Development aid: Europeans show overwhelming support for helping world's poor despite economic crisis
Despite the current economic crisis, Europeans still regard helping the poor as a priority, according to a new survey. 84% of respondents to a new Eurobarometer support development aid to help people across the world out of poverty. The majority of EU citizens (84%) also support the strong focus of EU aid on good governance and human rights in developing countries, a direction proposed by Commissioner Piebalgs in his recent policy proposal, "Agenda for Change".
Europeans are ready to actively participate in helping the poor – half of EU citizens are willing to pay more for their daily shopping (e.g. for fair trade products), if they know that this would benefit developing countries, according to the same survey.
EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said: "Europeans are sending a clear message to politicians in the EU and beyond: even in times of economic hardship, they remain firmly committed to helping others out of poverty. This generosity has to be matched by political responsibility. We have to be more efficient and transparent to show the results of our aid and prove that the funds make a real difference. Next week's high level forum on aid effectiveness in Busan, South Korea will be a key opportunity to look at how we can make our aid even more effective and I am pleased to see that citizens support us in this aim".
European youth – the strongest ally of the world's poor
Young people of Europe (aged 15-24) voiced their strong support for development policy, Eurobarometer reveals. 9 out of 10 think that it is important to help poor people and 41% think it is "very important" in comparison to 35% of people above 40 years of age. They show also the strongest personal commitment to the cause, as 53% of the young and 60% of students would be ready to pay more for products (e.g. fair trade) if this would benefit poor people in the world. The young also express the biggest support for keeping the promise to increase the aid levels (69% where the average for all the respondents is 62%).
- 62% of European citizens are in favour of increasing development aid to at least 0.7% of EU Gross National Income by 2015
- 70% think of sub-Saharan Africa as the part of the world most in need of aid to fight poverty, followed by Middle East and North Africa (33%)
- 80% is in favour of linking development with other EU policies such as migration, trade or access to energy.
- 42% believe that effectiveness of aid can mainly be increased by working more closely with developing countries themselves, while 36% prefer improved cooperation with other donor countries, such as the USA and Australia.
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