23rd Aug 2019

EU states drifting from development aid goals

The latest figures on development aid from European Union member states from the OECD suggest that the bloc is drifting away from commitments to deliver 0.7 percent of its gross national income in development assistance by 2015.

In 2009, largely as a result of the financial crisis, some of the biggest EU economies, Germany, Italy and Spain let their aid flows drop.

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  • EU development assistance has been hit hard by the economic crisis (Photo: European Communities/ECHO/Vicente Raimundo)

According to numbers released on Wednesday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (DAC), Germany's aid declined by 12 percent, from 0.38 percent in 2008 to 0.35 percent last year.

Italy's figures fell by 31 percent from 0.22 percent in 2008 to 0.16 percent in 2009. Spain, the country currently chairing the EU's six-month rotating presidency, saw its numbers fall by much less however: 1.2 percent.

Ireland, one of the hardest hit EU member states by the crisis, saw a significant drop of 18.9 percent in its aid levels from 2008.

It is not all bad news however, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Sweden and the UK all increased their aid.

At the same time, while Dutch aid climbed slightly as a percentage of the economy, the country's real amount of spending drooped by roughly €440 million.

Luxembourg's funding also climbed percentage-wise while falling in terms of monies laid out, as did that of Sweden, which spent around €145 million less than in 2008.

In total, European aid is off-track to hit its 2010 target of providing 0.56 percent of GNI in development aid, offering 0.44% of aid in 2009, up one percent on the 0.43 percent it provided in 2008.

The EU is not alone in its aid truancy. Japan's funding slid by 10.2 percent; Canada's by 9.5 percent; and Australia's by 1.2 percent.

The US however chalked up a small increase from 0.19 percent to 0.2.

A commitment on the part of developed countries to provide assistance amounting to 0.7 percent of GNI to developing countries was first made as long ago as 1970 by the UN General Assembly.

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