Brussels, 2 May 2018 – Today, the European Commission has released its communication on the Multi-annual Financial framework (2021-2027). CONCORD, the European Confederation of development NGOs, welcomes the budget dedicated to external actions but raises concern on the merge of external instruments allocated to development aid which will put aid objectives in jeopardy.
Despite the ever-changing environment for development aid, the communication sets out that €123 billion, representing approximately 10% of the total EU budget, is allocated to external action. CONCORD welcomes the EC’s proposal reflecting on its dedication to uphold and promote EU values and interests conceded in quantitative terms.
With adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement, Europe has taken serious commitment towards global solidarity and a more sustainable world. Development aid has its role to play in making these plans a reality and ensuring no one is left behind. By suggesting to increase the external action allocation in the new EU budget proposal in comparison to the previous framework, the EC reinforces this general commitment. Yet, the EU as a whole – including bilateral budgets from Member States – needs to take further significant steps to live up to giving itself the means to confirm its engagement.
Indeed, solely congratulating the budget allocation would disregard the main concern on how these funds will be distributed within the instruments.
The current proposal, merging 12 instruments, will endanger development cooperation objectives in favour of EU external policy interests. By diluting development aid in a broader external instrument framework, the EU will not only allow, but bolster the use of ODA for EU domestic priorities.
Given that aid is increasingly diverted in favour of border control and short-sighted migration policy [1 & 2], CONCORD is worried that the high percentage of unallocated funds in the heading “Neighbourhood and the World” would result in reinforcing the risk of funds being used to carry out short-term EU interests.
The fact that migration is set as a priority confirms our concern of development policy being progressively re-oriented toward EU self-interests. Instead of entitling the EU to blur development cooperation with foreign policy and crisis management, the new budget should prioritise long-standing development objectives
In addition, CONCORD is concerned that issues like Human Rights or Gender will no longer receive the attention and visibility they deserve and will be relegated as secondary priorities in a large instrument focused on forging partnerships with neighbouring and other countries to tackle EU migration, security and economic challenges.
Development NGOs call on the European Parliament and the Member States, in the further elaboration of the future EU budget, to make a clear distinction between long-term development aid objectives from short-term foreign policy and prioritise the needs of the partner countries over EU interests.
- Helene Debaisieux, CONCORD Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +32 (0)2 743 87 93
- Zuzana Sladkova, CONCORD Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, email@example.com, Tel +32 (0)2 743 87 77
Notes to editors:
CONCORD Europe: we are the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs, made up of 28 national associations, 21 international networks and 3 associate members that represent over 2.600 NGOs, supported by millions of citizens across Europe. https://concordeurope.org
The legal texts from the European Commission are available here.
Multi-annual Financial Framework: CONCORD timeline including previous papers and reactions.
 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 (link to animated infographics of the 3 trends).
AIDWATCH REPORTS: Since 2005, on a yearly basis, CONCORD AidWatch monitors aid spendings and formulates recommendations on the quality and quantity of aid provided by EU Member States and the European Commission. https://concordeurope.org/aidwatch-reports 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.