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Thursday, 24 June 2010

Dwindling EU development aid spent on deporting refugees

'Charity begins at home' goes the old maxim, and when it comes to aid for the third world, Europe very much adheres to this motto.  As the economic crisis pinches national budgets, EU member states' funds set aside for development are dwindling and increasingly being used instead as channels for public cash for domestic companies and promoting national vested interests rather than poverty reduction in the poorest of countries. Some states are even counting the cost of deporting refugees back to their home countries as 'development aid'. "The EU is becoming very opportunistic in terms of aid. The definition of aid is changing," says Hussaini Abdo, country director for Action Aid in Nigeria, a UK-based development group. "Spending can go instead on debt relief, repatriating migrants." "There is even talk of counting remittances - the money sent home by immigrants. This is taking the fruits of the labour of migrants and calling that aid." According to an annual report from Concord, an alliance of Europe's main development NGOs and charities, published on 10 June, EU development aid for 2009 amounted to €49 billion, one billion less than in 2008.
Source: euobserver.com