(Brussels/Strasbourg, 22/10/2014) The EU Commission’s development and humanitarian overseas aid budgets should not be cut in 2015, according to a vote by the European Parliament today in Strasbourg.

The vote comes as EU governments are calling for cuts that will affect EU’s humanitarian aid and development programmes, despite the fact that in 2014 these essential programmes are already suffering from an important shortage of money that will have to be compensated for next year.

Commenting on the vote was CONCORD Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Lonne Poissonnier:

“With growing global development and humanitarian challenges, it’s no time to be cutting essential support. Today’s vote shows the EU Parliament realizes this yet could have done more to reduce 2014 unpaid bills. The ball is now with EU Member States that urgently need to rethink their proposed cuts which would add to the already existing payment crisis and undermine the EU’s global credibility in 2015, a crucial year for development.”

 

What the cuts could mean for people in developing countries

Natalia Alonso, Oxfam´s Deputy Director of Advocacy & Campaigns, said:

“EU aid lifts people out of poverty. The proposed cuts would have a terrible impact. Too many children wouldn’t get the education for better jobs and too many farmers wouldn’t get the help they need to grow food. Several countries are already feeling the impacts of the slowdown in payments on EU humanitarian aid. For example, families in Haiti, the Sahel, Somalia and Ethiopia who struggle to feed their children are not getting the right assistance.”

 

What the cuts could mean for NGOs

Late payments from the European Commission or contract delays could cause cash flow difficulties for NGOs and other small contractors. Whilst some European NGOs may be able to survive the problem of delayed payments, smaller, local NGOs in developing countries could end up closing projects and cutting jobs.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. What is CONCORD? CONCORD is the European NGO confederation for Relief and Development. Its 28 national associations, 18 international networks and 2 associate member represent 1,800 NGOs which are supported by millions of citizens across Europe.

2. 2015 will be a milestone for global development: the official European Year for Development 2015 will take place, the Millennium Development Goals will expire and which will see a new post-2015 development agenda set up.

3. Read the CONCORD blog: 6 reasons why EU leaders should not cut aid: http://www.concordeurope.org/blogs/seamus-jeffreson-s-blog/184-six-reasons-aid

4. At the vote today MEPs did not take into account the European Commission proposal to move funds no longer needed in other areas to pay some of the unpaid bills from 2014.