By Emma Rainey, ONE Campaigns Intern, Brussels
After 16 hours of unbroken negotiations, in the early hours of Saturday, 18th November, European leaders agreed on the 2018 EU aid budget — and it’s a mixed result. The good news is they’ve increased funds for education, health, nutrition and humanitarian aid. The bad news is some of the proposed cuts to aid made it through.
ONE’s message has been clear – the EU is at a crossroads. They can choose the path that focuses on short-term fixes or they can choose the direction that leads to long-term development aid for the world’s poorest.
ONE and its members have been working tirelessly to deliver this message to EU leaders. Since September, over 63,000 EU citizens have signed the #EUbudget petition and 2,230 members wrote an email to their finance ministers. Your engagement in the campaign was twice as much as last year – so thank you!
On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October), 200+ Youth Ambassadors assembled at the European Parliament to advocate for increased development aid in the EU budget. They did so by meeting with 110 MEPs. The European Parliament heard their message and voted to push for an additional €232 million in official development assistance – including specific increases to health, education, nutrition and humanitarian aid – on top of what the European Commission had already proposed.
Youth Ambassadors also met with Member State Permanent Representatives to the EU, including a meeting with the Estonian Presidency, and all over Europe, they hand-wrote letters to their Finance Ministers. On the very last day of the negotiations, they woke up at 6 a.m. to put up posters all around the EU quarter of Brussels to tell EU leaders to choose the path that focuses on long-term development.
The incredible work of ONE Youth Ambassadors energised and elevated the EU Budget Campaign to a whole new level and we want to send them the biggest thank-you of all.
— ONEinEU (@ONEinEU) November 17, 2017
The final result at the end of the negotiations was not as ambitious as we had hoped for. Unfortunately, Member States voted down the majority of the Parliament’s increases and cut EU’s external funds by 8% compared to 2017. However, there was some success! Education and health funding is going up to €206 million, which means more nurses and teachers for those living in extreme poverty. Funds to nutrition programmes as well as humanitarian aid also saw increases compared to 2017.
We should be proud of the role we played in securing these wins. If anything, this highlights the importance of continuing to fight to protect development aid. The EU will soon begin the negotiations for its seven-year budget plan and you can count on ONE to double its efforts to see this fight through.
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