EU development budget: MEPs strongly support free and safe reproductive lives

4th March 2019
Burundi clinic family planning

Today in Brussels, the European Parliament expressed its strong support for sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, and the empowerment of women, youth and children.

In a binding Committee vote this evening on the EU’s future Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, Members of the European Parliament’s committees on Foreign Affairs and on Development passed a series of amendments to the proposed regulation. These commit the European Union to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights as part of a human rights-based approach to development assistance. In addition, MEPs supported amendments that called for EU support for access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and sexuality education, and the promotion of research into new and improved tools for sexual and reproductive healthcare and family planning.

Speaking after the vote, a coalition of civil society groups called on EU member states to take heed of the outcome when they come to negotiate with the European Parliament to finalise the “Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument” (NDICI) in the coming months. The statement was signed by:

· Cecile Vernant, Head of EU Advocacy, Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW)

· Caroline Hickson, Regional Director, International Planned Parenthood Federation Europe Network (IPPF EN)

· Neil Datta, Secretary, European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development

They said: “Europe’s elected parliamentarians have given a strong signal tonight that they are determined to make the EU live up to its international obligations on sexual and reproductive health and rights. It would be an abrogation of responsibility if EU ministers seek to dilute this position in the coming negotiations on the future of EU development policy. 

"We urge them to take up global leadership on this issue, align with the European Parliament, and place themselves on the right side of history – young men and women around the world who want to live free and safe reproductive lives are counting on them.”