New AidWatch Report 2012, ‘Aid We Can’ shows that €7.35billion of EU aid wasn’t genuine and didn’t reach developing countries.

(Brussels, 25/06/2012) The AidWatch Report 2012, ‘Aid We Can: more investment in global development’, written by CONCORD, the European confederation for Relief and Development NGOs, shows that:

  • 9 EU countries beat aid targets, but Germany and France missed the mark in 2011. Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Malta (the only EU 12 country), Belgium, Finland and Ireland all met their targets. Germany and France however are way off track, both giving less than 0.5% of their GNI to development aid.
  • Aid budget cuts are becoming a major trend, with €500 million slashed from total EU aid spending in 2011. 11 EU countries cut their aid levels last year, with 9 countries planning further cuts in 2012. Spain and Italy are likely to face the biggest cuts; 53% and 38% respectively. Total EU aid amounted to €53billion in 2011.
  • 14% of EU aid or €7.35 billion didn’t reach developing countries in 2011. Genuine Aid, that represents a real transfer of resources to developing countries, is highest from Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland.


Aid commitments achievable but major donors off track

All EU countries are, in principle, committed to giving 0.7% of their GNI to development aid.

“Even in times of economic crisis, many European countries have shown that’s possible to keep their aid promise to the world’s poorest. Unfortunately other EU countries are cutting aid at a time when developing countries need it most. Larger countries like France and Germany need to step up their game and not shy away from their commitments,” Ben Jackson, Chief Executive of Bond, the UK NGO network.

Crisis hitting aid to the poor

“Reduction in aid volumes is just one side of the coin. The other side – how the aid is used – is just as worrying. In times of crisis, it is important to keep aid focused on tackling poverty, not on deepening the EU’s commercial and security interests. The latest trends from the EU in this respect are of great concern to ActionAid and its partners,” says Arthur Larok, Country Director of ActionAid Uganda.

Genuine Aid: how much really goes to developing countries?

“People need to be able to trust that aid is making a difference, it should be transparent and truly reach the poorest in developing countries.”

If not, how can we guarantee sustainable results? Some European countries are an example like Sweden and Luxembourg. But it’s a shame that other EU governments play numbers games that affect the lives of the poor. Over €7 billion in EU aid is wrongly accounted for, and just doesn’t get to the poor.” says Caroline Kroeker from World Vision International.

In 2011, EU governments wrongly accounted as aid: €2.43 billion as debt relief, € 1.82 billion as refugee costs, €1.61 billion as student costs account, €0.98 billion of tied aid €0.51 billion as interest repayments on loans.




Notes to editors :

1.  AidWatch will hold a media stunt on 28th June in Brussels from 12:00-13:00 at Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels ahead of the EU Council to call on leaders to stick to their aid promises.

2. The AidWatch report has been published every year since 2006, and is written by European development NGOs to monitor official governmental reporting on aid levels.

3. 4 European countries currently match the 0.7% aid target levels: Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.

4. 18 European countries are off track to meet the 0.7% aid target, including France and Germany.

5. EU aid commitments:  In 2005, the EU15 committed to give 0.51% of GNI at least by 2010 (with an average of 0.56%) and 0.7% by 2015. The 12 New member States committed to give 0.17% of GNI as aid by 2010 and 0.33% by 2015.

6. Amongst the 27 EU countries 11 cut their aid levels in 2011 as compared to 2010. Austria (-14.3%): Belgium (-13.3 %): Denmark (-2.4%); Finland (-4.3%); France (-5.6%); Greece (39.3%): Ireland (-3.1%); Luxembourg (-5.4%); Netherlands (-6.4%): Portugal (-3.0%); Spain (-32.7%): United Kingdom (-0.8%):

7. Genuine Aid: We calculate Genuine Aid by deducting the estimated level of imputed student costs, refugee costs, debt relief and tied aid from Official Development Assistance levels. For the full data on Genuine Aid levels visit: