EU Development Aid Compromised by Austerity

Written by | Friday, October 17th, 2014

The European Union’s development and humanitarian aid programs are being hindered by EU debts, austerity measures, and budget cuts envisaged for the next year. There are fears that Europe’s accumulation of unpaid bills will be a major obstacle to the provision of development and humanitarian aid. For three years, Europe’s unpaid bills have been increasing. In arrears, the budget is currently 26 billion euro while in cohesion policy 23 billion are missing. According to Jacek Dominik, the European Commissioner in charge of the budget, the debts of the Financing Instrument for Development Cooperation have accumulated to a value of 14 billion euro. The shortage of funds has made Brussels scale back some of its development and even humanitarian programs. The Polish Commissioner admitted that some projects in the Sahel region in Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Haiti, had to be put off.

Oxfam, a confederation of organizations working to fight poverty and injustice in the world, says that the problems with funding will inevitably influence other humanitarian aid programs. Hilary Jeune, the chief of European policy at Oxfam, says that “the impact of the EU’s current constraints on humanitarian aid is already being felt by the beneficiary countries. For example, aid to Iraqi refugees in Jordan has been reduced. We are sending less aid to Yemen (housing, food security, etc.)”. She adds that non-profits are already signalling that food security operations in Somalia and Ethiopia are being delayed and their priority status has been also downgraded. EU’s 2015 budget is believed to be even less satisfactory from the development and humanitarian aid perspective than the current one as member states have suggested major cuts to the European Commission budget. These cuts would disable Brussels to pay its currently outstanding bills and those that would arise next year.

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