Following the Presidents of the EU’s institutions discussions on the Future of Europe and their joint op-ed, we ask them to ensure that the long-term budget strengthens both the quantity and quality of EU aid. Here’s what they need to do — and how you can help.
Dear European Presidents,
Europe is at a crossroads, and as you discussed this week, the decisions you are contemplating will have a significant and wide-reaching impact on our planet and our futures.
Under your leadership, the EU is setting itself up to play to its strengths, with a strategic global outlook, a commitment to multilateralism, and a drive for equality and sustainability. Initiatives like a renewed partnership with Africa, the European Green Deal and upcoming Gender Action Plan III have the potential to not only put Europe on the right track but to inspire the rest of the world to follow its path. As you stated in your joint op-ed, these are the initiatives that will show that the European Union is more than a market or economic power but stands for that values that we all share and defend.
But success will depend on the fine print in the EU’s next long-term budget. When EU leaders gather in February to negotiate a final deal, they must deliver an increased aid budget to guarantee the EU can rise to the greatest challenges of our generation and make your vision of European leadership a reality. Setting aside €140 billion for EU aid over the next seven years is ambitious, but it is needed to end extreme poverty and inequality by 2030, and to tackle the climate crisis before it’s too late.
Guaranteeing the necessary financing is just one side of the coin. The EU must also agree upon steps to enforce longstanding development targets on health, education and gender equality. If we take gender as an example, it will take almost 100 years to reach gender equality at the current pace. This is nowhere near good enough: equality cannot wait.
The fact that existing targets have never been met is a clear indication that more ambition and drive is needed. The adoption of binding targets around health, education and gender would be a clear indication of the EU’s continued commitment to ensuring everyone has the tools they need to reach their full potential.
Europe must continue to do what it does best, whilst focusing on the world’s greatest challenges and acting in line with citizens’ expectations. The EU’s aid budget ticks all three boxes.
We are grateful that you raised expectations for what the EU can and should accomplish. As your institutions take the next steps in the budget process, we ask for your leadership in ensuring that both the quantity and quality of EU aid is increased and protected.