Today discussions between European heads of State on the European Union’s seven year budget due to come into effect in 2014 broke down at the end of two days of negotiations.
International development agencies have been battling to ensure that as the budget is tightened and reductions are made, overseas development assistance cuts are not disproportionately high in comparison to the rest of the EU multi-annual financial framework (MFF). Over the past months leading up to these negotiations, many organisations, including RESULTS UK, have sought to convince heads of State and relevant Ministers that despite the need for austerity, the budget must not be balanced on the backs of the world’s poorest.
Unfortunately, when the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy presented his updated proposal for the MFF yesterday it was clear that the amount allocated to overseas development assistance was being squeezed in an attempt to appease competing demands – none of which seemed to focus on developing countries. In the new MFF proposal Mr Van Rompuy had identified cuts of at least €81.85bn to the previous Commission proposal of €1 091.55bn – representing a 7.5% cut overall. However the cut to development spending represents a 12.8% reduction – much higher than the overall budgetary reduction.
The last time such negotiations took place was in 2005, to agree the current seven year budget. This time around, as many EU States face heavy austerity measures at home there is strong opposition from some, including the UK to agree anything more than a budgetary freeze at the EU level. In a statement issued by David Cameron he noted that now is not “a time for tinkering” with the multi-annual financial framework, indicating that he wishes to see major cuts to the budget.
The next negotiations between heads of State on the budget will likely take place in January 2013 according to a statement issued by the European Council at the end of today’s negotiations.
On Tuesday, the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, set out a new negotiating text on the EU’s next 7-year budget: Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF). The text included damaging cuts to the EU’s development spending. It proposes cutting 11 per cent off the European Development Fund (EDF) as well as a 9 per cent cut to ‘Heading 4′ which includes the EU’s Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). The EDF and the DCI are the EU’s two international development spending pots.
In a letter to the UK development NGO umbrella organisation BOND in January this year, the UK’s Minister for Europe, Rt Hon David Lidington MP made clear that whilst the UK Government would be seeking reductions in the proposed EU budget, they considered Heading 4 to be a priority area. In subsequent conversations between BOND members and UK Government officials since January, this sentiment was re-iterated.
In March, RESULTS UK launched an action calling on the UK Government to safeguard Heading 4 and the EDF. In responses to written communications, both UK Government ministers and the European Development Commissioner cited the importance of ensuring Heading 4 continued to make up at least 20 per cent of the overall EU budget. In addition, the then DFID Minister Stephen O’Brien, noted that international development spending ‘should have an increased share of a smaller overall budget’.
In advance of the EU heads of state budget summit next week on 22-23 November, NGOs are urging the UK government to stick to its commitments to the very poorest people in the world. We are also urging our grassroots volunteers to contact their Members of European Parliament asking them to write to David Lidington MP urging him to actively support the maintenance of the current proposed level of EU aid and to ask that the UK Government play a strong leadership role in encouraging other EU member states to protect EU aid from cuts. It is very important that David Lidington knows there is strong commitment from the UK public and from MEPs to maintain funding for EU development aid.
We are pleased to announce that a recording of our February conference call is now available for download. Our guest speaker on the call was Alexander Woolcombe, Brussels director of the ONE Campaign. Click here to download the conference call.
Alexander discussed the ongoing discussions around the upcoming EU budget and explained how we, as advocates, can have influence over the process. this month we are taking action to lobby our MEPs over the budget, calling for the EU to ensure that basic health and education are protected in spending decisions.
Posted in European Union, Grassroots Network, International Institutions, Monthly Actions, News
Tagged Conference call, conference cll, dci, edf, EU, International development, MFF
We are pleased to announce that the December RESULTS conference call will take place on Tuesday, 6th March at 8pm.
Click here to download the action materials and find out more.
To join the call dial 0844 8360 360, 0207 788 3000 or 0800 369 8888.You must then enter the participant code, which is 18723.
The European Union is the world’s single largest funder of international development, spending €39.6 billion between 2006-2013 alone. The next EU budget, which runs from 2014-2020, is currently under discussion and 2012 is a key year for influencing those discussions.
For previous budgets the EU has promised to guarantee that 20% of spending from their development related budgets would go directly to basic health and education. However, this commitment hasn’t been honoured in the most recent budget.
This month we will be taking action to ensure that the UK is calling strongly for the EU to make good its commitments to health and education.
Posted in Development Finance, Education for All, Global Health, Monthly Actions, News
Tagged dci, dci edf, edf, EU, EU budget, EU MFF, Global Health, mee, MFF, monthly call
We are pleased to announce that a recording of our February 2012 Focus Call on ”Demystifying the EU” is now available to download. Click here to download: RESULTS February 2012 focus call demystifying the EU
On the call we were joined by Mark Staniland, Vaccines Advocacy Coordinator at RESULTS UK. Mark covered the three main institutions of the E.U: the Parliament, Commission and Council of Ministers, before discussing the E.U budget, known as the Multi Annual Financial Framework (MFF) and the various funding instruments that finance development within that budget.
The call provides excellent preparation for our upcoming March action which will focus on generating support among MEPs for protecting international development in the upcoming MFF.
For detailed notes on the institutions of the E.U click here, and for a helpful factsheet on the MFF and its various instruments, click here.
Posted in Focus Call, Global Health, International Institutions, News
Tagged dci, def, Development, e.u, edf, EU, Focus call, MFF, Vaccines
Yesterday (the 30th of June) the European Commission published the proposed Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), commonly referred to as the European Union Budget. The MFF is a key document: it sets overall spending limits for EC activity for a seven year period – this time, from 2014-2020. We are working on the MFF in our July Action, as it has great potential to really help with the vaccines so needed to protect people in developing countries.
There is great news. Thanks to pressure from Civil Society Organisations and coalitions like CONCORD, the Commission is proposing an increase in funding for international development activities. Overall, there is a €14 billion increase for “Heading 4″ on external funding: this is a substantial increase from the current level of €56 billion (2007-2013) to €70 billion for 2014-2020. This is important, as Heading 4 is the part of the budget used in “establishing a coherent role for Europe on the global stage – inspired by its core values – in the way it assumes its regional responsibilities, promotes sustainable development and contributes to civilian and strategic security.” Continue reading
Posted in Child Survival, Development Finance, European Union, Monthly Actions, News, Vaccines
Tagged Budget, ec, EU, MFF, Monthly Action, Vaccines