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EU budget summit: Lifesaving aid projects at risk from deeper cuts

The ONE Campaign is calling on EU leaders to reverse cuts to development aid spending at their budget summit this Thursday and Friday.  The price of failure could be the closure of lifesaving aid projects according to ONE.

The proposed budget for the European Development Fund (EDF), which mainly targets sub-Saharan Africa, was already facing a disproportionate EUR 3.3 bn, or 11 percent cut according to a negotiating document circulated at the November budget summit.  By comparison, other budget lines faced cuts of just 7.5 percent on average.  But according to recent media reports, development aid could now be slashed further.

Eloise Todd, Brussels Director of ONE said:

“Most of the major players have given assurances that they will protect development spending.  Last week, Prime Minister Cameron and President Hollande were in Liberia and Mali underlining their support to Europe’s partners in sub–Saharan Africa. This week they – and other leaders including Chancellor Merkel – will have the opportunity to show they mean what they say when it comes to eradicating extreme poverty.

“Deep cuts to the proposed budget for development aid could see Europe spending less on smart aid in 2020 than we did in 2007. If they go ahead, it is obvious that some existing programmes will have to be cancelled and lives could be put at risk.

“The price of reversing cuts to the proposed aid budget for the poorest countries would be just three cents a week for each citizen.  But the cost of letting these cuts go ahead would be children going unvaccinated, uneducated and without access to clean drinking water – the building blocks of a stable and productive life.  All leaders have to agree for the budget deal to get the green light, so it only takes one to stand up and say, ‘we must not balance Europe’s books on the backs of the poorest’.”

Notes to editors:

  • A ONE briefing on what President Herman Van Rompuy’s November 2012 proposal for budget cuts would mean for development aid can be downloaded from the ONE website.
  • A report published last November by the Overseas Development Institute, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and ONE, shows that EU aid would more than pay for itself by 2020.
  • 85% of EU citizens believe that Europe should continue helping developing countries despite the economic crisis according to the findings of a survey published on 16 October.
  • More than 170,500 people have signed a ONE petition calling on EU leaders to protect aid spending.
  • An infographic highlighting what EU aid can do, and what cuts would mean can be downloaded from the ONE website.
  • The European Commission proposal for long term EU spending covering the period 2014-2020 includes €51bn for development aid to the world’s poorest as well as humanitarian aid. This consists of €21bn from the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) as part of the €70bn ‘Heading 4’ of the budget (‘EU as a global player’) and €30bn from the European Development Fund (EDF).  Technically the EDF is a separate fund, outside of the main budget.  But the level of spending for the EDF will be agreed as part of the overall MFF negotiations.
  • The positive results and effectiveness of EU aid have been cited by many independent reports.  The UK government’s Multilateral Aid Review, published by DFID in March 2011, rated the European Development Fund, the key EU aid instrument, as “critical to UK development objectives”.  Other reviews by respected institutions including the Center for Global Development and Brookings Institution, and the OECD have also ranked EU aid highly.  Publish What You Fund’s 2012 Aid Transparency Index ranked the European Commission’s DG Development and Cooperation (DG DEVCO) 5th out of 72 aid organisations across 43 indicators.
  • In 2005, the European Council set the target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on overseas aid by 2015, with 50% of all aid increases to Africa.  European leaders have reaffirmed this commitment on several occasions since, most recently at the European Council summit in June 2012.
  • Find out more about ONE’s #lifesaver campaign at http://www.one.org/c/international/hottopic/4517/

ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organisation backed by more than 3 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information please visit www.ONE.org