Brussels, 4 April 2008
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, said: "We are worried about this trend because we cannot afford to reduce development aid while trying to achieve the UN Millennium Development (MDGs). We need more money to cut extreme poverty by half, get every child a primary education and improve other conditions for people living in countries covered by the MDGs. As I already warned last year, debt relief decisions are very positive but they are one-off measures. We need more predictable and sustained aid."
Louis Michel, Commissioner responsible for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "We strongly urge Member States to keep their promises and substantially increase aid levels. As the biggest donor in the world, we should give a good example and lead also in attaining higher aid levels, as we pledged in 2005. "
Following a substantial increase in 2006, EU aid figures for 2007 have gone down to € 46,1 billion (2006: € 47.7 billion). The decrease in aid goes against EU leaders' conclusions in the 2005 European Council, where the EU pledged to increase aid levels collectively and individually by all Member States. The decrease is largely explained by the end of exceptionally high levels of debt relief in the previous two years.
The global trend is also worrying. For the second year in a row, global aid provided by the 22 donors of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD went down. According to the figures released, global aid went down to USD 103.7 billion (€ 70 billion).
The Commission will reiterate its call to increase aid levels and commit to the promises made in the G8, the UN and the major international conferences later this year on financing for development and improving aid effectiveness. Financing for development and aid effectiveness will be subject of the communication "The EU as a Global Partner for Development" that the Commission will adopt on 9 April 2008. In this Communication the Commission will propose that that every Member State puts forward a multi annual plan, indicating the increases planned per year.
The EU is the biggest donor in the world, with Official Development Assistance amounting to € 93 per citizen (Japan: €44, US: €53). Europe accounts for around 90% of worldwide commitments to scale up aid levels. Around 90% of the increase in aid to Africa comes from the EU.
At the European Council in 2005, Member States pledged to increase aid development, expressed as a ratio Official Development Assistance (ODA) to GNI. They promised to reach 0,56% of ODA/GNI by 2010 and 0,7% ODA/GNI by 2015. In 2006, the EU reached 0,41% ODA/GNI, in 2007 0,38% ODA/GNI.