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Wednesday, 09 January 2013

Georgieva vows to protect EU humanitarian aid funding

Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union's humanitarian aid commissioner, told EurActiv she was reasonably confident that the EU’s aid funding would not fall victim to the push by some EU member states to slash the EU budget for 2014-2020. But she also vowed to fight to preserve humanitarian aid, with “no apologies” made to detractors.
Georgieva said she had good reasons to consider that the “humanitarian line” of the EU’s long-term budget will remain “just about what is in the Commission’s proposal”. But, her expectation may appear over-optimistic. The latest draft budget proposal tabled by Council President Herman Van Rompuy slashes development aid and humanitarian assistance by almost €10 billion to €60.6 billion.
Among her arguments, she mentioned the relatively small size of the humanitarian aid budget, as well as the fact that this was one of the few areas where EU funds allocated had been fully utilised.
“If there would be cuts in the Commission’s proposal, the question would be: Will they be deeper in the area of humanitarian aid? I hope not, because we trust the facts, and the facts are that the humanitarian budget is tiny, it’s 0.62% [of the total EU budget], but with this money we help 150 million people. And for them, this is the most important thing the Commission does, Europe does,” Georgieva said in an interview.
The Commissioner affirmed that the EU’s Emergency Aid Reserve (EAR), which allows it to respond to unforeseen disasters, has been used to the fullest in the past three years. And unfortunately, needs were expected to continue growing very rapidly, “because of mother nature, because of conflicts,” she said.


Source: Euractiv

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