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European Commission - Press release

"In times of crisis, the EU must not forget the poorest in the world", says Commissioner Piebalgs. EU confirms its position as the world's largest aid donor in 2011 

Brussels, 4 April 2012 – With €53 billion of development aid in 2011, the European Union and its 27 Member States remains the world biggest donor, providing more than half of global official aid, preliminary figures on official development aid published by the OECD reveal today. At a time of heavy budgetary constraints, 16 Member States managed to increase their aid, three of them are ranked among the five largest donors worldwide and four of them have already reached the target of spending 0.7% of their Gross National Income (GNI) on aid. EU official development aid reached 0.42% of EU GNI, which exceeds the efforts of other major donors. However, efforts are still needed to reach the agreed target of 0.7% EU GNI by 2015.

Commissioner Piebalgs commented: "Despite the crisis, Europe reaffirms its solidarity with the poorest across the world. EU aid has pulled millions of people out of poverty and saved countless lives over the last ten years. Development aid is both solidarity and an investment to make the world safer and more prosperous. I therefore call on Member States to reaffirm their commitment to achieving the goal of increasing ODA to 0.7% of GNI by 2015".

After growing for three consecutive years despite the financial and economic crisis, EU official aid declined by about €500 million compared to 2010, a drop from 0.44% of GNI in 2010 to 0.42% in 2011. This has been based on mixed results in Member States.

  • Four EU Member States (Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) continue to exceed the 0.7% target, with Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden aiming to reach 1% of GNI.

  • Other Member States are moving towards achieving the 0.7% target, such as the UK, or keeping aid levels above the 2010 target of 0.51% of GNI (Belgium, Finland, Ireland). Germany and Italy have made considerable increases to their aid budgets in 2011.

  • Of the Member States that have joined the EU since 2004, all except one have either raised or maintained their aid levels, with Malta recording the highest growth in the EU, and Romania, Lithuania and Estonia also clocking up significant increases.

Background:

In 2005, EU Member States pledged to increase Official Development Assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015 and included an interim target of 0.56% ODA/GNI by 2010. These were based on individual targets of 0.7% ODA/GNI for the EU 15 and 0.33% 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 2012 EU Accountability Report on Financing for Development, which will be presented in June 2012.

For more information

See also MEMO/12/243

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

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

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

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

Contacts :

Catherine Ray (+32 2 296 99 21)

Wojtek Talko (+32 2 297 85 51)

Graph 1: EU ODA in Global Context

Graph 2: State of progress towards 2015


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