European Union Announces Agreement to Significantly Boost Foreign Assistance to the World’s Poorest People

Tuesday morning, May 24th European Union Development Ministers announced an agreement to increase assistance spending to help the world’s poorest help themselves. Every European country has committed to spend at least 0.51 percent of gross national income (GNI) on aid by 2010 and at least 0.7 percent by 2015 to help the world’s poorest countries meet the Millennium Goals. Many, including the UK and France, are committed to doing even more.

STATEMENT OF BREAD FOR THE WORLD PRESIDENT REV. DAVID BECKMANN, A FOUNDING MEMBER OF ONE:

“Today’s announcement by the EU is historically significant, and the morally right thing to do. Now the ball is in the court of the U.S. and other G-8 nations to follow the EU’s lead. President Bush can help make poverty history by joining our European friends’ and committing additional funds to address the emergency of AIDS, extreme poverty and hunger at the G-8 Summit.”

REACTION FROM JAMIE DRUMMOND, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF DATA, A FOUNDING MEMBER OF ONE:

“European Development ministers today outlined an essential and historic new deal for the world’s poor which Finance ministers must approve and fully resource in the next few weeks. At a minimum, this involves an increase of $25bn, which could grow to an increase of $40bn, in new aid flows over 2005 levels by 2010, once all EU commitments are included. This will help ONE and the other campaigns to make poverty history put healthy pressure on the U.S., Japan and Canada to increase their effective aid commitments. This must be the Europe’s goal before the next G7 Finance Ministers meeting in June. So long as not less than half these new resources are focused on Africa, and a high quality of aid is guaranteed, this will go a large way toward financing the findings of the Commission for Africa which Prime Minster Blair is seeking agreement upon.”

REACTION BY SID L. MOHN, PRESIDENT, HEARTLAND ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN NEEDS & HUMAN RIGHTS, A ONE CAMPAIGN PARTNER:

“Heartland Alliance congratulates the European Union Development Minister to increase foreign assistance spend to .51% by 2010 and to .7 % by 2015 to help the world’s poorest countries reduce poverty in their countries. The European Union is taking global leadership on behalf reaching the Millennium Development Goals. We encourage the United States, Canada, and Japan to match the European’s leadership and present bold new initiatives at the G8 Africa Summit in July 2005. Together, we can reduce extreme poverty in our global community.”

NOTES:

Nations like Germany, which are under budget strains, are expected to use measures like new taxes and the proposed International Financing Facility to meet these new commitments. In order to achieve an EU average of 0.56% by 2010, all EU donors not already in excess of 0.56% must agree to increase aid levels to not less than 0.51% by 2010 The UK Treasury suggests that the EU slightly underestimates the size of the increase today because they do not include the UK and Spain as firmly committed to 0.7%, which they are, and because they use the baseline of 2006 to make their calculations. The Commission for Africa calls for a doubling of aid to Africa from $25bn in 2004 to $50bn in 2010, as well as 100% poor country debt cancellation and trade reform, in return for strong African commitments to fighting poverty and corruption. When the G8 meet in Gleneagles in July every attending nation must agree to offering its fair share of a historic plan to help Africa and the poorest countries beat extreme poverty.

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