ONE welcomes today’s impassioned plea by European Commission President Barroso for Europe to protect development aid spending at this Thursday’s budget summit.
In an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg this morning, President Barroso said cuts to development and humanitarian aid are “a question of life and death” for the world’s most vulnerable and that Europe has a “particular responsibility to Africa”. He also reminded parliamentarians that Europe has committed to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
The speech follows a proposal last week from the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy to cut the European Development Fund, which mainly targets sub-Saharan Africa, by 11 percent or more than €3 billion.
Eloise Todd, Brussels Director of ONE commented:
“We strongly welcome President Barroso’s words, and ask that other leaders with a commitment to development issues speak out and spend some of their political capital on reversing the egregious cuts to development spending proposed by President Van Rompuy last week. There is simply no good reason to cut EU development aid.
EU aid has an amazing impact on the ground and is effective, as numerous independent studies have shown. It is also widely supported: 85% said Europe should continue to fund development aid in a recent poll. Europe’s investment in aid is also good economics, more than paying for itself by 2020. Cameron, Hollande, Merkel and other leaders should leave the Commission’s proposal for development aid spending alone, and reverse the Council’s proposed cuts. The politicking must stop when it comes to issues of life and death.”
Notes to editors:
A report last week by the Overseas Development Institute, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and ONE, shows that EU aid would more than pay for itself by 2020.
85% of EU citizens believe that Europe should continue helping developing countries despite the economic crisis according to the findings of a survey published on 16 October.
More than 160,000 people have signed a ONE petition calling on EU leaders to protect aid spending.
The European Commission proposal for long term EU spending covering the period 2014-2020 includes €51bn for development aid to the world’s poorest as well as humanitarian aid. This consists of €21bn from the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) as part of the €70bn ‘Heading 4’ of the budget (‘EU as a global player’) and €30bn from the European Development Fund (EDF). Technically the EDF is a separate fund, outside of the main budget. But the level of spending for the EDF will be agreed as part of the overall MFF negotiations.
The positive results and effectiveness of EU aid have been cited by many independent reports. The UK government’s Multilateral Aid Review, published by DFID in March 2011, rated the European Development Fund, the key EU aid instrument, as “critical to UK development objectives”. Other reviews by respected institutions including the Center for Global Development and Brookings Institution, and the OECD have also ranked EU aid highly. Publish What You Fund’s 2012 Aid Transparency Index ranked the European Commission’s DG Development and Cooperation (DG DEVCO) 5th out of 72 aid organisations across 43 indicators.
In 2005, the European Council set the target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on overseas aid by 2015, with 50% of all aid increases to Africa. European leaders have reaffirmed this commitment on several occasions since, most recently at the European Council summit in June 2012.
Europe’s leaders are in the midst of crucial budget negotiations and some leaders are proposing cuts to these lifesaving programs. This would have a devastating impact on the world’s poorest. Don’t let this happen. Be a lifesaver of the century.