Yesterday marked the day when the EU budget for 2014-2020 has finally been adopted after more than two years of intense negotiations between the European Parliament, the member states and the European Commission.
484 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour of the deal and 193 voted against.
After more than two years during which ONE members from all over Europe have asked European leaders to protect lifesaving EU aid, this vote seals the EUR960 billion package agreed by EU leaders in February. Although the package did not increase development funds to the levels initially proposed by the Commission and supported by ONE, the budget does protect development aid from cuts to current levels of spending.
An amendment tabled by the Greens/European Free Alliance asking for more money for development aid did not pass – many MEPs supported the sentiment and 116 voted in favour, but the political agreement reached did not provide any new money on the table. The support of MEPs for development will be crucial in the future. A broad coalition of MEPs made a call for action for strong and effective development and humanitarian aid funding in the next 7-year EU Budget and we hope even more MEPs join the call to fight extreme poverty.
The fight isn’t over yet. The European institutions are now going to start discussing detailed spending plans, including the level of spending for the EU’s Development Cooperation Instrument which targets the world’s poorest. The EU still has a long way to go in order to keep its promises to the poorest. With the MDG deadline now being less than 1,000 days away, the EU needs to redouble its efforts, notably by focusing investment in areas that will have the biggest impact on ending extreme poverty, like agriculture and health.
ONE will keep fighting to ensure that helping the world’s poorest will be the top priority for Parliament, Council and the Commission and that investments in agriculture and health programmes will be prioritised.