Monday

17th Jun 2019

Third world aid could be EU budget victim

Development aid could be the major casualty from EU budget talks, with the European Commission and Parliament fearing that planned spending cuts of 13 percent would leave the EU unable to fulfil promises on aid and the Millennium Development Goals.

Following an initial proposal that included proportional cuts to both agriculture and cohesion spending, opposition led by France and Poland led to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy reinstating funds, but shifting the burden of cuts to other budget headings, including development aid.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The EU's international aid budget is under grave threat in budget talks. (Photo: ICRC)

Under the revised text of the seven year budget framework set to start in 2014, put before EU leaders during last week's ill-fated budget summit, the "Global Europe" heading, which covers all EU development spending, would be reduced to 60.7 billion between 2014-2020, a 13 percent cut on the €70 billion of funding tabled by the EU executive.

Under the second Vn Rompuy proposal, development spending would lose a further €5 billion, but with the Emergency Aid Reserve, worth €280 million per year, excluded from the MFF deal.

NGOs are particularly concerned about the prospect of deep cuts to the European Development Fund (EDF) which would get nearly €4 billion less than proposed by the Commission.

German Green MEP Helga Trupel, budget spokesperson for the Green group, echoed their concerns commenting that "EU development spending looks set to be one of the biggest victims of the horse-trading," and describing the move as "short-sighted in the extreme."

European Commission President Jose Barroso is also anxious that development aid could be the major loser from the budget talks.

In a speech on the MFF given to MEPs on Tuesday (27 November), he said that the EU needed to "maintain our commitments to the poorest in the world." However, Barroso has little leverage because of the domestic budget demands facing national governments.

Speaking with EUobserver, a senior EU official commented that: "We see there are 'friends of CAP,' 'friends of Cohesion' or 'better spending,' but aid is really lacking supporters. Aid matters as the EU must respect its promises and contribute to global prosperity for its own good."

Meanwhile, senior Council sources confirmed to this website that, along with the EU's 'Connecting Europe' and 'Horizon 2020' projects, development aid would probably be a big casualty from the budget talks which are expected to run into early 2013.

At the same time, the European Parliament insists that the original commission proposal is the bare minimum acceptable.

In a letter sent last week to the development ministers of the four EU countries which are part of the "G-0.7 group" of nations committed to spend at least 0.7 percent of GNI on aid by 2015, campaigners warned that third world aid could be a casualty in budget talks.

In a reference to the powerful role played by the 15-country "Friends of Cohesion" group led by Poland, the letter urged sympathetic governments to set up a "Friends of Development and Humanitarian Aid" group.

Natalia Alonso, head of Oxfam's EU office, told EUobserver that: "EU development and humanitarian aid is money well spent. It's a smart investment in our common future.

"It cannot be right to protect billions for rich farmers while failing to deliver on Europe's pledge to provide more life-saving medicine and clean water to the world’s poorest people," she added.

MEPs worried about EU development spending

MEPs want the EU to keep a closer eye on the money it spends on joint EU/UN development projects after major shortcomings were identified in control and efficiency.

Bill Gates: Millennium Development goals still 10 years away

The Millennium Development Goals including poverty reduction can be reached if rich countries keep their aid pledges, but the 2015 deadline will still be missed by up to six years, according to Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.

News in Brief

  1. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July
  2. Austria's Strache will not take up EU parliament seat
  3. Tanker attacks pose questions for EU on Iran deal
  4. Johnson skips TV debate for UK prime ministership
  5. Slovakia's first female president takes office
  6. Irish immigration officers flew back business class
  7. Catalan MEP denied taking seat in European Parliament
  8. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  2. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  3. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of
  4. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  5. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  6. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  7. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  8. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us