New EU development framework: self-interest trumps solidarity

Published: 18th May 2017

EU governments have today furthered the recent trend of using development aid to advance their own short-sighted interests. They have adopted a new framework for the European Union’s development policy that neither listens to EU citizens nor focuses on eradicating poverty.

Oxfam International Deputy Director for Advocacy and Campaigns, Natalia Alonso, said:

“EU governments have chosen to put their own political objectives ahead of those of development. They are trying to stop people from reaching Europe in search of safety and dignity, instead of fighting inequality and poverty.

“20 million people are now at risk of starvation, and 750 million still live in extreme poverty. The vast majority of EU citizens want to help. But the new EU development framework doesn’t take this wish into account.

“Positive elements in the EU plan like commitments on poverty eradication or women’s rights are being overrun by short-term political interests.”

Notes to editors

  • The European Consensus on Development sets the direction for EU development policy. It is a non-legally binding framework on how to implement the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals in EU external policy. The Commission presented a proposal for the Consensus in November 2016. Member states changed crucial commitments and adopted the new version today.
  • Oxfam identified risks in the new Consensus relating to new objectives for development cooperation, such as tackling migration and increasing state security. The use of private and blended finance without appropriate safeguards is also of concern.
  • Oxfam criticizes the EU’s recent refocusing of foreign and development policies around the primary aim of curbing migration. The EU-Africa Trust Fund, the Migration Partnership Framework and the External Investment Plan all aim at stopping migration to Europe. The new Consensus furthers that approach.
  • Oxfam calls for rigorous standards, e.g. on sustainability and human rights, to better regulate the use of aid in private sector investments, and to ensure that development goals are not undermined by commercial motivations.
  • According to the Eurobarometer survey released in April 2017, 68% of EU citizens say that tackling poverty in developing countries should be one of the main priorities of the EU.

Contact information

Jamie Osborn | Brussels | | +32 2 234 11 29

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