Brussels, 12 December 2018 – Ahead of the European Council during which the external relations part of the future EU budget will be discussed, CONCORD, the European Confederation of Development NGOs, urges EU leaders to safeguard the amount dedicated to Heading VI (external relations) and agree on the political timeline. The future development aid budget and the European Union’s engagement in addressing global challenges is at stake.

Europe and the world have changed since member states adopted the current long-term EU budget. The current global challenges require coordinated and focused action. We do great injustice to ourselves and those around us if we don’t resolutely tackle the dangers posed by climate change, or the tremendous human suffering caused by conflict and poverty.

The EU must allocate sufficient funds for external action in its next budget if it wants to properly address these challenges.

Hanna Saarinen

CONCORD MFF expert from Oxfam

CONCORD raises concerns on two potential negotiating elements, which will be on the table at the Council meeting: the current member states’ GNI contributions might be questioned, which could put the current 10% of the total EU budget to Heading VI at risk. Moreover, the incorporation of the European Development Fund in the EU budget might lead to a decrease of funding for the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, while the future of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement is currently being discussed.

Commenting on the potential risks of postponing the adoption of the future budget:

We know from experience in 2015 that if the MFF isn’t concluded in time, we will have a gap in funding that will mean development and humanitarian actors, like civil society, won’t be able to give vital, and often lifesaving, support to those most in need in partner countries.

Alva Finn

CONCORD MFF expert from Save the Children International’s EU Office

As the main outcome of the European Council discussions, CONCORD calls on EU leaders to agree on a clear political timeline for both the structure and the amount dedicated to external actions in order to ensure the adoption of the next EU budget by May 2019 the latest.