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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Recommendations for EU development aid

The EU should better manage European development aid to reduce administrative costs, improve efficiency and deliver economies of scale, these are some of the recommendations made in a recently published research from the Centre for European Reform.
The study points out that there are several advantages to Commission-administered aid. One large programme is more likely to be effective than several small ones, so Commission management can deliver economies of scale and cut administrative costs, the paper says.
The Commission has 136 delegations working on development around the world. These reduce the need for member-states to have their own offices. Commission management also cuts the administrative burden on recipients: developing country governments often complain about having to report to large numbers of donors separately. Commission development aid is not perfect, but overall is well administered.
On the other side, it is recommended that Commission development aid should be used primarily for maintaining progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) , not for strategic or foreign policy reasons. The European External Action Service should be also involved in development aid decisions, since aid is a powerful means of extending the EU’s ‘soft power’, the study says.
Furthermore, it points out that much development aid should continue to go to sub-Saharan Africa. This part of the world already has several failed states, including Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Failed states provide a haven for terrorists and thus pose a risk to Europe, the paper shows. Moreover, over 400 million Africans – more than half the total population – live on less than $1.25 a day.

The EU spent €53 billion on aid in 2011. The Commission administered €9.6 billion; the rest was given directly by national governments.

Source: Euractiv