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Tuesday, 05 February 2013

Foreign aid for sexual health sparks hot budget debate

The relatively small sum for EU development aid to finance family planning services in poor nations has sparked an outgoing debate over how European aid money is spent.
In January, anti-abortion campaigners began collecting signatures for a European Citizens’ Initiative to ban the use of EU money for abortions at home or abroad. The One of Us campaign, backed by an Italian pro-life organisation, says more than 34,000 people have signed so far, out of the one million needed for the initiative to be considered. In the same time, a Brussels NGO, European Dignity Watch, last year accused the European Commission of violating its own rules by funding abortions without the approval of all member states.
This comes shortly before the 7-8 February EU budget summit, where development aid for 2014-20120 is expected to be diminished by 11%.
Under these conservative pressures, the EU financing for family planning, reproductive health and AIDS has been constantly reduced - from €234 million in 2007 to €150 million last year, according to a Europmapping 2012 report on development aid and population assistance annual overview of Europe’s development assistance relating to population issues). The total value of development aid provided by the EU for the period 2008-2013 (under 10th EDF) amounts to EUR 22 billion.
Since 1958, the European Development Fund (EDF) has been the main geographic instrument for financial and technical cooperation between the European Community and developing countries and territories which, for historic reasons, maintained special links with certain Member States. The EDF is not funded from the EU's general budget, but rather from direct contributions from EU countries, the amounts of which are agreed in negotiations, which take into account the special relations between certain Member States and the ACP countries

Source: Euractiv, European Commission