Myths and facts about EU budget and external cooperation
Currently, when EU institutions are working on the new financial framework 2014-2020, let's take a look how the EU budget makes Europe count in the world.
The EU and its Member States provide more than half of global development assistance (56%). The EU is committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals on time by the end of 2015.
In the current economic context, it makes more sense than ever to improve the coordination of development aid to maximise the impact while avoiding duplicating efforts and losing money. Acting through the EU can actually save money for Member States could add up to potential savings of between 3 and 6 billion a year, according to a recent study (The Benefits of a European Approach, by HTSPE, 2009).
Working with the EU is also cheaper. Administrative costs – estimated at 5.4% on the basis of 2009 data - are lower than the average administrative costs of the principal donors for bilateral aid. The administrative rules that apply are intended to make sure that EU taxpayers' money is properly spent, using strict criteria which can be monitored. It is about transparency and good management.
Furthermore, development aid is an investment for all Europeans. Thanks to development cooperation, some issues can be tackled in advance and save money. By investing in developing countries we address issues such as migration, climate change, food security, piracy, sexual violence and many others. It is often far cheaper to eliminate the root causes of poverty than to deal with its symptoms further down the line.
The African Peace Facility (APF) is a prime example of how the EU can take the initiative on an issue, involving Member States as well. Most Member States do not work in this area, but through the EU they are able to channel their contributions in a simple and fast way. Since 2004, the EU has provided €740 million, helping to prevent conflicts and promote stability after they have taken place.
The Food Facility is another project which only a donor with the critical weight of the EU was able to put in place. Established in December 2008 as a rapid response to soaring food prices in developing countries, it made an additional €1 billion available for projects and programmes in 50 target countries during the period 2009-2011. So far it has helped around 50 million people. It demonstrates Europe’s ability to react to a global food security crisis, on a scale and in a quality which Member States would find not possible to match.
The Vulnerability FLEX (V-FLEX), launched by the European Union in 2009, has helped between 40 million and 80 million people in developing countries at risk of absolute poverty because of the global economic crisis. €434 million out of the €500 million allocated under the mechanism in 2009 and 2010 have been disbursed. 17 of the poorest African and Caribbean countries have benefited.