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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

UK’s interests at play in development aid

Despite uncertainties on UK’s membership future in the EU, the country is likely to remain an important player in Europe’s overseas development policies, participating in donor policy debates, as does non-EU member Switzerland.
Britain has had significant influence in shaping EU overseas policy, having played a central role in reshaping aid policies and in pressing other advanced countries to target world poverty. “A key priority for the UK [was] really about results and accountability and transparency and value for money,” said Mikaela Gavas, a researcher at the Overseas Development Institute think tank in London.
However, Gavas admitts that a Britain outside of Europe “would stand to lose on the global reach of the EU, [and] the fact is that the EU reaches some very strategic and important countries for the UK which UK aid doesn’t,” Gavas said. These include a number of Commonwealth countries, the Caribbean, North Africa, the Middle East “and other areas that are important to the Foreign Office.”
Britain spends a higher percentage of its gross national income (0.56%) on aid than Germany (0.40%) and two other former colonial powers in Africa, Belgium (0.53%) and France (0.46%). Britain and Europe’s economic powerhouse Germany provided nearly the same amount of development aid in 2011 - €10.5 billion and €11 billion respectively.
Prime Minister David Cameron is to lay out his vision of the nation’s future in the EU in a speech on Wednesday (23 January) after months of cross-Channel combat over how to manage Europe’s financial and economic challenges.

Source: Euractiv