“Inspiring!” – “Deeply impressed!” – “Excellent!”
“The greatest speech I’ve heard in my eight years in the European Parliament’s Development Committee!” Gay Mitchell MEP
This week Bill Gates took Brussels by storm – a whirlwind 24 hours of meetings and events with EU leaders, culminated in his Living Proof speech in front of a full house in the European Parliament’s main chamber this afternoon.
The cause of this enthusiasm was a very simple, but effective message – aid works, and especially in these times of crisis, it is critical that the European Union continues its leadership as the world’s second biggest donor. Bill Gates made the case for continued EU investments in vaccines and agriculture and showed how development aid has helped change the world for the better in recent decades.
His visit couldn’t have been timelier. The 27 EU Member States and the European Parliament have recently kicked-off negotiations on a seven-year budget for the EU, of which €57 billion is at stake for future development spending. By showing that the Europe’s generosity has had a real impact on people’s lives in developing countries and by encouraging Parliamentarians to stand up and fight for EU aid in the next seven year budget, Bill Gates has helped strengthen the resolve of existing aid champions and reached out to many that are yet to become supporters of our cause. The new President of the Parliament Martin Schulz wrapped up his first address to the Parliament by reiterating the importance of development spending, “irrespective of political colours, the European Parliament will stand shoulder to shoulder with you”.
Today the EU’s top decision makers were reminded quite how much is at stake in the budgets they are responsible for. The ONE team, working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will make sure words are matched by action in the difficult negotiations to come!
Watch what he had to say:
For Bill Gates’ joint video statement with European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, please click here.