010-2013”.

Fair Trade offers better trading conditions to marginalised producers and workers in the South who are disadvantaged in conventional trade. Integrating the pillars of sustainable development (economic, environmental and social), Fair Trade offers marginalised producers and workers a tool to alleviate poverty and improve their lives. Over a million and a half producers and workers throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America already benefit from the better deal that Fair Trade offers.

The recognition by the Council of Ministers that trade can be used as a tool for development, for example, through Fair Trade, shows that European Union Member States recognise the importance of Fair Trade to sustainable development, poverty alleviation and aiding producers in the Global South.

The European Commission Communication “Contributing to Sustainable Development: The role of Fair Trade and non-governmental trade-related sustainability assurance schemes” of 5th May 2009 (COM(2009) 215 final) fell short of providing a follow up to the European Parliament Resolution on Fair Trade and development [A6-0207/2006] of July 2006. We therefore, expect that the future EU work programme on Policy Coherence for Development has robust support to Fair Trade and sustainable development.

We reiterate the importance of sustainable development in EU policies in addressing poverty eradication and climate change, especially as the EU plays a major role in international trade and the discussions on climate change and we look forward to the new European Commission to take note of these Council Conclusions.

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office speaks out for Fair Trade and trade justice with the aim to improve trading conditions for the benefit of small and marginalised producers and poor workers in developing countries. Based in Brussels, the office coordinates the advocacy activities of the four main Fair Trade Networks: Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International FLO, World Fair Trade Organisation WFTO, Network of European Worldshops NEWS! and European Fair Trade Association EFTA. These four networks bring together over 1.5 million Fair Trade producers from more than 60 countries, 20 labelling initiatives, hundreds of specialized Fair Trade importers, 3000 worldshops and more than 100,000 volunteers.

Contact: Hilary Jeune. Fair Trade Advocacy Office . Rue Fernand Bernier 15 A – 1060 Brussels – Belgium. Tel: +32 (0) 2 543 19 23. Email:

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