Today (12 January), EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, presented a new Eurobarometer survey to mark the beginning of the European Year for Development. Figuresshow that the number of people who are in favour of increasing aid has gone up significantly, and Europeans continue to feel very positively about development and co-operation. 67% of respondents across Europe think that development aid should be increased – a higher percentage than in recent years, despite the economic situation. 85% believe that it is important to help people in developing countries.
Almost half of respondents would personally be prepared to pay more for groceries or products from those countries, and nearly two thirds say that tackling poverty in developing countries should be a main priority for the EU.
Commissioner Mimica commented: “The aim of the European Year for Development is to inform EU citizens about development co-operation by highlighting the results that the EU, acting together with member States, has achieved as the world’s largest donor.
"I feel very encouraged to see that despite economic uncertainty across the EU, our citizens continue to show great support for a strong European role in development. The European Year will give us the chance to build on this and inform citizens of the challenges and events that lie ahead during this key year for development, helping us to engage in a debate with them.”
Some key results of the Special Eurobarometer on development:
The number of people who are in favour of increasing aid has gone up significantly: At 67% the share of Europeans who agree with this has increased by 6 percentage points since 2013, and a level this high was last seen in 2010.
One in two Europeans sees a role for individuals in tackling poverty in developing countries (50%). A third of EU citizens are personally active in tackling poverty (34%), mainly through giving money to charity organisations (29%).
Most Europeans believe that Europe itself also benefits from giving aid to others: 69% say that tackling poverty in developing countries also has a positive influence on EU citizens. Around three quarters think that it is in the EU’s interest (78%) and contributes to a more peaceful and equitable world (74%).
For Europeans, volunteering is the most effective way of helping to reduce poverty in developing countries (75%). But a large majority also believe that official aid from governments (66%) and donating to organisations (63%) have an impact.
The European Year for Development (EYD 2015)
The EYD 2015 was proposed by the European Commission and unanimously adopted by the European Parliament and Council. It is an opportunity to showcase the strong commitment of the EU and its member states to eradicating poverty worldwide. It is the first ever European Year to focus on external relations.
This year promises to be hugely significant for development, with a vast array of stakeholders involved in crucial decision-making in development, environmental and climate policies. 2015 is the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the year in which the ongoing global post-2015 debate will converge into a single framework for poverty eradication and sustainable development at September’s United Nations General Assembly. 2015 is also the year that a new international climate agreement will be decided, in Paris.
The EYD 2015 will bring together young people, policy-makers, civil society, the private sector, academic institutions and individual stakeholders to focus on their common development aims.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker launched the EYD 2015 at a high-level opening ceremony in Riga on 9 January. The EYD 2015 has a packed calendar of events at EU, national, regional and local level – everyone can get involved.
The EYD 2015 will feature a wide range of creative opportunities for involvement across the member states, ranging from art and development projects to activities with schools and universities and large-scale sporting events. Each month of the year will be dedicated to a special theme: January’s focus will be on Europe’s position in the world, February’s on education, March will cover gender issues and April will be the month of health.
For further information
The website also includes country-specific fact sheets in national languages for all EU member states, and fact sheets on the EU overall results and youth as a focus group.
UK pledges cash for #Commonwealth education, urges #malaria fight
Prime Minister Theresa May pledged cash to help improve children’s education in the Commonwealth and called for a commitment from fellow leaders to tackle malaria on Tuesday (17 April), writes William James.
May’s government is looking to reinvigorate the Commonwealth, a 53-country network of mostly former British colonies, as it seeks to define its post-Brexit role in the world as a leader of free trade and active global citizens.
Speaking on the second day of a week-long Commonwealth meeting in London, May switched focus from trade, which she discussed on Monday, to humanitarian issues.
May commited 212 million pounds ($304m) to try to make sure children living in developing Commonwealth countries receive 12 years of quality education.
“I want this to be the summit where the Commonwealth agrees to make that the goal for all our members – and begins to put in place the concrete measures that will allow it to become a reality,” she said.
May spoke alongside Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, also touching on the need to reduce malaria deaths, saying around 90% of Commonwealth citizens live in countries where the disease is endemic.
“We cannot in good conscience, talk about the young people of the world, about securing a legacy for our children and grandchildren, without tackling a disease that, worldwide, kills one of them every two minutes,” she added.
($1 = 0.6983 pounds)
EU steps up aid for #Nigeria, #Niger and #Cameroon as humanitarian crisis worsens
The European Commission is providing additional humanitarian assistance to help address the worsening situation in the Lake Chad region.
Today (4 August) the European Commission has announced an additional €12.5 million in humanitarian aid to support people in Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon as they face a deteriorating humanitarian crisis. Today's additional emergency assistance will help vulnerable populations in the Lake Chad region. €9m will be provided to support people in Nigeria, €2 million in Cameroon and €1.5m in Niger.
The new funding comes as violence by the terrorist group Boko Haram from northern Nigeria has severely destabilized the Lake Chad region, causing the displacement of millions of people.
"When travelling to the region last month, I witnessed the plight of people in the Lake Chad Basin. Millions have been displaced and the number of those struggling to find food is increasingly alarming. The situation in Nigeria is especially dramatic. As always, children are hit the hardest and we must urgently intervene to stop their suffering. This additional EU funding will focus on emergency assistance, primarily in the areas of food and nutrition, water and sanitation, and health. All efforts should be made to ensure that humanitarian organizations can safely reach those who need urgent help." said Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Commissioner Christos Stylianides.
