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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

NGOs: EU ‘self interest’ inflates aid by over €5bn in 2010

EU member states are becoming increasingly inward-looking and eager to promote aid policies which prioritise foreign or domestic policy objectives, said this year’s flagship AidWatch report – Challenging self-interest: Getting EU aid fit for the fight against poverty. In addition to weakening their ambitions on aid levels, aid effectiveness and budget support, they are linking their aid more closely to EU security, migration and commercial interests, the report says. For example, while the OECD labels no fewer than 48 countries as fragile, more than 30% of all global development aid channelled to fragile states since 2002 has gone to just three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan figures as a priority country for 11 EU countries, including Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK. High levels of poverty and significant development challenges in Afghanistan cannot fully explain the EU’s interest in engaging in the country. As this year’s AidWatch member survey shows, allocations to Afghanistan have been justified domestically mostly on grounds of security and migration concerns. Jean Kamau from ActionAid Kenya said: “Aid is under assault and EU self-interest seems to be driving it. It’s bad enough that the majority of member states are cutting aid but using it to mask domestic or foreign policy priorities is totally unacceptable”.

Source: Oxfam