EU countries not delivering on aid promises

In 2002 and again in 2005 European Union governments committed to substantial increases in the amount of aid they give to poor countries. According to official figures most European countries are living up to their aid promises. But European citizens should hold their applause. European governments continue to make misleading claims about their aid figures: nearly one third of Europe’s reported Official Development Assistance (ODA) was not in fact genuine aid.

Eurodad authored and co-produced a report entitled ”Hold the applause! EU governments risk breaking aid promises”, launched in capitals across Europe on Friday. This report was produced under CONCORD the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development, representing over 1,600 European NGOs. The report shows that several European governments won’t keep their aid promises to poor countries by 2010 unless they radically increase their provision of genuine aid resources.

”We have seen scant change from last year’s inflated aid figures by key European governments as less real money is reaching the people who need it most,” said Lucy Hayes from Eurodad, the European Network on Debt and Development. ”It is time for European governments to come clean and deliver what they have promised”.

Many European governments are inflating their aid figures with debt cancellations, particularly to Iraq and Nigeria. They are also chalking up as aid their spending within Europe on refugees and foreign students’ education. In 2006 these non-aid items accounted for 13.5 billion Euro, almost one third of European Official Development Assistance (ODA). ”Poverty reduction does not always seem to be the main objective of European aid,” explained Justin Kilcullen, President of the European NGO confederation CONCORD. ”Security, geopolitical alliances and domestic interests often take precedence”.

European governments continue to make misleading claims about their aid figures with nearly one third of Europe’s reported ODA not in fact being used as genuine aid. Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain missed the individual minimum 2006 target outright. Once non-aid items are deducted, this report shows that France, Germany and Austria failed to reach the levels they originally promised.