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Ambitious vision lacking in EU’s 2018 budget, say NGOs

In the early hours of this morning, after 16 hours of negotiations, the EU Member States and the European Parliament struck a deal on the EU’s budget for 2018. Finance Ministers rejected the European Parliament’s proposal to increase external spending and agreed to limit funding at €9.57 billion, a decrease of €868 million, or 8%, below the final 2017 budget, with €256m left unallocated in the margin. Compared to 2017, long-term development aid was cut by 6%, however health and education funding will increase to €206 million and agriculture, food security and nutrition funding will rise to €217 million in 2018. The agreement also outlines a slight increase from 2017 to humanitarian aid, to €1.1 billion.

Valentina Barbagallo, Brussels Policy and Advocacy Manager at ONE, said: “Despite approving small increases to crucial areas such as health, education and nutrition, the EU has once again prioritised quick fixes and failed to see the big picture. The agreement leaves much needed funds for poverty-eradication unallocated and potentially earmarked for Member States’ political priorities in the EU’s neighbourhood. This paints a very worrying picture in the lead up to the negotiations of the next EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework. By 2050 Africa’s youth will be 10 times the size of the EU’s. The EU urgently needs to realise that investing in long-term development is investing in Europe’s prosperity and stability.”

Hilary Jeune, Oxfam’s lead policy advisor on development cooperation, said: The EU is clearly no looking at the real needs of people facing urgent situations. It has adopted tunnel vision and is looking only at its own security priorities as it cuts funds that help people get out of poverty and recover from crises.

Jacqueline Hale, Head of Advocacy at Save the Children, said: “Children growing up poor, or affected by conflict and disaster have lost out in this budget – especially those outside the EU’s immediate neighbourhood. The EU’s retreat to regionalism flies in the face of its global commitments and puts at risk the principle that aid should go to those most marginalised, and most in need.”

Tanya Cox, Plan International’s EU Representative (a.i.), said: “Plan International deeply regrets that the budget agreed on yesterday will see cuts in EU’s development and humanitarian aid, which goes against EU citizens’ clearly expressed wishes. These cuts take money away from the poorest and most marginalised in order to fulfil the EU’s misplaced migration control measures. The EU committed to lead in implementing the sustainable development agenda, ensuring gender equality and supporting people in crisis. However, with this decision, the EU’s ability to deliver on those commitments and ensure that no one is left behind will be limited in 2018.”


Notes to editors:

EU Budget 2018 Read more

External spending will receive some €9.57 billion in commitments in 2018, an decrease of 8% compared to 2017 and €256 million short of the Parliament’s proposal. This unallocated money is intended to contribute to the second tranche of funds (€3 billion) that the EU will have to disburse for the Turkey Facility for Refugees.

Humanitarian aid will see €140 million more in commitments, a 15% increase from 2017.

The Development Cooperation instrument will receive €192 million less, a 6% cut from 2017.

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