EU ‘self-interest’ drives European aid, warns AidWatch

"Changelling Self Interest,"
a report about European aid

Source: Eurostep

The EU’s aid commitments are becoming increasingly determined by domestic political agendas as well as security, immigration and commercial interests, says a new report, launched on 19 May by AidWatch. According to the study, entitled “Challenging self-interests: Getting EU aid fit for the fight against poverty”, the member states inflated official aid spending by more than 5 billion of euros and only nine countries met their committed aid targets.

As an example of the EU’s increasingly self-interest driven allocation of aid, the report emphasises that more than 30% of all global development aid channelled to fragile states since 2002 has been allocated to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan alone. This aid has been mainly justified by EU member states on the grounds of serious security and migration concerns. 

“Aid is under assault and EU self-interest seems to be driving it. It’s bad enough that the majority of member states are cutting aid but using it to mask domestic or foreign policy priorities is totally unacceptable,” Jean Kamau, from ActionAid Kenya, said.

The report also points to the importance for the EU to increase democratic ownership of the aid agenda. To this end, the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development (CONCORD) has called on the European Commission to reserve 15% of its country allocations funds in the next EU budget for civil society.

In preparation for the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to be held in Busan this November, EU member states have called for an allocation framework to be mainly driven by “domestic political contexts”. However, Stephen Doughty from Oxfam International has reiterated, “ending poverty must remain in the driving seat of EU aid policies”.

The summit will also address EU member states’ agreement to provide 0.7% of their GNI for official development assistance (ODA) by 2015, a pledge to which many member states are still not living up, the report points out.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, recently announced plans to enshrine the government’s ODA commitments in law, which shall emphasise the UK’s “pledge to spend 0.7% of GNI … on [ODA] from 2013”. However, some Conservative MPs have voiced anger over Cameron’s plans that come at a time where spending on domestic priorities, such as security, is being cut.

More information

AidWatch report, in PDF format.


The Guardian.

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