A bad deal for the world’s poorest. ONE reacts to the EU’s budget deal

Brussels – European Union leaders have reportedly closed a deal on the Multiannual Financial Framework following four days and four nights of intense negotiations.

The European Council agreed on a budget of € 98.4 bn to cover the EU’s external priorities including  €70.8 bn  for the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), mainly composed of overseas aid. This represents cuts of  € 20bn for external action, that’s a decrease of 17% in comparison to the Commission’s May 2020 proposal which accounted for the aftermath of the pandemic. When comparing it to current spending levels, the deal represents cuts of € 2.3 bn to the NDICI, that’s a decrease of 3.15% compared to current financing levels pre COVID-19 and excluding UK contributions.  

Emily Wigens, EU Director at The ONE Campaign, said: 

“This might be the right deal for Europe, as described by Charles Michel but it’s not the right deal for the EU’s partners. The cuts to external action are a false economy – they will cost Europe more in the long-run. Investing in long-term development is cheaper than responding to a crisis. This is a bad deal for everyone: Europe’s interests, Europe’s partners and European tax payers. 

The outcome of negotiations is hugely disappointing, displaying a lack of ambition and a worrying sign for global solidarity in the face of the pandemic. With extreme poverty and hunger rising and economies contracting, aid will remain a lifeline for many but leaders have endorsed a deal that sees the total envelope for the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument cut by €15 billion compared to the Commission’s revised proposals, leaving it 3.15% smaller than current spending levels.

COVID-19 has highlighted that in an increasingly interconnected world, we are only as strong as our weakest link. Yet the budget for external action decreased by almost €20 billion (-17%) compared to the Commission’s May 2020 proposal, designed to provide an effective response to COVID-19. Our best chance to succeed in tackling this crisis is through unprecedented solidarity and global cooperation, but these principles are sadly lacking in the deal reached by leaders.” 

Note to Editors:

The 2014-2020 financing level for external action includes the current Multiannual Financing Framework Heading IV Neighbourhood and the World commitment appropriations and the European Development Fund, which will be part of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument.

Source: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/resources/library/media/20200715RES83407/20200715RES83407.pdf

All figures are in constant 2018 prices

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