EU budget deal fails to deliver for most in need

The budget deal struck by EU governments, the European Parliament and the European Commission promises more funds for the EU’s external action, but diverts money from those most in need, warn development and humanitarian organizations.

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

“EU governments and the European Parliament are promising more money to tackle the challenges of the refugee and migrant crisis, but to do this they are taking it away from the world’s poorest. Cutting humanitarian aid by 15% will not help tackle forced displacement.

“By allocating the largest amount of the EU’s development funding to migration, governments have shown once again to prioritize their short-term objectives over the global challenge of poverty eradication.

“The EU’s migration response must meet the needs of refugees and other migrants, and not serve solely the interests of European governments. Europe has committed to use development aid to lift people out of poverty - so it should not be used for a short-sighted scheme aimed at convincing and coercing third countries to stop migration.”

Plan International’s EU Representative, Alexandra Makaroff, added:

“Now, more than ever, the EU needs to demonstrate leadership on the world stage, and defend the values it supposedly stands for. Our leaders have committed to making sure no one is left behind, but this budget deal flies in the face of that commitment.

“From the figures we’ve seen so far, budget lines which are supposed to help fight poverty and provide emergency assistance are being simultaneously slashed and repurposed as political instruments. By agreeing to cut traditional development and humanitarian aid, the EU is effectively turning its back on millions of people in need of life-saving aid.

This deal only serves to confirm that national self-interest has trumped global solidarity, at the expense of those most in need of support.”

Notes to editors: 
  • For further details on the agreement, see the press releases of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission.
  • Next steps: Both the Council and the Parliament have to formally adopt the agreement. The vote in the plenary of the European Parliament will most likely take place on 1 December 2016.
  • Development and humanitarian aid fall under Heading 4 of the EU Budget, Global Europe:
    • Under the Development Cooperation (DCI), the largest budget line is Migration and Asylum, which has increased by almost €350 million compared to 2016.
    • The Humanitarian Aid budget has been cut by 14.7% in commitments and 22.1% in payments compared to 2016.
  • A detailed analysis of the development and humanitarian aspects of the EU Budget 2017 deal will be published in the coming days. Please contact Florian Oel or Louise Hagendijk for further details.
  • Oxfam’s briefing paper “Causing suffering and problems - Europe’s approach to migration” analyses why the EU’s response to migration is not solving problems, but creating new ones.
Contact information: 

Florian Oel | Brussels | florian.oel@oxfaminternational.org | office +32 2 234 11 15 | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

Louise Hagendijk | Plan International louise.hagendijk@plan-international.org | +32 (0)2 504 60 56 | +32 (0)4 70 59 80 62

For updates, please follow @Oxfam and @OxfamEU