European development NGOs warn against cutting EU external spending

(Brussels, 04/02/2013) The European Union needs a strong aid budget to maintain its global anti-poverty efforts outline European Development NGOs of Concord ahead of the 7-8 February EU budget summit. In November 2012, EU Council President Van Rompuy suggested a €13bn cut for EU external spending compared to the European Commission’s proposal, reducing the Heading 4 proposal by 13% and the proposed amount for European Development Fund by 11%. Now it seems that future European aid spending could be under greater threat.

CONCORD, the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs, would like to remind EU leaders the impact of cuts will be most felt by poor people in developing countries.

EU response to global challenges

“The last few years have seen a variety of global challenges including the Arab Spring, widespread and longstanding drought in East Africa and the Sahel, a number of Earthquakes and severe storms, and now the instability and conflicts current in Syria and the Sahel. We should not bind our hands and prevent collective responses to such challenges up to the distant date 2020. We have already asked our leaders, including Chancellor Merkel, to ensure the EU and its budgets enable European global leadership across the period from 2014 to 2020” said Kathrin Wieland CEO of Save the Children Germany

Impact of cuts – women and girls hardest hit

“If member states go ahead with drastic cuts to the proposed EU aid budget, it’s likely to have a disproportionately negative effect on girls and young women. New research shows, for example, that family poverty has more impact on a girls’ survival than boys. Shockingly, a one per cent fall in GDP increases infant mortality by 7.4 deaths per 1000 births for girls versus 1.5 for boys. Austerity budgets that hit children and young people the hardest risk sacrificing future prosperity for short term goals,” said Karen Schroh, Head of Plan EU Office

EU aid is effective

“EU humanitarian and development aid is deemed one of the most efficient, impactful and transparent in the world. It has stopped 50 million people in more than 50 countries from going hungry in the last 3 years; it has provided access to primary education for more than 9 million children and ensured access to safe drinking water for more than 31 million people. Europe can be proud of what EU aid has and can achieve. Leaders must not use the life-saving aid budget as a bargaining tool in this week’s talks,” said Ben Jackson, Chief Executive of Bond, the UK NGO network.

 

Notes to editors

1.The European Development Fund (EDF) is the main instrument for providing Community development aid in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the overseas countries and territories (OCTs).

2.Support for EU aid remains strong among European citizens. The results of a Eurobarometer survey released in October show that 85% of EU citizens believe that Europe should continue helping developing countries.

3.Report by Plan and the Overseas Development Institute: “Off the balance sheet: the impact of the economic crisis on girls and young women”

4. Leaders from developing countries have joined calls for an ambitious EU aid budget. Representatives of African, Carribbean and Pacific states said on 29 November 2012 that “we do not believe that now is the time to be cutting back on development finance. To do so is rather short-sighted. Vulnerable communities in ACP countries are the worst hit by the global economic crisis” http://www.acp.int/content/press-release-acp-group-calls-eu-council-honour-commitment-world-s-poor

 

Media contacts
 
CONCORD Communications officer, Daniel Puglisi on +32 2 743 87 77, Daniel.Puglisi@concordeurope.org