Barroso: ‘Most challenging task that the world has ever set itself.’

Published: 06 December 2010

In the opening ceremony for the European Development Days, the President of the European Commission described the UN MDGs as "the most challenging task that the world has ever set itself".

However, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso maintained his belief that the goals can still be achieved, despite discouraging results from the recent UN summit in New York.

Barroso said: "We cannot just stand on the sidelines. We need to act."

The EDDs are taking place in Brussels between 6th and 7th December and Barroso expressed their importance as a preparatory exercise for meetings to discuss development in Istanbul in spring.

The days will feature conferences, seminars and debates from international NGOs, heads of states and political figures.

Barroso drew reference to the current situation in the Cote D'Ivoire as an example of how politics can cause poverty and instability, and why it is a moral imperative that the EU act to lift countries out of poverty.

Barroso described the European Development Days as "Europe's window on the world of development" and hope that they would continue to place the EU as a development paradigm for the rest of the world.

The EU is currently the world's largest single donor of aid.