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Monday, 29 July 2013

EU’s overseas aid corps: 40% slash in funding

The European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, proposed by the Commission in September 2012, is still waiting full legislative approval and the proposal has already been hit by a 40% budget cut, leaving a total of €147 million set aside for the new programme in the next seven-year budget.
The project landed on the chopping block when EU leaders - on June 19yh - capped spending at €960 billion in the 2014-2020 budget cycle, down from the current €1 trillion. The Commission had requested €239.1 million for the corps of which €137 million was to fund overseas deployments for thousands of volunteers.
Howwevr, the current presidency of Lithuania wants to press ahead with a programme it sees as a priority of its EU presidency: “We consider that this piece of legislation is one of the most important within the sphere of humanitarian aid,” Rolandas Kriščiūnas, Lithuania’s vice minister of foreign affairs, told the European Parliament’s development committee on 9 July.
The 2009 Lisbon Treaty calls for creating the corps as part of the reforms aimed at bulking up the EU’s foreign policy muscle. Some €1.2 million was set aside to fund pilot projects this year and the Commission plan calls for training some 10,000 volunteers through 2020 to help in global operations.
The aim of the programme is to provide training and support for volunteers who would serve several months to a year responding to needs in developing and emerging nations. They would help provide support for health, nutrition, hygiene and education – some of the EU’s top development goals.
The regulation creating the corps was approved by the Parliament’s development committee in April and is still awaiting an initial plenary vote.

Source: Euractiv