Tuesday

26th May 2020

EU short $19bn on development pledges

Western European countries are skipping out to the tune of $19 billion (€14bn) on the aid pledges they made to developing countries five years ago at a landmark G8 meeting, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Aid to poor countries in 2010 will be lower than donors promised five years ago at the 2005 Group of Eight meeting in Scotland - largely as a result of the economic crisis, says a report published on Tuesday by the OECD, the international club of wealthy countries.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • The OECD spent $4.1 trillion on bailouts during the economic crisis and €107 billion on development aid in 2010 (Photo: Notat)

With national budgets squeezed in the wake of the crash, many governments believe that charity begins at home, resulting in a shortfall of $21 billion (€15bn) from OECD nations.

According to the OECE review of 2010 aid budget plans, donors are to disburse $107 billion (€78bn) this year (in 2004 dollars), instead of the $128 billion (€93bn) committed in 2005.

Some $19 billion of the overall shortfall will come from the EU15 - the old, wealthier member states that made the original pledges.

At the time, all EU15 states committed to achieve a minimum level of overseas development assistance (ODA) of 0.51 percent of the gross national income (GNI).

A number of EU countries actually far surpassed this goal: Sweden, for its part, has the world's highest ODA, reaching a full 1.03 percent of GNI.

Luxembourg is just pipped by Sweden, but it also manages a full percentage point of GNI in aid delivery (1%), followed by Denmark (0.83%), the Netherlands (0.8%), Belgium (0.7%), the United Kingdom (0.56%), Finland (0.55%), Ireland (0.51%) and Spain (0.51%) - all of which meet or exceed their 2005 commitment.

Other states however have welched on the pledges: France will achieve 0.46 percent of GNI, and Germany 0.40 percent. Rounding out the bottom are Austria (0.37%), Portugal (0.34%), Greece (0.21%), and Italy (0.19%).

While this is disappointing, development NGOs point out that the EU states gave themselves much more ambitious targets in 2005 than other OECD members.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said of the shortfall: "Some have set the bar very low and others are failing to meet their international pledges. As we head into new rounds of discussions about funding climate change and food security concerns, I encourage all donors to carry through on their development promises."

Catherine Ray, the European Commission's development spokeswoman, told EUobserver: "We have to remember that many countries have been put in a difficult situation by the economic crisis, but the EU already commits 60 percent of total global aid."

"Nevertheless, the commission will continue to push member states not to decrease or backtrack on their commitments."

Aid agency Oxfam described the result "a scandal."

"Rich countries have no excuse for failing to deliver the aid increases they promised five years ago at Gleneagles," said Oxfam's Max Lawson.

In comparison, OECD countries have spent $4.1 trillion bailing out financial institutions and major industries threatened by the economic crisis, according to a tally by the Institute for Policy Studies, a US-based centre-left think-tank.

German court questions bond-buying and EU legal regime

The German Constitutional court ordered the European Central Bank to explain its 2015 bond-buying scheme that helped eurozone stay afloat - otherwise the German Bundesbank will not be allowed to take part.

No breakthrough at EU budget summit

EU leaders failed to reach agreement on the EU's long-term budget, as richer states and poorer 'cohesion countries' locked horns. The impasse continues over how to fund the Brexit gap.

EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock

Cuts to innovation, space, neighbourhood and other programme-spending push down the latest budget proposal on the table of EU leaders. Rebates could stay on, to win the support of the net-payers for a deal.

Coronavirus

ECB promises (almost) whatever it takes

The eurozone's central bank has promised to buy up to €750bn of government and private bonds in new pandemic counter-measures.

Opinion

What does coronavirus 'Black Swan' mean for markets?

Falling demand and prices for oil and raw materials will revive the risk of deflation. The collapse in international trade and long-term rethinking of China's role as the major hub for the production of consumer goods and electronics is inevitable.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  3. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic co-operation on COVID-19
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic research collaboration on pandemics

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us