The EU Parliament warns against reducing current levels of EU official development aid.

The European Parliament made its voice heard on the key poverty eradication instrument of the EU, the 11th European Development Fund. It echoed its ACP colleagues by pleading for the maintenance or even increase of the current level of collective EU official development aid (ODA) to help member states achieve the common objective of 0.7 per cent of GNI on ODA. Considering this, the EP “deeply regrets” the agreement reached in the European Council at beginning of February, which disproportionally cuts the budget for the 11th EDF by 11 per cent compared to the Commission’s earlier proposal. As earlier stressed by the former Secretary General of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas “Vulnerable communities in ACP countries are the worst hit by the global economic crisis – we should all show solidarity and responsibility with the world’s poorest during these times of need, rather than attempt to balance budgets at the cost of millions of lives”.

An internal agreement and implementation regulation for the 11th EDF is currently being negotiated in the Council of the EU. As it is an intergovernmental fund outside the general budget, it is negotiated without the need for consent of the European Parliament. However, as stated in the report, this did not prevent the Parliament from drafting an own-initiative report on the 11th EDF on the basis of the Commission’s earlier proposal, bringing forward its opinion on the future funding for the EU-ACP relations.

The resolution defines the European Parliament’s priorities for the 11th EDF for 2014-2020. Five demands are placed at the top of the list: (1) sufficient funding for global challenges; (2) addressing the importance of working with all ACP countries –without prejudice of the height of their GNI; (3) plea for better aid –in particular by earmarking 20% for basic social services; (4) enhance democratic ownership and development effectiveness; and (5) increase democratic scrutiny.

As the ACP Group is made up of 79 member countries (with South Sudan soon to be its 80th member), 40 which are classified as Least Developed Countries, and 36 which are Small Island Developing States, it is the key poverty eradication and development instrument of the EU.

CONCORD’s Cotonou Working Group, which closely follows the negotiations around the 11th EDF, made a brief analysis of the report of MEP Tirolien (S&D).