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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

EU leaders urged to 'stand up and fight' for overseas aid

A new report says the EU's proposed post-2014 budget for development aid to the world's poorest would "more than pay for itself" by 2020.
It claims that the €51bn earmarked through the EU's development cooperation instrument (DCI) and the European development fund (EDF) for 2014-2020 would be "completely recouped" and would bring a net gain in EU gross domestic product (GDP) of €11.5bn, while sub-Saharan Africa would see a GDP boost of 2.5 per cent. The report was carried out on behalf of anti-poverty group ONE and published on Monday.
The appeal is timed to coincide with a summit of EU leaders and heads of state on 22/23 November where the long-term EU budget will top the agenda. The commission and parliament want a five per cent increase in the post-2014 budget, but there are mounting fears that the budget may be frozen or even cut. If that happens, some believe that the overseas aid budget could suffer.

Such concerns were underlined last week when the Cyprus EU presidency published figures suggesting average cuts to so-called 'external spending instruments' of at least 7.3 per cent.
This comes despite a recent survey saying that 85 per cent of EU citizens believe that Europe should continue helping developing countries despite the economic crisis.
More than 110,000 people have also signed a petition calling on EU leaders to protect aid spending.
Several countries have pledged to support EU development aid spending in recent weeks, including France, Denmark and the UK.
Several countries, including Denmark, Ireland and the UK have also protected development aid from national budget cuts
Source: The Parliament