EU governments agree to boost development aid

Published: 1 November 2005

Brussels, May 24, 2005: European Union countries agreed on Tuesday to increase aid spending to meet the Millenuim Development Goals (MDGs). EU development ministers endorsed proposals from the European Commission to boost aid to meet the goal of spending 0.7 percent of gross national income in official development aid in 10 years' time by setting an interim target. The bloc's 15 old member states agreed to spend at least 0.51 percent of gross national income (GNI) on aid by 2010 and at least 0.7 percent by 2015.

Brussels, May 24, 2005: European Union countries agreed on Tuesday to increase aid spending to meet the Millenuim Development Goals (MDGs). EU development ministers endorsed proposals from the European Commission to boost aid to meet the goal of spending 0.7 percent of gross national income in official development aid in 10 years' time by setting an interim target. The bloc's 15 old member states agreed to spend at least 0.51 percent of gross national income (GNI) on aid by 2010 and at least 0.7 percent by 2015.

"Today's landmark agreement could inject up to 40 billion dollars extra in the fight against poverty and saves millions of lives," said Jo Leadbeater, Oxfam's Head of Advocacy. "The EU's commitment to reach 0.7% by 2015 throws down the gauntlet to the US, Japan and Canada just weeks before crucial G8 meetings.

"The EU's bold announcement leaves the US with nowhere to hide. If they fail to step up to the mark and pay their share they will be responsible

for derailing an historic deal on aid that would help lift millions out of poverty.

"The continued mixed messages from Germany on aid seriously undermines their credibility and threatens their chance of a seat at the Security Council. The German Finance Minister must immediately publicly confirm their timetable to reach 0.7% by 2014."

Global Call to Action against Poverty spokesperson, Kumi Naidoo, noted that more still needs to be done. "However, the EU can still go further and all eyes are now on the EU Finance Ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg on June 07. We want them to strengthen today’s deal and show even more ambition to make poverty history. GCAP is specifically calling for EU member states to honor their commitments to reach the 0.7% target and agree binding timetables to actually meeting this objective.”

On Germany announcing that they commit to reach 0.70% by 2015, Naidoo continued, “Whilst we welcome Germany’s announcement to commit to the 0.70% target, we are now looking forward to hearing from Finance Minister Hans Eichel and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on how Germany is planning to move forward on this. Firm action must follow public commitments.”

Contact Information

For further information:
Louis Belanger, Oxfam Press Officer, 32 473 562 260
Email: louis.belanger@oxfaminternational.org
Barbara Kwateng, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) Press Officer
32 222 402 06 or 32 476 621 018
Email: barbara.kwateng@icftu.org
Donor countries agreed in 1970 to reach 0.7 per cent of GNI as foreign aid, at the latest by 1980 at the latest. Twenty five years after this deadline only five countries have reached this target. Four are EU member states (The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Luxembourg). The Global Call to Action against Poverty (www. whiteband.org) is the largest anti-poverty coalition committed to pushing world leaders to live up to their promises, and to make a breakthrough on poverty in 2005. The campaign is calling on world leaders to fulfill their commitments on trade justice, more and better aid and full debt cancellation. It is also demanding transparency and accountability from all governments in their plans to eliminate poverty and reach the Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a commitment by global leaders to halve poverty and hunger, provide education for all, improve standards of health, halt the spread of major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and slow down environmental degradation by 2015.