Despite proposed spending increase, EU fails its own development aid targets in 2020 budget, Oxfam says

Published: 23rd October 2019

The European Parliament has voted today to increase the EU’s overall spending for development aid in the EU budget for 2020.

Reacting to the news, Marissa Ryan, head of Oxfam’s EU office and Oxfam International Deputy Director for Advocacy and Campaigns, said:

“It’s good to see that the European Parliament has suggested an increase to the EU’s proposed spending on development and humanitarian action in 2020. However,the EU will nonetheless fail to meet its own spending commitments on education, public health and gender equality in developing countries for seven years in a row.

“The European Union has long been a champion of development cooperation, and its next seven-year budget is a crucial moment to scale up efforts to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and contribute to a more peaceful and just world. EU governments and the Parliament must agree a truly visionary long-term budget to overcome policies of self-interest, and they must make their commitments binding.”

Notes to editors

  • The European Parliament voted for an overall 2020 EU budget of EUR 171 billion in commitment appropriations and EUR 159 billion in payment appropriations, representing an overall increase of EUR 2,7 billion in commitment appropriations compared to the Commission proposal.
  • The EU Budget 2020 is the last one in the current multi-year budget cycle, the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF). Hence, it is the last chance to meet the political commitments set by the EU in this MFF.
  • The overall budget for ‘human development’ – that is support for issues like education, public health and gender equality – is EUR 210 million in commitments, an increase by EUR 10 million or 5% compared to last year’s budget, and EUR 262 million in payments, an increase of EUR 15 million. 
  • This increase still fails to meet the target – set in the EU’s current long-term budget, the ‘Multi-annual Financial Framework’ (MFF) – to spend 20% of its development aid on human development. The EU has systematically fallen behind on this commitment throughout the current MFF, except for the year of 2015. According to Commission data, the EU has spent only 16,9% of its development aid on human development. Hence, an increase of EUR 450 million would have been needed to reach the 20% target. 
  • The Parliament also voted to revert the cut proposed by member states of EUR 50 million for humanitarian aid.
  • The Parliament, the member states and the Commission have until 18 November to agree on a compromise budget. The final budget is expected to be adopted by the Parliament on 27 November.
  • The EU budget represents around 1% of EU gross national income (GNI), and just above 2% of all public spending in the EU.

Contact information

Florian Oel | Brussels | | office+32 2 2341115|mobile+3247356 22 60

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