By Laura Brennan, ONE Youth Ambassador, Ireland
In the lead up to the 2018 budget, the EU has a choice on the amount of funding they will commit to supporting the world’s poorest. It is important that they show ambition and pledge to increase aid compared previous years. As a Youth Ambassador for ONE, I feel we have to hold the EU accountable to its international responsibility. This October, ONE is gathering Youth Ambassadors from across Europe, representing over 33 nationalities from around the world, for an international Summit dedicated to standing up for the EU aid budget and the world’s poorest.
Our collective voice will urge Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to navigate the challenges we face together – famine, insecurity, pandemics and the people fleeing these tragedies. This year, the 2018 budget is an important chance for the EU to deliver a strong, long-term vision for development that brings us closer to an equal and just future for all.
We cannot afford to be unambitious on development spending in a time of global uncertainty. Instead, we must refocus our efforts on eradicating extreme poverty. The EU must not take a step away from its role in the world, which has set a leading example by investing essential funds to the world’s poorest.
There is no doubt that the EU is facing its own difficulties – you only have to switch on the news. However, global issues affect us all. The challenges affect us all. It is within the EU’s interest to make its mark on global development and continue its leadership in this area.
ONE Youth Ambassadors around the world have been heavily engaged in shining a light on extreme poverty and preventable diseases. In Ireland, we chose to focus on the fact that Poverty is Sexist, highlighting the fact that poverty is amplified in the poorest countries across the world. We argue that sexism is global, and therefore our fight against it needs to be global too. The Irish Youth Ambassadors have been calling on our government representatives to give global development—in particular measures that alleviate poverty affecting girls and women—a voice in the Dáil. Now, with our European counterparts, we are going to make sure MEPs and world leaders make budget decisions that benefit those who most need it. I hope that the Irish MEPs who I meet and attempt to persuade share the ambition of myself and the 200 other youth campaigners who are asking the EU to show more ambition. We are a global country, and we must use our voice in the European Parliament to show we deserve this reputation.
These issues cannot be solved without investment from global institutions such as the EU. Our message to the EU is that in the face of challenges such as famine, pandemics and the people fleeing these tragedies, the EU 2018 budget is an opportunity we simply cannot turn away from. The EU may be at a crossroads, but together we can help them choose the right direction.