Brussels, 17 October 2018 – For the first time since 2012, the EU’s aid spending decreased in 2017. This means, at the current rate of growth, the EU would need another 40 years to meet the 0.7% ODA/GNI target, reveals CONCORD AidWatch Report 2018.
While the EU remains the world’s largest aid donor, EU aid decreased by 4% compared to 2016 and inflated aid still represented 19% of the total EU aid budget in 2017.

The decline in EU aid is highly correlated to the decrease of in-donor refugee costs and debt relief reported as ODA, respectively dropping off 10% and 82% compared to last year.

On the one hand, we deplore the disengagement of the EU and its Member States into ensuring sufficient aid and respecting their commitments. On the other hand, we regret that the EU aid level relies on inflated aid and 2017 confirmed this worrisome direction. For several years, migration control, securitisation and private sector investments in donor countries have taken over development objectives, progressively inflating the reported aid level. This means less and less resources from the EU are dedicated to poverty eradication and global sustainable development.
Luca De Fraia

CONCORD expert from ActionAid Italy

Last year, only four EU Member States exceeded the 0,7% commitment: Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden and the UK. Germany left the “0.7% club”, due to a drop of 0,04% in its reporting of refugee costs. Still today, 25% of its aid stays in the country.

When it comes to overall aid levels, the biggest aid cuts in Europe can be attributed to Spain, the EU institutions, Austria and Hungary.

Notably, the global aid level to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) has increased by 4% compared to last year, for the first time since 2013, reaching a level of 0.11% of EU GNI.
We welcome the increase of support where it is most needed after several years of failure to prioritise Least Developed Countries. Sadly, we are still far off the target of providing 0,15%/EU GNI to Least Developed Countries by 2020.

The EU must make sure that its development assistance is centred on the interests of those who run the biggest risk of being left behind. This is incompatible with the current trend of using development budgets to cater to EU self-interests.

Åsa Thomasson

CONCORD expert from CONCORD Sweden

In the current negotiations on the future EU Budget (MFF), which will probably re-shape the entire financing landscape of EU development aid, CONCORD calls on the European Institutions and EU Member States to ensure that the rights and priorities of people living in poverty, the quality of aid and the principles of effective development cooperation stand at the centre of EU development budgeting and programming.


  • CONCORD EUROPE: CONCORD is the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs, made up of 28 national associations, 23 international networks and 4 associate members that represent over 2,600 NGOs, supported by millions of citizens across Europe.
  • AIDWATCH REPORTS: Since 2005, CONCORD AidWatch monitors aid spendings and formulates recommendations on the quality and quantity of aid provided by EU Member States and the European Commission. CONCORD actively campaigns to hold EU leaders accountable for their commitments to dedicate 0,7% of their Gross National Income to development assistance and to use this aid in genuine, poverty-focused and effective ways.
    • SECURITY AID: AidWatch paper 2018 “Fostering development, or serving European donors’ national interests?”: Analysing the current trends around the aid agenda with the help of figures, examples to build on recommendations, this publication from CONCORD focuses on how is Aid progressively “instrumentalised” and spent in favour conflict, peace and security (CPS) management, to the detriment of poverty eradication and sustainable development.
    • AID & MIGRATION: AidWatch paper 2018 “The externalisation of Europe’s responsibilities”: Aiming at clarifying how EU’s development cooperation and migration agendas are interlinked in today’s EU policies, CONCORD’s new report provides a commentary on the impact of these links. The report draws a couple of key recommendations, and more specifically, identifies 3 trends outlining how EU aid is in fact used to curb migration, done on-purpose by EU policy-makers to serve domestic priorities: inflation, diversion and conditionality.
  • ODA COMMITMENT & DEFINITION: The EU commitment on spending 0.7% of its GNI on ODA has been recently renewed in the European Consensus on Development. Resource: (article 103)
  • OECD DAC: The rules defining what can be included within the Official Development Assistance (ODA) definition have been recently broadened in the field of peace and security to include measures such as preventing violent extremism, and engagement with the police beyond training in routine civil policing functions. Resource: (Feb. 2016)