In the final months of 2014, Countdown 2015 Europe partners engaged actively with the EU institutions as they adopted two key reports defining their negotiating position for the UN-level post-2015 discussions. We provided input to decision-makers and contributed to the positive wording adopted by both the European Parliament (EP) and the EU Council (national governments). In spite of initial opposition to progressive language on reproductive health/family planning from a number of EU countries, the final reports now refer explicitly to sexual and reproductive health and rights, including family planning. The two reports are as follows:
EU Council of Ministers – "Council Conclusions on a transformative post-2015 agenda"
C2015E partners worked both at Brussels level with the Permanent Representations of the EU Member States, and at national level with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, to help ensure sure that SRHR language would be included in the final text. The relevant final wording adopted by the Council reads as follows:
“We remain committed to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the outcomes of their review conferences and in this context sexual and reproductive health and rights.” (para 20)
European Parliament – “EU and the global development framework after 2015”
C2015E and other Brussels-based partners reached out to MEPs to provide input to the report adopted by the EP’s Development Cooperation Committee. This helped to ensure the inclusion of progressive language on SRHR. We then continued to liaise with policymakers to support the final adoption of the report by the EP’s plenary. The relevant final wording adopted by the Parliament reads as follows:
Priority area: “The central role of women in the global development framework after 2015″
Point 58: “Stresses the importance of ensuring universal access to health services such as family planning, including sexual and reproductive health and rights“
Meanwhile, in a year that saw the start of a new EP term and a new European Commission, C2015E also played an active role in ensuring that RH/FP were on the radar screens of key new EU decision-makers. Together with other Brussels-based CSOs, we encouraged MEPs to ask SRHR-focused questions when carrying out hearings with proposed new Commissioners. Promisingly, the new EU Commissioners for Development and Humanitarian Aid (Neven Mimica and Christos Stylianides respectively) each confirmed their commitment. After the EP elections, we also worked with CSO partners to prepare an induction package for the new intake of MEPs and Commissioners to ensure that they are supportive of RH/FP. Our infographic factsheets set out what EU policymakers can do for SRHR, and why this is the time for them to act.