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Tag ‘Development funding’

Development Aid – right of reply hampered.

Monday, October 1st, 2012

The complex issues of Europe Aid and Development funding have come in for a lot of headlines recently, not least in a Sunday Telegraph article (September 22nd, 2012) which claimed that middle income countries were benefiting from EU aid funds “intended to help the world’s poorest”. This is not the case.

Much of the funding referred to in the article comes under Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy – a different policy area than development aid, with different aims, separately agreed by Member States, including the UK, and the European Parliament.

A short letter is the only right of reply we have. It is a good thing that newspapers in general do at least offer this but it can do little to counter the impact of a full page article: especially when most newspapers will only publish the letter after negotiating the text, not only to shorten- which is fine, they are usually better than us at concision – but often to tone it down.

Below is the text of our original letter as submitted to the letters page of the Sunday Telegraph and below that again is the “compromise letter” that was acceptable to the Sunday Telegraph.

(For 7 key FACTS about the use of Development Aid).

(Original Version)

Dear Sir
The Sunday Telegraph misleadingly suggests (22 September) that countries like Turkey, Iceland and Croatia are benefiting from EU aid funds “intended to help the world’s poorest”.

64% of EU aid is indeed spent in the very poorest developing countries. The European Commission is regularly independently ranked among the world’s best donor mechanisms.

The Commission has proposed further increasing the focus on the poorest and stopping EU aid to China, Brazil, Argentina and 16 others by 2013.

Member States, including the UK, and the European Parliament must now decide on that.

Meanwhile, EU funding for candidates to join the EU and for countries in the EU’s own neighbourhood has always been “intended” for precisely that purpose.

It may technically also qualify as aid under international definitions.

But in practice it is a completely different policy area with different objectives and a separate and much lower budget. And it is the Member States, including the UK, who asked the Commission to do this work on their behalf.

This investment “closer to home” improves governance and infrastructure, builds up trade and tackles illegal immigration. It enhances stability and security in Europe – for example by supporting peace in the Balkans – and boosts opportunities for EU businesses and jobs.

Catherine Ray
European Commission Spokesperson for Development

(Published version – September 30th, 2012)

SIR – Countries like Turkey and Iceland do not get EU funds “intended to help the world’s poorest”. (Sun Tel 22 September)
Sixty-four per cent of EU development aid is spent in the very poorest countries. The European Commission has proposed increasing this and that EU aid to China, Brazil and 17 others should stop by 2013. Member States and MEPs will now decide.
Meanwhile, there is a separate and much lower budget for countries applying to join the EU or neighbouring the EU. Member States – including the UK – allocated this money for precisely that purpose and asked the European Commission to administer it.

This investment improves governance and infrastructure, builds up trade and tackles illegal immigration. It enhances stability and security in Europe – for example, by supporting peace in the Balkans – and boosts opportunities for EU businesses.

Catherine Ray
European Commission Spokesperson for Development
Brussels

EC in the UK

Check the EC Representation in the UK website

Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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