Failure to agree on budget will hit development aid hardest

16.11.2012 - 11:43

Campaigners are warning that development and humanisation aid will be disproportionally affected by cuts if EU leaders fail to agree on the upcoming budget.

Discussions are currently ongoing in member state capitals over the terms of the EU’s budget for 2014-2020, the multi-annual framework (MFF).

Negotiations have stalled, with some member states such as the the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK demanding cuts or for any increase on the current budget to be in line with inflation.

Development and humanitarian aid is earmarked to be €60 billion for the period 2014-2020, meaning €8.5 billion a year for the seven year period. However, warns development NGO Oxfam, a likely rejection of the European Commission’s proposal would see “the biggest cuts” for overseas aid.

On 29 October, the Cyprus presidency of the Council of the European Union issued a revised proposal of the MFF, with wide-ranging cuts amounting to €50 billion suggested. A further revised proposal, released by European Council President, Herman van Rompuy, outlines cuts of at least 9.65% to external spending overall (of which foreign aid makes up 6% of the total), and which is higher than the overall average proposed cuts of 7%. This will include a disproportionally high cut of 11% to the European Development Fund (EDF), which focuses on helping the world’s poorest countries.

According to Oxfam, “while the Cypriot Presidency proposed a 5% cut to the overall initial European Commission proposal, its proposal would affect the EU aid budget disproportionately. The EDF would be protected but the Development Co-operation instrument (DCI) is targeted despite its clear focus on the MDGs and on poverty alleviation”. The cut would represent 7.3 billion, and be over a cut of over 10% of external spending.

On 21 November, EU leaders meet with Van Rompuy to lay-out their positions and red line issues, while on 22 and 23 November EU heads of state and governments gather in Brussels for a special summit to discuss the budget.