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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

EU Aid spending may face cuts

What are the prospects for EU development aid? One article recently published by Worldandmedia reviews how the economic crisis may lead to cuts to EU development aid. Although a number of European leaders reaffirmed their aid pledges in June, 2011, some countries, have frozen or decreased their development budget.
According to the article, Catherine Ray, spokesperson for the EU Commissioner for Development, states that there will be a “new, graded co-operation” and that direct aid will not be always provided. “I can’t predict accurately, I don’t know what could happen […] But our aim is to make sure people see that increasing aid is not a luxury”, she adds.  
Moreover, she underlines that aid budgets should remain predictable and, though conscious of the crisis, the EC asks EU member states “to respect their commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of their budget on aid by 2015”. Similarly, Ms. Ray highlights that Africa’s growth rate and long-term aid should be seen as “win-win situation”.
Thus, a key question appears to be the negotiations for the next period. Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has proposed an increase of around 17% to the aid to the 130  countries which remain in the programme. Ray concludes by stating: “We have asked for more. It is complicated to ask European tax-payers to pay [for aid] we are seeing a huge drop in budgets. But I think politicians are aware that aid is not a luxury – everybody needs to have poverty taken care of”..
Discussions will take place during the course of several months. Decisions resulting from these are foreseen to be taken and unveiled in late 2012