February EU budget summit: a second chance for leaders to do the right thing on aid

Reacting to the confirmation today that the EU budget will be on the agenda of the EU leaders’ summit on February 7-8, Eloise Todd, Brussels Director of ONE said:

“Back in November, EU leaders were close to doing a deal on the budget that would have cut proposed lifesaving aid by more, in relative terms, than any other area of spending.  The February summit is an opportunity to right that wrong.

“The EU’s original proposal for smart aid for the world’s poorest over the next seven years would cost just €15 per citizen per year.  For the cost of a few cups of coffee each, nine million children could be vaccinated, 15 million could attend school, and 51 million could be connected to clean drinking water.

“EU aid champions like France, Germany and the UK should set the politics aside when it comes to aid to the poorest countries, just 5% of total spending. They should come to Brussels committed to saving these lifesaving funds from cuts.”

Notes to editors:

  • A ONE briefing on what President Herman Van Rompuy’s latest proposal for budget cuts would mean for development aid can be downloaded from the ONE website.
  • A report published last November by the Overseas Development Institute, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and ONE, shows that EU aid would more than pay for itself by 2020.
  • 85% of EU citizens believe that Europe should continue helping developing countries despite the economic crisis according to the findings of a survey published on 16 October.
  • More than 170,000 people have signed a ONE petition calling on EU leaders to protect aid spending.
  • An infographic highlighting what EU aid can do, and what cuts would mean can be downloaded from the ONE website.
  • The European Commission proposal for long term EU spending covering the period 2014-2020 includes €51bn for development aid to the world’s poorest as well as humanitarian aid. This consists of €21bn from the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) as part of the €70bn ‘Heading 4’ of the budget (‘EU as a global player’) and €30bn from the European Development Fund (EDF).  Technically the EDF is a separate fund, outside of the main budget.  But the level of spending for the EDF will be agreed as part of the overall MFF negotiations.
  • The positive results and effectiveness of EU aid have been cited by many independent reports.  The UK government’s Multilateral Aid Review, published by DFID in March 2011, rated the European Development Fund, the key EU aid instrument, as “critical to UK development objectives”.  Other reviews by respected institutions including the Center for Global Development and Brookings Institution, and the OECD have also ranked EU aid highly.  Publish What You Fund’s 2012 Aid Transparency Index ranked the European Commission’s DG Development and Cooperation (DG DEVCO) 5th out of 72 aid organisations across 43 indicators.
  • In 2005, the European Council set the target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on overseas aid by 2015, with 50% of all aid increases to Africa.  European leaders have reaffirmed this commitment on several occasions since, most recently at the European Council summit in June 2012.
  • Find out more about ONE’s #lifesaver campaign at http://www.one.org/c/international/hottopic/4517/

ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organisation backed by more than 3 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information please visit www.ONE.org

For further information or to arrange an interview with Eloise Todd please contact Dudley Curtis on +32 485 379945 or [email protected]

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