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IP/11/410

Brussels, 6 April 2011

Commissioner Piebalgs calls for EU to maintain its leadership on official development aid as new figures reveal it spent a record €53.8 billion in 2010

Today Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs presented the 2010 preliminary figures on official development aid spent by the EU and its 27 Member States. Aid rose by about €4.5 billion from 2009, reaching a total of €53.8 billion, which confirms the EU's position as the largest and most generous donor of official development assistance, providing more than half of global official aid. Although the EU missed its target for 2010, it still made positive progress despite the economic downturn. Three of the five largest donors worldwide are EU members and four of them have already reached the 0.7% target. Overall, EU aid represents 0.43% of EU Gross National Income. A substantial collective effort is still needed in order to achieve the goal of 0.7% by 2015, to which Member States have been committed.

"In 2010, the EU remains by far the leading donor worldwide. However, aid budgets must be increased if we are to meet our ambitious goals for 2015 and remain credible. This is a collective effort and we need all players to contribute their fair share. Aid is a smart investment in the future. Promoting inclusive growth and sustainable development in partner countries is in our mutual interest" said Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Development. "But efficient aid is not only about money. We must also improve the delivery and quality of the aid we provide. Later this year, I will put proposals on the table regarding the clearer focus of the future of development policy, better cooperation, and a higher impact on the ground."

In 2009, budgetary constraints weighed heavily on aid and many donors, including several EU Member States, decreased their spending on official development assistance (ODA), which resulted in a total of €49 billion or 0.42% of Gross National Income (GNI) for the Union in 2009. In 2010, 17 Member States increased aid volumes again, thus reversing the trend of the previous year. Expressed as a share of GNI and in total terms, 2010 consequently saw the highest amount of ODA ever spent by Europe: €53.8 billion (0.43% of GNI). Still, this falls far short of the commitments made by the EU, which had pledged to achieve 0.56% of GNI collectively for 2010. In absolute terms, EU spending stayed €14.5 billion below this commitment. Ten Member States spent less on ODA than in 2009.

The Commission commends the countries that have continued to increase their aid. Three out of the five largest donors worldwide are EU members – France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Sweden, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Denmark have already achieved 0.7% and remain well above this level. Altogether nine Member States were above the minimum targets set for EU Member States for 2010: Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Finland, Ireland and Cyprus.

Background:

In 2005, EU Member States pledged to increase Official Development Assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015. In 2010, they promised to collectively reach 0.56% of ODA/GNI. The 2010 target was based on individual targets of 0.51% ODA/GNI for the EU 15 and 0.17% GNI for the 12 Member States which joined the EU in 2004 and 2007. No other donors have made such a significant commitment to increasing aid.

The data presented today comes from two sources: For a majority of EU Member States, the information is provided by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which collects aid data of the members of its Development Assistance Committee (DAC) as well as of other countries that report figures to it. For the remaining EU Member States, the Commission has gathered the information for its annual report on Financing for Development. The report "Enhancing EU Accountability on Financing for Development" will be presented later in April 2011.

More information:

MEMO/11/221

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm


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