A new survey reveals that despite current economic conditions, development still matters to EU citizens.

Helping poor people in developing countries still matters for EU citizens shows a new Eurobarometer survey announced on 16 October by European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

Support for development

Despite the economically testing time at home, 85% of EU citizens feel that it’s still important to help people in developing countries.

• 6 out of 10 Europeans feel that aid to developing countries should be increased. Only 18% believe that development aid should be decreased.
• 61% of Europeans believe that aid should be prioritised for countries in fragile situations

In countries at the height of the economic crisis, support did not waver. In Spain, support remained strong with only small decreases in Greece and Italy (down 2 percentage points) compared to the previous years. Support actually increased in Ireland (up 3 percentage point); only in Portugal was there a notable decrease in support for helping the poor with support down by 10 points. Europeans believed that human rights (34%), education (33%) and health (32%) were the most important areas development aid should focus upon. Additionally, 81% of Europeans feel that private companies have social and ethical responsibilities which a further 87% believe should be monitored by donors such as the EU in a watchdog role.

Lack of awareness

The survey also showed that a problem remains in knowledge of development issues:

• 94% of EU citizens said they knew “nothing at all” or “a little” on where development aid goes.
• In 13 countries at least half of respondents said they knew nothing at all about where their country’s development aid goes.
• French citizens are the ones who feel they know least about EU development aid goes, with 71% saying they knew “nothing at all”

Click here to read the Eurobarometer survey

Click here to read the press release about the survey from the European Commission.