Saturday

21st Jan 2017

Charities blame 'lack of political will' for EU aid cuts

  • The EU is set to miss its 0.7% aid pledge to the world's poorest (Photo: European Commission)

The EU's economic crisis took the blame after figures published Wednesday (3 April) revealed that aid to the world's poorest countries fell for the second year in a row.

The statistics released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based economic club, found that aid spending among EU countries as a share of national income fell from 0.45 percent in 2012 to 0.43 percent, well below the 0.7 percent target pledged by 2015.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The decline in spending, which is equivalent to a 4 percent cut in real terms, follows a 2 percent cut in 2011.

Aid budgets across a string of EU countries have been cut as part of national austerity plans.

The biggest aid cuts fell in Spain, which cut assistance by 49 percent to just 0.15 percent of its national income. Italy and Greece, also among the EU countries worst hit by recession in 2012, cut aid by 34 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

At the other end of the table, the UK is expected to join Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands in hitting the 0.7 percent target in 2013, having ring-fenced their aid budgets from cuts.

Eloise Todd, Director of the Brussels office of anti-poverty organisation One, said EU countries risked "reversing the huge progress on extreme poverty that has been made since 2000.”

Meanwhile, Catherine Olier from development organisation Oxfam, dismissed the idea that the crisis prevented countries from hitting aid targets.

"The fact that the UK has kept up its aid shows that other donor countries could stick to their pledges if they cared," she said.

She added: "It’s not an issue of money but of political will."

It is the first time since 1997 that development aid has been cut over successive years.

Despite the decline, the EU with its 27 member states remains the largest aid donor providing aid worth €55 billion, according to the OECD's Development Assistance Committee.

Commenting on the pattern of aid cuts from countries hit hardest by the economic crisis, OECD secretary general Angel Gurría said: “It is worrying that budgetary duress in our member countries has led to a second successive fall in total aid."

However, he took "heart from the fact that, in spite of the crisis, nine countries still managed to increase their aid."

Although EU leaders committed themselves to the 0.7 percent target in February, development spending is also set to be one of the big losers from negotiations on the EU's next seven year budget framework.

Under the spending levels due to start in 2014, €58.7 billion will be allocated to external aid, well down on the €70 billion proposed by the European Commission.

EU should raise own taxes, says report

A group chaired by former Italian PM and EU commissioner Mario Monti says Brexit should be used to create EU-level levies to depend less on member states contributions, and to abolish member states rebates in the EU budget.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey