Tuesday

23rd Apr 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.

Opinion

Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Ukraine comic-president invited to EU capitals
  2. Trump's Israel plan to 'test' EU resolve
  3. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  4. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  5. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  6. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  7. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  8. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us