The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 European Member States. The EU’s executive body – responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union’s treaties and the day-to-day running of the Union – is the European Commission. The European Commission itself is split into departments known as Directorates-General (DGs), each covering a specific policy area or service and is under the responsibility of a European Commissioner.
Through its EuropeAid Development and Cooperation Directorate-General (DG EuropeAid), the European Commission has organised the Lorenzo Natali Prize as part of its efforts to promote development, human rights and democracy and help lift developing countries out of poverty.
The European Union, that is the European Commission and the 27 Member States, is the world’s largest provider of development assistance, the aid that helps drive political reform, improve health and education, and prevent women and infants dying during childbirth in poorer nations.
By rewarding journalists who focus on issues linked to development in five great regions around the world, for 19 years the European Commission has aimed to draw attention to the needs of countries where poverty – and the insecurity it engenders – impact on Europe through, for example, illegal immigration and terrorism.
The EU is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and believes they are universal values that should be vigorously promoted around the world.
The EU’s human rights policy encompasses civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. It also seeks to promote the rights of women, children, and people from minority groups, as well as those who have been forced from their homes.
The European Commission aims to improve respect for these rights and basic freedoms in countries where they are most at risk, by strengthening the role of civil society, supporting the peaceful resolution of conflicts and bolstering political participation. It also supports those who defend human rights and encourages the rejection of the death penalty, torture, children in armed conflict and violence against women and girls.
Human rights are an integral part of the process of reducing poverty.
The European Commission promotes democracy in the developing world in three main ways, bearing in mind that this is a gradual process and that reforms need to be chosen and implemented by the country concerned.
The European Commission strives to make its policies more effective and increase the impact of every euro it spends in development assistance.
The fight against poverty – the central Millennium Development Goal – is now enshrined as a principle in the EU’s basic law, the Lisbon Treaty. As part of those efforts, DG EuropeAid focuses on designing efficient development policies and delivering aid through projects and programmes around the world.
DG EuropeAid itself is a sign of those new times, as it incorporates the former Development and EuropeAid Directorates-General into one, to simplify communication by acting as a “one stop development shop” – providing a single contact point for stakeholders inside and outside the EU.
Europa – the official website of the European Union: http://europa.eu/
European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/
EuropeAid Development and Cooperation (DG EuropeAid): http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/
Commissioner Piebalgs website: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm
The Power of Great Stories... now you have the chance to tell yours and make a difference by entering Europe's premier human rights, democracy and development award for journalism.
The Lorenzo Natali Prize 2011 is open to print, online or broadcast reporters worldwide. Take part and help raise public awareness about universal values and win cash prizes.
Read more about Lorenzo Natali, the long-time European Commissioner, in whose memory Europe's prestigious Journalism Prize is given each year. Read more