The EU aid announced today comes on top of the €58m previously allocated to the Lake Chad Basin crisis, bringing overall EU humanitarian aid to over €70m for the region in 2016. The European Union is a major humanitarian donor in the region, providing assistance to local, host and displaced populations in various humanitarian aid sectors in recent years.
TABLE - Total EU humanitarian aid to populations in the Lake Chad basin and in the Sahel in 2016: €216,200,000
|Type of assistance (in €)
|Country||Resilience and food||Support for conflict affected population in Lake Chad Basin||Additional emergency assistance|
|Burkina Faso||15 300 000|
|Cameroon||2 000 000||9 000 000||2 000 000|
|Chad||41 000 000||9 200 000|
|Mali||17 500 000|
|Mauritania||10 700 000|
|Niger||29 000 000||9 000 000||1 500 000|
|Nigeria||31 000 000||9 000 000|
|Senegal||6 400 000|
|West Africa regional programmes||23 600 000|
|Total EUR||145 500 000||58 200 000||12 500 000|
Nigeria is the worst hit country by the regional humanitarian crisis. The United Nations estimates over 7 million Nigerians have been affected by the conflict in the north-east of the country alone – including over 2 million displaced who rely on humanitarian assistance to survive. Already vulnerable host communities are also deeply affected, as is the local population in Nigeria, and increasingly so.
The Far North Region of Cameroon currently hosts 65,100 Nigerian refugees and 191, 600 internally displaced persons, 158,500 of whom have fled attacks by Boko Haram. Meanwhile, the violence has forced some 167,000 people from their homes in Niger, which also hosts 82,000 Nigerian refugees.
At the same time, some 4.4 million Nigerians are estimated to be severely food insecure in the north-east of the country. The number of children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition is reported to be particularly alarming –at least 244,000 are estimated to be affected in the state of Borno alone. Aid agencies are reporting that one in five children may die if not provided with urgent life-saving treatment.
In Nigeria specifically, the European Commission has been scaling up its aid continuously to meet the increasing humanitarian needs. EU humanitarian assistance to Nigeria since 2014 amounts to €73 million.
While the needs are immense, providing humanitarian assistance in Nigeria and the region as a whole remains challenging as demonstrated by the attack against humanitarian responders in north-east Nigeria only last week.
#EUTurkey: Médecins Sans Frontières will no longer take funds from European Union
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has announced today (17 June) that they will no longer take funds from the European Union and member states, in opposition to what they perceive as damaging deterrence policies and intensifying attempts to push people and their suffering away from European shores. The decision takes immediate effect and will apply to MSF’s projects worldwide.
Three months into the EU-Turkey deal, which European governments are claiming as a success, people in need of protection are left counting its true human cost. On the Greek Islands, more than 8,000 people, including hundreds of unaccompanied minors, have been stranded as a direct consequence of the EU-Turkey deal. They have been living in dire conditions, in overcrowded camps, sometimes for months. They fear a forced return to Turkey yet are deprived of essential legal aid, their one defence against collective expulsion. The majority of these families, whom Europe has legislated out of sight, have fled conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The European Commission recently hailed the EU-Turkey deal as a success. European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans said: "The EU-Turkey Statement is delivering results: migrants see that it is not worth risking their lives on smugglers' boats and we are on track to contract €1 billion of projects under the Refugee Facility by the end of this summer. But now is not the moment to sit back. We need to fully implement all elements of the Statement. This includes stepping up resettlement and increasing Greece's capacity to address the humanitarian situation and deal with asylum applications in line with EU law. The Turkish authorities also need to complete the implementation of the visa liberalization road map."
MSF say that the EU-Turkey deal places the very concept of “refugee” and the protection it offers in danger. Médecins Sans Frontières International Secretary General Jerome Oberreit said: “For months MSF has spoken out about a shameful European response focused on deterrence rather than providing people with the assistance and protection they need. Once again, Europe’s main focus is not on how well people will be protected, but on how efficiently they are kept away.”
MSF also object to the European Commission’s proposal to replicate the EU-Turkey logic across more than 16 countries in Africa and the Middle East. These deals would impose trade and development aid cuts on countries that do not stem migration to Europe or facilitate forcible returns, rewarding those that do.
MSF say that since the agreement between Europe and Turkey made on 18 March, Greece has turned refugee camps into detention camps. Refugees are sorted and wait to be sent back to Turkey for those who came after 20 March. The EU-Turkey deal sets a dangerous precedent for other countries hosting refugees, sending a message that caring for people forced from their homes is optional and that they can buy their way out of providing asylum. Last month, the Kenyan Government cited European migration policy to justify their decision to close the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, sending its residents back to Somalia. Likewise, the deal does nothing to encourage countries surrounding Syria, already hosting millions of refugees, to open their borders to those in need.
“Europe’s attempt to outsource migration control is having a domino effect, with closed borders stretching all the way back to Syria. People increasingly have nowhere to turn,” said Oberreit. “Will the situation in Azaz where 100,000 people are blocked between closed borders and front lines become the rule, rather than the deadly exception?”
The EU-Turkey deal’s financial package includes one billion euros in humanitarian aid. While acknowledging that their are undoubtedly needs in Turkey, a country which currently hosts close to three million Syrian refugees, this aid has been negotiated as a reward for border control promises, rather than being based solely on needs.
“Deterrence policies sold to the public as humanitarian solutions have only exacerbated the suffering of people in need. There is nothing remotely humanitarian about these policies. It cannot become the norm and must be challenged,” said Oberreit. “MSF will not receive funding from institutions and governments whose policies do so much harm. We are calling on European governments to shift priorities - rather than maximizing the number of people they can push back, they must maximize the number they welcome and protect.”
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