By Martin Banks - 12th November 2012
It’s crucial that the development aid champions stand up and fight
A new report says the EU's proposed post-2014 budget for development aid to the world's poorest would "more than pay for itself" by 2020.
The report claims that the €51bn earmarked through the EU's development cooperation instrument (DCI) and the European development fund (EDF) for 2014-2020 would be "completely recouped".
It says there would be a net gain in EU gross domestic product (GDP) of €11.5bn, while sub-Saharan Africa would see a GDP boost of 2.5 per cent.
The appeal is timed to coincide with a summit of EU leaders and heads of state on 22/23 November where the long-term EU budget will top the agenda.
The commission and parliament want a five per cent increase in the post-2014 budget, but there are mounting fears that the budget may be frozen or even cut.
If that happens, some believe that the overseas aid budget could suffer.
Such concerns were underlined last week when the Cyprus EU presidency published figures suggesting average cuts to so-called 'external spending instruments' of at least 7.3 per cent.
This comes despite a recent survey saying that 85 per cent of EU citizens believe that Europe should continue helping developing countries despite the economic crisis.
More than 110,000 people have also signed a petition calling on EU leaders to protect aid spending.
The new report, carried out on behalf of anti-poverty group ONE, was published on Monday.
It calls on leaders to protect EU aid spending, with Eloise Todd, Brussels director of ONE, commenting, "The vast majority of people across Europe support development aid spending, despite the tough economic climate.
"But this report shows that EU aid also more than pays for itself; so there is a strong economic case for this spending that bolsters the widely-supported humanitarian one."
Todd added, "Between 2004 and 2009, EU aid helped enrol more than nine million children in primary education, vaccinate 5.5 million children against measles, and connect more than 31 million people to clean water.
"Protecting future EU aid spending is a win-win for Europe."
"As Europe's leaders prepare for the EU budget summit later this month, it's crucial that the development aid champions stand up and fight to protect these lifesaving funds. Cuts must not cost lives."
Several countries have pledged to support EU development aid spending in recent weeks, including France, Denmark and the UK.
Several countries, including Denmark, Ireland and the UK have also protected development aid from national budget cuts.
Parliament, in a vote last month, said proposed EU funds for so-called external spending should be considered the 'bare minimum'.