Strong external aid budget crucial in fight to end extreme poverty

The European Parliament has once again shown its support for the fight to end extreme poverty, when voting on the EU’s budget for 2017. MEPs rejected the member states’ proposed cuts and suggested an increase of almost half a billion euros to external spending – a move welcomed by ONE, Oxfam and Plan International. The coalition of development organisations calls for the EU member states to reverse their proposed cuts to external spending and increase aid beyond the budget ceiling if the EU is to meet its commitment to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Commenting on the overall amount of external spending proposed, Tamira Gunzburg, Brussels Director at The ONE Campaign, said:

“ONE welcomes the European Parliament’s call for additional funding to EU external spending. The European Commission has also recently proposed additional funding for new initiatives such as the external investment plan. While the Parliament and Commission show that the budget’s ceilings must urgently be increased, they still do not cover all of the EU’s new commitments made since the refugee crisis. Existing development aid meant for eradicating extreme poverty remains at risk of being diverted. In the upcoming negotiations, EU member states must now also get with the times and mobilise sufficient funding beyond the outdated ceilings. Only this way can the EU both address the refugee crisis and continue working toward its promise to end extreme poverty by 2030.”

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

“The Parliament has once again supported a strong EU external aid budget, and Member States must follow this example by reversing the cuts they have proposed to development and humanitarian aid budget lines. The EU can’t meet its existing commitments to tackling poverty and supporting sustainable development in the world’s poorest countries otherwise. As these negotiations proceed, it’s crucial to preserve not only the amount of aid but also its purpose. EU development cooperation must have, at its core, poverty eradication. It is not, and must not become, a security and migration management tool.”

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

“We call on the European Parliament to ensure that additional funds for external action in the 2017 budget are spent for addressing the root causes of displacement, and not on border control. We have already witnessed cases where the EU and its member states risk dropping their commitment to a foreign and development policy that defends universal values – especially human rights. The Parliament and member states must make sure the EU does not engage in a short-sighted scheme aimed at convincing and coercing third countries to stop migration.”

Notes to editors: 
  • Read more on the EU Budget 2017.
  • Following the Parliament’s vote, three weeks of “conciliation” talks will begin with the Council, with the aim of reaching a deal between the institutions in time for next year's budget to be voted by Parliament and signed by its President in December.
  • Ahead of the vote, the European Commission presented an amending letter to the original draft budget for 2017, suggesting a €1 billion increase in commitments to EU external spending. The amendment proposes mobilising additional financing under the contingency margin for new initiatives such as the European Fund for Sustainable Development and the partnership framework
  • 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.
  • With its #EUBudget campaign “Yesterday’s solutions no longer work today”, ONE is urging European leaders to increase the aid budget beyond the old ceilings, so that the EU can both respond to the refugee crisis and fulfil the EU’s commitment to end extreme poverty by 2030.

ABOUT ONE: ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organisation of more than 7,5 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, we raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programmes.  one.org.

ABOUT OXFAM: Oxfam is an international confederation of 18 organizations working together with partners and local communities in more than 90 countries. One person in three in the world lives in poverty. Oxfam is determined to change that world by mobilizing the power of people against poverty. Oxfam International’s European Union office in Brussels works to challenge EU policies to make them work for people in poverty. oxfam.org/eu

ABOUT PLAN INTERNATIONAL: Founded in 1937, Plan International is a development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. We strive for a just world, working together with children, young people, our supporters and partners. Plan International EU Office strives to ensure the promotion and protection of children’s rights is a priority in the EU’s external action. plan-international.org/eu

Contact information: 

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

Andrea Ghianda | ONE | andrea.ghianda@one.org | +32 (0)2 300 89 42 | +32 (0)471 89 64 22

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