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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 3 April 2013

The European Commission calls on EU Member States to fulfil their commitments towards the world's poorest

Aid figures released by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) today show that the European Union and its 27 Member States remained the world's largest donor in 2012, providing more than half of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) reported by Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The economic crisis and severe budgetary constraints facing most developed countries have impacted global Official Development Assistance (ODA) levels negatively, resulting in a nominal decrease of more than EUR 8 billion compared to 2011. The EU collective ODA decreased to EUR 55.1 bn from EUR 56.2 bn in 2011; or from 0.45% to 0.43% of EU gross national income (GNI). The total ODA of the 27 EU Member States alone decreased from 52.8 bn to 50.5 bn, or from 0.42 to 0.39% of GNI. Only four Member States increased1 and seven maintained their ODA levels2, while 16 Member States reduced their effort.

Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: "It is with regret that I see some Member States carrying out reductions of their ODA budgets. The EU is still the leading donor, but we are not moving in the direction of reaching our collective target of providing 0.7% of the EU Gross National Income (GNI) for development purposes. I realise some EU countries are in a dramatic situation due to the on-going crisis but we need to deliver on our commitments. Let me recall that even in times of crisis Europeans show their deeply rooted solidarity with partner countries: according to the Eurobarometer survey of October 2012, 85% of EU citizens believe that Europe should continue helping developing countries. I call on all Member States to redouble their efforts towards increasing ODA to 0.7%"

The European Council confirmed in February 2013 that a key priority for Member States is to respect the EU's formal undertaking to collectively spend 0.7% of GNI to official development assistance by 2015, thus making a decisive step towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. However, the level of funding that Heads of States and Governments agreed for the 2014-2020 period foresees €58.7 billion for external aid from the EU budget which falls short of the €70 billion proposed by the European Commission. In addition, the European Council also agreed on €26.98 billion for the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for 2014-2020, against €30.3 billion suggested by the European Commission.

This level of funding agreed by the European Council will not allow the EU budget and the EDF to maintain their share of the 0.7% ODA commitment. Therefore "EU Member States will need to increase substantially their national development budgets in order to respect their individual and the EU collective commitments. As the current situation in the Sahel region or in the Horn of Africa reminds us, it is more efficient to invest in development and eliminate the root causes of poverty than deal with its symptoms further down the line.", added the Commissioner.

From 2002, when the EU first formally adopted individual and collective ODA targets, to 2010, EU ODA had been on an overall upward trend, though with some fluctuations. Unfortunately the decreases in 2011 and 2012 break the trend and return the EU ODA to the levels below 2008. This is based on the mixed performance of Member States:

  • In total, 11 Member States increased their ODA nominally by EUR 966 million, while the decreases in the 16 others amounted to 3.2 billion. The ODA/GNI ratio increased in four Member States.

  • Four EU Member States continue to exceed the 0.7% ODA/ GNI mark (Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden, Netherlands), with Denmark and Sweden aiming to reach 1% of GNI and Luxembourg having reached it in 2012. Also, despite remaining at their 0.56% level of 2011, the UK has confirmed reaching the 0.7% target in 2013.

Reaching the target of 0.7% of EU collective GNI by 2015 would require almost doubling ODA, which requires very substantial effort by most Member States. The additional EU ODA from the EIB own resources supports progress towards the collective target.


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. EU countries that were already at or above 0.7% ODA/ GNI pledged to sustain their efforts. The EU Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their commitment to reach the 0.7% target by 2015 at the European Council on 7/8 February 2013.

No other donors have made such a significant commitment to increasing aid.

The data is based on preliminary information reported by the EU Member States to the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development or to the EU Commission.

EU collective ODA consists of the total ODA spending of the EU27 Member States and the ODA of EU institutions not attributed to individual Member States.

For more information

MEMO/13/299: Publication of preliminary data on Official Development Assistance, 2012

IP/12/1102: Yes to more solidarity towards the poorest countries: broad support for development aid, new survey reveals

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

Contacts :

Alexandre Polack (+32 2 299 06 77)

1 :

Austria, Latvia, Luxemburg, Poland

2 :

Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, United Kingdom

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