Oxfam International’s European Union office in Brussels fights inequality and injustice. We advocate for decision-makers in EU institutions and European countries to make EU policies that fight the inequality that keeps people locked in a cycle of poverty.
We advocate for just and fairer economies. We strive for gender justice and for the rights of women and girls in all their diversity. We fight for climate justice and create safe spaces that allow people to hold the powerful to account. Rooted in communities, we tackle the causes and consequences of disaster and conflict.
At the EU level, we advocate for:
EU development aid is for ending poverty, reducing inequality, and promoting gender justice. The EU must make sure that aid serves these ends and that there is enough money in the aid pot to do so.
The EU stands as one of the world’s largest and most principled humanitarian aid donors in the world. It prioritises the humanitarian needs over political agendas. But humanitarian needs around the world are outpacing available funding.
It is crucial that the EU take the right response in humanitarian crises, be they natural disasters or conflicts, while maintaining momentum in reforming processes for an effective humanitarian response that is locally-led and ensuring international law is always upheld.
The EU and EU countries must work together to make rules that fairly share the responsibility for welcoming people across Europe and to end the daily pushbacks and rights violations at Europe’s borders. Moreover, the EU must stop striking up dysfunctional and untransparent migration deals with non-EU countries in an attempt to outsource its responsibilities. At a time of multiple interlinking global crises, the EU must ensure that already scarce aid is used to end poverty and boost partner countries’ economies, not to end migration and boost borders.
The EU must contribute to a fairer tax system to reduce inequality between the rich and poor. Making the super-rich and the most profitable corporations pay their fair share, as well as ending tax havens, are essential to achieve a fairer tax system.
While the EU plays an important role in addressing global health challenges, in many ways, its internal and external policies contribute to inequality in accessing healthcare and medical products. For the EU to bring about meaningful change, it needs to reduce the structural dependence on aid and break the status quo.
The EU must stop destructive practices and step up its climate action to decarbonize all its sectors before 2050. It must also increase funding for international action to fight the climate emergency, which is the greatest threat to humanity.
The EU shouldn’t promote false climate solutions by incentivising the use of land to produce bioenergy. These policies are not only bad for the planet as they remove natural carbon sinks, but they also exacerbate food insecurity.
Civic space enables citizens to speak out against power. When civic space is open, people can fully enjoy their right to peacefully protest and mobilise around issues of importance to them, express their needs, interests, and concerns, and propose and negotiate solutions, as well as hold those in power to account.
Yet, around the world, civic space is shrinking. For the first time since 2004, the world counts more autocracies than democracies. The EU must be a global champion for civic space. It must promote, protect and enable civic space around the world.
The EU is creating new rules to make large companies police their global value chains for environmental and human rights risks. While this is a step in the right direction, the current proposal is a far cry from what is needed. These rules must make companies accountable for the damage they cause people and the planet.
The EU and EU countries must commit to a feminist foreign policy. This means an intersectional feminist approach which puts gender, racial, economic and climate justice at its heart, prioritizes decolonization and puts the voices of those who have historically been least represented and are often most impacted at the centre of policymaking.
The global food system is broken. It perpetuates hunger and poverty and widens the gap between the rich and the poor. The climate crisis, human rights violations, conflict, and, more recently, Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine, have added fuel to the fire, with more and more people not being able to put food on the table. The EU must support fairer and more sustainable food systems. It can start by strengthening food production at a local level in poorer countries and promoting the rights of farmers, especially women farmers, who are key in the fight against hunger and poverty.
The EU must relaunch its relationship with Latin America (LAC) by putting the region higher on the EU agenda. This ‘relaunch’ must focus on ending inequality in LAC - the world’s most unequal region. Europe and Latin America can be real partners in fighting for democracy, protecting civic space, ensuring tax justice as well as respect for human rights, sustainability, social and gender justice and multilateralism.
Oxfam International Advocacy, Brussels
Mundo Madou - Avenue des Arts 7 - 8, 1210 Brussels - Belgium
Tel: + 32 2 329 01 50